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The Three Bridges to Longevity. Bridge Three (The Nanotechnology/AI Revolution)
Posted on: January 16, 2006

The hallmarks of Bridge Three include development of artificial intelligence (AI) and molecular nanotechnology (MNT). Artificial Intelligence refers to non biological (computer) intelligence, while nanotechnology is a term coined by Dr. K. Eric Drexler at MIT in 1978 and which he elaborated in his seminal book, "Engines of Creation". MNT refers to machines that operate on the scale of nanometers (10-9 m) and which will be able to create molecules one atom at a time much like our cellular machinery does today. As AI and MNT technologies combine with and are incorporated into our biological bodies, serious increases in human lifespan well beyond 120 years will be not only possible, but highly probable.

Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence refers to forms of non biological intelligence that will soon rival the capacity of the human brain and then rapidly exceed human intelligence by a billion-fold or more within the next few decades. Limited forms of artificial intelligence exist today such as pattern recognition software programs which allow computers to "understand" human language. Other AI programs write poetry and create original works of art. But the type of advanced AI that we will see unfold during Bridge Three will center on the reverse engineering of the human brain, a task which experts in the field estimate will be completed within 20 years. Reverse engineering (understanding the inner workings) of the brain will not only provide key insights into how the brain performs its many functions, but will lead to a radical increase in human intelligence resulting from the merging of our current biological brain power with non biological (computer) intelligence. As we ultimately merge our biological thinking with artificial intelligence, we will vastly expand both the scope and speed of the thinking experience. This development will provide key insights into how the human brain performs its pattern recognition and cognitive functions. These insights in turn will greatly accelerate the development of artificial intelligence in non biological systems such as nanobots, a key to the biological application of nanotechnology. Microscopic, but intelligent nanobots will course through our blood stream, bodily organs, and brain, downloading software either from the Internet or from our own personal Wi-Fi network that will enable us to overcome virtually any obstacle to keeping us healthy. This will ultimately lead to dramatic increases in human longevity.

Nanotechnology refers to engineering done on the scale of nanometers and will enable scientists to manipulate atoms, moving them from place to place, one at a time. The textbooks for the practical medical application of nanotechnology are already being written, and Robert Freitas, M.D. has already completed 2 of the 4 volumes of his "Nanomedicine" series of books. According to Dr. Freitas, "The comprehensive knowledge of human molecular structure so painstakingly acquired during the 20th and early 21st centuries will be used in the 21st century to design medically active microscopic machines. These machines, rather than being tasked primarily with voyages of pure discovery, will instead most often be sent on missions of cellular inspection, repair, and reconstruction". He goes on to say: "If the idea of placing millions of autonomous nanorobots inside one's body might seem odd, even alarming, the fact is that the body already teems with a vast number of mobile nanodevices. Nanobiotic red blood cells – respirocytes". Programmable red blood cells are an example of nanotechnological devices on Freitas' drawing board. Like most of our biological systems, red blood cells perform their function of oxygenating the body very inefficiently. So, Freitas has redesigned them for optimal performance. With an ounce or two of Freitas' respirocytes (nanobiotic red blood cells) circulating along with your normal blood, you could go hours without oxygen. You would be able to go scuba diving without scuba gear. An ounce or two or respirocytes in your blood stream could provide several hours worth of oxygen. An untrained teenager with respirocyte-enhanced blood would be easily able to outrun a highly trained, but unenhanced Olympic athlete. Astronauts could explore other planets without oxygen tanks. In a less frivolous application, in the event of a cardiac arrest, an injection of respirocytes administered by emergency medical personnel would allow the patient's brain and other vital organs to be perfused with oxygen for several hours while they awaited definitive repair of the underlying process that led to the cardiac arrest. Analyses have shown that these respirocytes could be hundreds or thousands of times more efficient than our own biological blood. In a television documentary entitled "Beyond Human", which was originally broadcast nationwide in the US on May 15, 2001, respirocytes were shown being injected into the bloodstream of a smoke inhalation victim who was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The video depicted the respirocytes passing through the arteries on their way to the capillary bed, where they then released their store of oxygen in the patient's tissues to help keep the victim alive while awaiting definitive care.

Nanobiotic white blood cells – microbivores
Nanotechnology will also create programmable white blood cells. These nanobiotic white blood cells (microbivores) will patrol the bloodstream, seeking out and destroying undesirable bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. These nanobots will download software from the Internet for particular problems, and could be programmed to recognize and destroy cancer cells before they would have a chance to grow and spread. Won't it be nice to have some programmable white blood cells in your blood stream to defend against the possibility of biological warfare attack? It would be a simple matter to realize the organism that had been released and your microbivores would immediately download the appropriate program from the Internet to destroy that pathogen. So programmable microbivores will be the ultimate defense against biological weapons of mass distraction or biological warfare agents, as well as against any influenza pandemic or other potential pathogen.

Source: T. Grossman; Latest advances in antiaging medicine; Keio J Med. 2005 Jun;54(2):85-94.
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