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Interview with Martine Rothblatt
by Jonathan Despres. Go to the Interviews.
Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and what current projects are you involved in?
I’m an openly transgendered technologist with graduate degrees in law, business and medical ethics. After graduating from UCLA in 1981 I began to launch satellite communication satellites by organizing their regulatory approval, financing, construction, blast-off and utilization. I did this as a consultant for the first non-government global satellite system called PanAmSat. I then did this as the CEO for several unique satellite systems called Geostar, Sirius, and WorldSpace. In the mid-1990s my youngest daughter took ill with pulmonary hypertension and since there was no approved treatment for it, I started a biotech company to create a treatment. I’ve been running that company, United Therapeutics, since that time. We are involved in developing cures for pulmonary hypertension, certain cancers, and certain viral diseases, as well as providing telecardiology services throughout North America and exploring the potential of medical nanotechnology. I also run several non-profit organizations, the World Against Racism Foundation, and three branches of the Terasem Movement. In addition I’m creating two transhumanist-themed films and working on a new transhumanist-themed book.
What are your goals for the next decade?
My goals for the next decade are to develop cures for some diseases, to create cyberconsciousness and to write a best-selling transhumanist-themed book.
What is the Lifenaut project (www.lifenaut.com) all about?
The Lifenaut project is about demonstrating the practicality of digital mindfile biostasis. In particular we are trying to digitally capture enough of peoples’ mental uniqueness so that future mindware would be able to recreate a compelling facsimile of such persons’ consciousness, initially for virtual living and ultimately for downloading into a newly created body. Ultimately we would like to have such digitally recreated persons deemed to be legally alive, functional and independent. At that point we will be able to help people who want to avoid death do so.
What do you think we should do to advance the quality of life of everybody?
Ensure that everyone has adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, love, health care, security, justice, access to information, and resources for personal development. To accomplish this will require greater emphasis on technology development, especially nanotechnology, reduced emphasis on national sovereignty, and a more empowered global human development organization.
What are the languages of the universe for you?
Diversity and unity.
Which path(s) should we take for immortalism, nanomedicine or biogerontology or something else?
We need to pursue multiple paths for immortalism, including nanomedicine, biogerontology and various forms of biostasis. With so many billions of people, there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Some people can bridge from technology to technology and never take a break from life. Other people’s medical issues will not be solvable before their bodies’ give out, and they need either mindfile or cryonic biostasis to be preserved until future technology can rescue them.
What first attracted you to the idea of immortality?
Being persuaded that it was an achievable goal, based upon the arguments presented on the Alcor website and in Ray Kurzweil’s books.
How do you deal with the problem of overpopulation that may result from physical immortality?
Overpopulation is a non-issue. Gerard K. O’Neill provided calculations in the 1980s (see, .eg., the High Frontier) to prove that the asteroid belt and lunar surface alone contained adequate resources to build orbiting worlds that could contain hundreds of times the earth’s population in pristine, open-air environments.
What's the future of "information technology" for you?
Ultimately information technology devices will be internal to our bodies and our minds will be able to connect directly to other people’s minds, or to ex vivo devices, via IT.
Do you think molecular manufacturing (or anything else) could clean up pollution on earth and in space? If so, when and how?
I do believe molecular manufacturing can clean up pollution on earth and in space by using nanotechnological methods to reorder the molecular structure of pollution into useful raw materials. This will be achieved during the 21st century.