How Close Are Humans to Immortality?


The question How close are humans to immortality? has been studied at great lengths by different scientists in different fields. However a consensus has been achieved by a specific community of these observers on the answer to the question. Scientist Ray Kurzweil and his followers all agree that humans are about 20-25 years away from being able to live as long as they wish.

Yet what will enable the inhabitants of earth to do so? Kurzweil, a notable predictor of the milestones humanity achieved, believes that the key to immortality is nanotechnology. He thinks that given the trend of computers becoming smaller and more efficient, people will be able to have nanobots circulating in their veins, cleaning and providing perpetual maintenance. He also hypothesizes that robots will replace our organs when they fail. These advances would mean that so long as the robots are powered and working well, they will keep their humans alive and kicking.

Kurzweil’s predictions have been proven to be anything but inaccurate before. He successfully pinpointed the exact year that the smartphone would come out, and its capabilities, and he described the Internet before it was ever invented. Kurzweil has convinced his peers in the scientific community of his hypothesis of human immortality. Kurzweil calls his theory the Law of Accelerating Returns. He illustrated that through nanotechnology, humans will be able to halt and reverse the aging process. He believes that nanobots will be exponentially more efficient than normal human cells.

He thinks that not only will humans achieve immortality, but that they will be able to accomplish tasks that are impossible for the species with their normal biological makeup. Examples include such feats as doing an Olympic sprint for 20 minutes without taking a breath, or going scuba diving for upwards of four hours without oxygen.

Kurzweil urges his fellow human beings to hang in there, given how close they are to immortality. With added life and brain capacity, Kurzweil also suggests that nanobots will be able to enable humans to do things like writing a full fledged book in minutes. He continued to describe how the world will change around humans. Nanobots in humans’ bodies will be able to alter their perceptions and create virtual worlds, virtual sex will become commonplace and hologram figures will appear right in front of humans as if they were real.

He says that humans should look forward to a world where they become cyborgs that are invulnerable to almost every ailment the species faces today. To those who argue that humans should not be celebrating how close the species is to immortality because immortal life will bring never-ending boredom and despair, Kurzweil argues that immortality is the wrong term for these advancements. Immortality means that it is impossible for one to die. Kurzweil says that is inaccurate in this case, given that humans with nanotechnologies will be able to die. Dying unintentionally will be an almost non-occurrence, but willing departures from life will be available. He promises that human free will is not going to be at stake. Humans may be close to immortality.

By Andres Loubriel

Popular Mechanics

58 Responses to "How Close Are Humans to Immortality?"

  1. Wingy   February 22, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I have a simple method of keeping tabs on immortality. The day science can reverse male pattern baldness, you sure as hell can believe it that they can cure mortality.

  2. Harry   September 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    People keep talking of curing the ageing disease, but they are still not able to get rid of cold or flu. I’ve heard all this noise about anti-ageing medicine for quite a while, but people kepe ageing and dying and I do not know of a single anti-ageing pill that can add at least 25-30 healthy years to a lifespan. How can you take Ray Kurzweil seriously if he said in 2009 that we are 20 years from immortality and in 2016 he agains says: we are 20 years from immortality? Do not get me wrong. I want to live forever, but there is no indication that this can become a reality. Let the research fellows come out at least with first-generation pills or therapies that slow down the ageing process and can add 25-years to our life span. If such medicines are available within the next 10 years and guarantee that I can live 115 instead of 90 years then I’ll believe it’s real. Then, say, around 2045-2050 I’d like to see the second generation of genetic therapy or nanomedicie that can extend the human lifespan to 150 years, then by 2065 – to 200 years and then by the end of the 21st century maybe the ageing process can be reversed. Otherwise it’s just cheap talk and vain hopes.

  3. william   August 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I believe it would be amazing to live forever for one the knowledge you could accrue the places you could visit the problems that some generations would be having would have experienced in site into what not to do.

  4. Jimmy   May 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Daniel, if you don’t love the live why you just don’t go and kill yourself NOW. My choice is to live forever, learn new things, visit all places in the world and outside of the universe.

