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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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#181 Godof Smallthings

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

I just don't know why anyone would want a mobile phone built into their t-shirt, it's so tacky. Besides, i think people like having their phone as a physical object, especially as they move towards being more like "pocket computers". Phones are fashion accessories and status symbols as well as communication devices.


This is true. Still, I can't help but associate to how ubiquitous wrist watches used to be, how strong their fashion and status value used to be, and how they have declined in use. It is technically possible to integrate a smartphone into a wrist-worn device, but we don't. Yet, take a look at science fiction from the 70s and 80s and see how everyone envisioned that the smart devices would be mainly worn on the wrist, like the watches used in those days. I'm not saying that t-shirt smart devices will necessarily win the battle, but I don't think it is reasonable to assume that everyone will always be wanting hand-held gadgets, either. In the end, what will happen is complete integration with our bodies. Whether clothes will be a common intermediary step or not, I don't know.

As for the glasses, i can't see myself being bothered to wear glasses simply so that i can have the time, date and weather forecast perpetually plastered in the top right hand corner of my vision. But maybe i'm misunderstanding what Ray is talking about here.


I side mostly with Ray on this one too. Most people won't mind using glasses with such abilities, especially not if they are marketed by some Steve Jobs-like individual. Anyway, yet again, the glasses would just be a temporary phase before we get that info (and anything else) integrated with the brain.

#182 Godof Smallthings

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

As technical director of Google, he is now in the best position possible to create the changes he has envisioned.

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#183 Mind

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

A lesswrong tally of Kurzweil's predictions is not too positive.

#184 Mind

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:34 PM

Getting closer to the holodeck type concept from sci-fi.


Getting even closer to an immersive virtual experience, which Kurzweil predicted/mentioned in his various books, but pretty much everyone else predicted as well for decades.

The obvious limitation (hardest hack) is of course 3D motion. Project Holodeck has thus far gotten around the limitation by creating a game world that does not require much bodily movement by the user. They could use a moving floor in order to amp it up a bit more, but that would be an expensive proposition and would not be a "home gaming" system.

#185 reason

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:33 AM

Like many, I think that Ray Kurzweil is overly optimistic on the timeline for progress in technology. I don't think he's wrong in terms of his high level view on where our technology is going, just a few decades on the early side - which is unfortunate for those of us who will age to death before the advent of rejuvenation biotechnology. It is certainly the case that the first draft of technologies to repair the underlying biological damage that causes aging could arrive fairly soon, within two decades - but it's not just a matter of building them, even though there are detailed research and development plans for doing so.

The issues are persuasion and fundraising; when it comes to aging, the mainstream of the research community is set on goals that either have nothing to do with human longevity, or will do very little to extend life even after being realized at great cost. So the comparatively tiny and underfunded shard of the scientific community whose members are interested in realizing effective means of rejuvenating the old will likely spend the next twenty years on laying the groundwork, prototyping the biotechnologies, proving their case ever more completely, growing funding, and persuading ever more researchers to do the same. If there were hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to this cause today, we could leap ahead twenty years in this timeline - but there are not. The money and large supportive community still has to be bootstrapped, building on the present early phase in the growth of modern rejuvenation research, underway successfully but slowly for the past decade or so, giving rise to organizations like the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation.

Here is Kurzweil's take on timelines, which are derived from his analysis of trends in technological capabilities:

To listen to Mr. Kurzweil or read his several books is to be flummoxed by a series of forecasts that hardly seem realizable in the next 40 years. But this is merely a flaw in my brain, he assures me. Humans are wired to expect "linear" change from their world. They have a hard time grasping the "accelerating, exponential" change that is the nature of information technology. "A kid in Africa with a smartphone is walking around with a trillion dollars of computation circa 1970," he says. Project that rate forward, and everything will change dramatically in the next few decades.

"I'm right on the cusp," he adds. "I think some of us will make it through" - he means baby boomers, who can hope to experience practical immortality if they hang on for another 15 years. By then, Mr. Kurzweil expects medical technology to be adding a year of life expectancy every year. We will start to outrun our own deaths. And then the wonders really begin.

Mr. Kurzweil's ideas on death and immortality, not his impressive record as an entrepreneur, are what bring TV newsmagazines and print reporters to his door these days. I suggest to him he's discovered the power of the prophetic voice and is borne forward by the rewarding feelings that come from giving people hope in the face of their profoundest fears. My insight does not impress him. He says he just gets satisfaction from seeing his ideas, like his inventions, wield a positive force in the world. People blame technology for humanity's problems, he says. They are much too pessimistic about its power to solve poverty, disease and pollution in our lifetimes.

Link: http://online.wsj.co...1386515510.html


<br> <br>View the full article
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#186 william7

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:51 PM

It's money making techno-capitalists like Ray Kurzweil who will end up making us slaves to the machine with a big brother ruling class in charge.Under current conditions, it's insanity to merge the human mind with artificially intelligent machines as Kurzweil and others of his persuasion are advocating. Look what big brother is already doing in regads to surveilance of digital communications as described in the article below. The nazi ruling class of the world would have a field day once they attained the ability to monitor and manipulate the human thought process with the futuristic technology Kurzweil describes and advocates. It would be just like George Orwell's picture of the Nazi jack boot stomping humanity in the face forever.


http://us4.campaign-...d3&e=357f864519


Round the Clock Surveillance: Is This the Price of Living in a ‘Free, Safe’ Society?

