In my new book BOLD, one of the interviews that I'm most excited about is with my good friend Ray Kurzweil. Bill Gates calls Ray, "the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence." Ray is also amazing at predicting a lot more beyond just AI. This post looks at his very incredible predictions for the next 20 years. He has received 20 honorary doctorates, has been awarded honors from three U.S. presidents, and has authored 7 books (5 of which have been national bestsellers). He is the principal inventor of many technologies ranging from the first CCD flatbed scanner to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. He is also the chancellor and co-founder of Singularity University, and the guy tagged by Larry Page to direct artificial intelligence development at Google. In short, Ray's pretty smart… and his predictions are amazing, mind-boggling, and important reminders that we are living in the most exciting time in human history. But, first let's look back at some of the predictions Ray got right. Then in 1997, IBM's Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov. He was right, to say the least.
It's hard to know where to start with Ray Kurzweil. With the fact that he takes 150 pills a day and is intravenously injected on a weekly basis with a dizzying list of vitamins, dietary supplements, and substances that sound about as scientifically effective as face cream: coenzyme Q10, phosphatidycholine, glutathione? With the fact that he believes that he has a good chance of living for ever? He just has to stay alive "long enough" to be around for when the great life-extending technologies kick in (he's 66 and he believes that "some of the baby-boomers will make it through"). Or with the fact that he's predicted that in 15 years' time, computers are going to trump people. That they will be smarter than we are. Not just better at doing sums than us and knowing what the best route is to Basildon. But that they will be able to understand what we say, learn from experience, crack jokes, tell stories, flirt. Ray Kurzweil believes that, by 2029, computers will be able to do all the things that humans do.
In my new book BOLD, one of the interviews that I'm most excited about is with my good friend Ray Kurzweil. Bill Gates calls Ray, "the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence." Ray is also amazing at predicting a lot more beyond just AI. This post looks at his very incredible predictions for the next 20 years. So who is Ray Kurzweil?
By the mid-1950s, the world realized that computers were going to play a major role in future technology. Military, business and educational entities began investing heavily in computers, and rapidly advancing hardware meant that the potential for computing seemed endless. Artificial intelligence, perhaps more than any other aspect of computing, captured the public's imagination, and predictions of a future ruled by computation and robots were common in news stories and throughout science fiction literature and cinema. To understand why early experts were so optimistic about artificial intelligence, it's important to understand Moore's Law. Computers developed rapidly through the 1950s and early 1960s, and Gordon Moore, a co-founder of computing giants Fairfield Semiconductor and Intel, predicted that the number of transistors in a given area on a circuit board would double every year, leading to exponential growth in processing power.
Self-driving cars, virtual reality games, bioprinting human organs, human gene editing, AI personalities, 3D printing in space, three billion people connected to the Internet…. These incredible technological feats are all part of our world today. And while they are not evenly distributed, they are rapidly spreading and evolving -- and in the process radically changing nearly every aspect of modern life. How we eat, work, play, communicate, and travel are deeply affected by the development of new technology. But what is the underlying engine that drives technological progress?