    • Adam   December 31, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Hi Jimmy,

      Do not let your day to be ruined by a nihilistic pot head, having no clue about the subject of immortality. ‘Evolution of Immortality’ book by Adam Stanczyk, offers the best answers on this issue.

  5. Susmita Shrestha   October 10, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    We need another planet to solve over population

  6. Justice Beverly   June 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    i do too but the only problem is that it will create overpopulation

    • Celeste   July 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Actually there are many ways that we could (if we achieved immortality) could over come over population.

  7. Hayley   June 13, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I really wanna be imortal all the new things I would learn and a much longer life span to when we wanna die not to be programmed to die when they feel like it

  8. bwpbruce   June 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    We’re already immortal. “They” just do stuff to kill us.

  9. Bradley   May 29, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I am definitely a willing to live forever seeing all the advancement of humanity and unlocking age old questions that have eluded human beings thus far. There are infinite possibilities and I for one will be one to see it all.

  10. Atom and hEave   March 6, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    I think immortality is a very tough decision for anyone to make. Calling those few that seek it an idiot for wanting it is very inaccurate. I believe immortality requires an insanity beyond ‘normal’ comprehension, thus making the few people that have seriously considered finding it, hard to comprehend. Normal people will always shy away from the darkest deepest secrets the universe has to offer, as it is too much for their thought processes.

    Bottom line is, if you wish not for immortality, use repression and/or suppression techniques to try forget it ever existed. For the others seeking it as heavily as I, I wish you all luck and look forward to seeing you in 200 years time for a catch-up!

  11. Daniel   February 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Anyone who wants to live forever IS an idiot. After all, do you really believe that if Human beings had evolved biologically immortal like other species, we would have any understanding of life? The answer, of course is no: Without death, we could never truly understand life. Besides, I believe that the reason humans appreciate beauty, on and evolutionary level, is because we’re doomed. We know we WON’T be here forever, so everything is more amazing and beautiful to us, because we learn to appreciate it, and to appreciate life. Life is the most beautiful thing on this planet, and, if we were to live forever, we would lose all appreciation for it; we would take life for granted.

  12. Stephanie   February 20, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I think we are closer to immortality then you think! A us scientist already knows how to stop ageing. That was secretly announced over 2 years ago. So where do you think they are now on immortality?

  13. Jill   January 15, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Even the idiots among us will live forever? Ugh.

  14. Christopher Hovey   December 24, 2014 at 8:06 am

    In the end of time are life will be governed by God not technology

  15. anomynous   December 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

    A longer lifespan will let us all do more, namely, get off of this planet. It’s going to happen.
    I find technology fascinating, there are no limits, but we have to take responsibility for our actions.
    But – how would this play out? I know several people who’s life goals are simply to have children to claim state benefits. No education or jobs. No goals. These are not friends of mine, just people that I know exist.
    Why would anyone give nanotechnology to somebody who contributes nothing and doesn’t believe that they should? Would they even do that?
    I’m wondering how that would work out.

  16. james   November 6, 2014 at 4:09 am

    this is epic but technology will be the end of us, even if we are still alive we will only be enslaved by technology making decisions for us, technology is taking away all the small tasks we do but i believe they are what keep us human and thinking

  17. gina   October 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    When I was little I would always think about not being able to live each day with loved ones. I would be so upset and frightened by the thought of growing old.. because I don’t want to be reincarnated to another family.. I love the one I have and I wish to keep them forever.

  18. Franco   October 24, 2014 at 7:31 am

    but war and accidents will kill us sooner or later..

  19. Brad Arnold   October 24, 2014 at 2:02 am

    “Immortality” has an escape velocity. I am 53, so I might very well not see 25 years from now, except that there will inevitably be other, less comprehensive longevity treatments (like, for instance, stem cell treatments, and gene therapy) that will enable me to last that long.

    Frankly, I can imagine many people just shaking their heads when the subject of nanotechnology is raised as a cure for aging.