May 13, 2013
By John W. Whitehead


“If you’re not a terrorist, if you’re not a threat, prove it. This is the price you pay to live in free society right now. It’s just the way it is.”—Sergeant Ed Mullins of the New York Police Department

Immediately following the devastating 9/11 attacks, which destroyed the illusion of invulnerability which had defined American society since the end of the Cold War, many Americans willingly ceded their rights and liberties to government officials who promised them that the feeling of absolute safety could be restored.
In the 12 years since, we have been subjected to a series of deceptions, subterfuges and scare tactics by the government, all largely aimed at amassing more power for the federal agencies and extending their control over the populace. Starting with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, continuing with the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and coming to a head with the assassination of American citizens abroad, the importing of drones and other weapons of compliance, and the rise in domestic surveillance, we have witnessed the onslaught of a full-blown crisis in government.
Still Americans have gone along with these assaults on their freedoms unquestioningly.
Even with our freedoms in shambles, our country in debt, our so-called “justice” system weighted in favor of corporations and the police state, our government officials dancing to the tune of corporate oligarchs, and a growing intolerance on the part of the government for anyone who challenges the status quo, Americans have yet to say “enough is enough.”
Now, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are once again being assured that if we only give up a few more liberties and what little remains of our privacy, we will achieve that elusive sense of security we’ve yet to attain. This is the same song and dance that comes after every tragedy, and it’s that same song and dance which has left us buying into the illusion that we are a free, safe society.
The reality of life in America tells a different tale, however. For example, in a May 2013 interview with CNN, former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente disclosed that the federal government is keeping track of all digital communications that occur within the United States, whether or not those communicating are American citizens, and whether or not they have a warrant to do so.
As revelatory as the disclosure was, it caused barely a ripple of dismay among Americans, easily distracted by the torrent of what passes for entertainment news today. Yet it confirms what has become increasingly apparent in the years after 9/11: the federal government is literally tracking any and all communications occurring within the United States, without concern for the legal limitations of such activity, and without informing the American people that they are doing so.
Clemente dropped his bombshell during a CNN interview about authorities’ attempts to determine the nature of communications between deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his widow Katherine Russell. In the course of that conversation, Clemente revealed that federal officials will not only be able to access any voicemails that may have been left by either party, but that the entirety of the phone conversations they had will be at federal agents’ finger tips.
“We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation,” stated Clemente. “All of that stuff [meaning phone conversations occurring in America] is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.” A few days later, Clemente was asked to clarify his comments, at which point he said, “There is a way to look at all digital communications in the past. No digital communication is secure.”
In other words, there is no form of digital communication that the government cannot and does not monitor—phone calls, emails, text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, internet video chats, etc., are all accessible, trackable and downloadable by federal agents.
At one time, such actions by the government would not only have been viewed as unacceptable, they would also have been considered illegal. However, government officials have been engaged in an ongoing attempt to legitimize these actions by passing laws that make the lives of all Americans an open book for government agents. For example, while the nation was caught up in the drama of the Boston bombing and the ensuing military-style occupation of the city by local and federal police, Congress passed a little-noticed piece of legislation known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). The legislation, which the House of Representatives approved by an overwhelming margin of 288-127, will allow internet companies to share their users’ private data with the federal government and other private companies in order to combat so-called “cyber threats.”
In short, the law dismantles any notion of privacy on the internet, opening every action one undertakes online, whether emailing, shopping, banking, or just browsing, to scrutiny by government agents. While CISPA has yet to clear the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the spirit of it is alive and well. In fact, officials in the Obama administration have for some time now been authorizing corporate information sharing and spying in secret through the use of executive orders and other tactics.
The Justice Department, for instance, has been issuing so-called “2511 letters” to various internet service providers like AT&T, which immunize them from being prosecuted under federal wiretapping laws for providing the federal government with private information. Despite federal court rulings to the contrary, the Department of Justice continues to assert that it does not require a warrant to access Americans’ emails, Facebook chats, and other forms of digital communication.
While it may be tempting to lay the full blame for these erosions of our privacy on the Obama administration, they are simply continuing a system of mass surveillance, the seeds of which were planted in the weeks after 9/11, when the National Security Agency (NSA) began illegally tracking the communications of American citizens. According to a Washington Post article published in 2010, the NSA continues to collect 1.7 billion communications, whether telephone, email or otherwise, every single day.
The NSA and Department of Justice are just two pieces of a vast surveillance network which encompasses and implicates most of the federal government, as well as the majority of technology and telecommunications companies in the United States. For the past two years, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has approved literally every single request by the federal government to spy on people within the United States. There have been some 4,000 applications rubberstamped by the court in the past two years, applications which allow federal officials to monitor the communications of any person in the United States, including American citizens, if they are believed to be in contact with someone overseas.
These government-initiated spying programs depend in large part on the willingness of corporations to hand over personal information about their customers to government officials. Sometimes the government purchases the information outright. At other times, the government issues National Security Letters, which allow the government to force companies to hand over personal information without a warrant or probable cause.
Some web companies, such as Skype, have already altered their products to allow government access to personal information. In fact, government agents can now determine the credit card information and addresses of Skype users under suspicion of criminal activity. Aside from allowing government agents backdoor access to American communications, corporations are also working on technologies to allow government agents even easier access to Americans’ communications.
For example, Google has filed a patent for a “Policy Violation Checker,” software which would monitor an individual’s communications as they type them out, whether in an email, an Excel spreadsheet or some other digital document, then alert the individual, and potentially their employer or a government agent, if they type any “problematic phrases” which “present policy violations, have legal implications, or are otherwise troublesome to a company, business, or individual.” The software would work by comparing the text being typed to a pre-defined database of “problematic phrases,” which would presumably be defined on a company-by-company basis.
The emergence of this technology fits in well with Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s view on privacy, which is that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Unfortunately, this is not just the attitude of corporate benefactors who stand to profit from creating spy technology and software but government officials as well.
Additionally, police officials throughout the country have become increasingly keen on monitoring social media websites in real time. Rob D’Ovido, a criminal justice professor at Drexel University, has noted that, “The danger of this in light of the tragedy in Boston is that law enforcement is being so risk-averse they are in danger of crossing that line and going after what courts would ultimately deem as free speech.”
For example, Cameron Dambrosio, a teenager and self-styled rap artist living in Metheun, Massachusetts, posted a video of one of his original songs on the internet which included references to the White House and the Boston bombing. While the song’s lyrics may well have been crude and ill-advised in the wake of the Boston bombing, police officers exacerbated the situation by arresting Dambrosio and charging him with communicating terrorist threats, a felony charge which could land him in prison for twenty years.
Unfortunately, cases like Dambrosio’s may soon become the norm, as the FBI’s Next Generation Cyber Initiative has announced that its “top legislative priority” this year is to get social media giants like Facebook and Google to comply with requests for access to real-time updates of social media websites. The proposed method of encouraging compliance is legal inquiries and hefty fines leveled at these companies. The Obama administration is expected to support the proposal.
The reality is this: we no longer live in a free society. Having traded our freedoms for a phantom promise of security, we now find ourselves imprisoned in a virtual cage of cameras, wiretaps and watchful government eyes. All the while, the world around us is no safer than when we started on this journey more than a decade ago. Indeed, it well may be that we are living in a far more dangerous world, not so much because the terrorist threat is any greater but because the government itself has become the greater threat to our freedoms.
WC: 1749
This commentary is also
available at www.rutherford.org.




