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I went bridge to bridge and back today at Shevlin, which is about five miles. Add the mile to and from to get there and that is a tasty little jaunt on a crisp ThanksGiving morning. Thinking about a book I have recently started, Ray Kurzweil’s third in a series called The Singularity is Near. The idea that we could live as long as we want, and I’m not just talking about living to the rip healthy active age of 90, but rather the possibility of living to be 150, 200 years or longer, seems a little far fetched right now, but Kurzweil lays out a pretty convincing argument. No spoiler alert here, but it is a fact that technology, biological breakthroughs, and human knowledge is multiplying exponentially, and baring some great disaster like a meteor hitting the Earth, or World War Three, or heaven forbid, another George W. Bush type elected to the White House, The Singularity (the point in time when technology, biology, and man become one) will come in 2034. That is the projected date, based on present trends, that this paradigm shift in evolution could take place. I will be 73 years old, which by then will be the new 23.
In Kurzweil’s first two books on this subject The Age of Intelligent Machines, and Fantastic Voyage he talks about the bridges we must cross both personally, and as a society, to be able to take advantage of this event horizon. He outlines how to prepare, to live longer and healthier and be ready to taking advantage of the very real breakthroughs that are at hand.
This may sound like bullshit to you, but the more I read, and think about it, the more I believe that I, or more likely my daughter, could feasibly live to be a couple hundred years old! Think about it. Twenty years ago when I first got back into running if someone from the future were to tell me that right now in the year 2011, I would go out for a little run with a computer strapped to my arm that was monitoring my heart and vital signs, clocking the distance and pace at which I was traveling, calculating the the calories burned, was hooked up to a global satellite that provided GPS tracking, was also hooked up to every other computer on earth via the internet and could share information, was controlled by my voice, giving me realtime news and weather updates, could take pictures and video of my adventure as well as play my favorite World Party album to run to, I would have told them, you’ve seen one to many episodes of Star Trek, and that you’re crazy, because there are too many great World Party albums for me to have one favorite. But look, all this is absolutely true, and who is to say what kind of incredible breakthroughs will happen in the next 20 years, given how extensive human knowledge and imagination is and how expansive it is becoming now that we are all connected. Think about how quickly biological and technological advancements are accelerating from organ transplants to stem cells to nano technology. What we could not even imagine 20 or 30 years ago is reality today. What we can’t imagine today will be reality tomorrow. That is of coarse unless we elect someone from “the Party of NO” in 2012.
Today’s runner is World Party’s modest, yet significant debut Private Revolution. Running through these beautiful wooded trails makes me think that this, and the next two WP releases Goodbye Jumbo and Bang are among the most important albums released in the last decade of the 20th century. If we don’t take care of our planet and listen to the warning signs Mother Nature is giving us, it won’t matter how long we live. We’ll all be cast a drift on “a Ship of Fools”.