Ray Kurzweil, America’s most visible futurist, has been in the news a lot lately. He’s the subject of a new documentary film, “Transcendent Man“, and he’s recently launched Singularity University, dedicated to combining and furthering the fields he believes will be key to our exponential trajectory toward becoming one with our computers, an event commonly referred to as the technological singularity.
Kurzweil is generally respected for his inventions (you’ve seen the synthesizers) and for his keen prognostication (fall of the Soviet Union, victory of Deep Blue). His views on aging, however, make many scientists uneasy, and might stir fear in anyone eager to gamble away their now possibly never-ending youth. Specifically, he believes that immortality will be possible in our lifetime via the following roadmap:
1. Live to 2045 however you can. Kurzweil, who would be in his late 90s at that point, takes 150 supplements each day to “reprogram his biochemistry”, slowing the aging process as much as possible.
2. Within a few decades, nanotechnology will be advanced enough to halt or reverse aging and treat most of the afflictions that have death as a side effect.
3. Around 2045, computers will be completely integrated with and within us, making us immortal. Having access to their binary innards, they will be able to improve on their own designs, causing technological progress to explode.
What do you think: underestimated visionary or kook living out a very public midlife crisis?