Ray Kurzweil On How We Will Live Forever Beginning In Twenty Years

Don’t get hit by a bus before 2029 arrives. Interviewed via the Sun, is Ray Kurzweil’s optimistic two-decade time frame perhaps influenced by his own advancing age (61)? He says:

I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, ageing. Then nano-technology will let us live for ever.

Already, blood cell-sized submarines called nanobots are being tested in animals. These will soon be used to destroy tumours, unblock clots and perform operations without scars. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively.

These technologies should not seem at all fanciful. Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn’t have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university’s only computer cost £7million and was huge. Today your mobile phone is a million times less expensive and a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion times more capable for the same price. We will experience another billion-fold increase in technological capability for the same cost in the next 25 years.

In 2008 we discovered skin cells can be transformed into the equivalent of embryonic cells. So organs will soon be repaired and eventually grown. In a few years most people will have their entire genetic sequences mapped. Before long, we will all know the diseases we are susceptible to and gene therapies will mean virtually no genetic problems that can’t be erased.

It’s important to ensure we get to take advantage of the upcoming technologies by living well and not getting hit by a bus. By the middle of this century we will have back-up copies of the information in our bodies and brains that make us who we are. Then we really will be immortal.

44 Comments on "Ray Kurzweil On How We Will Live Forever Beginning In Twenty Years"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Jul 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm |

    Ray must have the best weed on Earth. 

    • Jin The Ninja | Jul 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

      ‘trans-human.’ 75 sativa + 25 indica with psychoactive tendencies.

      • Anarchy Pony | Jul 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

        I don’t like the way it makes me feel, all contemptuous of the natural world and stuff and wanting to have metal parts and whatnot. 

        • Jin The Ninja | Jul 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

          for me it depends. am i tetsuo iron man? am i raging against society on tokyo’s cyberpunk streets? or am trapped in a post-scarcity virtual matrix where i have no contact whatsoever? if the former then yes i accept. the latter i decry wholeheartedly.

          • Anarchy Pony | Jul 20, 2012 at 12:25 am |

            I was toying with this idea for a cyberpunk story centered on “eco-nihilists” who are people leftover from the eco movement in a future of total biosphere collapse. They basically seek wholesale destruction of the technociety in vengeance, because their cause was lost.

  2. Liam_McGonagle | Jul 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    Will the public have access to radically life extending medical treatments by 2029?  Not if the Republican caucus in the HR has anything to say about it.

  3. a.) On what new planet will we live on?
    b.) ‘Scientists’ have been making these claims for decades.
    c.) It’s strange considering how little we actually know about the human body that we can make these optimistic assumptions.
    d.) Does he honestly think this will be free to everyone from the moment of its discovery? This would take decades to ‘trickle down’ to the general population

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jul 20, 2012 at 4:38 am |

      His talking to his buddies in the upper-class, rarely do technologists talk to anyone else.

  4. Computers & phones (mini-computers): very different from 40 years ago.
    Cars, washing machines, fridges, planes, etc: very little change in 40 years.
    It’s pointless to compare technologies favourable to your story. Controlling aging would seem to be a better option that ‘living’ forever.

    • exactly. Digital technology is filled with illusory advancement. And they didnt make phones better, they just made really small computers and tacked a phone on it.

  5. And then…The Jericho Event happens

  6. Linsang811 | Jul 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm |

    I am a HUGE proponent of science. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more adamant cheerleader for science than myself. However, this seems like a bunch of nonsense. Actually, it seems like the same kind of nonsense Christians believe, just with a scientific bent instead of a supernatural bent. I would LOVE to live for thousands of years into the future, I would. Not going to happen.

    • Ray Kurzweil’s singularity based “futurism” is another form of a rapture-based religion, where the “good people” enter the super duper awesome singularity mind, and the rest are left to waste away. its a load of bs.

      I considered myself a futurist until i found out that this guy’s far off “ideas” were associated with it.

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jul 20, 2012 at 4:47 am |

        I’ve always thought that he uses his brand of hype to attract wealthy investors willing to buy into a new religion.

  7. Without death there wouldn’t be sex.

  8. i really can’t stand Ray Kurzweil… one random giant leap of faith after another.

