Immortality may not be a reality yet, but rapidly evolving technology is making it more realistic, said Ray Kurzweil, the director of engineering at Google, at the Global Future 2045 World Congress hosted at the Alice Tully Hall, in Lincoln Center in Manhattan.
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"The life expectancy was 20 one thousand years ago...we doubled it in 200 years, this will go into high gear within 10 and 20 years from now, probably less than 15 we will be reaching that tipping point where we add more time than has gone by because of scientific progress," Kurzweil said. "Somewhere between 10 and 20 years, there is going to be tremendous transformation of health and medicine."
By treating biology as software and reprogramming cells to treat diseases and other ailments, humans have already made tremendous progress in the medical field, Kurzweil said.
For example, using 3D bioprinters-which can print the structure of human tissue with biodegradable material-and stem cells, which are used to populate the 3D printed structure-researchers can grow actual human tissue.
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"There's already fantastic therapies to overcome heart disease, cancer and every other neurological disease based on this idea of reprogramming the software," Kurzweil said. "These are all examples of treating biology as software...These technologies will be a 1000 times more powerful than they were a decade ago...These will be 1,000 times more powerful by the end of the decade. And a million times more powerful in 20 years."
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Kurzweil was one of the speaker at the Global Future 2045 World Congress, which is an event that brings some of the world's top scientists together to talk about the future of humankind and technology and the prospect of dramatic life extension.
The event was organized by the 2045 Initiative, which is a project founded by a 32-year-old Russian entrepreneur named Dmitry Itskov. The primary aim of the project is to create the technologies that will enable an individual's consciousness to be uploaded to a non-biological host, which would ultimately enable humans to live forever.
By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.