Martine Rothblatt on Aging, Spirituality, Robots and Living Forever

Photo of Martine Rothblatt

Photo by Andre Chung for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The 2020 ideacity conference may not be taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that the conversations and ideas stopped flowing. This week, on June 17, 18 and 19, ideacity is offering a free livestream replay of the 2019 conference — the 20th anniversary year — and all you have to do is click here to register. And on Thursday, June 18, following the free livestream, 2019 conference attendees can log on at 6:45P ET/3:45 PT and join ideacity founder Moses Znaimer in conversation with Martine Rothblatt, creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio & CEO of United Therapeutics, to talk everything from the ongoing pandemic to digital immortality. Those who didn’t attend ideacity 2019 can register here to watch the interview on demand beginning Monday, June 22.

Today, we revisit Martine Rothblatt’s 2019 ideacity appearance, where she gets futuristic as she talks flying cars and artificial organs.


Martine Rothblatt got a rare standing ovation after giving her talk at ideacity2019. And for good reason: her life is nothing short of remarkable.

First the attorney-entrepreneur created Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Then when her daughter became ill with what was then a deadly condition – pulmonary arterial hypertension – she founded a company, United Therapeutics, to develop a drug to save her life. (The drug was successful and the company went on to sell several FDA-approved drugs to help people with the disease.)

Now Martine has taken on the not insignificant task of finding a viable way for people to live longer, or even, dare say, forever. She is not only interested in growing transplantable organs customized to a patient’s DNA, but also on perfecting something called mind file technology, which allows for the digital upload of our memories, passions, values and beliefs. We could then, for instance, transfer these files into some sort of digital extension of ourselves like a robot or look-alike avatar.

Too sci-fi? Wishful thinking? Consider Bina 48, the robot who was created by using the mind files of Martine’s long-term partner, Bina Asten.

To watch more fascinating talks from Moses Znaimer’s annual ideacity conference at Toronto’s Koerner Hall go here.