I visited Expo in Montreal with my parents in 1967. One of the few things I remember was a video telephone in the Japanese pavilion. I was on the phone in one room talking and looking at my mother’s face while she was next door. Amazing! That was totally futuristic back then.
Some forty years later, this technology became available to the masses around the world.
When I worked with Xerox in the early eighties, all the copier sales reps chomped at the bit to become one of the chosen to sell the revolutionary new facsimile machines. Twenty years later fax machines were on their way out of modern offices, replaced by updated technologies.
In our lifetime, we have seen music go from LP records to 8-track tapes to cassettes to CDs to digital files on our phones, each progression happening quicker and quicker.
The internet has made the world smaller. Today, cars can park themselves. Within the next few years, we’ll see driverless cars on our streets.
We are witnessing a world changing faster than at any time in history. And the pace of this change will accelerate exponentially in the years to come.
This inevitable change will also impact the realm of human lifespan, and ultimately, immortality. The fantasy healings of Dr. McCoy of Star Trek fame will one day soon become a normal part of our lives.
According to Ray Kurzweil, one of the world’s foremost thinkers, inventor, futurist, and Director of Engineering at Google, there will come a day when aging will be cured:
“By the early 2020s, we will have the means to program our biology away from disease and aging.
Health and medicine is now an information technology and is therefore subject to what I call the “law of accelerating returns,” which is a doubling of capability (for the same cost) about each year that applies to any information technology.
As a result, technologies to reprogram the “software” that underlie human biology are already a thousand times more powerful than they were when the genome project was completed in 2003, and will again be a thousand times more powerful than they are today in a decade, and a million times more powerful in two decades.”
There are many much smarter than I who now claim that the first person to reach the age of 200 has already been born. Think about that… a few weeks after the purported world’s oldest living person just died at the age of 117.
While immortality opens a whole can of worms to philosophical debate, one thing is certain for those who want to take advantage of these near-future technologies: do what you can today to maximise the probability of being around to take advantage of them.