DEGRASSE TYSON: And now for some
final thoughts on living forever. The urge to not want to die is as natural as
life itself. But you should always be careful what you wish for. One day, it
just might come true. If, starting now, everyone in the world lived forever,
then Earth's current population of seven billion, which would, at its current
rate of growth, double in 60 years, would instead double in only 35. Take this
forward six centuries or so, and you have so many people on Earth that
everybody will have to stand up straight, just to fit on all the world's land
area. So that leaves interplanetary colonization as the only obvious next step
to accommodate such vanities. But not all planets are Earth-like. Actually,
none of the known planets, inside or outside our solar system, are Earth-like.
Which means if bio-mechanical genetic engineering is what grants you
immortality, then why not alter or enhance our organs in ways that allow us to
thrive under the exotic conditions of alien planets? And that could only be decades
away. There's just one catch. You need a space program capable of leaving
Earth entirely, rather than just driving round the block in Earth orbit. Until
then, our bodies may out-advance our access to space, making Earth a very
crowded place to come. And that is the Cosmic Perspective.
And now, we'd like to hear your perspective on this episode of NOVA ScienceNOW. Log on to our Web site and tell us what you think. You can watch any of these stories again, download additional audio and video, explore interactives, hear from experts and watch revealing profiles of our Web-only series, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers .
All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2017. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.
Kurzweil wrote and co-produced a movie directed by Anthony Waller, called The Singularity Is Near: A True Story About the Future , in 2010 based, in part, on his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near . Part fiction, part non-fiction, he interviews 20 big thinkers like Marvin Minsky , plus there is a B-line narrative story that illustrates some of the ideas, where a computer avatar (Ramona) saves the world from self-replicating microscopic robots. In addition to his movie, an independent, feature-length documentary was made about Kurzweil, his life, and his ideas, called Transcendent Man  . Filmmakers Barry Ptolemy and Felicia Ptolemy followed Kurzweil, documenting his global speaking-tour. Premiered in 2009 at the Tribeca Film Festival , Transcendent Man documents Kurzweil's quest to reveal mankind's ultimate destiny and explores many of the ideas found in his New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity Is Near , including his concept exponential growth, radical life expansion, and how we will transcend our biology. The Ptolemys documented Kurzweil's stated goal of bringing back his late father using AI. The film also features critics who argue against Kurzweil's predictions.