Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks that technology will eventually help us reach immortality, at least in some form. He considers death to be “a great robber of meaning, of relationships, of knowledge” and believes that, over time, the human race will overcome disease and aging to allow us to live on “indefinitely.”
Appearing on PBS’s News Hour program this week, the author of “The Singularity is Near” and “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” offered brief thoughts about life and the exponential growth of technology. As an inventor, he created a computer that recognizes patterns in melodies from famous composers to create original music, another one aimed at recognizing printed letters from any font for the blind, and more.
One of the themes Kurzweil spoke about is the exponential growth of technology. He explained that information technology is doubling in performance and capacity and pointed to the fact that a current smartphone is more powerful than a computer from when he was an undergraduate in college. He predicts that in the next 25 years, there’ll be another shift to a “2030 scenario” in which we’ll have computers the size of blood cells.
Kurzweil also believes that there will be a shift in life expectancy. He claims we’re going to get to a point 10 to 15 years from now where we’ll be adding more time to our remaining life expectancy, and, as part of this evolution, he believes society will eradicate disease and aging. He also predicts that our thinking will become “non-biological,” with some of it living in the cloud: “If part of it gets wiped away, we’ll be able to re-create it.”
Kurzweil has worked at Google since 2012 as director of engineering, and he explained that he’ll continue working to solve “some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.” With Google’s considerable resources behind him, perhaps he’ll be able to do just that.