Ray Kurzweil @ AC2005
I always enjoy listening to Ray Kurzweil speak on his vision of the future. He is spectacular thinker who notices and tracks many of the subtle trends in sciences that are the precursors to future events.
It is interesting to hear Ray start off by talking about the possible "bad" scenarios that could emerge in the future. He ventured into the conversation about how it will take new advanced techologies to protect us from current advanced technologies. This led to a good thread fof conversation on foresight and prediction ... how to analyze trends to see if the timing was right for the delivery of a new technology.
He always has a lot of supporting measures for his predictions ... and he immediately jumped into these. He used a new graphic that reviewed his 6 Epochs of Evolution that map to a set of substrate transitions that we are in the midst of. What is impressive about his research is that he is open to include different sources of detailed information and add it to his analysis ... and still demonstrate that his theories are on track. He is very good at showing that Moore's Law applies to far more than just computing power ... but to almost anything around us.
He talked about some of the great new genetic and biological research where we are becoming more and more capable of controlling our genes. He commented on some interesting work where gene interference research is allowing us to more easily turn on and turn off individual genes by attaching to the RNA within a cell. Some of the first outcomes will be drugs that will stop cells from hanging on to extra calories ... something that is not as important (obviously!) in a world where food is more plentiful.
Miniaturization is another exponential trend that Ray explored ... talking about Respirocytes - nanomechanical replacements for red blood cells - and Microbivores II - nanomechanical replacements for white blood cells. Both of these are being simulated, and many of the underlying technologies are in research today.
He jumped to some examples of economic growth by a wide variety of measurements ... again demonstrating Moore's Law all around us.
He wrapped up with a couple of great slides ... his thoughts of the future:
2010: Computers Disappear
- Images written directly to our retinas
- Ubiquitous high bandwidth connection to the Internet at all times
- Electronics so tiny it's embedded in the environment, our clothing, our eyeglasses
- Full immersion visual-auditory virtual reality
- Augmented real reality
- Interaction with virtual personalities as a primary interface
- Effective language technologies
- $1,000 of computation = 1,000 times the human brain
- Reverse engineering of the human brain completed
- Computers pass the Turing test
- Nonbiological intelligence combines
- the subtlety and pattern recognition strength of human intelligence, with
- the speed, memory, and knowledge sharing of machine intelligence
- Nonbiological intelligence will continue to grow exponentially whereas biological intelligence is effectively fixed