    “Imagine yourself in pre-industrial times and consider how implausible each of these recent
    advances would have seemed. To an artisan skilled in the crafting of violins, an iPod would seem frankly preposterous. To a worker in a print shop in the seventeenth century, the power and outward simplicity of a desktop printer would be beyond imagining.” -Radical Abundance – How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization

  20. carlos e   October 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    check me in im volunter

  21. kokoy   October 17, 2014 at 8:18 am…..Can’….HEAVEN>IS>NOT>THE>SKY.HELL>IS>NOT>THE>GROUND!…’’t.even.bother.that’s.why.GOD.didn’t.prevent.people.from.dying…………!!!!…………

  22. Noel Bullard   October 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Hell yes sod that 1000 years lifespan I want to live forever when he mentioned live as long as they wish does that mean forever I want to spend eternity collecting model railways

  23. James   October 14, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Man, i wish they’d hurry up, sounds cool!

  24. John Duggan   October 10, 2014 at 7:26 am

    The Bible shows that Adam and Eve were designed to live forever (Genesis 2:16-17). The only time death was mentioned was if they disobeyed God’s 1 simple command. When they were cast out of the Garden of Eden they were no longer able to eat from the “Tree of Life” (Gen 3:22-24) could it be there was a missing nutrient or enzyme needed for the body to continue functioning? Scientists are combining Stem Cell, Telomere research, Cloning body parts (Wake Forest University), nano technology and a host of other methods to grant immortality, but obedience to God is a key to solving the world’s problems and making that life enjoyable.(John 17:3, Psalms 37:10-11, 29, Revelation 21:4) Immortality itself will solve one of mankind’s oldest problems in that Most Religions would become Obsolete, they all rely on death to receive their “final reward” not so for Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe people now have a choice to live or die (Deuteronomy 29:19-20). I’m giving a lecture about this tomorrow Saturday 10 AM in Clermont Fl, let me know if you would like an invitation.

  25. Mason Artman   October 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    How does one volunteer for human trials of this?

  26. Bishnu   October 1, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Immortality is fine, what about to keep youthfulness forever?What about reversing aging process?What about to deal with Population increasing?
    My idea is we have to deal with all these parallel. To deal with population new habitat system like to create a satellite of Moon’s size near earth and creating Air there would be fine.Again we can consider Sea as a new habitat system.
    To deal with disease nano tech would help definitely.
    To deal with accidents we have to build vehicles with those materials which can not pierce human bodies and human body cells should be built with those materials which can not pierced by hitting.

  27. Filche   September 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    “Immortality means that it is impossible for one to die.” When I read that line, just make sure no-one chops your head off…they may be the only to do die, and to be honest I’m not afraid of death/dying

  28. SELENA   September 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    My biggest fear is death so I want to be immortal and NEVER face that fear. I want death to be a choice and not a sentence. When the treatment becomes available I will be the first one to get it.

  29. Jose Rodriguez Davila   September 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I hope this tecnology advances quicker before i get older and also..who would be worthy to acquiare such nanobots technology.. how much would it costss.. a theory.. a life like the movie Elysium.. maybe a small percentage of the world can have access to this technology and how this is going to affect 5he population of tge planet if people wobt die as much as the present…anyhow.. i want this nanobots in my veins ASAP..i even volunteer for human trialss

  30. Gear Mentation   August 14, 2014 at 7:58 am

    This is all predicated on whether we can reform society so that these advances are for everyone.

  31. Khannea Suntzu   August 8, 2014 at 4:49 am

    Barely on the edge. A little faster would be nice, but whatever.

  32. Hippo   August 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Immortality would destroy the current economic system, that being said, I still welcome having a couple hundred years extra jsut to do all the things I would like to get done, keep in mind the concept of retirement would also die with immortality, if you live forever, on average would would have to work for nearly forever, most likely you would simply take a break even couple of decades from working, have fun, go to school and learn new skills then head back to work, probably doing something entirely different. The concept of retiring for the rest of your life would be nonsensical. Many might choose death over the never ending cycle of life but I bet there would be a few who could continue to find reasons to keep on going.

