Another Kurzweil Interview

Ray Kurzweil is getting his messages on healthy life extension and the accelerating rate of scientific progress, as expressed in his recent book, down to a fine art. Have a look at the talking points in this interview:

Information technology is affecting almost every field. We're now understanding biology as information processing; we're learning to understand the processes underlying these biological pathways. Whereas drug discovery used to be literally that, discovering drugs, which is to say finding something that happened to work. Now we're entering an area where we actually understand the exact sequence of biological events. We can intervene very precisely by blocking one key enzyme, one key step.


Our mortality is something that should be in our hands; it's something I want in my hands. Science and technology are accelerating. I believe we'll demonstrate a mouse that doesn't age within approximately a decade. And within a decade of that we'll translate that into human therapies.


We can talk poetically about how aging is natural, but the reality is if you visit an old-age home you see people who've lost their loved ones and have lost their faculties. It's really a tragic situation and it's not something I desire. I want to keep my faculties.

I think that his timelines are overly aggressive, but only because high levels of funding for the relevant branches of aging and anti-aging research have yet to be attained. The prediction of an ageless mouse in ten years, for example: that is based on Aubrey de Grey's timeline, which in turn is based on a fully funded program starting now. Needless to say, that funding does not yet exist; obtaining it is going to the be the work of years, maybe a decade. There is also still the matter of the business cycle, regulation and human interactions on the way from science to commercial product, all of which are still occurring at a comparatively slow rate.

Still, Kurzweil is getting important ideas out there (far more effectively than I am, I might add) and helping to educate the public of the possibilities offered by research into the aging process. This is a great help in efforts to obtain funding for efforts like the proposed SENS program over the long term.

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