Edited by william7, 14 May 2013 - 11:54 PM.


#187 Mind

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 07:51 PM

Another year is drawing to a close so it is time to dredge up this topic once again. Personally, I would say Kurzweil's pop-sci predictions are faltering. For a couple of years now, there have been many breakthroughs "in the lab" and prototype products that would fulfill his predictions quite well. The problem is that they are not making into the mass market. Once again, 3D immersion/virtual reality type stuff has not hit the mainstream. Nanotech remains infant. It is now to the point where anyone with a science/tech background can see and predict things similar to what Kurzweil did a decade or more ago, but whether or not these items/themes/devices gain mass acceptance remains to be seen.

Disturbingly, it seems the new expensive (prototype) tech remains in the hands of the wealthy and connected. The only new tech that makes it into the mainstream is anything that allows people to feed their data (games, porn, gossip-facebook, entertainment) addiction. It seems equally likely that we will have some sort-of "beautiful" mass consciousness arise as we end up with a bifurcated world where a tiny elite of wealthy technocrats rule the world and everyone is just wired-headed to the system/matrix. A good read about this future here as well.
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#188 AgeVivo

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 04:28 PM

I would say Kurzweil's pop-sci predictions are faltering

This seems quite general in the field of transhumanism: a wrong estimation of future time: "Defeat aging now". However visions are useful in that they drive market advancement to some extent, such as for the computer Moore law of processors.

In terms of defeating aging, for now the only thing for which I am able to give some timelines, ***under the condition that money is found*** (if some of you have contacts with rich mécènes for life extension it is time to contact them about it; you can PM me) is a massive testing of compounds and gene changes on mouse lifespan and then pig lifespan in order to *empirically* do something about aging: I think that here we have a *garantie* to do something important about aging in less than 10 years in mice and less than 30 years in pigs and in humans. Every other approach of research is by nature more random and could happen soon or happen in 100 years: we have no clue about it as it is 'standard research'; transhumanist-like projections will probably have a lot of truth in terms of what will "one day" happen but not the correct order of magnitudes in terms of speed, except for a few things that are vision+money+market driven.

Edited by AgeVivo, 01 January 2014 - 04:33 PM.


#189 william7

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:23 PM

It seems equally likely that we will have some sort-of "beautiful" mass consciousness arise as we end up with a bifurcated world where a tiny elite of wealthy technocrats rule the world and everyone is just wired-headed to the system/matrix. A good read about this future here as well.

You did mean to say unlikely and not likely here? If you did mean unlikely, I fully agree with you, and it's nice to hear this.

#190 nupi

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:22 PM

The problem is that they are not making into the mass market. Once again, 3D immersion/virtual reality type stuff has not hit the mainstream.


It's getting there though. Oculus Rift is cheap enough to get as a toy (essentially that's what it is, it needs about 4x the current pixel density to become a usable product), Google Glass is seeing limited beta. And there are a whole bunch of other devices out there (Atheer One seems to be the most impressive, impressive enough for me to plunk down 450USD for vapor ware, anyway). And Google Now is starting to be a quite handy personal assistant - it does some things actually far better than any human assistant ever could hope to. I never got the thinking behind the smart tshirts but wearables in the form of smart glasses might just take off (the inherent creepiness factor is now more of an issue than developing the required technology).

Frankly, I remain unconvinced about a future of nice gadgets only for the wealthy. If anything, we have seen the exact opposite trend over the last 20 (and definitely 5) years. Hell I am a gadget junkie and just bought a 199USD Moto G and honestly consider it better than some of the 750USD flagship phones, that is how far tech democratization has progressed.
As for the limited release of Google Glass. I honestly believe the limited beta is to contain the risk of damaging that brand. It's clearly a prototype and the worst that could happen to it is selling it to people that do not understand that they just bought a 1500USD toy that could break any second and then start screaming bloody murder if it does not work.

And by many measures, autonomous cars are now more of a regulatory than an engineering challenge.

[1] I had one, sold it after using it for an hour. Will buy the next version if they get the resolution to where it needs to be.

Edited by nupi, 02 January 2014 - 04:25 PM.

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#191 Mind

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 06:30 PM

It seems equally likely that we will have some sort-of "beautiful" mass consciousness arise as we end up with a bifurcated world where a tiny elite of wealthy technocrats rule the world and everyone is just wired-headed to the system/matrix. A good read about this future here as well.

You did mean to say unlikely and not likely here? If you did mean unlikely, I fully agree with you, and it's nice to hear this.


No, I meant that either a utopian-ish (mass consciousness) or distopian-ish (matrix) future is EQUALLY likely, IMO.

#192 dz93

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:39 PM

It seems equally likely that we will have some sort-of "beautiful" mass consciousness arise as we end up with a bifurcated world where a tiny elite of wealthy technocrats rule the world and everyone is just wired-headed to the system/matrix. A good read about this future here as well.

You did mean to say unlikely and not likely here? If you did mean unlikely, I fully agree with you, and it's nice to hear this.


No, I meant that either a utopian-ish (mass consciousness) or distopian-ish (matrix) future is EQUALLY likely, IMO.

You think of a tiny group of rich people rule the world?..

#193 Mind

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 06:45 PM

It seems equally likely that we will have some sort-of "beautiful" mass consciousness arise as we end up with a bifurcated world where a tiny elite of wealthy technocrats rule the world and everyone is just wired-headed to the system/matrix. A good read about this future here as well.

You did mean to say unlikely and not likely here? If you did mean unlikely, I fully agree with you, and it's nice to hear this.


No, I meant that either a utopian-ish (mass consciousness) or distopian-ish (matrix) future is EQUALLY likely, IMO.

You think of a tiny group of rich people rule the world?..


No, but that it is possible in the future due to the concentration of advanced technology in so few hands.

