Scientist Says Immortality Only 20 Years Away
BY ALYSON SHONTELL Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned scientist and author of The Singularity is N...
BY ALYSON SHONTELL
Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned scientist and author of The Singularity is Near, thinks the world as we know it will be unrecognizable in 20 years.
One of the changes he thinks is possible: Scientists may finally crack immortality.
"I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies' stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, aging," he writes in The Sun. "Then nanotechnology will let us live forever. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively."
Kurzweil, whose fans include Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, makes a number of other substantial claims, such as humans being able to replace all failing organs with artificial ones. He says we'll be able to scuba dive for hours without oxygen, and write entire books within minutes thanks to advanced nanotechnology.
Oh, virtual sex will also be commonplace in the not-so-distant future.
Kurzweil's absurd-sounding proclamations stem from the fact that technological progress is growing at an exponential rate.
"Computer technology and our understanding of genes — our body’s software programs — are accelerating at an incredible rate," he writes. His theory of the Law of Accelerating Returns, suggests there will be another "billion-fold" increase in technology over the next quarter century.
"In reality, the time needed for technology to double is constantly decreasing," Inc's Kevin Bailey explains. "The next thing to realize with an exponential curve, is that at a certain point progress relative to time skyrockets up. The increase in technology that once took 20 years now takes 10, and then 5, and then 2.5, and then 1.25, and then .75 years, and then on and on. Kurzweil claims that we are right at the beginning of the sharp upturn that's characteristic of exponential curves."
Kurzweil thinks we're just beginning to tap into the possibilities artificial intelligence can bring, and the advancements will only get more wild. We're already using it in small ways to help us land airplanes and conduct searches on Google.
"These technologies should not seem at all fanciful," says Kurzweil. "Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn’t have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university’s only computer cost £7million and was huge."
Kurzweil concludes, "We can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs."