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How accurate are Ray Kurzweil's predictions?

kurzweil singularity breakthroughs biomedicine dna sequencing computing brain artificial intelligence robotics

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#151 Mind

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 12:22 AM

Up through the end of 2009, Kurzweil's predictions were quite accurate IMO. The technologies he foresaw were in development, in prototype stage, or foresee-ably on the way. Now that it is 2011 I see a little bump in the road. Economic malaise has prevented mass adoption of bleeding edge technology. Smart-phones and apps continue to prove Kurzweil correct, but a few of the other trends seem a little stalled. I think we have to get through this second great depression (maybe a year or two) before the accelerating trend is obvious once again. The progress will continue but will only be adopted by wealthy futurists. Think of it as a little "S" curve in Kurzweil's exponential trend. The rough economic environment will probably bring out the Kurzweil critics again, but I think he will be validated in spades around the middle of this decade.
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#152 Mind

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:52 PM

Seems not too much has changed since my last comment. Wealthy futurists continue to adopt and try out new technologies similar to what Kurzweil predicted, but mass adoption is not happening and I think this will slow technological progress down a little. Ray still does a pretty good job at defending his thesis though: Here is his response to a recent row at the 2011 Singularity Summit.

When my 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, was published, and augmented a couple of years later by the 2001 essay, it generated several lines of criticism, such as Moore’s law will come to an end, hardware capability may be expanding exponentially but software is stuck in the mud, the brain is too complicated, there are capabilities in the brain that inherently cannot be replicated in software, and several others. I specifically wrote The Singularity Is Nearto respond to those critiques.
I cannot say that Allen would necessarily be convinced by the arguments I make in the book, but at least he could have responded to what I actually wrote. Instead, he offers de novo arguments as if nothing has ever been written to respond to these issues. Allen’s descriptions of my own positions appear to be drawn from my 10-year-old essay. While I continue to stand by that essay, Allen does not summarize my positions correctly even from that essay.
Allen writes that “the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR). . . is not a physical law.” I would point out that most scientific laws are not physical laws, but result from the emergent properties of a large number of events at a finer level. A classical example is the laws of thermodynamics (LOT). If you look at the mathematics underlying the LOT, they model each particle as following a random walk. So by definition, we cannot predict where any particular particle will be at any future time. Yet the overall properties of the gas are highly predictable to a high degree of precision according to the laws of thermodynamics. So it is with the law of accelerating returns. Each technology project and contributor is unpredictable, yet the overall trajectory as quantified by basic measures of price-performance and capacity nonetheless follow remarkably predictable paths.


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#153 Mind

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 07:58 PM

Seems ARM Holdings is trying to outdo Kurzweil by predicting blood cell-sized processors that will run smart phones by 2020.
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#154 Mind

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 10:15 PM

Good to see people with money are still pushing the technology envelope: Intel and Dreamworks collaborate on animation rendering that could potentially be 50 to 70 times faster.

Intel also unveils 1 tflop "chip" (with many cores). Dubbed "Knights Corner". No word on cost or power consumption, but the headline flop number is impressive. They have to keep pushing the envelope here otherwise they are going to get left in the dust by NVDA.
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#155 Geovicsha

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 04:28 AM

I stopped reading The Singularity is Near half way through in May-June. Great book but somewhat overwhelming and sometimes too technical based; very insightful regardless. Think I'll resume once I finish my current book. :)
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#156 steampoweredgod

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 12:09 AM

I stopped reading The Singularity is Near half way through in May-June. Great book but somewhat overwhelming and sometimes too technical based; very insightful regardless. Think I'll resume once I finish my current book. :)

IIRC, some of the ideas dealing with replacing things like blood pumping as a means of nutrient/waste transport, did not seem ideal. But overall I liked most other ideas presented.
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#157 Mind

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:35 PM

As we come to the end of 2011, one thing that stands out as an accurate Kurzweil prediction, IMO is the miniaturization of our computers, ie. cell phones keep getting more powerful and they are now using rudimentary artificially intelligent agents with voice technology to assist humans.
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#158 forever freedom

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 05:18 PM

http://spectrum.ieee...d-chips-grow-up

3d chips are coming to mass production soon, but they're just a bridge to the next paradigm, which could be graphene transistors, quantum computing, optical computing, etc. Many believe that Moore's Law will end around 2020, but there are many ways to keep it going.

