Data Contributors Wield Control In AI-Powered Longevity Research Network
By Deborah Borfitz
January 26, 2022 | Efforts are underway to create an economy of data contributors and researchers who want to retain ownership of their contribution to longevity research as well as a proportionate share of the downstream profits from any resulting products. The ecosystem, and tokens underpinning it, goes by the name of Rejuve—definitionally, “the process of making somebody young again.”
Rejuve is currently in the final stages of incubation by SingularityNET, the world’s first decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) network, according to Rejuve CEO Jasmine Smith. It will independently operate when the Rejuve token launches on the blockchain in another few months.
These are everyday concepts to the tens of thousands of people in the worldwide SingularityNET community (so-called Singularitarians), who are also expected to be first adopters of a Rejuve longevity app where they can earn tokens by contributing data, says Smith, who previously moderated forums in the online community. The Rejuve tokens will be redeemable for discounts on items such as supplements, DNA test kits, and new longevity therapies that emerge from the ecosystem.
Separately, Rejuve will offer self-sovereign NFTs to keep track of products, and who owns what share of them. These non-fungible tokens (NFTs) keep track of individuals’ data and permissions granted to use it, explains CTO Deborah Duong, Ph.D., a computational social scientist who works in intelligent agents. “When that product is sold, all of the people who have contributed are automatically paid [proportionately] in Rejuve tokens.”
Individuals will be permitted to sell up to 50% of their interest in a future product if they are risk-averse, stressed for funds, or aren’t optimistic about the product’s success, Duong continues. “People would still own at least half of their fair share of contributions to that drug, and that entrepreneurship is what helps the system by sending money back to people who are risk-intolerant, incentivizing them to join.”
The overriding mission of Rejuve is “longevity solutions for all”—not just the super-wealthy, who are the only people who can afford them now. “We want to bridge that gap and make healthy extended lifespan something that every human being who desires it can obtain,” says Smith.
Rejuve membership means holding Rejuve tokens and contributing to the community—be that through data provision; contributing to AI models, research, or product partnerships; voting on important topics regarding the network; or simply purchasing product NFTs, says Smith. Rejuve network members receive early and affordable access to longevity solutions and have a voice in shaping this decentralized AI-powered longevity research initiative.
Data-contributing members will go through a personal identification process to ensure real people are entering information in the research database, Smith says. Being a verified member comes with a stake in the self-sovereign NFT program, the ability to earn rewards for data contributions, and a vote on any issues concerning network members and their data.
Through the longevity app, users will be able to see how many tokens they can earn for specific data items, such as lab test values or completion of a survey, she continues. Data contributors will include parties such as clinics that will create data and aggregate it as well as modelers who will contribute AI algorithms that can infer treatments, who would all likewise be fairly compensated for their part in bringing a product to market.
Importantly, Rejuve tokens will provide cheaper prices on medical tests needed to supply lab data to the research network. It’s not always easy to request a blood or saliva test from the doctor’s office without a medical reason, Smith notes, so the network will strike deals on these services with dedicated suppliers.
When community members contribute data to the Rejuve database, says Smith, they are authorizing use of that information by the Rejuve research team. Initially, research initiatives will all be internal projects supported by a soon-to-be-hired team of researchers, study coordinators, and technical and medical writers. Later, members will also be able to opt into contributing their data to outside entities.
No More Middlemen
AI is foundational to Rejuve’s research ambitions, notes Duong, as it uses contributed data to generate hypotheses that can then be tested out. “The AI can hypothesize treatments and then choose members with the proportionate demographic characteristics for the phase 1 clinical trials. It [also] determines the marginal worth of each data contribution to the end product, for the purposes of proportionate compensation.”
Longer term, outside study sponsors may want to tap into the community—if data owners grant their permission, says Duong. Collectives of the data-owning researchers and patients may also proactively vote to approach a company about taking a completed, early-stage trial to the next level.
Rejuve is effectively eliminating the middlemen who “make all the money and take it away from the others,” Duong says. Data-contributing patients own the AI-generated ideas and get to choose the study and researchers that utilize the information.
The entire system is more democratic, she says. “There may still be people who will sell the ability to find [interested] pharmaceutical companies, but they aren’t middlemen who take everything from researchers and patients.”
The Long View
The Rejuve network will exist into perpetuity, with people relating to one another via tokenomics to ensure everyone gets their fair share, Duong says. The Rejuve company will only “babysit” the network until it has enough people necessary for it to subsist on its own, buttressed by smart contracts—programs stored on the blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met.
Because of the way those smart contracts are written, little governance will be needed, she adds. “Whatever governance there is, because it’s distributed across the organization, will be done through the network itself.”
The globally distributed computing power required by the decentralized network will be supplied by NuNet, one of multiple spinoffs of parent SingularityNET, says Smith. NuNet works by connecting the owners of data and computing resources with computational processes in demand of those resources.
Many people are likely to be interested in contributing computing power specifically to longevity research, Smith says. As with all such contributions, they will be paid for it.
Educating the public on the particulars of how the decentralized longevity research network will work is not an immediate priority, since the initial batch of users will be familiar with blockchain and the cryptocurrency market, says Smith. However, Rejuve will make substantial efforts further out to enlighten the masses, which will admittedly be challenging.
The Rejuve app and token are expected to launch in the first half of the year, Smith says. The SingularityNET incubator platform has nurtured more than a half dozen projects, including three—NuNet as well as Singularity Studio (enterprise software) and SingularityDAO (smart liquidity to crypto assets)—that have already taken flight.