The New Yorker | Silicon Valley’s quest to live forever

An interview with Ray Kurzweil on the future of human longevity.
April 5, 2017


publication: The New Yorker
column: A Reporter at Larger

story title: Silicon Valley’s quest to live forever
story author: by Tad Friend
date: April 3, 2017 issue
issue: Health, Medicine + the Body


story excerpts from interview with Ray Kurzweil:

1. |  Can billions of dollars of high-tech research succeed in making death optional?

Can billions of dollars of high-tech research succeed in making death optional? One approach to end aging is replacing body parts as they fail. Another is finding a master key to youth.

Bill Maris is founder & CEO of successful investment company GV, owned by Alphabet. He comforts himself by imagining how he can end aging & disease — how can we fix the problem permanently for everyone? He decided to build a company that would solve death, now called Calico, also owned by Alphabet.

He discussed his idea with Ray Kurzweil, the futurist who popularized the concept of  singularity — the idea that humans will merge with computer artificial intelligence, and by year 2045 transcend our biological limitations. Kurzweil was enthusiastic.


2. |  Ray Kurzweil is an optimizer

Immortalists fall into 2 camps. One camp believes we can re-tool human biology, remain in our bodies. The second camp, led by Ray Kurzweil, says we’ll eventually merge with mechanical bodies and / or with the cloud. Kurzweil is an optimizer, he invented a machine that reads books to the blind. His inventions improved dramatically over time. He’s sure what he calls “the law of accelerating returns for human longevity”  is beginning.


3. |  We will have regenerated organs & personally tailored therapies

I met with Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil uses the term Bridge 1 to describe current medical technology to slow aging. He thinks Bridge 2 will be in 15 years: we will have regenerated organs, and personally tailored therapies for cancer. Bridge 3 in the 2030s will be nano robots the size of blood cells — cleaning up damage from inside the human body. In Bridge 4 nano robots will connect our brains to the cloud, then human intelligence will expand.

For Ray Kurzweil, the acceptance of elderly death is no saner than early death. “Death is a great robber of meaning. It’s a robber of love, a complete loss of ourselves, and a tragedy.”



on the web | essentials

Alphabet | main
Alphabet | Calico
Alphabet | GV
Alphabet | Google


on the web  | background

Wikipedia | Silicon Valley
Wikipedia | Bill Maris 
Wikipedia | longevity
Wikipedia | biological immportality
Wikipedia | nano-robotics
Wikipedia | molecular nano-technology


good stories on this topic | reading

Scientific American | Future of Medicine 2015: special report
7 stories on the way nano-medicine is revolutionizing health care.