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DesktopWeb FormText   book : fantastic voyageMon, 27 Jun 2005 02:37:28 GMT # 

(Kurzweil, Grossman 2004) live long enough to live forever. the book is supposed to have 3 main subjects : 1) extending your life using available techniques 2) biotech to extend life expectancy 3) nanotech to reverse aging. the idea is that in about 20 years, through biotechnology, life expectancy will increase over a year for each year. i.e. life expectancy will be getting pushed out faster than you age. the book is aimed primarily at baby boomers, since both authors are around 50, hoping that they can live long enough to be alive when that time comes. so the book is primarily about being proactive with nutrition, supplements, and exercise. i like this alot, since the practice of medicine is primarily reactive ... which the authors (and i) disagree with. the book gives hints about the biotech and nanotech advances are being made ... but those are too far out, and only make up a small portion of the book. the biotech advancements mainly involve designer drugs and understanding the human genome to cure the diseases that currently kill us. this basically stops us from aging, and buys us time until nanotech happens. nanotech then allows us to upgrade our bodies and actually reverse the aging process.

i bought this book because one of the authors, Ray Kurzweil, is an Artificial Intelligence bad ass. his transition into medicine involves him beating type2 diabetes by following some of the techniques explained in fantastic voyage ... impressive. its interesting that this book involves using technology to increase (and ultimately improve) our biological bodies. if i remember correctly, one of rays previous books mentioned downloading our brains into a computer to live forever. can imagine that people would prefer having their bodies forever, instead of being downloaded, but i kind of like the idea of backing up my brain in a computer ... because our biological bodies could still be killed by unnatural causes. even more interesting is that the magic 20 year mark also happens to be the proposed time when we get computers that are as powerful as the human brain. coincidence? so in about 20 years we might have multiple ways to keep our brains going, marking the point where technology becomes more of a driving factor than evolution ... at least for our biological processes.

the book mostly ignores the social consequences. its not like we dont already have a population problem over the next 50 years, which would just be compounded if people stop croaking (from old age). but the question is ... how would you live your life differently if you would live for 1000 years? personally, i'd start only trying to tackle significantly more complex problems. as well as becoming more interdisciplinary. could also imagine that i'd be less aggressive ... because time is what i consider the most valuable resource. and what about religion? if you're not scared of death ... do you even care about heaven and hell?

personally, i think the concepts of this book make sense ... and that this will happen. 20 years might be a little aggressive? granted, only rich people will probably be able to afford the procedures ... so i'll probably be checking out as originally planned. oh yeah, this book has nothing to do with scientology :)