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

Work at Google and you could end up living a lot longer than your peers elsewhere...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor
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.]

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