(Today seems as good a day to contemplate immortality as any other )
Problem is, I kinda buy Ray Kurzweil‘s central argument that our technological development is speeding up exponentially.
Remember the tale of the king who was asked for 1 grain of rice on the first position of the chess board, then double the amount for every next square?
“It’s only 64 squares, so how bad can that be?”, the king must have thought. But before half-way the board, the king ran out of rice or the ability to count it.
According to legend, vizier Sissa Ben Dahir presented an Indian King Sharim with a beautiful, hand-made chessboard. The king asked what he would like in return for his gift and the courtier surprised the king by asking for one grain of rice on the first square, two grains on the second, four grains on the third etc. The king readily agreed and asked for the rice to be brought. All went well at first, but the requirement for 2 n − 1 grains on the nth square demanded over a million grains on the 21st square, more than a million million (aka trillion) on the 41st and there simply was not enough rice in the whole world for the final squares. (from Swirski, 2006)
Just a couple of links in my stream this week: mosquito-shaped drones, police-anti-surveillance software in people’s smart phones, the God Particle, immortality within 20 years… It’s starting to sound like reality will overtake anything SciFi literature has been able to dream up. Continue reading