    • Khannea Suntzu   August 4, 2014 at 2:14 am

      To be honest, the concept called “the current economic system” pales in insignificance to an appreciable portion of humans living just a few decades longer. I’d rather live in relative poverty for centuries than in “economic prosperity and abundance” for a few decades. I find your analysis extremely shortsighted, if not parochial.

      • blue7053   August 4, 2014 at 2:29 am

        because you have a cat’s brain…and curiosity killed it.

        • Khannea Suntzu   August 4, 2014 at 3:07 am

          Oh? So you prefer most people dying over you being poor? Well, I would use a lot less flattering characterizations than merely accusing you of having a “cat brain”.

          Come to your senses.

  33. nononanobot   July 31, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Nanobots in the veins sounds like it would kill not save a life. This “technology” doesn’t exist and hasn’t been tried on anyone, yet he is claiming it will allow a person to live forever? Not just a million years, literally forever. This is crazy.

    • Dante Blazewick   July 31, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      A lot of things that we take for granted today sounded crazy to people in the past. Tv, Internet, vaccines, mold treating diseases, etc. Do I really need to go on?

    • Khannea Suntzu   August 4, 2014 at 2:17 am

      Travel in a metal cylinder hurtling through the sky will forevermore be impossible. Such ideas should be relegated to the pages of pulp science fiction. And you claim that one day normal everyday commoners will be traveling from the European kingdoms to the American colonies on a day-to-day basis? Arriving unhurt, even receiving a modest meal along the way? This is crazy.

  34. Khannea Suntzu   July 18, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Barely in time for me. And if it comes around chances are I won’t be able to afford it.

    • Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 18, 2014 at 7:04 am

      They’re hoping to make it affordable and relevant to everyone…I freaking hope so!!!

  35. anon   July 17, 2014 at 8:06 am

    give it a rest with the “maybe dying of old age isnt’ so bad after all” mentality already.

  36. Anthony   July 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Kurzweil is a rare genious. I put him up their with Richard Feynman in the list of people I admire most.

    Here are just a few of Kurzweil’s acommplishments:

    Principal inventor of
    – the first CCD flatbed scanner,
    – the first omni-font optical character recognition
    – the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind,
    – the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer…


  37. umanoessere52   July 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Immortality? We done that already. It’s called stupidity.

  38. John Harold Belalcazar Lozano   July 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    We just need a few decades with humans living as many years as they want, only to realize that the nature is doing things right, the only specie in wrong behavior is us.

  39. Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

    “Kurzweil argues that immortality is the wrong term for these advancements. Immortality means that it is impossible for one to die. Kurzweil says that is inaccurate in this case, given that humans with nanotechnologies will be able to die.”

    Murder aside – we’d be near-immortal from natural deaths, diseases and illnesses…

    I had a transhumanist correct my understanding from “Immortality” to “Life-Indefinite”…the idea that we could live for a longer period of time than we currently do…

    My ONLY issue is this: Who decides who gets to have this great technology…??? The Rich get it first hand obviously…but what about the rest of the People…??? Will it be Governments first, Corporations Second and then the General Public…??? What about people like Mugabe…??? And 3rd World Countries…??? Then again – am I judging who shouldn’t because I think Jacob Zuma is destroying my Country and should NEVER be given this opportunity…???

    So yeah – who gets to decide…are we running this In Time (movie)…??? Life Indefinite is a very dangerous gift – as awesome as it will be – but the control and regulation of that Life won’t come cheap – I do not believe so…but – I am not always correct, and Humanity may surprise me…No one wants to die – it’s natural to fear Death…and with all that extra time I could study and learn SO MUCH MORE than what I already know…(Though I think Physics is out for me…I’ll stick to genetics – so much simpler…lol)

  40. Dante Blazewick   July 15, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    You mean the same PZ myers who runs the “freethought” blog, That bans people for not agreeing with him? Kurzweil has accurately predicted a great number of technological advancements. You can’t bash someone with information you get from someone like PZ myers. He has been proven wrong a great many times and stuck to his guns with the Faith of any religious person. You don’t have to be a scientist to see patterns emerging from specific areas. Kurzweil has great analytical skills and I personally look forward to seeing if he continues to be as accurate in the future.

