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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

(un)certain futures


I have a secret. It might even apply to you, depending on what your in to. I for one love life. This is not the secret. The fact my life may not end for a few hundred, thousand, or potentially infinite number of years may come as a surprise though. The quest for immortality has long been yearned for in the human conscious, portrayed through the arts and researched in the sciences. So far, what has remained on this Earth have been our bones and additions to culture, but as Woody Allen remarked, “ I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.”
Futurist, inventor, and absolute genius Ray Kurzweil is at the forefront of the Singularity movement. The Singularity is essentially the point in time where computers (artificial intelligence) surpass human intelligence. Kurzweil estimates this date around 2045. It is a massive idea to try and comprehend, especially given that our personal computers, though shiny and fast, couldn’t write a term paper or blog post if their battery life depended on it. But, as Moore’s Law has accurately stated thus far, “the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years”. Basically, technology grows at an exponential rate, a figure that continues to increase in speed as speed increases.
Aubrey de Grey is the Chief Science Officer for SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Foundation), a group determined to reverse the effects of aging. The focus is on regenerative medicine, attacking the negative side effects from metabolism that deteriorate our bodies. De Grey estimates that within 15 years, every year of his research will effectively add one year to the lifespan. One of his estimations that shocked me most was that he believes the first 150 year old human will be born just 15 years earlier than the first 1000 year old human. There will come a time when our bloodstreams will be patrolled by nanobots, miniscule machines capable of destroying harmful bacterias while regulating bodily processes. Of course, all of these estimations are subject to time, technology, and ultimately, funding for research. The emergence of superintelligence in the form of advanced computers and the blending of human and machine may be the catalyst to immortal life, or our potential downfall.
There are many people strongly opposed to the idea of an immortal life. What if I get bored? What if I miss out on an afterlife? A deal with the devil mentality also is posited when considering whether an immortal life would be worthwhile in the servitude of a superior class of machinated overseers. Would they be friendly? Or would they break us down purely for resource? The design for friendly AI is most assuredly in the programming, but who’s to say how the computers will feel about that. Regardless, the idea for superintelligence is there and will be acted upon in due time, with possibilities for an immortal and theoretically perfect life outweighing the risks of human annihilation.


Weston Finfer

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jordan Bunger said...

Love these kinds of topics..i saw this article in time but didn't have the time tehe to read the whole thing. Excellent selection, very interesting

March 22, 2011 at 10:55 PM  

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