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Life Extension

Date: 01-15-05
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Ray Kurzweil

Inventor, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil discussed his recent book, Fantastic Voyage (co-authored with past C2C guest Terry Grossman, which suggests those alive today can slow down the aging process long enough to reap the rewards of future life-extending technologies.

Kurzweil believes technological and biological advancements will allow people to arrest the aging process within 20 years, and perhaps even reverse it within 30 years. He said scientists have already discovered that by manipulating a gene related to aging, they can cause worms to live 5 times longer than avearge. Kurzweil pointed out that humans are much more complex than worms, but a similar technique could be used to increase human life expectancy.

Kurzweil also talked about his work with Artificial Intelligence (AI). He said we are presently in the era of narrow AI, where computers can only perform niche tasks that people used to do. Kurzweil estimates that machines with the full-range of human-like intelligence will be built by 2029.

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Human Life Expectancy

In his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, author Ray Kurzweil imagines a (near) future where increases in the computing capacity of machines lead to remarkable breakthroughs in medical science and life expectancy.

Kurzweil theorizes by 2019, computerized monitors built into our clothes and jewelry will have the ability to diagnose health problems and provide recommendations for treatment. The expected human life span will likely exceed one hundred years, he suggests.

By 2029, Kurzweil thinks advances in our understanding of DNA information-processing will make many diseases and age-related maladies preventable. He expects that artificial nanoengineered bionic organs will replace failing human body parts, and our life span will rise to around 120 years.

Kurzweil believes by the year 2099, there will be no clear distinction between humans and computers, and "life expectancy [will] no longer [be] a viable term in relation to intelligent beings."

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