One of the leading voices in the future of our society, from the advances in medicine to the efficiency of energy creation, is Ray Kurzweil. He is a famous inventor and futurist that has been highly successful with his inventions in the past and published several books related to where our technology will take us as a species.
As a futurist Ray Kurzweil is able to make accurate predictions related to what technologies will exist in the future based upon statistical models that look at the progress of technologies in recent past. Information technology has followed a steady exponential curve of progress for the last 150 years and as a result we have good reason to believe it will continue to do so in this fashion. While we have been fortunate enough to experience the beginnings of this exponential growth of our information technology most of us do not have a deep understanding of exactly what this means for our future.
Most people barely blink an eye when they consider the fact that they have a computer in their pocket that is a 100 times faster than any computer they had in their home on their desktop just a couple decades in the past. Neither do people recognize exactly how the world has changed since the integration of the Internet into our society. We now carry the largest body of human knowledge on a phone in our pocket. All this occurred over the course of less than 20 years.
To think that the growth of this technology is exponential is difficult to comprehend because our minds have evolved to think linearly. To truly understand what the future holds for us as a species requires us to calculate out the exponential growth and view it scientifically. Some of the predictions of Ray Kurzweil have an artificial intelligence that is indistinguishable from a human intelligence by the year 2029. At that point those artificial intelligences will grow smarter at an exponential rate. For us to stay current with the rate of technological advancement around that time will require us to integrate machines as part of our consciousness.
We will have the ability to build digital backups of our intelligence so in the case of a physical accident that would injure our bodies beyond repair we could simply upload a new consciousness into a newly created version of ourselves. This may seem like science fiction but it is one of the most likely scenarios to evolve from our current view of future. What may be even more surprising to people is we will likely have our entire consciousness digitized which can then live in a digital world that is created to feel the same as the real world. Living in a digital world will take up less energy and little resources. This will allow us an unlimited amount of digital landscape without having to heavily pollute our planet.
While these technologies are a little ways into our future, approximately 2050 or so, they are much closer than many imagine. Many who are alive today will come to see these technologies come into existence. There is no saying exactly what will happen tomorrow but if history is our guide we have a promising future as a human race.
The possibility of extreme life extension is something that for many doesn’t even seem like a reality. Even though we’ve greatly increased the average life span in the world over the past century, we don’t seem to realize how far science has come. To think that the average age of death has increased almost 20 years in the past half a decade you can come to realize that science is progressing longevity and quality of life at a rapid rate. Many physicians and scientists even believe that immortality is within our grasp. They will tell you that the science to not only increase our length of life but allow us to remain young, revert to be young, and live forever is not far in the future. We will be able to put off aging and age related disease indefinitely. We are hoping that modern medicine will be able to patch and repair any decay of our bodies. While today we have the knowledge repair a home in decay and disrepair to a new and modern home we don’t quite yet have that understanding of the human body. It is not far in the future that we will understand exactly how the body works. Soon we will be able to not only understand what is going on in the human body but build the tools to fix all the problems we find. We will soon be able to stop and even reverse aging.
Some of the modern research efforts include the study of animals who seem to have DNA programming that allows them to live for extremely long periods of time. It is no secret that different animals have largely different life-spans. There are fish and turtles that live to be a couple hundred years. To think that their organs are not far different from our on a large scale there must be something build into the biological code that tells our bodies to age and decay.
Natural selection has a huge interest on our life-span. Our DNA is designed to allow us to grow, reproduce, and then die once it has used our strengths to their fullest intent. After reproduction our DNA has no use for our organism. Research has already shown that life-span can be altered. Some researchers have already found that fruit flies have been able to altered to live 3 times longer than the average fruit fly. This same type of study has also been performed in worms. The fundamental process of life performs the same in these fruit flies and worms as in humans. Because of the similarities between flies, worms, and people’s muscle and nerve tissue much of what we learn through research in these simple organisms we can apply to the progress of longevity in humans. With the changing of just a few genes in worms we can make them live 60% longer. This gives us insight that some genes are specific in increasing the age of a species.
There are now longevity clinics that tell us our biological age vs chronological age. These clinics also attempt to lower our biological age using currently existing therapies. The idea is to live long enough to live forever. It is important to understand our own individual biological age and what we need to do to develop an optimal program. With the proper therapies we can adjust our body aspects and fine tune our bodies. An aggressive supplement program can make a huge difference in our biological age. Taking advantage of what current research has to offer is making a great difference in many patient’s lives. The saying that “We are what we eat.” very much holds true. There is currently a Methuselah mouse prize for a million dollars for any researcher that can double the life span of a mouse. While researchers are still working towards doubling the life-span of a mouse, many researchers have been able to increase in life-span of a mouse over 30%. The most important question is if these therapies that are working on other animals will work on humans. Caloric restriction is one of the current therapies that is showing promise in creating life extension in humans. Caloric restriction has increased in popularity among a portion of the population in the United States. People are realizing that the current body images that are popular and portray beauty in the media is not what is best for longevity.
Other technologies that are giving potential to longevity is the growing of human organs in a lab. The idea is that a researcher can use your own healthy cells to grow a functioning organ that may be dying in your body. At that point you would receive an organ transplant.
Another popular niche of study includes that of cryo freezing organs and hopefully entire animals. This will allow us to grow organs for an individual and preserve them if there is an emergent need for the organ. It also can hopefully allow us to freeze individuals on the edge of death until future medicine allows them to live forever.
Right now there is an acceleration of aging and decay with each passing year. Because of this it is important to slow down the process as much as possible early on. Slowing down the process when it first starts will dramatically improve life extension.
Our healthcare providers that have their ACLS renewal online tell how the loss of life is a tragedy. Our providers with ACLS renewal online let us know that with future research we may very well prevent the loss of developed consciousness. The idea that we can maintain a conscience that has spent a lifetime learning is very compelling. Our ACLS renewal online providers believe the combination of modern medicine and information technologies will ultimately take our species to the next level of it’s evolution. While our medical providers with ACLS renewal online are optimistic with the future of medicine, there is no reason to doubt that the technology to live forever will exist by the end of this next century.