The singularity is that point in time when all the advances in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to machines that are smarter than human beings. Kurzweil's timetable for the singularity is consistent with other predictions,– notably those of Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who predicts that the dawn of super-intelligent machines will happen by 2047. But for Kurzweil, the process towards this singularity has already begun.
Tonight, we hear from inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil about immortality and the exponential growth of technology. Since 2012, Kurzweil has been a director of engineering at Google. RAY KURZWEIL, Director of Engineering, Google: Our immediate reaction to death is that it's a tragedy. We have rationalized it, saying, oh, that tragic thing that's looming, that's actually a good thing. But now we can actually seriously talk about a scenario where we will be able to extend our longevity indefinitely.
According to an article in web magazine Futurism today, two prominent artificial intelligence (AI) experts have agreed with inventor, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil's prediction of singularity -- a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed -- to happen in about 30 years: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrick Winston, Ph.D., Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, and Jurgen Schmidhuber, Ph.D., Chief Scientist of the company NNAISENSE, which aims at building the first practical general purpose AI. Schmidhuber is confident that the singularity "is just 30 years away, if the trend doesn't break, and there will be rather cheap computational devices that have as many connections as your brain, but are much faster. There is no doubt in my mind that AIs are going to become super smart."
Ray Kurzweil's impact on my life in general but especially on what I have been doing for the past 3 or 4 years is hard to exaggerate. It is a simple fact that, if I haven't read his seminal book The Singularity is Near, I would be neither blogging nor podcasting about exponential technologies, not to mention going to Singularity University. And so it was with great excitement and some trepidation that I went to interview Dr. Kurzweil in his office in Boston. Part of my trepidation came from some technical concerns: I wish I could buy a better camera. I wish I could hire a team of audio and video professionals so that I can focus on the interview itself.
That's how long Google's Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil thinks it will take for computers to reach human levels of intelligence. "By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence," Kurzweil said in an interview at the SXSW Conference with Shira Lazar and Amy Kurzweil Comix. Known as the Singularity, the event is oft discussed by scientists, futurists, technology stalwarts and others as a time when artificial intelligence will cause machines to become smarter than human beings. The time frame is much sooner than what other stalwarts have said, including British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, as well as previous predictions from Kurzweil, who said it may occur as soon as 2045. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who recently acquired ARM Holdings with the intent on being one of the driving forces in the Singularity, has previously said it could happen in the next 30 years.