Inventor Ray Kurzweil has recently claimed that new technology will soon allow us to live on “indefinitely.” Billy Langsworthy takes a look at how toy and game inventors are achieving immortality through their work.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Live forever

We’ve spoken a lot about technology in recent Inventors Bulletin posts, be it what Virtual Reality can do for the toy space or how far off we are from 3D printing making a dent in the market.

Inventor, futurist and director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, has recently stated that as well as a remarkable impact on consumer products, the rapid development of technology will soon allow us to live on “indefinitely.”

As well as predicting computers the size of blood cells by 2030, Kurzweil told PBS Newshour that our thinking will become "non-biological", with tech allowing us to recreate thoughts that we forget or that get "wiped away."

It’s fascinating stuff, and if you have a spare moment, check out Kurzweil’s brilliant talk – Immortality By 2045 – below, where he explains how to ensure your inventions remain relevant for the world that will exist by the time you’ve finished the project.

Now while it’s a nice thought, I can’t help but feel that ‘living on indefinately’ might not be all it’s cracked up to be, especially for a game fan (my Twister skills would suffer for a start), but what Kurzweil is really getting at is that rather than living longer in bodies that are hundreds of years old, it won’t be long before brains can be uploaded into technology systems, meaning we won’t necessarily need bodies to exist.

Scary, interesting stuff that, as well as making me want to give The Matrix a rewatch, also got me thinking about the fact that many toy and game inventors may take pride in achieving immortality through their work, rather than actually existing for hundreds of years as a computer algorithm. 

The creators of Mr Potato Head, Barbie, Good Luck Trolls, Play-Doh and countless other toy and game icons are all living on beyond the lifetime of their creators. There’s a Trolls movie on the way, Play-Doh is celebrating its 60th anniversary, every child on the planet knows Barbie while the Toy Story movies have helped Mr Potato Head become one of Hasbro’s most-loved characters.

And all of these creations are still being played with by today’s kids.

That said, I still tend to agree with Woody Allen when he said: "I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

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