Op-Ed

Grim reaper

Has Google gone right off the deep end? It's common for techies to be infatuated with transhumanism and other far-out ideas, but "solving death" seems like a real stretch. And yet that's what the megacompany's latest initiative is apparently meant to do.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming. The company did help start 23andMe, the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company run by co-founder Sergei Brin's (now estranged) wife. It also made a failed attempt to launch Google Health, a different data-storing effort. Even more significantly, it contributed to Singularity University, which isn't a university and doesn't have much to do with singularity but gets its name from the idea that "humans and machines will at some point merge, making old age and death meaningless." That's the kind of thinking that passes for radical in Silicon Valley.

Time magazine just published a cover story (mostly behind a pay wall) that is essentially a puff piece about Google. Most of the article focuses on Larry Page's tenure as CEO and the Google X division run by Brin. But the...