Ever wondered what it would be like to live forever? While some might see it as a scary thought, Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief futurist, claimed that it could become a reality in the pretty near future.
Indeed, in an interview with Playboy, he explained that by 2045, the “non-biological intelligence will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today”.
However, we won’t necessarily have to wait that long to see such incredible results as Kurzweil claims that the year 2029 will be a turning point for medical technologies. At that stage “we will be able to add one additional year every year to our life expectancy”; and that is based on our remaining life expectancy, not our birth date.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
So how exactly are we going to achieve that?
While we often picture the future as us against the machines and robots, as many Hollywood movies described, Kurzweil explained, “We will use these tools as we’ve used all other tools – to broaden our reach. And in this case, we’ll be extending the most important attribute we have, which is our intelligence.”
But the “truth is, we don’t know what it will look like”.
So what exactly do we know? Using the natural foundation of the intelligence that we were born with along with the advances in technology would mean propelling our own abilities to reach new levels of potential.
Nanothechnology on the march
Kurzweil told Playboy he believes that by the 2030s, we will have nanobots in our brains, capable of connecting to our neocortex and linking it to a synthetic neocortex, which would work similarly to the cloud. This would allow us to access higher levels of abstraction, to create more profound forms of communication. Basically, “We’ll be funnier. We’ll sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.”
However, using technologies to enhance our intelligence is only one aspect mentioned by Kurzweil, he also explained that we will develop new technologies to help us fight diseases and conditions: “By the 2020’s, we’ll start using nanobots to complete the job of the immune system and we will be able to programme our genes away from disease and ageing”.
For example, one of the way to do that would be through the creation of a “new cell” which could be programmed to deal with all pathogens but could also “download new software from the internet if a new type of enemy emerged”.
So, not only are we going to expand the potential of our mind, but also our body’s by helping it fight more effectively all diseases and conditions; and ultimately allow us to live for longer, and possibly even forever.
Kurzweil backed his claims with two majors technological advances: the rate of technological advancement and the discovery by Joslin Diabetes Center.
Indeed, if we look how far we’ve already come, and how much progress we’re making everyday, it is easy to believe that anything is possible.
Kurzweil took the simple example of his smartphone: “It is several thousand times more powerful and millions of times less expensive than the $11 million computer I used when I was an undergraduate at MIT in 1965.”
The capability of information technology doubles each year
At the same time, the price of the same functionality comes down by half every year; so there is really no reason to believe that this is going to slow down any time soon.
Secondly, recent clinical practices have revolutionized the way we think about genetics, and it is only a first step. Kurzweil claims that it will lead to a complete transformation of medicine within one or two decades.
For example, he mentions the clinical experiment by Joslin Diabetes Centre, which “deactivated” the fat insulin receptor gene, telling you to hold on to every calorie in your fat cells on animals. The results were significant: “the animals ate ravenously, but remained slim. They didn’t get diabetes. They didn’t get heart disease. They also lived 20% longer.”
“And that’s just one example of 23 000 genes.”
For Kurzweil, who is a big believer in what he calls the Singularity, dying before 2045 would be a failure on his part. So, in order to increase his chance of seeing the rise of this “new era”, he adopted a strict diet.
Kurzweil’s life extending diet
It includes a hundred pills, to ensure his overall health, but also a generally healthy and balanced diet.
For example, he revealed that his breakfast is only 700 calories, “focuses on healthy carbs” and “fills you up with fewer calories”. To achieve this goal, he needs:
-Food high in protein, which he gets through smoked salmon, mackerel and vanilla soymilk
-Food high in fibre, which he gets through berries and porridge
He then adds some dark chocolate infused with espresso, stevia and green tea, to complete this healthy breakfast; aiming to keep him alive until 2045.
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