According to Ray Kurzweil, if we stick around long enough, we could all become immortal! Now, if this prediction came from anybody else’s mouth, we would all laugh and turn away. But then, Ray Kurzweil is not just anybody.
A renowned inventor who’s been widely recognized as one of this century’s most important geniuses (he is the recipient of the most prestigious awards such as the National Medal of Technology and Innovation), Ray has become famous – throughout the years – for his ability to predict change based on the evolution of technology.
Bill Gates said of him that he is “the best in the world to predict the future of artificial intelligence”, and the CEO of Google (Larry Page) even personally hired him in 2012 and gave him carte blanche to develop an AI for Google!
Amongst Ray’s most notorious predictions, we can count: the demise of the Soviet Union, the emergence of the Internet and the year when a computer would finally be able to beat a Master chess player.
Ray’s thought process is guided by Moore’s Law which states that processing power for computers doubles every two years. That’s how we can explain that the technology we can acquire for a few hundred bucks today (and which fits in our pocket) is much more powerful than what the government had access to a few decades back, for millions of dollars. Technology is getting more and more powerful… and it will get to a point where it will be so powerful that it will be able to emulate a human brain. Then, AI will be feasible. Then, more than human intelligence will emerge.
How does this all link to immortality?
Well, with better technology, we will soon (Ray gives us a timeframe of about 15 years) be able to reprogram our biology as we can any software. Which means that we will be able not only to make our cells young again but also to fight off any virus as if it was just any computer malware.
With the help of nanobots (intelligent robots the size of a cell), we will be able to get rid of any dangerous pathogens but also of unhealthy fat and toxins.
But what if an accident happened to us? What if we got run over and died on the impact without being able to get “fixed” by the nanobots? Then, you would just have to upload a copy of yourself! According to Ray, we will also be able to download our memories and everything that makes “us” into a computer as backup.
Now, it might sound farfetched and the dream of a delusional man to many but didn’t we say exactly the same of people who – in centuries past – claimed that, one day, we would be able to walk on the moon?
I guess we will all just have to way and see. The future will tell.