Google exec hints at ultimate recruitment perk for top engineers: Life extension

Google exec hints at ultimate recruitment perk for top engineers: Life extension

Summary: Work at Google and you could end up living a lot longer than your peers elsewhere...

TOPICS: Google
Ray Kurzweil at SVForum 2013 Visionary Awards
Google exec Ray Kurzweil at SVForum 2013 Visionary Awards


Competition for software engineers is incredibly intense and Silicon Valley firms are pulling out all the stops to recruit and retain top talent. A great software engineer is a very scalable asset.

Every company can offer perks of free food and high salaries but where can an employer get ahead of the pack and offer something no one else can, what is the ultimate perk? How about life extension.

That's where Google is headed.

Earlier this week, at a Commonwealth Club Inforum event on the topic of HR and what Silicon Valley companies such as Twitter, and Cisco Systems are doing to attract the best people, panel member Todd Carlisle, Director of Staffing at Google, had the last word, by teasing a possible future scenario.

He asked, what if a perk of working at a company was that it extended your life? He said that people would likely never leave, they would be incredibly loyal.

If you connect the dots that's exactly where Google is headed.

Late last year it hired Ray Kurzweil (above) a vocal proponent of an idea called the Singularity, which predicts life extension technologies will eventually extend people's lives indefinitely. This will start happening in earnest within this decade.

Here's Google's recruitment slogan from the future: "Come work at Google and live longer. It's a Singular Experience!"

How can other companies compete?!

Google can make sure its engineers have a seat on the Singularity bus. It already has the driver of the idea in Mr Kurzweil, and the Singularity will require the world's largest, most powerful computer system, which is exactly what Google is building.

It's an incredibly compelling scenario and software engineers would probably accept lower salaries for the chance to be among the first to benefit from the Singularity. It's also a message that doesn't need to be directly stated, but can be implied, as Todd Carlisle clearly did earlier this week.

What could competitors come up with? There is no amount of salary, free food and beer, that could rival Google's leadership in lifespan extension technologies. 

Rivals may have to resort to this recruiting slogan: "Come work here —  the work is so dull that it'll seem as if you are living longer!" 

[It's cribbed from Joseph Heller's novel "Catch-22" where one of the World War II bomber pilots seeks out the most boring things to do in his free time, so that it will feel as if he is living a long life, rather than the reality of the shockingly short life expectancy of bomber crews — just six weeks.]

Topic: Google

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  • i have a theory

    Google's hiring practices are

    1) ageist
    2) weighted to engineers

    younger geeks don't engage in lifestyles that are as dangerous or unhealthy as the average person.

    but seriously is this is the best ZDNet can deliver?
    • On the bright side...

      This is a brilliant hiring strategy by Google, because nothing says "productivity" more than a bunch of elderly programmers...

      "I came in here to compile something, but now I can't remember what it is..."

      "Hey! You kids get off my server!"
      • On the real side...

        Mature programmers, mature workers of all kinds actually, are just that: more mature. It brings a stability, reliability, and civility to the workplace. Most importantly in terms of productivity, there is better long-term and comprehensive focus coming from experienced minds. There is more propensity to know what you know and don't know, and to be more faithful and humble, which has better outcomes for teams. We follow through, and we look at real talents, not at how fresh, hip, and snarky they are represented by some of the more foolish among us.
        • Long live.... COBOL...

          ...and Fortran...

          ...and Pascal...

          ...and RPG...

          ...and REXX...
          • oldies

            you forgot BAL...
    • is this the best...

      You read it, didn’t you?
  • Life extension?

    If I were him I'd worry more about hair extensions.

    He's looking a little thin in the front.
    John Zern
  • Better read the fine print!

    The plan is to turn employees into droids, complete w/implanted Glass and a shot of Ray Kookweil's artificial intelligence.
  • Transhumanism

    I strongly suggest you join the Transhumanist movement. The ebook "The Transhumanist Wager" is also strongly suggest to read. Don't be a Deathist - you can actually live forever with the technology we are developing now. Remember what Kurzweil says: technology is evolving at an exponential rate, not a linear one. What seems impossible now will be normal in a couple of decades. Join the Transhumanist movement - live forever!
    • What about the Population Explosion?

      Lets assume technology can enable us to, say, double our life span or more. Just beacuse we live longer won't stop babies being produced at an ever increasing rate. So the Population Explosion will happen sooner and the world will run out of resources faster and there will be famine and wars on a scale we can't even imagine.
      IMHO, the biggest problem the human race must tackle soon is population growth. This is an exponential problem. We must curb our urge to reproduce for the sake of the future. To quote a verse from a song I wrote:

      I've avoided creating more people on earth
      A small contribution for what it is worth
      No offspring of mine to make more pollution
      Reducing the headcount's the only solution.