  9. The only thing to get is money | Jul 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm |

    Ray Kurzweil is an optimistic nut and buffoon. Really 20 years? Add another 0 to that buddy, and it may not even come that soon. Religion, politics, stupidity, all these things will slow/halt progress.

  10. for the average Joe
    living forever is 70 years

    what exactly would they do with all the extra time?
    watch more TV?
    buy more meds?
    more garage sales?

    and just exactly how would one avoid boredom that lasts forever
    in a world of eternally living morons?

    even if it was possible
    it’s a bad idea

    • Calypso_1 | Jul 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

      Agreed. I’m curious though, as I would not classify you as those you just described, how long would you choose to live if it were solely up to you, assuming sustained vitality?

      • compared to the average Joe
        I’ve lived a really interesting & adventurous life
        and even I don’t want to live forever

        presently I’m well over 30
        but I am in better shape than I was then and
        haven’t lost any of my physical & mental acuity yet
        if I could maintain this condition indefinitely
        I’d choose to live as long as life stayed interesting

        but I spent time with my 90 year-old Mom recently
        and I know others in that age group
        and if I get to their condition at their age
        I’d prefer to be dead

        • Jin The Ninja | Jul 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

          nai nai turned 83 this year, my gread grandmother lived to 101. but i feel the same, even if i have longevity in my bones, i’d rather peace out gracefully than have serious age related health problems.

        • Sergio.Poalsky | Jul 20, 2012 at 10:56 am |

          stopping aging would stop the “growing old” process and you could maintain your current age indefinitley; presuming you dont get run over or contract some disease. I think if this does happen we will have to alter our views on suicide and allow the individual to decide when they die and not nature. When you get bored of the game just quit playing.

    • mannyfurious | Jul 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

      I mean, you’ve pretty much nailed it Buzz. Considering that most human beings hate life–like truly hate it, but in an inarticulate, unconscious kind of way–I’m not so sure what the appeal of living forever would be. 

      What pleasures there are to be gained from life are derived solely from the knowledge that it won’t last forever. It’s easy to get wistful on a warm summer’s night as you sit on your porch and sip iced tea under a full moon while your two-year-old daughter plays on the lawn. You might say to yourself, “Damn, this is what life’s about. Shit like this. It’s too bad I have to die some day.” But it’s the very fact that you ARE going to die that gives those kinds of moments any real levity or meaning.

    •  You say that until you are on your death bed or gripped by cancer.  Maybe philosophically you are correct…but the argument is rendered useless when you have a giant tumor in your stomach and want to live to see your children grow – or just simply have more days waking up next to the person you love. 

      • it all depends on the person
        I used to work in the cancer industry
        saw lots of people spending lots of money
        to buy a few more months or years
        less than half actually succeed
        I was never sure why they were holding on so hard

        getting ready to die & accepting mortality
        is something everyone should do
        especially those over 50
        like it or not
        there is a definite trend in life that leads to death

  11. The Baffler | Jul 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    Nah. Sometimes I want to die.

  12. I agree with previous comments. Our system is obsolete and its time to implement new ways of thinking and living. We will never evolve into great realms while greed exists. Eliminate the monetary system to make it even possible for us to develop the abilities to manipulate our own energies and the resonating energies on our planet. This will be our chosen technologies.

  13. I heard a story on Radiolab
    about a Japanese guy who survived
    both the Hiroshima & Nagasaki explosions
    had his DNA shredded twice
    and lived to be 93 and three kids after that

    meanwhile Kurzweil
    is spending a fortune to keep himself fit enough to live forever

    I don’t think its quite as simple as his simple mind thinks

  14. Highlander | Jul 20, 2012 at 3:00 am |

    This guy ingests a ridiculous amount of supplement pill everyday and says it helps him live longer. Ironically he is also a big part of a company that makes dietary supplements. Most of his statements are to sell books. There can only be one highlander 

  15. Bruteloop | Jul 20, 2012 at 4:19 am |

    And this is a good thing? Hell, some have overstayed their welcome by the time they’re in their twenties. The inevitability of death makes life sweet and real. The rest is just marketing.

