some of my contemporaries may be satisfied to embrace aging gracefully
as part of the cycle of life, that is not my view. It may be ‘natural,’
but I don’t see anything positive in losing my mental agility,
sensory acuity, physical limberness, sexual desire, or any other human
ability. I view disease and death at any age as a calamity, as problems
to be overcome.” So writes Ray Kurzweil in this brave
new handbook to the human machine.
According to Kurzweil and coauthor Dr. Terry Grossman, we are in the
early stages of multiple profound revolutions spawned by the intersection
of biology, information science, and nanotechnology. With the decoding
of the human genome, many new and powerful technologies are emerging:
rational drug design (drugs designed for very precise missions, with
little or no side effects), tissue engineering (regrowing our cells,
tissues, and organs), reversal of aging processes, gene therapy (essentially
reprogramming our genetic code), nanobots (robots the size of blood
cells, built molecule by molecule and placed in our bodies and bloodstreams
to enhance every aspect of our lives), and many others. Some of these
transformations will bear fruit before the ink is dry on this book.
As a result, many experts, including the authors, believe that within
a decade we will be adding more than a year to human life expectancy
every year thereafter.
Bridging the gulf between life today and the distant future—a
fantastic voyage nearly all of us can take—will be made possible
in three steps. Bridge One involves aggressively applying what we
know now, sooner rather than later, to dramatically slow down the
aging process. The authors describe how you can, in effect, reprogram
your biochemistry to change the ancient programs in your genes. They
provide guidance on which supplements will contribute to your health
and enhance your vitality based on your particular situation. Bridge
Two relies on advances in biotechnology that will allow you to directly
intervene to stop disease and actually reverse aging. Finally, in
a couple of decades, nanotechnology, Bridge Three, will enable us
to vastly expand our physical and mental capabilities by directly
interfacing our biological systems with human-created technologies.
With this book, Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman point out the way
to something humans have only dreamed about until now—the promise
of living forever. Readers who are up for the voyage are invited along.