#194 etizsupplyusa.com

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:09 AM

Like many, I think that Ray Kurzweil is overly optimistic on the timeline for progress in technology. I don't think he's wrong in terms of his high level view on where our technology is going, just a few decades on the early side - which is unfortunate for those of us who will age to death before the advent of rejuvenation biotechnology. It is certainly the case that the first draft of technologies to repair the underlying biological damage that causes aging could arrive fairly soon, within two decades - but it's not just a matter of building them, even though there are detailed research and development plans for doing so.
The issues are persuasion and fundraising; when it comes to aging, the mainstream of the research community is set on goals that either have nothing to do with human longevity, or will do very little to extend life even after being realized at great cost. So the comparatively tiny and underfunded shard of the scientific community whose members are interested in realizing effective means of rejuvenating the old will likely spend the next twenty years on laying the groundwork, prototyping the biotechnologies, proving their case ever more completely, growing funding, and persuading ever more researchers to do the same. If there were hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to this cause today, we could leap ahead twenty years in this timeline - but there are not. The money and large supportive community still has to be bootstrapped, building on the present early phase in the growth of modern rejuvenation research, underway successfully but slowly for the past decade or so, giving rise to organizations like the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation.
Here is Kurzweil's take on timelines, which are derived from his analysis of trends in technological capabilities:

To listen to Mr. Kurzweil or read his several books is to be flummoxed by a series of forecasts that hardly seem realizable in the next 40 years. But this is merely a flaw in my brain, he assures me. Humans are wired to expect "linear" change from their world. They have a hard time grasping the "accelerating, exponential" change that is the nature of information technology. "A kid in Africa with a smartphone is walking around with a trillion dollars of computation circa 1970," he says. Project that rate forward, and everything will change dramatically in the next few decades.
"I'm right on the cusp," he adds. "I think some of us will make it through" - he means baby boomers, who can hope to experience practical immortality if they hang on for another 15 years. By then, Mr. Kurzweil expects medical technology to be adding a year of life expectancy every year. We will start to outrun our own deaths. And then the wonders really begin.
Mr. Kurzweil's ideas on death and immortality, not his impressive record as an entrepreneur, are what bring TV newsmagazines and print reporters to his door these days. I suggest to him he's discovered the power of the prophetic voice and is borne forward by the rewarding feelings that come from giving people hope in the face of their profoundest fears. My insight does not impress him. He says he just gets satisfaction from seeing his ideas, like his inventions, wield a positive force in the world. People blame technology for humanity's problems, he says. They are much too pessimistic about its power to solve poverty, disease and pollution in our lifetimes.


Link: http://online.wsj.co...1386515510.html


<br> <br>View the full article


I feel this is right on the money. Kurzweil's predictions were assuming more funding than has been given, maybe due to the dot com boom of the era. The tech is there for alot of his predicitons, almost all of them. The contact lense virutal reality/cell phone prediction is not far off, its in development, and google glasses are around, which is essentially the first generation of this tech. If we poured a fraction of the militaries budget, scraped nasa/unneeded agencies/expenditures and put them towards biological sciences and funding tech startups, we would be where he predicted IMO. We also need to develop interest in these fields in budding scientists (like myself) who go into traditional fields where they might not make the same impact if they were to devote their life to defeating aging or helping reverse engineer the human brain. His time frames are never going to be perfect guys, but he did a good job predicting the near future. He used 10 years as a general guidline, he could have made a year by year prediction for all these technologies, but they were meant to be approximately 10 years into the future, plus or minus a few years. I think he did a damn good job. As far as autonomous cars, we have self parking cars, cars that avoid collisions,etc,etc. If new cars were put with a chip that communicated with other cars to prevent accidents, we could over the course of time build a network where the vast majority of cars are in constant communication with each other, and still monitoring old school cars, with the help of neighbouring cars and statistical data saved for each driver.

All in all Kurzweil is human. He is damn smart and has a great vision of the future. He is not and will never be perfect, but I doubt anyone here would have done better in 1999. His new job at Google is frickin AWESOME and really gives me hope towards the reverse engineering the brain project he has been so keen on. Google has so much funding and so many brilliant thinkers, they are the company that would produce such a monumental breakthrough, as it requires a TON of funding, minds, ideas, creativity, and the freedom to try things outside the box. I hope he does great things.

Kurzweil is better than the vast majority of futurists. Does he let his very strong and specific transhumanist viewpoints influence his timeline a bit? Possibly, but not so much as to be unreasonable predictions as I think we have seen so far.

Just my opinion of this debate.

Evan
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#195 forever freedom

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:09 PM

I've been short of time lately but i wish i had posted here earlier. In "The Age of Spiritual Machines", he makes predictions about 2009. It's now five years since 2009, but if by now they've become reality i will be content:
  • Most books will be read on screens rather than paper. - If not already happening, it's definitely not because of lack of technology.
  • Most text will be created using speech recognition technology. - Ok, now he was undeniably way off here. 5 years after 2009, and the majority of text is still created through typing. We do NOT even have the tech yet to create accurate, flawless texts from speech recognition.
  • Intelligent roads and driverless cars will be in use, mostly on highways. - Partially incorrect. We now have the tech to put driverless cars on the streets, not only in highways but inside cities too. But it will be another 10 years before we eliminate the remaining hurdles for making mass everyday driverless cars a reality.
  • People use personal computers the size of rings, pins, credit cards and books - True now.
  • Personal worn computers provide monitoring of body functions, automated identity and directions for navigation. - All possible now. There are already various apps for health monitoring, not to mention for IDing the user and for directions.
  • Cables are disappearing. Computer peripheries use wireless communication. - Correct.
  • People can talk to their computer to give commands - Partially correct, with Siri and others. Although, just like with speech recognition for writing, we still have a LONG way to go to make speaking to the computer the preferred way of giving it commands. But since Kurzweil doesn't mention that this would be the preferred way of giving commands, i'll say he was right.
  • Computer displays built into eyeglasses for augmented reality are used.Only recently did we get Google Glass and it's still in beta stage. Maybe in 1-2 years they will become common. So Kurzweil was off here for 6-7+ years.
  • Computers can recognize their owner's face from a picture or video. - Only recently true, but still very primitive and imperfect.
  • Three-dimensional chips are commonly used. - True, although it sort of depends on what Kurzweil means by three-dimensional chips. Manufacturers have been producing chips with vertical stacking technology for years now. That's one form of 3D chip.
  • Sound producing speakers are being replaced with very small chip-based devices that can place high resolution sound anywhere in three-dimensional spaces. Haven't heard about this.
  • A 1000 dollar pc can perform about a trillion calculations per second. Don't know about this in 2009. Right now in 2014, $1000 buys much more than a teraFLOP of power.
  • There is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms and other forms of "chaotic" or complexity theory computing. - True.
  • Research has been initiated on reverse engineering the brain through both destructive and non-invasive scans. - There's plenty of research going on, but without results it doesn't mean much. The Blue Brain Project from Europe and the BRAIN Initiative from the US are the ones we should pay attention to in the next ten years.
  • Autonomous nanoengineered machines have been demonstrated and include their own computational control - Don't know about this. True nanoengineered machines, with complex control and function, are very very hard to build, and we are very far from being able to build them. This one is at least two decades away.

