The Computer: Today's Fountain of Youth
The possibilities for new human experience are limitless.
Named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, Moore’s Law asserts that every 2 years, we’re able to double our computing power. This assertion has remained historically reliable since 1965, and this accelerated growth has been integral to the rapid rise of small yet powerful and ubiquitous devices that have become part of us.
As a direct result of Moore’s Law, we’ve already made more technological progress in this century than the entire 20th century. Furthermore, futurist Ray Kurzweil believes another 20th century’s worth of progress will happen by 2021, and at the end of the 21st century, Kurzweil believes we'll have achieved 1000 times the progress of the 20th century.
Because of this exponential trajectory, computers will go from dumb to smart—though not smarter than the “village idiot” by human standards (think: Siri)—at a seemingly slow pace. But then, in the blink of an eye, we'll see something so smart that our little human brains won’t even be able to fully grasp its potential.
A wise man recently said, “What a time to be alive.”
It seems like this should be an incredibly intense time on the precipice of such significant change. But then, we must remember a universal truth about time graphs: we can’t see what’s to our right. So, it actually feels pretty normal. We’re strapped into an incomprehensible roller coaster without any idea that we’re even riding.
Kurzweil, who has been called a “restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, “Edison’s rightful heir” by Inc. Magazine, and “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence” by Bill Gates, believes we're just 30 years away from technological progress happening at a seemingly infinite pace, after which we’ll be living in a whole new world. (He believes it so much that he’s reported to take 150 vitamins a day just to ensure he makes it to that time.)
At that time, technology will have the ability to make death a choice, rather than a necessity. Intelligent, Internet-connected bots in the bloodstream could perform any number of tasks for human health, from repairing worn-out cells, to delivering perfect nutrition, to directing anything unhealthy to pass through the body without effect.
Heart failure? There’s an app for that. Want to trim fat before your beach trip? Just adjust your settings. The differences between a 70-year-old’s body and a 20-year-old’s body are definable, which means they’re preventable and fixable.
But why should we choose to stop there when we have the infinite ability to go further? We could enhance our brain activities to think billions of times faster than we do now, accessing information directly from the cloud with processors that run forever and never fail. The possibilities for new human experience are limitless.
Eventually, Kurzweil believes humans will reach a time when we’ll look at biological material and think how unbelievably primitive it was that we were ever made of just that. How could we live in such a vulnerable state for so long?
At that time, we would conquer our biology and ultimately become eternal. Not only would human lives be extended indefinitely, but humanity itself would be forever protected from extinction.