How Sam Altman Aims to Extend Lifespan with Retro Biosciences

At just 38, Sam Altman has already made a huge splash in the tech world.

by Faruk Imamovic
How Sam Altman Aims to Extend Lifespan with Retro Biosciences
© Getty Images/Drew Angerer

At just 38, Sam Altman has already made a huge splash in the tech world. He's been coding for 30 years, leading the charge at OpenAI with cool stuff like ChatGPT and the newer Sora, putting him up there with big names like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

As the boss of OpenAI, he's pretty much the poster guy for artificial intelligence, changing the way we're going to live and work in the future.

The Tech Titan's Diverse Passions

Altman's journey in the tech world is nothing short of remarkable.

From his early days as a coder to his strategic investments in companies that have now become household names—Reddit, Stripe, Airbnb, and Instacart—Altman has demonstrated an uncanny ability to foresee and shape the technological landscape.

His ventures have not only advanced the field of artificial intelligence but have also made him a billionaire several times over. Yet, Altman's interests extend far beyond the realm of computers. In the past three years, he has dedicated significant time and resources to a different kind of innovation—one that involves the very essence of human life itself.

This shift reflects Altman's versatility and his relentless pursuit of knowledge and advancement, not just in technology but in the broader scope of human existence.

Beyond the Digital Realm: Altman's Biological Ventures

Sam Altman, who's made his mark with tech projects like OpenAI, has taken a surprising turn into something completely different: working on how to make us live longer, healthier lives.

In 2021, right in the middle of his work with OpenAI and before ChatGPT became a big deal, Altman started working on something pretty out there. He put $180 million into Retro Biosciences, a company with a goal straight out of a sci-fi book: to help people live an extra ten years, and not just any years, but good ones.

Sam Altman© Getty Images/Win McNamee

This move into studying how to extend our lives is a big leap from his usual tech stuff. But it really fits with his big-picture thinking about using tech to solve major problems we face.

At Retro Biosciences, he teamed up with Joe Betts-LaCroix, a super smart scientist who's been involved in some cool projects, like making the tiniest personal computer. Joe doesn't exactly specialize in aging science, but he's just as excited as Altman about using serious science and deep knowledge about biology to help us live longer.

Altman believes that now is the time to merge technology with biology to come up with new ways to improve our lives. Retro Biosciences has set itself a huge challenge: to add ten good years to our lifespans. It sounds ambitious, but Altman is all in, tackling this project with the same energy he brings to his tech adventures.

A Visionary's Approach to Human Longevity

Sam Altman isn't just dabbling in the science of living longer; it's a big part of his dream for a better tomorrow. His work with Retro Biosciences shows he's really thought about the big dangers we all face and is dead set on tackling them.

Altman, who's the kind of guy who's ready for anything with his stash of guns, gold, and land, is taking his interest in living longer seriously, seeing it as something that matters both personally and for everyone else. Retro Biosciences isn't your typical biotech company.

With a motto like "More pirate than navy," it's clear Altman is all about shaking things up. The place itself is a mix of eye-catching art and makeshift labs in shipping containers, all about stepping outside the box and doing things differently.

And that's exactly how they're approaching their research, exploring not one but several paths to potentially help us all live longer and healthier lives. Their research is diving into some pretty fascinating stuff: figuring out how to get our cells to clean up after themselves better, turning old cells young again, and even tweaking blood plasma to fight the signs of aging.

These projects are all different pieces of the aging puzzle, sharing the ultimate goal of finding real, workable ways to boost our health as we age. Altman's not just the money guy at Retro Biosciences; he's right there in the trenches, meeting with the team, going over the data, and planning the next steps.

It's this hands-on, open-book approach that really sets Retro apart in the fast-paced world of longevity research. By pushing the limits of science, Altman and his crew aren't just chasing after breakthroughs; they're sparking important conversations about the moral and societal implications of living longer.

Their work might lead to some amazing discoveries, but it also makes us think about who gets access to these advances and how they could change society. Sam Altman's move from being a big name in tech to breaking new ground in biotech shows a wider trend in Silicon Valley of getting into the longevity game.

But Altman stands out because he's not just about the tech or the science; he's looking at the big picture, aiming to make a mark on how we live our lives, both digitally and physically.