I will go further now, and post here Kurzweil`s predictions for 2019 from "The Age of Spiritual Machines". We are already halfway through to 2019 so i think it's appropriate to see them:
  • The computational capacity of a $4,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is approximately equal to the computational capability of the human brain (20 quadrillion calculations per second - This will not happen. The current fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2`s maximum speed is 33.86 petaFLOPS, barely surpassing Kurzweil's estimate of the power of the human brain. In 5 years a home desktop, no matter how powerful ($4k can buy a pretty powerful rig for home purposes), will not get anywhere near the speed of current supercomputers.
  • The summed computational powers of all computers is comparable to the total brainpower of the human race. - Useless prediction, impossible to verify.
  • Computers are embedded everywhere in the environment (inside of furniture, jewelry, walls, clothing, etc.) - Certainly going to happen. No lack of tech here.
  • People experience 3-D virtual reality through glasses and contact lenses that beam images directly to their retinas (retinal display). Coupled with an auditory source (headphones), users can remotely communicate with other people and access the Internet.- Very likely. Google Glass or Oculus Rift or another one is going to get big by then, in my opinion.
  • These special glasses and contact lenses can deliver "augmented reality" and "virtual reality" in three different ways. First, they can project "heads-up-displays" (HUDs) across the user's field of vision, superimposing images that stay in place in the environment regardless of the user's perspective or orientation. Second, virtual objects or people could be rendered in fixed locations by the glasses, so when the user's eyes look elsewhere, the objects appear to stay in their places. Third, the devices could block out the "real" world entirely and fully immerse the user in a virtual reality environment. - As with previous prediction, certainly possible.
  • People communicate with their computers via two-way speech and gestures instead of with keyboards. Furthermore, most of this interaction occurs through computerized assistants with different personalities that the user can select or customize. Dealing with computers thus becomes more and more like dealing with a human being.- Speech recognition still has a very long way to go and gestures are just too weird (although one could consider touchscreen interactions to involve gestures?).
  • Most business transactions or information inquiries involve dealing with a simulated persons - More and more we are obligated to deal with bots and computers when looking out information, but Kurzweil should specify better what he means by business transactions, otherwise the predictions gets hard to verify.
  • Most people own more than one PC, though the concept of what a "computer" is has changed considerably: Computers are no longer limited in design to laptops or CPUs contained in a large box connected to a monitor. Instead, devices with computer capabilities come in all sorts of unexpected shapes and sizes. - 100% right.
  • Cables connecting computers and peripherals have almost completely disappeared.- Indeed, cables are disappearing.
  • Rotating computer hard drives are no longer used- Not going to happen so fast, IMO. although they are getting less used. Solid state drives are ever more used, but 5 years is too little time for good old HDDs to disappear.
  • Three-dimensional nanotube lattices are the dominant computing substrate. - Not going to happen.
  • Massively parallel neural nets and genetic algorithms are in wide use- Neural networks are already in massive use today.
  • Destructive scans of the brain and noninvasive brain scans have allowed scientists to understand the brain much better. The algorithms that allow the relatively small genetic code of the brain to construct a much more complex organ are being transferred into computer neural nets - Don't know about this, but Blue Brain Project and BRAIN Initiative are likely to bring us some interesting results, maybe not in 2019 but in 2024, 10 years from now.
  • Pinhead-sized cameras are everywhere. - Very possible.
  • Nanotechnology is more capable and is in use for specialized applications, yet it has not yet made it into the mainstream. "Nanoengineered machines" begin to be used in manufacturing - We already use nanotech for a wide variety of applications, especially in manufacturing, but more advanced nanotechnology is at least 2 decades away.
  • Thin, lightweight, handheld displays with very high resolutions are the preferred means for viewing documents. The aforementioned computer eyeglasses and contact lenses are also used for this same purpose, and all download the information wirelessly. - True.
  • Computers have made paper books and documents almost completely obsolete- People will still read their paper newspapers and books and magazines but it's not for lack of tech that this prediction won't come true.
  • Most learning is accomplished through intelligent, adaptive courseware presented by computer-simulated teachers. In the learning process, human adults fill the counselor and mentor roles instead of being academic instructors. These assistants are often not physically present, and help students remotely- Regular classrooms are not going away in 5 years, but more and more people learn via Google and internet in general.
  • Students still learn together and socialize, though this is often done remotely via computers.- No, this will still be done in person.
  • All students have access to computers. - True.
  • Most human workers spend the majority of their time acquiring new skills and knowledge.- Jobs with repetitive tasks are indeed disappearing and people need to constantly renew their knowledge and learn new skills.
  • Blind people wear special glasses that interpret the real world for them through speech. Sighted people also use these glasses to amplify their own abilities. - I can see something like this happening..
  • People with spinal cord injuries can walk and climb steps using computer-controlled nerve stimulation and exoskeletal robotic walkers.- Probably going to happen at some level and for the wealthy, but this will not be mainstream in just 5 years.
  • Computers are also found inside of some humans in the form of cybernetic implants. These are most commonly used by disabled people to regain normal physical faculties (i.e. - Retinal implants allow the blind to see and spinal implants coupled with mechanical legs allow the paralyzed to walk).- Already today we see some retinal implants, so some forms of blindness could be cured by these implants.