      Climate change is a trivial problem compared with population growth yet how many dollars/pounds/euros etc. are being devoted to population growth? We are too soft to restrict "personal freedom" when it comes to reproduction but as a result we are endangering the future of the human race.
      • Good point!

        This is the elephant in the room that very few want to talk about. And yet you have politicians in this country who encourage young people to "marry young and have a quiver of children," as if the extinction of the human race is the most serious issue this world and this nation faces.
        sissy sue
        • It's not the extinction of the race they're worried about

          It's the weight of an aged population on the tax base. The only way governments can keep living the high life is if the age distribution is triangular, with the oldest being at the narrow top.
          • Don't worry. Google's working on Avian Flu++, too!

            The Google X project is being conducted jointly with 23 and Me and aims to develop algorithms to be implemented in flu strains. Their goal is to "gently reduce the population" while maintaining genetic diversity. The team is very aware that it is charged with the requirement to do no evil, yet must handle the Malthusian reality that is damaging the biosphere. The GXF competes with Kurweil's Singularity approach, although both are well-funded and have support at the highest levels of the organization.
      • All fine and well but you're forgetting something....

        Saying that people should stop reproducing is all fine and well but remember that it is mostly not the educated with careers that are overpopulating the world... it is the freeloaders sitting at home in their social housing that cannot keep their legs crossed... If you have people pay for the privilege to have children you will be called elitist, besides, what are you going to do about the schoolchild falling pregnant? Force her to have an abortion?? If only it was the educated having children we'd be better off because people would think before they do... but the problem is that it is the uneducated or lazy or incompetent dwelling among us that do. Educated people have the opportunity to raise educated children. Unfortunately the same goes for the uneducated, lazy and freeloading... they tend to generally (with very few exceptions raise children that is just as uneducated, lazy and freeloading as themselves. How else do you explain Julius Malema from the EFF in South Africa even being born??
        • Since corporations are people too,

          how about corporate welfare? After all, corporate kings blame welfare queens...
        • i wish you'd never been born

          you dystopian corporate nightmare fascist. hopefully you will be killed by a mob of futureproles
          Matthew Aðàmş
      • What a crock !

        Human kind cannot continue itself unless we are reproducing ourselves at a 2.1 rate at the very least.....many places in Europe are at 1.2 and being very out-paced by Muslims who are at a 8 to 1 ratio ! That's how society kills itself....when there aren't enough babies to keep things going.

        Don't worry Chicken Little....the planet is doing fine. Global Warming is a man-made hoax so that government can force more tax and control schemes on the populace.

        Yes we are born free and only governments change that (if we allow them). People can plan their own families and free to have as many children as they would like. Who made you God ?

        I can just imagine your utopia where we are simply robots to be controlled all in the name of the common good.....sounds like fun.
        • Freedom to reproduce?

          Pizzaman7 says:

          "People can plan their own families and free to have as many children as they would like."

          That attitude is selfish and short sighted. The earth cannot sustain even the current level of population for even a few hundred years, so who knows the effects of unrestricted population growth? There is a finite amount of oil and mineral resources on this planet and once they're gone, life will be very different from what we have now.

          We may not like the fact that the highest population growth is in cultures which are alien to Western Society, but it doesn't alter the fact that it's simply a matter of numbers and if we reproduce to compete with alternative cultures, we'll simply ensure that the end comes sooner rather than later.

          The best thing that could happen to the human race would be a pandemic of a disease that destroyed fertility with relatively few people immune. This would result in a dramatic decrease in population and those left could then rebuild a hopefully better world. It's a simple fact that, as the population increases, so does the chance of a pandemic; unfortunately, a pandemic is unlikely to be as benevolent as simply destroying fertility; it's far more likely to cause megadeaths with the consequent problems of disposing of the dead. Being selfish myself, I just hope I'm not around to witness such an event.
        • congratulations- you've created your own singularity!

          Your post is fantastic- not just for it's completely surreal, arrogant, disgusting, dangerous fantasies, but because it is completely unclear whether you are serious, or presenting a parody. You passed the first Turing Test of the singularity!
      • It is a fact

        That as societies develope, as living standards increase, as infant mortality decreases, human birth rates drop. Birth rates are now, in fact, below replacement levels in almost all developed countries and droping rapidly in developing countries. Extreme poverty is the problem we must tackle, birth rates take care of themselves in an environmet of relative economic prosperity.