By Mike Hodgkinson
The Sunday Telegraph, September 27, 2009
Edited by Andy Ross
Ray Kurzweil is an inventor. He invented a machine for reading books to the
blind, a music synthesizer, and educational software for students with
learning difficulties. Since 2005, he has become known as a technology
sincerely believes that his own immortality is a realistic proposition. He
thinks we will be able to upload the human brain to a computer, capturing "a
person's entire personality, memory, skills and history," by 2040. Humans
and machines will then merge so effectively that the differences between
them will no longer matter. After that, intelligence will start to expand
outward into the universe, around about 2045.
The singularity is
taken to signify what is unknowable. It suggests that we haven't really got
a clue what's going to happen once machines are vastly more "intelligent"
than humans. For Kurzweil, it is "a future period during which the pace of
technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life
will be irreversibly transformed".
For Kurzweil, the pace of
technology is increasing at an exponential rate, with an exponential growth
in the rate of exponential growth. It is this understanding that gives him
the confidence to believe that technology will soon surpass the limits of
his imagination. He reckons that if he slows down his own ageing process,
he'll be around long enough to witness the arrival of technology that will
prolong his life forever.
Kevin Kelly calls Kurzweil a "deluded
dreamer" who is "performing the services of a prophet".
Humans Immortal by 2040
By Sharon Gaudin
Computerworld, October 1, 2009
Edited by Andy Ross
Ray Kurzweil says that anyone alive in 2040 or so could be close to
immortal. Nanobots will flow through human blood streams. A combination of
nanotechnology and biotechnology will wipe out cancer, Alzheimer's disease,
obesity, and diabetes. Humans will augment their natural cognitive powers
and add years to their lives.
People will still be struck by
lightning or hit by a bus, but much more trauma will be repairable. If
nanobots swim in blood, then wounds could be healed almost instantly. Limbs
could be regrown. Backed up memories and personalities could be accessed
after a head trauma. Kurzweil says that by 2024 we'll be adding a year to
our life expectancy with every year that passes. And in 35 to 40 years, we
basically will be immortal.
Kurzweil: "The definition of human is
that we are the species that goes beyond our limitations and changes who we
are. If that wasn't the case, you and I wouldn't be around because at one
point life expectancy was 23. We've extended ourselves in many ways. This is
an extension of who we are."