Ok i'm unfortunately out of time, but here's the rest of Kurzweil's predictions for 2019, without my annoying commentaries :
  • Language translating machines are of much higher quality, and are routinely used in conversations.
  • Effective language technologies (natural language processing, speech recognition, speech synthesis) exist
  • Access to the Internet is completely wireless and provided by wearable or implanted computers.
  • People are able to wirelessly access the Internet at all times from almost anywhere
  • Devices that deliver sensations to the skin surface of their users (i.e.--tight body suits and gloves) are also sometimes used in virtual reality to complete the experience. "Virtual sex"—in which two people are able to have sex with each other through virtual reality, or in which a human can have sex with a "simulated" partner that only exists on a computer—becomes a reality.
  • Just as visual- and auditory virtual reality have come of age, haptic technology has fully matured and is completely convincing, yet requires the user to enter a V.R. booth. It is commonly used for computer sex and remote medical examinations. It is the preferred sexual medium since it is safe and enhances the experience.
  • Worldwide economic growth has continued. There has not been a global economic collapse.
  • The vast majority of business interactions occur between humans and simulated retailers, or between a human's virtual personal assistant and a simulated retailer.
  • Household robots are ubiquitous and reliable.
  • Computers do most of the vehicle driving—-humans are in fact prohibited from driving on highways unassisted. Furthermore, when humans do take over the wheel, the onboard computer system constantly monitors their actions and takes control whenever the human drives recklessly. As a result, there are very few transportation accidents.
  • Most roads now have automated driving systems—networks of monitoring and communication devices that allow computer-controlled automobiles to safely navigate.
  • Prototype personal flying vehicles using microflaps exist. They are also primarily computer-controlled.
  • Humans are beginning to have deep relationships with automated personalities, which hold some advantages over human partners. The depth of some computer personalities convinces some people that they should be accorded more rights.
  • While a growing number of humans believe that their computers and the simulated personalities they interact with are intelligent to the point of human-level consciousness, experts dismiss the possibility that any could pass the Turing Test.
  • Human-robot relationships begin as simulated personalities become more convincing.
  • Interaction with virtual personalities becomes a primary interface
  • Public places and workplaces are ubiquitously monitored to prevent violence and all actions are recorded permanently. Personal privacy is a major political issue, and some people protect themselves with unbreakable computer codes.
  • The basic needs of the underclass are met. (Not specified if this pertains only to the developed world or to all countries)
  • Virtual artists—creative computers capable of making their own art and music—emerge in all fields of the arts.

  • like x 2

#196 forever freedom

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:53 PM

Now there's this prediction that Kurzweil made for the 2010s in "The Singularity is Near" which clearly shows his bias to fit predictions into his lifespan to escape death:

- The decade in which "Bridge Two", the revolution in Genetics/Biotechnology, is to reach its peak. During the 2010s, humans will have the means of changing their genes; not just "designer babies" will be feasible, but designer baby boomers through the rejuvenation of all of one's body's tissues and organs by transforming one's skin cells into youthful versions of every other cell type. People will be able to "reprogram" their own biochemistry away from disease and aging, radically extending life expectancy.


Let's say the 2010s mean until 2020. That's just 6 years from now. So we will be able to reprogram biology away from disease and aging in 6 years at most? Of course, when we get to 2020, he will say that we indeed are reprogramming biology, but he will use as arguments some crackpot therapies that he currently undergoes in Terry's clinic and his heavy supplements use which probably doesn't do a thing to delay aging.



In the same book, for the 2020s, he makes these predictions too:
  • The decade in which "Bridge Three", the revolution in Nanotechnology, is to begin: allowing humans to vastly overcome the inherent limitations of biology, as no matter how much humanity fine-tunes their biology, they will never be as capable otherwise. This decade also marks the revolution in Robotics (Strong AI), as an AI is expected to pass the Turing test by the last year of the decade (2029), meaning it can pass for a human being (though the first A.I. is likely to be the equivalent of an average, educated human). What follows then will be an era of consolidation in which nonbiological intelligence will undergo exponential growth (Runaway AI), eventually leading to the extraordinary expansion contemplated by the Singularity, in which human intelligence is multiplied by billions by the mid-2040s.
  • As one of their first practical applications, nanomachines are used for medical purposes.
  • Highly advanced medical nanobots will perform detailed brainscans on live patients.
  • Accurate computer simulations of the entire human brain will exist due to these hyperaccurate brainscans, and the workings of the brain will be understood.
  • Nanobots capable of entering the bloodstream to "feed" cells and extract waste will exist (though not necessarily be in wide use) by the end of this decade. They will make the normal mode of human food consumption obsolete.
  • The many variations of "Human Body 2.0" (as Kurzweil calls it) are incrementally accumulated into this and the following decade, with each organ and body system having its own course of refinement and development. It ultimately consists of a nanotechnological system of nourishment and circulation, obsolescing many internal organs, brain-extension and an improved skeleton.

To me it's clear these things aren't going to happen before 2030. Again, Kurzweil is overly optimistic here, and this gets clearer and clearer as the years pass by. We're now only 16 years to 2030, and this scenario is way to revolutionary to happen even before 2050.


I've been a long time Kurzweil follower, for more than 10 years now i've been reading his predictions and books. Several of his predictions, especially the ones concerning human health, are 1-3 decades too early, if not more.

#197 Mind

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 12:28 PM

To me it's clear these things aren't going to happen before 2030. Again, Kurzweil is overly optimistic here, and this gets clearer and clearer as the years pass by. We're now only 16 years to 2030, and this scenario is way to revolutionary to happen even before 2050.

I've been a long time Kurzweil follower, for more than 10 years now i've been reading his predictions and books. Several of his predictions, especially the ones concerning human health, are 1-3 decades too early, if not more.


I sometimes think he is overly optimistic as well, but the basis of his predictions is that we are on an exponential growth path. Our latest tools create better tools and things accelerate, Unless there is some major catastrophe that shuts down our energy supply and/or kills off most of humanity, I can still imagine many of Kurzweil's predictions coming true relatively close to the predicted timescales. Like you, I have a hard time seeing how some of these things could happen so quick, but then again, my brain is small, and I cannot process everything that is going on in the world or how AI/tech is currently evolving.

Edited by Mind, 23 January 2014 - 12:29 PM.


