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This chapter is from the book

Reports of Your Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

So what does Ray Kurzweil say about all this? In a 2013 interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said his baby boomer status puts him in the last generation that might have to worry about natural death.

“I’m right on the cusp,” he told the newspaper. “I think some of us will make it through.” The “us” are the baby-boomer generation that includes Kurzweil. He was born in 1948, making him 65 at the time of the interview. Practical immortality, he believes, might be possible for boomers that can hang on for another 15 years to about age 80.

“By then,” the article continues, “Mr. Kurzweil expects medical technology to be adding a year of life expectancy each year. At that point we will be able to outrun our own deaths.”

When we spoke to Kurzweil, he pointed to two of his books, which he wrote with Dr. Terry Grossman: Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (2010) and Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (2005).

“We talk about three bridges to radical life extension,” he told us.

Transcend spells it out like this:

  • Bridge One—Bridge One represents the strategies you can use right now to slow down, and in many cases stop, the processes that lead to disease and aging.

  • Bridge Two—Bridge Two is access to the coming biotechnology revolution. By 2030, “we will have means,” say the authors, “to perfect our own biology by fully reprogramming its information processes.” Kurzweil said recent developments (in 2014) in technology had launched us into an early Bridge Two phase.

  • Bridge Three—Bridge Three is the endgame in the longevity strategy, and by end, we don’t mean death. Bridge Two adds decades to our lives so that we can blow past traditional life expectancy to access the coming nanotechnology revolution “where we can go beyond the limitations of biology and live indefinitely,” says Ray and Terry in their book. That’s Bridge Three. And that’s when the fun begins.

The rest of the book is a guide to how to set yourself up to live forever and take advantage of Bridge One and Bridge Two technologies.

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