Google’s chief futurist thinks we could start living forever by 2029
Inventor Raymond Kurzweil speaks at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Pasadena, California in this July 24, 2009 file photo. A new $99 app, courtesy of Apple Inc is the result of a four decades-long relationship between the National Federation of the Blind and Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee.
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief futurist, laid out what he thinks the next few decades will look like in an interview with Playboy.
Kurzweil is one of the biggest believers in The Singularity, the moment when humans — with the aid of technology —will supposedly live forever.
He’s chosen the year 2045 because, according to his calculations, “The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”
But even before 2045, Kurzweil thinks we could begin the deathless process.
“I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy,” he told Playboy. “By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate, but rather your remaining life expectancy.”
A lot will have to happen in the next 30 years to make that a reality, but Kurzweil isn’t fazed: He predicts that nano machines capable of taking over for our immune system (to fix problems like cancerous cells and clogged arteries) and connecting our brains to the cloud will be available by then.
He likens that change as the next step in our evolution, the same way our ancestors developed to use the frontal cortex 2 million years ago. The benefits, according to Kurzweil, will be significant.
“We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes,” he tells Playboy. “We’ll be funnier. We’ll be sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.”
Kurzweil points to two advancements that’ve already happened to support his futuristic claims. The first is the rate of technological advancement: His current Android phone is several orders of magnitude smaller, more powerful, and less expensive than the $11 million computer he used at MIT in the mid 1960’s. Technology will only continue to get smaller, more powerful, and less expensive over time.
The second is work being done at Joslin Diabetes Center in Connecticut, which has used biotechnology to turn off the fat insulin receptor gene in animals, allowing them to eat large quantities of food without developing diabetes or gaining weight. By hacking the human body we can ditch millennia-old genes that serve no purpose and increase our lifespan significantly.
It’s yet to be seen if his plans will pan out, but Kurweil considers dying before the singularity to be a failure on his part, so he’s adopted a strict diet with the hope of making it to 2045 and living forever.