#198 mikeinnaples

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:17 PM

The computational capacity of a $4,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is approximately equal to the computational capability of the human brain (20 quadrillion calculations per second - This will not happen. The current fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2`s maximum speed is 33.86 petaFLOPS, barely surpassing Kurzweil's estimate of the power of the human brain. In 5 years a home desktop, no matter how powerful ($4k can buy a pretty powerful rig for home purposes), will not get anywhere near the speed of current supercomputers.

My i7-3960X has a single core max at 168 GFLOP. Are you so sure that this is out of the realm of possibility?

People communicate with their computers via two-way speech and gestures instead of with keyboards. Furthermore, most of this interaction occurs through computerized assistants with different personalities that the user can select or customize. Dealing with computers thus becomes more and more like dealing with a human being.- Speech recognition still has a very long way to go and gestures are just too weird (although one could consider touchscreen interactions to involve gestures?).

There is some very good speech recognition software out there that works much better than Siri, heh. Whether or not you think gestures are weird, the tech is already there for that and in use.

Rotating computer hard drives are no longer used- Not going to happen so fast, IMO. although they are getting less used. Solid state drives are ever more used, but 5 years is too little time for good old HDDs to disappear.

I disagree, the standard HDDs are already being phased out. This is already happening. I don't think Ray literally meant that there would be no rotating HDD in use *anywhere*. I just did a new build for our dev machines and the configs didnt even have an old school HDD as an option. It was 100% SSD.

Three-dimensional nanotube lattices are the dominant computing substrate. - Not going to happen.

Why?

Nanotechnology is more capable and is in use for specialized applications, yet it has not yet made it into the mainstream. "Nanoengineered machines" begin to be used in manufacturing - We already use nanotech for a wide variety of applications, especially in manufacturing, but more advanced nanotechnology is at least 2 decades away.

'More advanced' nanotechnology isn't two decades away. It is advancing as we speak. We will have more advanced tech this year than we did last and so on...... I guess I am not sure what the point of your comment here was.

Students still learn together and socialize, though this is often done remotely via computers.- No, this will still be done in person.

Of course it will still be done in person, but it is already being done often via computers. Hell, my son does most of his socializing online and only does things in person that can't be accomplished otherwise. Hell 'I' do most of my socializing online because of geographical differences with many of my friends, coworkers, etc.


See my comments.

#199 forever freedom

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 09:40 PM

The computational capacity of a $4,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is approximately equal to the computational capability of the human brain (20 quadrillion calculations per second - This will not happen. The current fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2`s maximum speed is 33.86 petaFLOPS, barely surpassing Kurzweil's estimate of the power of the human brain. In 5 years a home desktop, no matter how powerful ($4k can buy a pretty powerful rig for home purposes), will not get anywhere near the speed of current supercomputers.

My i7-3960X has a single core max at 168 GFLOP. Are you so sure that this is out of the realm of possibility?

Consider that in the best case scenario, computer power doubles every year. We just do the math. 20 petaFLOPs are equal to 20,000,000 GFLOPs. You have 168 GFLOPS now..

But let's use Nvidia's GTX 780 Titan which has an impressive performance of 4,500 GFLOPs. It costs around U$1,000. Let's go to ludicrous territory here and say that we can quadruple the performance by spending U$4,000 in a rig. That gives us 18,000 GFLOPs. This is unrealistic for only $4k but ok. Now we would need a machine 1000x faster in 5 years for Ray's prediction to hold. Even if performance doubles every year, we would still be 5 years away from Ray's target. But this is the optimistic scenario. It's more likely that Ray's prediction will be fulfilled in the late 2020s or early 2030s.



People communicate with their computers via two-way speech and gestures instead of with keyboards. Furthermore, most of this interaction occurs through computerized assistants with different personalities that the user can select or customize. Dealing with computers thus becomes more and more like dealing with a human being.- Speech recognition still has a very long way to go and gestures are just too weird (although one could consider touchscreen interactions to involve gestures?).

There is some very good speech recognition software out there that works much better than Siri, heh. Whether or not you think gestures are weird, the tech is already there for that and in use.

Yes you're right, there are some very good speech recognition softwares out there.. i suppose the bigger problem is that people don't to like to use them.



Rotating computer hard drives are no longer used- Not going to happen so fast, IMO. although they are getting less used. Solid state drives are ever more used, but 5 years is too little time for good old HDDs to disappear.

I disagree, the standard HDDs are already being phased out. This is already happening. I don't think Ray literally meant that there would be no rotating HDD in use *anywhere*. I just did a new build for our dev machines and the configs didnt even have an old school HDD as an option. It was 100% SSD.

I disagree with you. SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. Unless there's a breakthrough that makes SSDs much cheaper, people will keep using HDDs for personal archives.


Three-dimensional nanotube lattices are the dominant computing substrate. - Not going to happen.

Why?

Well it could happen but 5 years seem like too little time. Here is a nice breakthrough:


http://www.technolog...otube-computer/

It's estimated that this technology could become viable in 10-12 years, though. A few years after 2019.






Students still learn together and socialize, though this is often done remotely via computers.- No, this will still be done in person.

Of course it will still be done in person, but it is already being done often via computers. Hell, my son does most of his socializing online and only does things in person that can't be accomplished otherwise. Hell 'I' do most of my socializing online because of geographical differences with many of my friends, coworkers, etc.

My statement should have been read considering my previous commentary in relation to Kurzweil's prediction that: "Most learning is accomplished through intelligent, adaptive courseware presented by computer-simulated teachers. In the learning process, human adults fill the counselor and mentor roles instead of being academic instructors. These assistants are often not physically present, and help students remotely".


See my comments.