As i always say, as long as Moore's Law stands, we will most certainly become superintelligent beings in this century, be it through advanced body-computer integration, strong AI, etc.
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#159 PWAIN

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:10 AM

I predict that some of the following will come about in the next few years:

http://en.wikipedia....ng_technologies

I'm a genius, adore me.....

Honestly!!
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#160 brokenportal

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:21 AM


Edited by brokenportal, 08 February 2012 - 04:24 AM.

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#161 DAMABO

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:17 PM

When I see questions like this topic I think of things like two people in a conoe, the front one rowing saying that we can get there, and the one in the back not rowing saying that they are too optimistic while they go in circles. The predictions cancel each other out, which reminds me of the quote, "Whether you think you can or you cant you are right." And these are just predictions. I could be wrong, but I dont think he said these things are definitely going to happen like this. You have to have goals to shoot for, to dream about, think about, plan for, expect. It seems like its best to have them, even if you dont reach them. If you can conceive it and beleive it then you can acheive it. How can we hope to acheive anything that we cant even conceive? Kurzweil is a brilliant, thoughtful, critical thinking, pioneering thinker. I beleive in what Kurzweil conceives.



brilliant post
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#162 Mind

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:49 PM

I predict that some of the following will come about in the next few years:

http://en.wikipedia....ng_technologies

I'm a genius, adore me.....

Honestly!!


If you were openly predicting these things 10 or 20 years ago, like Kurzweil, then I would adore you, maybe.

I don't adore Kurzweil, I just respect the fact that he "stuck his neck out". He took a stab, and risked his professional stature, to propose the paradigm of accelerating returns (based upon some reasonable data and the thoughts of others who came before). It seems most people are just turned off by the "cult of Kurzweil" more than anything else. That's fine by me.
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#163 PWAIN

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:25 AM

Back when I was studying in around 87/88, I proposed something that sounded an awful lot like an ereader/ipad device. I didn't have huge resources available to me and the internet was in it's infancy so I never got it off the ground. I don't consider myself a visionary in coming up with such a technology because it was merely a projection of the available technologies of the time and likely future developments. If Ray had suggested something like this, his fans would be trumpeting it all around the place.

I believe Ray gets rather well paid for his 'consulting' services based on his predictions/projections. I don't see any necks too exposed - especially as it is remarkably easy to reinterpret what was predicted after the fact.
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#164 Mind

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:41 PM

Eye-opening TED talk here. I am amazed at all the AI research ongoing around the world. I am also amazed at how so many people cling to the major anthropogenic conceit that machines will never think like and/or eclipse human intelligence.
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#165 Earth Citizen

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:34 AM

Not sure if this has been posted in one of the other 100 Kurzweil threads, but this seemed to be the best place. This is Ray's accounting of his predictions (pdf), mainly in response to criticism by Michael Anissimov.


I've read that, and I've found that Kurzweil is consistently able to argue that his predictions were right, however when he does so he shows that he consistently misunderstands what the words "widely used" or "commonly used" mean to people. He tends to say things like "by 2009, we will have eyeglasses that project images directly onto our retinas." Then once 2009 rolls by he says "look it happened." But everyone else is standing around saying, "ummm we don't have them, only millionaire tech junkies like you have them."

In short, he accurately predicts what will be technologically feasible, but not what will or will not be widely used or scalable.

I just read through this whole thread, and there are a few things I thought were quite interesting:

1) People's view of Kurzweil's predictions became much more favorable as time went on. In 2008, everyone was saying he was way off. Now, it looks like he got the majority correct. I guess when he makes a prediction 10 years out and one of those years hasn't happened yet, it's not quite fair to say that he'll clearly be wrong, especially when the prediction seemed just as ridiculous when made it, and since the technology increases exponentially he will seem off until close to the end date.

2) A lot of people cherrie pick to make an argument. He made a LOT of predictions, so obviously some will be right on the money and some will be off. To me, he seemed to get about two-thirds correct, though a lot of them are open to interpretation.


Good points.

I tend to go for a middle of the road assessment of Kurzweil's accuracy. I don't think he's always right, but he's not never right either. He's sometimes surprisingly accurate about things that would be implausible to get right just by guessing, but he's often very wrong about what will actually be adopted by society.
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#166 Earth Citizen

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:41 AM

I'm not surprised that Ray was dead on about when a computer would beat a chess champion. It's precisely the kind of prediction he would make accurately. You know why? Because it required almost zero social phenomenon. It was almost exclusively regarding the advance of computation! One organization had to build the machine, and one man had to play it, that's it! No other human beings needed to cooperate to make it happen.
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#167 steampoweredgod

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:09 PM

Good points.

