Imagine being smart enough that you not only have your own wikipedia page, but your predictions on the future have their own wikipedia page. Now that’s the dream.
As well as being an author, computer scientist and inventor, Google’s technical director Ray Kurzweil can be considered an optimistic futurist.
Handily for a futurist, he’s very often correct in his predictions. In a recent talk for the council on foreign relations it was quoted that Kurzweil has in fact been accurate on 98% of his predictions concerning the development of technology (for in depth detail of these see ‘future predictions’).
In 1999 Ray predicted in his book ‘the Age of Spiritual Machines’ that in 10 years:
- Personal worn computers provide monitoring of body functions, automated identity and directions for navigation.
- Most portable computers do not have moving parts or keyboards.
- People can talk to their computer to give commands.
(these are just three of many)
Considering the success of Kurzweil’s predictions so far, it is worth considering his educated guesses for the future.
In his 2005 book ‘The Singularity is Near’ Kurzweil predicted that
- We will likely see or have seen the debut of advanced nanotechnology.
- Some military UAVs and land vehicles will be 100% computer-controlled.
By the 2040s
- People spend most of their time in full-immersion virtual reality (Kurzweil has cited The Matrix as a good example of what the advanced virtual worlds will be like, without the dystopian twist).
- Hypothetical collections of tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure.
As I have mentioned before in my column on The Automation Liberation, Kurzweil predicts the landmark point of a machine passing the Turing Test (where it is indistinguishable from human intelligence) will be in 2029, and the point of Singularity in 2045.
Whether you believe the in the accuracy of these predictions or not, there is something ominously exciting about the imminent future of technology.
Here’s an example of the man himself in action: