AI for Longevity has more potential to increase healthy Longevity in the short term than any other sector. The application of AI for Longevity will bring the greatest real-world benefits and will be the main driver of progress in the widespread extension of healthy Longevity. The global spending power of people aged 60 and over is anticipated to reach $15 trillion annually by 2020. The Longevity industry will dwarf all other industries in both size and market capitalization, reshape the global financial system, and disrupt the business models of pension funds, insurance companies, investment banks, and entire national economies.
Longevity has become a recurring topic in analytical reports from leading financial institutions such as CitiBank, UBS Group, Julius Baer, and Barclays. At the recent AI for Longevity Summit in London, top executives from Prudential, HSBC, AXA Insurance, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Babylon Health, Insilico Medicine, Longevity.Capital, Longevity Vision Fund, Juvenescence, Deep Knowledge Ventures, and the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity came together to discuss the Longevity Industry. International policymakers and senior corporate executives shared learnings from Japan, Israel, Switzerland, the US, and the UK and exchanged ideas on beginning to work together in a new social contract to enhance global prosperity equitably.
Switzerland is one of the most longevity progressive countries in the world with both high investment in biotechnology and the capacity to integrate AI into its economic, financial, and healthcare systems. Switzerland has the potential to be a world leader in both the Global Longevity Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution. There are currently 100 companies, 80 investors, 50 financial companies, 35 research labs, 20 precision medicine clinics, 15 nonprofits, and 10 governmental organizations in the Swiss Longevity Industry. Switzerland is in an excellent position to retain its leading position by focusing on the optimal assembly of its existing resources to transform the challenge of demographic aging into a national asset.
Switzerland has a large aging population and Swiss investment banks are acutely aware of the oncoming demographic challenge. Switzerland is one of the most efficiently regulated and supervised financial centers in the world and has been leading transformative developments emerging from the digitalization of its banking and financial sector. Longevity-progressive countries typically have large aging populations, and aging populations have two longevity-progressive benefits: voting power and spending power.
The digitization of finance, and novel financial systems which treat Longevity as a dividend, will play an integral role in the Longevity economy. According to a recent report by Aging Analytics Agency, Switzerland has the elements necessary to become a leading Longevity financial hub, including factors such as a lean political system that facilitates rapid implementation of integrated government programs, a strong research environment for geroscience, a strong research and business environment for digital health, and most importantly, international financial prowess.
Switzerland has the ability to develop several Longevity specific programs over the next several years. One program is a Longevity progressive pension system and insurance company ecosystem that accounts for both population aging (which threatens to destabilize the current business models of insurance companies and pension funds) and the potential for widespread healthspan extension. Another program is a national strategy for intensively developing Geroscience and FinTech to a state so advanced that it propels Switzerland into a central role in the international Longevity business ecosystem and a global leader in Longevity Finance. Switzerland is leading the digitization of financial markets and establishing itself as a catalyst for financial innovation on a global level. According to Aging Analytics Agency, 10% of all European FinTech enterprises are located in Switzerland.
Switzerland has a strong and productive geroscience community and has gained prominence among investors as a global biotech hub and hotbed of innovation. The Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics has recently identified large numbers of genetic markers directly linked to human life expectancy. Switzerland is also home to the prestigious Vontobel Prize for Aging Research.
Switzerland is situated at one end of the BioValley – one of the leading life science clusters in Europe. This cluster is unique in that it spans across three countries, Switzerland, Germany and France, and includes Basel, a global life science hub. BioValley brings together important ingredients for a successful biotech cluster including a concentration of companies, rich availability of skills, experience within Life Sciences, and a world class research base. The cluster in Switzerland has in excess of 50,000 people working in the life sciences field including 15,000 scientists. There are 600 companies in the cluster developing therapeutic, diagnostic or medical devices to address a wide range of diseases in multiple therapeutic classes. There are 100,000 students enrolled in 10 universities and research institutions including University of Basel, Max Planck Institute, and Freiburg University. The cluster has produced a number of spin-out companies supported by a financial network including both public and private financing initiatives as well as traditional venture capital and private equity. The entire process of drug development is covered in the region, from research through to clinical and drug development, and manufacturing.
Longevity AI Consortium Expands to Switzerland
In November 2019, Europe’s first Longevity AI Consortium (LAIC) launched at King’s College London. LAIC is currently developing collaborative research projects with Dynamics of Healthy Ageing (DynAge) and the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) at the University of Zurich. The research will utilize AI technologies to predict the future cognitive ability of individuals using multimodal neuroimaging and risk factor data. Academics in Zurich will work in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London. LAIC plans to establish several collaborative projects with the University of Zurich in 2020. The joint R&D between Ageing Research at Kings and University of Zurich forms the first phase of the global Longevity AI Consortium that will eventually be extended to Israel, Singapore, Japan and the US.
FinTech banks are redefining the banking industry by connecting with a new generation of mobile-first consumers. However, FinTech banks are focusing on consumers who are middle-age and younger, not on the 1 billion people in retirement and the $15 trillion dollar market opportunity. As the share of the population over 60 increases, Swiss banks are lagging behind in finding solutions for this age group. Traditional banks, as opposed to challenger banks, are making their first steps in AgeTech, adapting their infrastructure for people over 60.
The WealthTech Industry refers to a new generation of financial technology companies that create digital solutions to transform the investment and asset management industry. New companies have arrived on the scene offering advice based on AI and big data, micro-investment platforms, and trading solutions based on social networks. A growing aging population is one of the main drivers of innovation in WealthTech. Financial services innovators have an opportunity to enhance the financial lives of individuals over 60 by designing new solutions and adapting existing products and services for them. This is an opportunity to implement innovations that address financial health challenges head on.
As a core component of its mission to develop Switzerland into a leading international Longevity Financial Industry hub, Longevity Swiss Foundation plans on roadmapping the development of AI Centers for Financial Wellness. Whereas the proposed AI Centers for Longevity would focus on optimizing health, these centers would focus on the application of AI to the creation of methods and technologies to promote wellness in other areas including financial wellness, continuing education, psychological well being, neuroplasticity, and active social involvement. The planned development of AI Centers for Financial Wellness will enable financial stability over extended periods of healthy Longevity for Swiss citizens.
Switzerland could become the center of the Longevity Financial Industry. Given its geographic size and its reliance on international cooperation, its function in the Longevity Industry will be as a small but important node. Due to its status as an international BioTech epicenter and its reputation as one of the most progressive countries in terms of its financial industry, the prospects for Switzerland to lead the world in the development of its Longevity Financial Industry are strong.
Today, change occurs at the intersection of two or more scientific and technological domains. We are at the beginning of a trend where the degree of complexity and the number of convergence points will increase exponentially. The convergence of AI, advanced data science, and Longevity research will accelerate important medical breakthroughs that will benefit all humans. In the next decade, the Longevity Industry will impact many areas of our lives. Longevity policies enacted by governments and changes in the global financial industry will transform society. Achieving small but practical results in Longevity distributed at scale will have enormous and multiplicative effects on society. Extending the functional lifespan of humans by just one year will decrease suffering for tens of millions of people and will improve the quality of life for billions of people.