Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ray Kurzweil on How to Combat Aging

Editor's Note: Ray is one of my heroes. Although oft taken out of context and otherwise misinterpreted, he offers a glimpse into the future based on extrapolating from the past.

Technology Review - July 6, 2009, by Ray Kurzweil

Entropy is not the most fruitful perspective from which to view aging. There are varying error rates in biological information processes depending on the cell type and this is part of biology's paradigm. We have means already of determining error-free DNA sequences even though specific cells will contain DNA errors, and we will be in a position to correct those errors that matter.

The most important perspective in my view is that health, medicine, and biology is now an information technology whereas it used to be hit or miss. We not only have the (outdated) software that biology runs on (our genome) but we have the means of changing that software (our genes) in a mature individual with such technologies as RNA interference and new forms of gene therapy that do not trigger the immune system (I am a collaborator with a company that performs gene therapy outside the body, replicates the modified cell a million fold and reintroduces the cells to the body, a process that has cured a fatal disease--Pulmonary Hypertension--and is undergoing human trials).

We can design interventions on computers and test them out on increasingly sophisticated biological simulators. One of my primary themes is that information technology grows exponentially, in sharp contrast to the linear growth of hit or miss approaches that have characterized medicine up until recently. As such, these technologies will be a million times more powerful in 20 years (by doubling in power and price-performance each year). The genome project, incidentally, followed exactly this trajectory.

Read entire story>>

Follow me on Twitter. Technological Singularity and Futurism is updated often; the easiest way to get your regular dose is by subscribing to our news feed. Stay on top of all our updates by subscribing now via RSS or Email.