Even if this were possible - no one would live forever - there is disease, war, car accidents and homicide to take people out - even if age doesnt.
Might help to prolong things - but then you also have to look at our resources - how well could the planet sustain having people with life spans of 300 or 400 years. Might use up too much space and resources to be feesible. Then you run into the tough questions of who gets to benefit from the technology and who doesn't (rich vs. poor). Etc.
This thread really belongs in the Off-topic forum, but I'll respond here:
Kurzweil is chasing the fountain of youth. Not the first to, not the last to, but smarter men than him have died holding onto the belief that the advance that would prolong the lifespan of humans is "just around the corner". Nano-this and AI-that is bandied about by so-called visionaries with no grounding in actual science. It drives those of us in the basic and clinical sciences nuts. You don't have to be a physician or scientist to comment on these things, but when your argument is based on a flawed concept of biology, the errors in logic accumulate exponentially.
Nano is a dead-end concept in biology. You wouldn't know this unless you've studied cell biology, after which you would laugh out loud at the claims made by those advocating the uses of nanomachines to "clean out arteries" and the like. How exactly would they accomplish this? How would they be able to recognize a cholesterol plaque and chip away at it (which has its own set of problems - emboli from the plaque can lead to strokes, heart attacks, infarction of internal organs, skin necrosis) and not, say, take a whack at the normal wall of the aorta? How large would a nanomachine have to be to 1) detect a particular structure, 2) accomplish a mechanical task that, as I've witnessed in surgery, takes skill, a delicate touch, clinical judgement, as well as strength beyond that which a nanomachine could ever hope to demonstrate at the microscopic level (plaques aren't just going to melt away...), while at the same time 3) evading the body's immune system, which is tuned to detect foreign particles like a nanomachine and engulf them. Presumably these machines would be pretty hardy, meaning they would stay stuck in lysosomes, perhaps even killing the immune cells that engulfed them, depressing the immune system. Greeeat...
I'm optimistic about the future of biology, but the real advances in longevity are going to come beyond our lifetimes and will be in the field of genetics, not engineering. Ray will be 6 feet under or his head will be orbiting in cryosuspension by then, and I'm afraid that only the last man to raise the dead could bring him back at that point.
Well, as brilliant as the guy is in some areas. In other areas he seems to be guided more by his own wishes than by science.
In order for this "nano" 7of9 stuff to work, first scientist would have to figure out how the different organs of the body work fully and how to repair them when they go wrong.
As far as I know the only cure for a bad heart is transplant. Bad liver, transplant, bad kidneys, transplant, ect.
How does he expect in 20 years were going to be able to teach our little "nanites" how to repair bones and organs when we don't even know ourselves?
The modern day medical field has been around for about 750 yrs. Yes we've come a long way since the blood letting days but something tells me we have a long way to go before we learn how to repair man's brain. Other than the current practice of "if in doubt, cut it out", I don't see a lot of progress being made in repairing organs once they've failed.
Nice thought though. If it keeps him healthy and going strong then more power to him.
kbaccki's link posed an interesting (and to me, a bit scary) counterthread - John Searle, continuing to divert funds from genuine AI research, because his classic example uses a simplistic viewpoint which is easy for the layman (or lazy pol) to understand. But Searle, perhaps deliberately (the funding wars are not pretty,) misses the point - research into AI encompasses expertise from many disciplines, and omitting or minimizing one key element can lead to incomplete (or incorrect) conclusions.
I studied the philosophy of AI ten years ago or more, and the instructor/fellow participant in the class was a student of Searle's, who did not necessarily buy Searle's argument, although he did not have a real refutation. The class was more of a seminar, really - the instructor was a computer programming instructor who was trying to convince the college to hire him as a philosophy teacher instead. Also in the class were the head of the philosophy department, the founder of a font design company, a retired professor of English, a mathematics and logic instructor at the Naval Postgrad school, myself as computer programmer/musicial /artist, and two actual students!
We didn't discuss nanotech then, but we did discuss Turing machines, which are perhaps useful in the programming of nanobots like Kurzweil is anticipating. Viruality has its advantages, and what we can do now will be commonplace in ten years - new storage, new algorithms for information retrieval, new processor technologies, two generations down the road (that's machine generations) the capabilities of molecular-level devices can be addressed, and perhaps harnessed.
My first computer had a massive 1K or RAM, and a 1K ROM OS, with hexadecimal input and 7-segment displays for output. With a power supply and second 1K RAM on a separate board, it was $600.
Thirty years later, I bought a 2.6G computer with 512M RAM, XP, CDR/W-DVD, 17" color monitor for $600. Thirty years from now, what will $600 get?
'True' AI is not possible (I believe) using the current technology and the paradigms that are required to operate the current machines. But thirty years from now, or perhaps much less, new ways of manipulating information will be made manifest, and nanotech machines could very well have plenty of room to carry the information needed to perform specialized tasks - after all, our cells do, they can rebuild an entire human being, how much information does that require? And once machines can carry that much information, whether or not they can actually be 'sentient' is irrelevant, except for philosophical argument, because they can (with some degree of difficulty) be programmed to emulate the traits required. And then if it looks like a robot, but can perform any task requiring analytical skills, like driving, babysitting and grocery shopping, it really doesn't matter that it can't pass the Turing test. Our new slaves will have arrived. And that scares the hell out of the economists...
Of course this is all conjecture, science fiction, and 'bright green hooey' to quote a well-known songwriter.
But I got it off my chest - what John Searle is doing is holding back research on really important programming issues, and makes me want to vent...
I feel better now.
------- It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...