Cancer and Copyright

Logo stolen from the ugliest (best) logo of all cancer centers in the world: MDAnderson.

October 4, 2022 — Every second your body makes 2.83 million new cells. If you studied just one of those cells from a single human—sequencing all the DNA, RNA, and proteins, you would generate more data than can fit in Google, Microsoft, and Amazon's datacenters combined. Cancer is an information problem.

Mitosis refers to the process where a cell splits and takes about 2 hours. If you were building a startup and it was the fastest startup ever and your team doubled in size every month, you would be going at 0.0028 the speed of mitosis. Mitosis is very very fast.

We think our information tools have gotten fast because we compare them to our old tools, but when we compare them to the challenge of mitosis and cancer they are slower than molasses.

Copyright laws have become intellectual slavery, and slow down our cancer researchers and healthcare workers to crawling speed. Because of our expanding copyright laws, our information tools are far too slow and as a result our cancer survival rates haven't budged in a century.

We can either cure cancer or have copyright laws. We cannot do both. Mitosis is too fast and we need our information tools to be much, much faster. We need them to be orders of magnitude faster.

I can confidently make a prediction: if we pass an amendment ending copyright laws, we will see cancer fatality rates in the United States plummet by 50% within 2 years. I am willing to bet my entire net worth on this.

Finally, a grim reality: though we will save hundreds of lives a day if we abolish copyright and build faster information tools, it will still take a far larger more Herculean effort to solve the toughest types of cancer. That will come down to the men and women in the white and blue uniforms in the hospitals and wet labs (I only know how to solve the bottlenecks in the dry labs).

by Breck Yunits

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