Being keenly interested in the future and hoping to see quite a lot of it personally, I found this kind of interesting, even if some aspects are a bit unlikely: 3 Dangerous Ideas from Ray Kurzweil. My favorite dangerous idea concerns longevity. Excerpt:
Ray and I share a passion for extending the healthy human lifespan.
I frequently discuss Ray’s concept of “longevity escape velocity”—the point at which, for every year that you’re alive, science is able to extend your life for more than a year.
Scientists are continually extending the human lifespan, helping us cure heart disease, cancer, and eventually, neurodegenerative disease. This will keep accelerating as technology improves.
During my discussion with Ray, I asked him when he expects we’ll reach “escape velocity…”
His answer? “I predict it’s likely just another 10 to 12 years before the general public will hit longevity escape velocity.”
“At that point, biotechnology is going to have taken over medicine,” Ray added. “The next decade is going to be a profound revolution.”
From there, Ray predicts that nanorobots will “basically finish the job of the immune system,” with the ability to seek and destroy cancerous cells and repair damaged organs.
As we head into this sci-fi-like future, your most important job for the next 15 years is to stay alive. “Wear your seatbelt until we get the self-driving cars going,” Ray jokes.
The implications to society will be profound. While the scarcity-minded in government will react saying, “Social Security will be destroyed,” the more abundance-minded will realize that extending a person’s productive earning life space from 65 to 75 or 85 years old would be a massive boon to GDP.
I’m kind of an oddball in the workaday world in that I actually kind of enjoy what I do for a living. If I could live 500 years, I’d probably work most of that time; I may take the odd decade off here and there, but eventually I’d be pitched some project that sounded interesting in a place I’d want to go, and I’d be off again. Plus I’m something of a workaholic and just generally prefer to be producing value.
With that said, however, I’m skeptical of Mr. Kurzweil’s optimism in this matter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see human longevity explode, but I don’t see it happening in the next ten to twelve years.
Still. In twelve years I’ll be 68. I’d still be in time for that longevity escape velocity.
Think of all the elk one might take in 500 years.