London Futurists

A tale of two cities: Riyadh and Dublin

October 05, 2022 London Futurists Season 1 Episode 7
London Futurists
A tale of two cities: Riyadh and Dublin
Show Notes

Calum and David reflect on their involvement in two recent conferences, one in Riyadh, and one in Dublin. Each conference highlighted a potential disruption in a major industry: a country with large ambitions in the AI space, and a new foundation in the longevity space.

00.00 A tale of two cities, two conferences, two industries
00.44 First, the 2nd Saudi Global AI Conference
01.03 Vision 2030
01.11 Saudi has always been a coalition between the fundamentalist Wahhabis and the Royal Family
01.38 The King chooses reform in the wake of 9/11
02.07 Mohamed bin Salman appointed Crown Prince, who embarks on reform
02.28 The partial liberation of women, and the fundamentalists side-lined
03.10 The “Sheikhdown” in 2017
03.49 The Khashoggi affair and the Yemen war lead to Saudi being shunned
04.26 The West is missing what’s going on in Saudi
05.00 Lifting the Saudi economy’s reliance on petrochemicals
05.27 AI is central to Vision 2030
06.00 Can Saudi become one of the world’s top 10 or 15 AI countries?
06.20 The AI duopoly between the US and China is so strong, this isn’t as hard as you might think
06.55 Saudi’s advantages
07.22 Saudi’s disadvantages
07.54 The goal is not implausible
08.10 The short-term goals of the conference. A forum for discussions, deals, and trying to open the world’s eyes
09.45 Saudi is arguably on the way to becoming another Dubai. Continuation and success are not inevitable, but it is encouraging
11.00 Fastest-growth country in the G20, with an oil bonanza
11.25 The proposed brand-new city of Neom with The Line, a futuristic environment
13.07 The second conference: the Longevity Summit in Dublin
13.48 A new foundation announced
14.05 Reports updating on progress in longevity research around the world
14.20 A dozen were new and surprising. Four examples…
14.50 1. Bats. A speaker from Dublin discussed why they live so long – 40 years – and what we can learn from that
15.55 2. Parabiosis on steroids. Linking the blood flow of two animals suggests there are aging elements in our blood which can be removed
17.50 3. Using AI to develop drugs. Companies like Exscientia and Insilico. Cortex Discovery is a smaller, perhaps more nimble player
19.40 4. Hevolution, a new longevity fund backed with up to $1bn of Saudi money per year for 20 years
22.05 As Aubrey de Grey has long said, we need engineering as much as research
22.40 Aubrey thinks aging should be tackled by undoing cell damage rather than changing the human metabolism
24.00 Three phases of his career. Methuselah. SENS. New foundation
25.00 Let’s avoid cancer, heart disease and dementias by continually reversing aging damage
26.00 He is always itchy to explore new areas. This led to a power struggle within SENS, which he lost
27.00 What should previous SENS donors do now?
27.15 The rich crypto investors who have provided large amounts to SENS are backing the new foundation
28.30 One of the new foundation’s investment areas will be parabiosis
28.55 Cryonics will be another investment area
29.15 Lobbying legislators will be another
29.50 Robust Mouse Rejuvenation will be the initial priority
30.50 Pets may be the animal models whose rejuvenation breaks humanity’s “trance of death”
31.05 David has been appointed a director the new foundation
31.50 The other directors
33.05 An exciting future

Audio engineering by Alexander Chace.

Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration

The conference websites: and

For more about the podcast hosts, see and