Kurzweil Predicts

Do you remember growing up and all the rage was quoting Nostradamus predictions? Well, 2012 has been and gone, and luckily for us the world did not end, and Ray Kurzweil is still predicting the future of technology. Ray, who?

Ray Kurzweil is a very smart man. He has received 20 honorary doctorates, has been awarded presidential honours and has written numerous books. He is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Most recently he has been chosen by Google to direct their artificial intelligence development.

Ray Kurzweil is the guy that Bill Gates calls “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”

I am going to briefly focus on Kurzweil’s technology predictions. To start, what is his track record to date – here are some brief examples:

  • In 1990, he predicted that computers would be capable of answering queries by accessing information wirelessly via the internet by 2010. Tick.
  • In 1990, he predicted that a computer would defeat a world chess champion by 1998. Tick. (In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov)
  • In 1999, he predicted that people would be able to talk to their computers to give commands by 2009. Although they were still in their infancy in 2009, natural language interfaces like Google Now and Apple’s Siri were and are on the rise. Tick(ish).
  • In 2005, he predicted that by the 2010s, virtual solutions would be able to perform real-time language translation. Tick.

So what is happening in the next few decades:

Late 2010s: Ray says that glasses will beam images directly onto the retina, and ten terabytes of computer power (that’s roughly the same amount as the human brain) will cost about $1000.

2020s: most diseases will go away as nanabots become smarter than current medical technology. It will become possible for “normal eating” to be replaced by nanosystems. The Turing test (a test in which artificial intelligence becomes indistinguishable from human intelligence) begins to be passable. Self-driving cars will start to take over the nation’s roads, and people won’t be allowed to drive on highways.

2030s: virtual reality will begin to feel 100% real, and we will be able to upload our mind and/or consciousness before 2040.

2040s: non-biological intelligence will be a billion times more capable than biological intelligence. He also says that Nanotech foglets will be able to make food out of thin air and create any object in the physical world at a whim. By 2045, humans will multiply their intelligence a billionfold by linking wirelessly from their neocortex’ to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud.

In his book, The Singularity is Near, Ray predicts that by 2050 the average desktop machine will have more processing power than all of humanity combined… Great?!?

Thanks for reading.

Kai

(A lot of the above has been quoted from here)

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