If you start with a mistaken axiom then any conclusions you proceed to draw will, inevitably, be incorrect. Kurzweil makes a nice living in hype, but the hard reality is that biology isn’t a simple thing like computer science. Apparently no one thought to ask Ellison how it was that he could spend $350 million and not get any sort of meaningful result. If they had bothered to ask, the answer would be: because biology is complex, we understand very little, and the idea of “defeating death” is akin to the 1950s idea that by the 1970s we’d all be commuting in flying cars with enormous tail-fins (except flying cars would have been much, much easier to accomplish).

Technology hasn’t in fact “revolutionized” pharmaceuticals or the health services industry in general. There’s been a very significant expenditure with some modest results, but to date the concept of “personalized medicine” is as far away as… flying cars with enormous tail-fins. This is because (one more time) biology is very complex and we know so very little. That’s why no one, anywhere, can “hack” biology. It’s not a phone app.

Hopefully some real knowledge will eventually come out of the billions of dollars that the Google boys et al plan to throw at various avenues of investigation, but anyone who remotely imagines that reality will live up to even 5% of the hype is in for (i) a very long wait, and then (ii) a very big disappointment.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.