    As for the prospect of being “immortal” I am sure the rich will benefit from the technology first. The never-ending boredom and despair I don’t see that. Personally I see death as far more boring.

  41. Max Strom   July 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I am an advocate of Mr. Kurzweil, but I believe that personal, individual transformation is the final key to any kind of global transformation, not information technology, because corruption, fanaticism, and greed are not technological problems, they are thoughts and actions of individuals.

  42. James Sutton   July 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Interesting article. What are your thoughts on immortality?

    I recently launched the ‘Our Story Book’ campaign, as an experimental project, which aims to create the first ever book about immortality that will be 100% crowdsourced on Kickstarter. The idea is to find people from around the world, from all walks of life, to each write one page of the book. Just sharing their take on immortality.

    To watch the short video about the ‘Our Story Book’ project follow this link:

    • Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Interesting Idea 🙂
      I’ll try send in a page 🙂

    • Andres Loubriel   July 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

      That sounds very interesting. I would like to contribute a page and possibly write an article here on GLV on the project.

  43. Lone Cretin   July 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Kurzweil is a certified crank and one of the greatest spewers of pseudoscientific tommyrot. That man’s understanding of biology and the human brain is terribly impoverished according to actual biologists such as PZ Myers.

    • Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Really…the anti-God guy…??? A fishy biologist that focuses on cephalopods and works twice as hard on discrediting any form of religion…???
      Not to mention – as Mr Dante Blazewick said above “He has been proven wrong a great many times and stuck to his guns with the Faith of any religious person. You don’t have to be a scientist to see patterns emerging from specific areas.”

      Let’s leave Mr Myres out of this…personally I think he knows lots about fish and cephalopods and little about a lot of other things…

      After all – my Prof always reminded us: A Professor knows a LOT about HIS subject, and little about everything else…

      • Dante Blazewick   July 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm

        lone cretin brought pz Myers into the conversation. I was just finishing it. He also creates a lot of drama in the atheist community as well. You don’t really need to discredit religion it does it all on its own.

        • Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 18, 2014 at 2:13 am

          That’s true – sad as it is…
          I’d like to think I’m a man of faith – but in no way am I religious…religion is rules and laws and do this and pray 50 times a day and stand there and wear this and blah blah blah…bacon is good for you man!!!

          I don’t like religion – but I find it a waste of precious time arguing the differences between science and religion because they really have nothing to do with each other…religion is people who want greed, power and control…science is fact (mostly)…it’s intelligence…it’s research and development…it’s awesome!!!

          Anyway – that’s not really what this is about…

      • Lone Cretin   July 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

        It’s not just Myers who is a Kurzweil skeptic. This is what Douglas Hofstadter has to say about his books.

        “It’s as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can’t possibly figure out what’s good or bad. It’s an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it’s very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they’re not stupid.”

        You’ll find out that most leading scientists, thinkers and experts in biology and neuroscience respond to Kurzweil with muffled laughter.

        • Robbyn Luke-Wizard Mattei   July 18, 2014 at 2:21 am

          They probably do…and I can’t say much about a lot of them since I didn’t study neuroscience and my focus wasn’t on biology, it was microbiology and genetics…so I can only say what I know really…

          But I’m always skeptic of people who argue religion vs science and waste time on deleting comments on their blog that might not agree with them…

          Like Mr Dawkins – I find him incredibly annoying, his book The Blind Watchmaker was so drawn out and tiresome!!! I bought it cause it was recommended to me by a really great biology lecturer of mine in school…><…

          Mr Kurzweil has some many great achievements – not everyone is perfect and we should never cling to every word they say as if it is gospel – but there's truth in what he's currently saying and the possibility is there – also, there have been other great scientists that have said the same thing before he did…if you don't like him or his ideas – hey, that's ok…but you shouldn't run around putting these ideas down (not YOU specifically…YOU as in general people – just to clarify)…if they're wrong then opps…

          Personally I don't believe we will ever reach "Immortality" or "Life-Indefinite"…but the idea is there and the technology is advancing…so it'll be interesting to watch…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.