Ray Kurzweil is betting that if he can use currently available “technology” he can extend his life long enough for the future merger of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence to extend life, perhaps forever.
IF YOU haven’t heard of him, but are interested in life extension, then you need to know about author, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil.
Although the man is well known for his inventions, books and development of the Singularity concept, what I wish to explore here is his efforts to live longer, and will rely heavily on a New Scientist article called, Ray Kurzweil: Building 3 bridges to immortality, written by Robert Adler.
(Note: you have to create an account at New Scientist to read the article, so if you don’t wish to do that, try this blog post for the full repost.)
Here’s Ray’s bottom line (paraphrased from the above referenced article):
The exponential growth of artificial intelligence, biotechnology and nanotechnology means that before 2050 one’s brain (including consciousness and identity) will be able to be copied and uploaded into a non-biological substrate. To live long enough for this moment of potential immortality, one must “surf the accelerating high-tech tsunami long enough to transcend biology and achieve the dream of immortality.”
So, what does this mean, exactly?
“Make it to the year 2045 and you can live forever.”
Well, Ray has a precise protocol he’s following to make it to 2045, or so, which he describes as a “three bridge” process, as in crossing three bridges to get to immortality.
Ray is currently traversing Bridge 1 where he selects and lives by the most promising biomedical findings, some scientifically accepted, others not. Science agrees that his regime consisting of a low-calorie, low-carb diet (his is 1500 calories with less than 80 grams of carbs per day), exercise and lots of sleep can increase longevity.
Other stuff he does is not particularly sanctioned, such as drinking 10 glasses of highly alkaline water a day to rid his body of toxins, and weekly intravenous infusions of vitamins, swallowing 150 supplements daily, weekly intravenous infusions of chelating agents, and various other pharmaceuticals.
The goal of Bridge 1 it to preserve the body sufficiently to embark on Bridge 2.
Bridge 2, Ray predicts, will “exploit the accelerating biotech revolution to bring true enhancement at the cellular and genetic levels. He envisions the increasing use of gene therapy, stem cells, therapeutic cloning and replacement cells, tissues and organs. Within a few decades, he says, these will even allow him (and us) to turn back our biological clocks.”
The goal of Bridge 2 it to, again, preserve the body sufficiently to trot on Bridge 3.
Most controversial is Bridge 3, which contemplates and is expected(by Ray) to be a merger of nanotech and artificial intelligence. Here it’s envisioned that swarms of specialized, programmable, communicating nanobots will replace old-fashioned neurons and blood cells with more efficient units that can destroy infections, reverse degenerative changes and rewrite genetic code.
Currently, this is science fiction, but Ray believes that the key technologies will develop on schedule. He says, “The fundamental measures of information technology proceed at predictable and exponential rates and this continues to be the case.”
So, how is Ray doing so far?
He had diabetes at age 32 and now does not. His fasting glucose level was 185 milligrams per deciliter in 1985 (well into the diabetic range) and is now down to a healthy 95 today. “I’ve had no indication of diabetes for over 20 years now,” he says, “although if I stopped my program, my genetic predisposition to insulin resistance would return.”
A snapshot of various health indicators is in the chart below, and suggest that Ray’s Bridge 1 might take him to Bridge 2.
So, what do you think of Ray Kurzweil’s journey to life extension? Weigh in at the Comments section below.
My sense is that it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Personally, I’m not as focused or do as much as he does, but I have been taking a boat load of supplements for many years that are thought to extend life. (Check out these supplements: Aging, Detox, Antioxidants.)
So far, so good, although only some pretty thorough testing will determine if behavior is keeping me young looking and vital, as opposed to genetics. Once I gather a few extra bucks, I will get tested. Until then, supplements, exercise, sleep, good food and good thoughts are the elements of my insurance policy.
Published on December 28, 2010