PUTTING THE "DIE" BACK IN "DIET", PART DEUX: THE HUBRIS AWARD
And the Hubris Award Goes to…
Inventor Ray Kurzweil, author of Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, who predicts a coming explosion in technology that will make infinite life spans possible.
In a recent interview, Kurzweil spoke of humanity's coming immortality as if it's as good as done. He says he sees human intelligence not only conquering its biological limits, including death, but completely mastering the natural world.
Some images that come to mind: the kids from Fame singing ("I wanna live forever...I wanna learn how to fly...HIGH!"), the Tower of Babel falling, pride goeth-ing before a fall, every flawed hero of a Shakespeare tragedy, etc…
Critics say that Kurzweil's predictions of immortality are wild fantasies based on unjustifiable leaps from current technology. Kurzweil says that his critics don't appreciate the exponential nature of technological advance.
I guess they’ll just have to agree to disagree. A quote that comes to mind:
"It's symbolic of our struggle against oppression!"
"It's symbolic of your struggle against reality..."
In his latest book, Kurzweil defines what he calls his three bridges to immortality. The "First Bridge" is a health regimen to keep people fit enough to cross the "Second Bridge," a biotechnological revolution that will block disease-causing genes and create new ones that would slow or stop the aging process. The "Third Bridge" is the nanotechnology and artificial-intelligence revolution, which Kurzweil predicts will deliver the nanobots to work in our bloodstreams and brains. These intelligent machines will destroy disease, rebuild organs and obliterate limits on human intelligence.
"Paging Neo. Neo, to the white courtesy phone."