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McAfee, Andrew Society. Personalities Stiglitz, Joseph

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil

Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist.

Born:February 12, 1948;Queens, New York City, U.S

One step ahead of death

Ray Kurzweil thinks we can stay one step ahead of death.

Ray Kurzweil thinks we can stay one step ahead of death.

“How long do you think you will live?” I asked Kurzweil in a recent phone interview.

He rarely misses a beat in conversation, but he was quiet for just a moment before replying. “I think I have a good chance—I would put it at 80 percent—of getting to the point where it becomes indefinite, because you’ll be adding more time than is going by to your remaining life expectancy.”

… He's a variety of believer—not in any god, but in the potential of humans to achieve godlike powers with the aid of the technologies we build.

So why hasn’t average life expectancy — or even the age of the oldest human alive — budged much over the last few decades? Kurzweil says we’re just approaching what he calls “the knee of the curve.” That’s the point at which an exponential function starts to rocket upward. Longevity, Kurzweil explains, “is going to transform from having been a hit-or-miss affair where progress was linear … to where it is now an information technology and therefore subject to my law of accelerating returns.”

… “I expect to be in good shape when we get to that point,” he told me. “We’ll get to the point where we dramatically extend human life expectancy because we will have wiped out major diseases, and ultimately all disease as well as the aging process.”

For Kurzweil, then, life is a sort of race against the clock. If he and his fellow scientists and software engineers make the right moves, he could live to see the 22nd century, and then the 23rd. If not, he will have blown his one shot at immortality.

Will Oremus
The Race for Immortality
Nov. 27, 2013

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