I meant to post this a while back, but got distracted and forgot about it.
Mid April I went to Vegas for a day to attend a conference for work. While there, I had the good fortune to be there at the same time that Ray Kurzweil was giving a keynote address! I gotta say – he’s a very interesting man. He would just nonchalantly say stuff like “oh ya, i’m working with top pentagon officials on ways to prevent nanobot warfare”.
There were a couple of points he made that i found quite interesting. While talking on “the educational system crisis”, he basically said that the current method of education by rote memorization of facts is outdated and should be replaced. “We don’t need to teach facts. We can carry the sum total of human knowledge on our belts. We need to participate in exciting projects that make use of that knowledge“. In other words, don’t just learn about something. But go out and build something. Do a class project that demonstrates the knowledge in action. Seeing something actually physically happen as a result of an abstract idea – that’s where it’s at. I can completely relate to this. That’s why i was so fascinated by computers at a young age. I could type in lines of code on a screen, and then run my program and cause the computer to do something. I wasn’t just learning about for loops and discreet mathematics for the sake of academia. I could actually apply it in the real world to make things happen.
After he got done talking about life extension and that how people younger than their mid to late 40′s will see the average human lifespan increase by more than one year per year (effectively letting everyone live forever, barring accidents), the inevitable questions of “what about overpopulation, resource constraints, and being old and decrepit” were asked. His response was “the same technologies which will extend life will also extend resources. And we won’t just have life extension, but life expansion“. In other words, we’ll be able to solve the new problems that come with living longer and longer.
It was really cool to hear him talk. If i hadn’t been with a group of co-workers, i’d have probably gone up and had him sign a book for me. Ah well. Another time, perhaps. After all, we’ll both be alive for a very long while, right?