I tend to go for a middle of the road assessment of Kurzweil's accuracy. I don't think he's always right, but he's not never right either. He's sometimes surprisingly accurate about things that would be implausible to get right just by guessing, but he's often very wrong about what will actually be adopted by society.

The thing is people tend to adopt not the highest or best but whatever weird phenomenon is currently in fad, look at the console wars. The ps3 sold at a loss a near 900$ machine for 600$, basically 3rd place in america(2nd in europe and japan), the wii a cheap gamecube repackaged with a motion sensor control was widely adopted.

At least in phones and tablets apple's got it made. But again as Wozniak cofounder pointed out, android still has plenty to give, and siri has degraded it is very possible google's answer will outshine it. But will people respond? who knows? look at facebook myspace, one decayed the other prospered, and now google+ and yahoo and microsoft with live sony with the playstation network everyone is trying a slice at the social pie. What will happen, who will win? it is like politics, every one you choose will screw you, you simply try and choose the one option that screws you less.

But that's people's idea. My idea is for an ideal world, a perfect world united under one government, one nation, one people, together again as in babylon to touch and reach and conquer the stars, heaven. Will man unite or descend into pure depraved selfpleasure over the wired the internet. Man has become obsessed with the earth with its laws and with itself forgetting the stars, except for the few visionaries who're bringing about what should be done by governments themselves

What about NASA? people should speak up with their votes, FUND NASA or get NO votes.

Edited by steampoweredgod, 23 April 2012 - 04:11 PM.

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#168 Mind

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:42 PM

There are some that have remarked that Kurzweil's predictions are nothing special (for various reasons). Here is one example where he has stuck to his guns, even though most tech prognosticators continue to predict the opposite (for at least a decade now) - the demise of Moore's law.

Moore's law keeps going. There are certainly some people who are optimistic like Kurzweil about the price performance of computing, but I would venture to say a good majority are more negative (and they would be the one's who say, after the fact, "well of course I knew such-n-such technology was a possibility")
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#169 PWAIN

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:37 PM

I doubt that Moore's law will be broken any time soon. Multi layer chips, optical interconnects, new materials and techniques, bucky tubes, paradigm change etc etc will all work to keep things going because there is a lot of money to be made. Over the last 20 or so years, I have heard repeatedly that Moore's law is coming to an imminent end. It hasn't and it won't, at least until we get to single atom patterns and even then who knows, we may yet go better.

What is unfortunate is that my work laptop takes longer to boot up than my desktop did 15 years ago. :)
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#170 Elus

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:25 PM

*
POPULAR

I started collecting these articles below in order to become more critical and informed of Ray Kurzweil’s predictions about the future and the singularity. Ironically, I am now more convinced than I thought I would be, based on what I've read below, that astonishing changes are happening and that Ray Kurzweil is essentially correct.

All of the advances below have been announced in the last 12 months alone. I have no words to describe my amazement. We truly are living in the future.
We are at the beginning of the relative calm before the storm, and the seas of change are already brewing violently. Just imagine what is going to come next...

BIOMEDICINEDNA SEQUENCING:http://vimeo.com/36907534

VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY/COMPUTER INTERFACINGBRAIN
PHYSICSEDUCATIONCOMPUTING
  • Video: IBM Announces New Advances in Quantum Computing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_NRmOe1b8_sARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & ROBOTICShttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mclbVTIYG8EENERGY:Manufacturing: I’m sure there is tons of stuff I’ve missed. Feel free to contribute.

-Elus

Edited by Elus, 17 August 2012 - 10:11 PM.

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#171 treonsverdery

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 04:20 PM

I very much appreciate this list of advancements
The $900 dna sequencer from Oxford Nanopore that works with an artificial protein channel to read DNA, RNA as well as other materials is translateable to an artificial g coupled protein receptor that as part of a natural revised human genetics would permit one person to know anothers entire genome just from touching them.

of 40,000 genes, a g coupled protein receptor that was modified to function like the artificial protein channel could create an actual sense feeling, taste smell or color that accurately described another persons entire genome, which would accurately describe much of their personality.

Edited by treonsverdery, 22 August 2012 - 04:25 PM.

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#172 Not A Naked Ape

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 08:24 AM

Thank you for the list, Elus. I also make similar lists for myself, since I want to get a better picture how much technological change I can expect in my lifetime. Here are a few other items I have found:

- The first cell (Mycoplasma genitalium) is simulated down to the molecular level. (kurzweilai.net in July)

- Peter Thiel invests in a company that wants to produce lab-grown meat.