  16. scorzonera | Jul 20, 2012 at 6:04 am |

    Longevity escape velocity – Aubrey de Grey crops up on British tv now and again proposing it.  Just as whacky – in my opinion – but much more entertaining.


  17. Interestingly (perhaps), kurzweil is an old German expression meaning (variously) pastime, amusement, or diversion.

  18. Jmadr2014 | Jul 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    Ray Kurweil has done some very nice things for the blind and deaf, but he does not seem to know where to draw the line. We are all given a short amount of time to live so that others may eventually have their turn. It is the awareness of our own finitude that gives life meaning.

  19. I’m with people who think living forever might be a bad thing. Boredom, etc. But it would be nice to know that if ever get any disease I can be cured. I just want to live a long and healthy life. Like if they could extend our average lifespan to like, 200-250 years old, I’d be down with that.

  20. Eternal life? It is here now for Uber-Rich Multi-nationals – Asian stem cell work a full 30 years ahead of the Western World, all papers in Mandarin, even a mystery to the Western mind when properly translated, but reveal a “new’ science, not based on Western or ‘American logic’. Fear this: Soon enough American government will find itself entrapped by these Uber intelligentsia from around the world, even as we speak their genetically selective breeding programs are producing super-humans – even one who sees in the dark, answering the question: ‘ Who did the carvings in the pyramids bowels seemingly without torches for light?’ Asian communists pledged to hide all they discover about Thorium and any other fission science (cold fusion/fission) from the West, the ‘irrational’ (to them) opportunist vulture Capitalists who seemingly would live alone in this world with all its riches in their possession?
    Meanwhile the 300 year Reich is broke and is about to be “sucked Into” war on Iran by Israel? and confrontations with China and Russia as they polarize over Syria? and threaten Israel directly on  a large part of her border? The money spent on this part of the world by the U.S. will be subtracted from her ability to rise in scientific research and discovery to China’s current level. U.S. dependence on foreign oil also keeps her scientifically backwards and behind Asians where electric bullet trains have all but replaced jet-plane flights?

  21. Antediluviancurrent | Jul 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm |

    I hope the transhumanists and “supporters of science” out there realize that so long as we have a “free market”, all of this won’t be available for everyone, just like macbook pro’s aren’t available for a Burmese adolescent.  Don’t have enough purchasing power?  Well sorry buddy, but you can’t join the technognostic transhuman pantheon of cyborg gods.  I’m reminded by Bertrand Russell in “The Impact of Science on Society” : “Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species.  A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”  Add some nanotech to that exclusivity, and you have an elite of superhumans ruling the lower classes.  The future looks fucking scary and I’m not optimistic with this sort of technology in the current social, political and economical system.

  22. I bet Douglas Hofstadter is right about this “dog shit”. See the Singularity Conference. On YouTube.

  23. That would be cool! But I would like and be interested to knowing how close are we to actually developing this technology for say, breast augmentation. Like say the fat that you consume and even already have can be transferred to the breasts almost unlimitedly as that seems to be the ONLY place that fat is truly desirable by the majority as the size of the other part (males) is NOT fat but something else. That would be interesting to develop. And as soon as they do let us all know how we can sign up, or help our significant others sign up.

  24. Olivier_Gravel | Aug 29, 2012 at 4:39 am |

    so are we to understand that the rich will have the chance to enjoy life even longer exploiting us? ..while we the rest of the world will have to work even longer to make them even richier and happier??? thats a great plan for a revolution or a record high mass suicide…futurist have been promoting stuff like that for ever…remember how the folks imagined the year 2000 back then…yeah right it sure went like in the movies and all the bullshit propaganda machine…

  25. Taan Maat | Sep 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    hyper elite class of immortal technologists living in the skies, lower class of billions of people in the shadows underneath all the machines

  26. What I love about running across commentary like the naysayers below, is how, 2 years later, almost every branch of science, including quantum mechanics, is proving Kurzweil right and the dystopia theorists incorrect. As a writer I’ll be happy to spend another few hundred years writing more books because I have too many yet inside me crying to get written. Immortality for a writer? Bonus!

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