Kurzweil's predictions seem generally good with much of the technology existing or in development, and Kurzweil-haters are still in full force
As expected, no effort from Mind to present supporting evidence to defend the predictions in question. Which would be some monumental task, as Kurzweil himself is now shifting predictions from 2009 to 2020.
Kurzweil haters etc. etc... anyone notice how religious worshippers always try to deflect criticism with charges about the supposedly vile nature of their opponents, instead of offering sound evidence?
As for the other thread, some people are excited about commercially available VR goggles, which is all nice, but ofcourse a long way from “eyeglasses projecting images directly onto the retina”
On a positive note, there is a chance however, that this year we will see some crude prototype
of such a system, so if that happens, I'll credit Kurzweil for making a reasonably correct prediction. Of course body lan's, CSR, 3d chips, translating telephones, miniature drones and intelligent cars are NOT swarming the planet, and will not for the forseeable future. Although i agree that 2020 seems a more reasonable target.
David Styles, on Jan 1 2010, 03:36 PM, said:
As has been pointed out, some are incorrect, some are correct,
Are you talking about the specific predictions that I listed above?
Because you would be right that Kurzweil made correct predictions in the past, but all of those have been proven incorrect sofar.
and some have frankly been trumped already by better technology than predicted (like the first one, I'd say Pranav Mistry's Sixth Sense Device trumps that).
The prediction was:
-embedded in clothing and jewelry
-networked in body lan's
The Sixth Sense Device is a camera, projector and computer which you have to wear around your neck. You could call it a “body lan” with some stretch of imagination, but it's not embedded at all. Furthermore it's a prototype/student project, god knows when it will be useful enough to sell to the masses. The SSD is a great idea, but not much more than an idea at this stage. You won't be able to stream video supplementing a newspaper in real life.
Critical analysis is great if it can lead to something useful. What useful end did you have in mind, from demonstrating that Kurzweil is in fact not perfect? Did you think we, he, or indeed anyone else thought he was some quasi-religious prophet whose words are gospel?
Well yes, after hanging around here for a while, i'm beginning to think that some people do actually think he is a prophet whose words are gospel, because i can't think of another reason why people would try to deny Kurzweils mistakes, and getting bitter and personally hostile when somebody is pointing them out, even if this person is clearly sympathetic to the transhumanist movement.
As for what use, curious that somebody who identifies himself as a person who wants to live forever and transcend the flesh would ask that question. If Kurzweil is 20-30 years off with his predicion of the GNR revolution and resulting extreme life extension, it might make a big difference for your future plans wouldn't it? Perhaps in the end you'll regret your ascetic lifestyle and spending a fortune on supplements, when you could have had at least more fun with the risky lifestyle of the average citizen.
As for myself, i abandoned cigarettes and cheeseburgers for the possibility that it might help to get to a bridge to a bridge to a bridge. I bought a lot of stocks to be able to cash in on exponential economic growth. That's how serious i take Kurzweil et al. On the other hand, i don't like deluding myself and have to prepare for the possibility that stuff like indefinite lifespan and transcendence will take much longer than uber-optimists like Kurzweil claim. For example the Y2K bug disaster had some pretty solid evidence, some very smart minds predicted that catastrophe was inevitable, and then nothing happened. So. tracking predictions and outcomes is an invaluable tool to me to see how much weight i should give to ideas like the technological singularity. Depending on the outcome, i might change my way of life.
Kurweils predictions for the coming decades are ofcourse outrageous for most people. And extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. He's got some good points, but his evidence for machine intelligence in 2029 doesn't look very extraordinary to me, for example.
Kurzweil is rightly given credit for predicting the rise of the internet, machine supremacy in chess and the fall of the soviet union in the eighties. As time went by, his predictions became more and more fantastic, and if everyday non-transhumanist people are to be convinced, you have to be able to validate his later predictions. Public awareness of transhumanism will mean a big difference, especially for things like the SENS project. If massive funds were to be allocated to longevity-therapies by society, you would benefit. Before that happens, people will demand proof that these projects are indeed realistic, and if technology doesn't advance fast enough, people will remain skeptical.
You take a top Wall Street stockbroker, and they'll make predictions regarding how the stockmarket will go. They are sometimes right, and sometimes wrong. But they are experts in their field, so people with less of a clue look to them for their predictions, even though they recognise that they may not be perfect.
Only a very select group of stock analysts are correct more than chance would predict. And all they predict is whether stocks will go up or down, so they are usually right half of the time. Futurists on the other hand, can be completely wrong.
My teacher in 1983 predicted we'll all go on vacation to the moon by the year 2000. Now ofcourse SOME people, to whom the teacher is God, would claim that he was correct after all, since Russia is now offering space flights to millionaires. But they would look like fanatical Kurzweil followers who deny that The Age of Spiritual Machines had a lot of false predictions.
Edited by Arie, 01 January 2010 - 11:20 PM.