- Physicists propose a clock that would be correct to 0,05 seconds after 14 billion years. (http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2490)

Sorry, I have not saved the links for all news items.
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#173 DAMABO

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:58 PM

to continue the debate with taurus londono:


'translating telephones' seem to exist. google it.

Of course they do. They were not, however, in use in the "early 2000s." Note the bold italics above the predictions; the degree of accuracy varies wildly (even that prediction is questionable; the use of translation apps is not widespread among cellphone users, and it is extremely primitive at best.)

Quote

'cybernetic chauffeurs' exist in the sense that self-driving cars have proven to be more safe for use than conventional human operated cars.

Can you cite a source for this assertion?

--just search for Google driverless car, it has driven for thousands of miles without accident, while the only accident was when a human took over.

Quote

'intelligent roads' I think also exist, but are not widely in use (but this is in accordance with ray's prediction)

No. Ray said "Local roads, though, are still predominantly conventional."

--- ah, missed a subtle distinction 'local'

The full context is that long-distance highways are in fact predominantly "intelligent" by 2009 and that by the end of the following decade (2020), "unassisted" driving on such highways would be illegal.

Quote

although kurzweil is a great predictor of what eventually will be,

I'm unaware of any evidence for that assertion.

--- try writing the new list of predictions for 2020; Ray has much insight into which technologies are being developed, and when; although naturally, the time frame is not 100% correct

Quote

electric cars existed a century ago, and still they are not 'widely in use'.

Irrelevant. Anybody can extrapolate from existing technologies if timescales don't matter. It would be one thing if Ray were doing that (and he might as well since the goal posts are constantly moved), but like I said, he's also adding his own personal imagination *and* explicitly dating his predictions.

-- my point is that ray will be more accurate on his predictions of the timescale of when a type of technology emerges than when it hits the wide market - since markets are less easy to predict than for instance the power of computing.

Edited by DAMABO, 11 September 2012 - 10:06 PM.

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#174 Mind

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:11 PM

People can continue to be envious of Kurzweil's somewhat successful track record, be turned off by his certitude, and/or nitpick about various timing, but it is getting to the point where most people can feel (if not predict) exponential progress. Here is an interesting article and comments.

Seems there could be some short term economic problems that could slow things down a bit, but the only way we are won't reach some sort-of singularity-type event in a couple decades is if some existential threat wipes a majority of the population (IMO).

Edited by Mind, 30 October 2012 - 06:39 PM.

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#175 zorba990

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 03:54 AM

This is an interesting read: http://www.aleph.se/...arity/sing.html
I wonder if consumerism can survive a technological singularity? Some solutions are simple if greed and laziness are eliminated form the equation.
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#176 Mind

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

Not a real functional brain simulation and not running at biological speed but this news from IBM makes me think this AGI stuff is "gettin' real"
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#177 tau_ceti

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

Ray was hired by Google recently.

What does that mean? (I'd post a few links, but I'm not allowed yet… but you could google "turing's cathedral edge.org" and get the article that I'd post to compare kurzweil's hire with).
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#178 Mind

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

Getting closer to the holodeck type concept from sci-fi.
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#179 Amichai Řezník

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:40 AM

The mere fact that a famous guy like Kurzweil is signed up does something for cryonics.



I doubt that having kurzweil as a cryo helps cryonics. Sure, it does, but only among a tiny fraction of the populace. Most people will see him as some sort of weirdo, as this newsweek reporter did.


Most non-transhumanist people probably know him for his brand of synthesizers though.

Umm anyway... Why didn't Kurzweil simply freeze his father if he wanted to see him again? Not to be disrespectful or anything, but letting his father rot in a coffin or become cremated means that the technology that is required for bringing him back would probably take much longer and the results would be inferior (especially if cloning is involved) than simply freezing him at Alcor and reviving him with nanotechnology, right? I mean, I know it wasn't a money issue because the guy's probably a millionaire.

Sorry if this is a stupid question.


His father died at 58 from hart attack when kurzweil was 22.

He probably wasn't rich by then and not even a futurist.

Yes that is true. He even talked about that in his film "trasncendent man". He said " we did'nt have the means back than. we did'nt have the knowledge, just did'nt exist". I watch that movie alot on my phone lol.
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#180 Mind

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

Kurzweil is starting to look "old". I hope he makes it to longevity escape velocity.
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