This is a post on why Ray Kurzweil's immortal singularity will never happen. Kurzweil claims we will obliterate ageing via technological advances. His Boomer sensibilities seek an eternal youth in which a combination of drugs, vitamin and diet therapies and the injection of cell-repairing nanobots will obliterate not just disease, but ageing itself, thereby jolting humanity to its next transhuman evolutionary level. You can see one of his discussions on this topic below the jump.
There are reports that Baby Boomers have been injecting Human Growth Hormone, having blood transfusions, and are submitting to other weird treatments to halt ageing. They are treating ageing like a disease, not a natural process. As a result, many are hastening their own deaths. CNN:
For more reports on Boomers using dangerous longevity supplements and treatments, go here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The trade is awash in punchy buzzwords: "aging management"; "healthy aging"; "cenegenics"; "the anti-aging revolution"; "the phenomenon of life"; "the science of fruit"; "alivemax"; "cellular antiaging"; "juvéderm"; "hyperbaric oxygen therapy"; "volcano healing" (includes blood transfusions of ocean water); chlorophyll treatment of red blood cells; "Haemotopoietic stem cells" and "stem cell therapy"; "organ transplantation"; "life extension"; "caloric restriction"; "artificial organs"; "advanced preventative health"; "young blood transfusions"; "rapid cellular regeneration"; "harmonizing tachyon energy"; "natural hormone replacement therapy"; "longevity diet"; "medical tourism"; and "advancing evolution."Hanneke Hops wasn't afraid of dying. What concerned her was growing old and not being able to run marathons, ride horses, or fly planes. So the 56-year-old Hayward, California, woman turned to Alan Mintz, M.D. -- a radiologist who founded the Cenegenics Medical Institute in Las Vegas, which specializes in "age management medicine."
She was prescribed recombinant human growth hormone (HGH), a synthetic version of a pituitary hormone hawked as a miraculous fountain of youth. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that taking HGH poses serious health risks, Hops -- unaware there was any harm -- began injecting it into her thigh six times a week.
She never did grow old. Six months later, in 2004, she was dead, her liver full of malignant tumors.
Kurzweil on how close we are to immortality. Video Source: Youtube.
Michio Kaku on futurist anti-ageing techniques. Video Source: Youtube.
Another famous Boomer futurist, Michio Kaku, explains breakthroughs with enzymes like Telomerase and Resveratrol, "though not the Fountain of Youth unto themselves, [they] offer tantalizing clues to how we might someday soon unravel the aging process."
As for injecting cell-healing nanobots, Kurzweil assumes they won't provoke the body's defense systems. Even if they don't, the curing of the common cold, of influenza, of cancer, would only make way for new breeds of disease. Illnesses evolve with us, and mirror our technological advancements. Every new era has its new Black Plague. Eliminate smallpox? Face Ebola, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a new flu pandemic.
It is an undeniably noble goal to heal frightening illnesses and to extend a high quality, youthful life. But graceless optimism in a genetically-engineered bloodless transhumanist future, in which we will alter what it means to be human, vastly underestimates the resilience of Mother Nature. Kurzweil's thinking is startlingly linear; his ideas implicitly assume a sequential process of getting older. In fact, ageing is likely more a holistic experience, that laterally spans generations, classes, societies. It further plugs into how we interact with our entire environment, which is also hard-wired for death and rebirth for a reason. It might help to divert research away from bizarre 'age healing' and toward finding what that reason is.
When the laudable aims of treating illness, extending life and improving the quality of old age imperceptibly jump to plans to push the species to its next stage of evolution, there is a trademark flash of geneational hubris. Like all hubris, there will be a correction. The transformation of humanity into non-humans, trans-humans, post-humans and the like will inevitably be foiled by nature itself. It took almost a half a million years for modern humans to evolve as beings that were coded to live for 35 years. We may vastly extend our lives, and thank the Boomers' anti-ageing research for it. But diseases are like an organic memory of that built-in genetic blueprint, and reflect the huge, unwritten palaeontological and legendary history of the human race. The incredible Technological Revolution spanning the Boomers' ten decades (1945-2045) will not undo 400,000 years of human existence; they will reaffirm them, in the end. Imperfection, failure and death are inevitable aspects of the success of our species.
See all my posts on the Fountain of Youth.
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