#200 PWAIN

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 04:29 AM

I've been short of time lately but i wish i had posted here earlier. In "The Age of Spiritual Machines", he makes predictions about 2009. It's now five years since 2009, but if by now they've become reality i will be content:

  • Most books will be read on screens rather than paper. - If not already happening, it's definitely not because of lack of technology. True but if technology is not adopted, then predicting it is pointless.
  • Most text will be created using speech recognition technology. - Ok, now he was undeniably way off here. 5 years after 2009, and the majority of text is still created through typing. We do NOT even have the tech yet to create accurate, flawless texts from speech recognition.
  • Intelligent roads and driverless cars will be in use, mostly on highways. - Partially incorrect. We now have the tech to put driverless cars on the streets, not only in highways but inside cities too. But it will be another 10 years before we eliminate the remaining hurdles for making mass everyday driverless cars a reality. We're close but definitely not there yet. Regulation and law changes could delay this even more.
  • People use personal computers the size of rings, pins, credit cards and books - True now. I have yet to see a single pin or ring with a built in computer - even a credit card sized computer is not something I've seen. Only books (25% right).
  • Personal worn computers provide monitoring of body functions, automated identity and directions for navigation. - All possible now. There are already various apps for health monitoring, not to mention for IDing the user and for directions. Anything out there like this is very much specialist. Sure the tech may exist but it is not yet practical or affordable.
  • Cables are disappearing. Computer peripheries use wireless communication. - Correct. My mouse, keyboard, screen power and network cable are all very much in use. Sure there are wireless options for most of these but they are far from in common use. Honestly most of thee have been around since he made the prediction.
  • People can talk to their computer to give commands - Partially correct, with Siri and others. Although, just like with speech recognition for writing, we still have a LONG way to go to make speaking to the computer the preferred way of giving it commands. But since Kurzweil doesn't mention that this would be the preferred way of giving commands, i'll say he was right. But really how much use actually involves talking to a computer. I'd estimate it as well under 1 tenth of 1 percent so I call fail here. Speech recognition has been around for decades, it is just not very good.
  • Computer displays built into eyeglasses for augmented reality are used.Only recently did we get Google Glass and it's still in beta stage. Maybe in 1-2 years they will become common. So Kurzweil was off here for 6-7+ years.
  • Computers can recognize their owner's face from a picture or video. - Only recently true, but still very primitive and imperfect. As it has been for well over a decade - nothing really new, just slow incremental improvements but still not good enough.
  • Three-dimensional chips are commonly used. - True, although it sort of depends on what Kurzweil means by three-dimensional chips. Manufacturers have been producing chips with vertical stacking technology for years now. That's one form of 3D chip.
  • Sound producing speakers are being replaced with very small chip-based devices that can place high resolution sound anywhere in three-dimensional spaces. Haven't heard about this. Pretty much non existent outside a lab.
  • A 1000 dollar pc can perform about a trillion calculations per second. Don't know about this in 2009. Right now in 2014, $1000 buys much more than a teraFLOP of power. Mostly done using graphics cards but it can be done.
  • There is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms and other forms of "chaotic" or complexity theory computing. - True. Yes, this is true but you could have said the same at any time in the last 10 - 20 years.
  • Research has been initiated on reverse engineering the brain through both destructive and non-invasive scans. - There's plenty of research going on, but without results it doesn't mean much. The Blue Brain Project from Europe and the BRAIN Initiative from the US are the ones we should pay attention to in the next ten years. This one is spot on.
  • Autonomous nanoengineered machines have been demonstrated and include their own computational control - Don't know about this. True nanoengineered machines, with complex control and function, are very very hard to build, and we are very far from being able to build them. This one is at least two decades away. I agree that this one is still a long way off.
I will go further now, and post here Kurzweil`s predictions for 2019 from "The Age of Spiritual Machines". We are already halfway through to 2019 so i think it's appropriate to see them:
  • The computational capacity of a $4,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is approximately equal to the computational capability of the human brain (20 quadrillion calculations per second - This will not happen. The current fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2`s maximum speed is 33.86 petaFLOPS, barely surpassing Kurzweil's estimate of the power of the human brain. In 5 years a home desktop, no matter how powerful ($4k can buy a pretty powerful rig for home purposes), will not get anywhere near the speed of current supercomputers. I don't think we will make it on this one but maybe...
  • The summed computational powers of all computers is comparable to the total brainpower of the human race. - Useless prediction, impossible to verify.
  • Computers are embedded everywhere in the environment (inside of furniture, jewelry, walls, clothing, etc.) - Certainly going to happen. No lack of tech here.
  • People experience 3-D virtual reality through glasses and contact lenses that beam images directly to their retinas (retinal display). Coupled with an auditory source (headphones), users can remotely communicate with other people and access the Internet.- Very likely. Google Glass or Oculus Rift or another one is going to get big by then, in my opinion. Google glass and Occulus rift are not retinal projection devices. They are possible but still concerns with safety.
  • These special glasses and contact lenses can deliver "augmented reality" and "virtual reality" in three different ways. First, they can project "heads-up-displays" (HUDs) across the user's field of vision, superimposing images that stay in place in the environment regardless of the user's perspective or orientation. Second, virtual objects or people could be rendered in fixed locations by the glasses, so when the user's eyes look elsewhere, the objects appear to stay in their places. Third, the devices could block out the "real" world entirely and fully immerse the user in a virtual reality environment. - As with previous prediction, certainly possible.
  • People communicate with their computers via two-way speech and gestures instead of with keyboards. Furthermore, most of this interaction occurs through computerized assistants with different personalities that the user can select or customize. Dealing with computers thus becomes more and more like dealing with a human being.- Speech recognition still has a very long way to go and gestures are just too weird (although one could consider touchscreen interactions to involve gestures?). Kinect pretty much qualifies but it is really not a computer in the conventional sense and it can be pretty tedious getting it to work.
  • Most business transactions or information inquiries involve dealing with a simulated persons - More and more we are obligated to deal with bots and computers when looking out information, but Kurzweil should specify better what he means by business transactions, otherwise the predictions gets hard to verify. No, I think he got this one spot on even if it was a bit obvious.
  • Most people own more than one PC, though the concept of what a "computer" is has changed considerably: Computers are no longer limited in design to laptops or CPUs contained in a large box connected to a monitor. Instead, devices with computer capabilities come in all sorts of unexpected shapes and sizes. - 100% right.
  • Cables connecting computers and peripherals have almost completely disappeared.- Indeed, cables are disappearing. As above, they are still very much around and wireless stuff is mostly just plain irritating. Laptops and smartphones are probably more responsible for this than anything and that is just the nature of the devices.
  • Rotating computer hard drives are no longer used- Not going to happen so fast, IMO. although they are getting less used. Solid state drives are ever more used, but 5 years is too little time for good old HDDs to disappear. I think this one is going to be correct - SSDs are the new normal and as capacitys go up and prices down, they are being put everywhere - spinning drives may land up replacing tape drives..
  • Three-dimensional nanotube lattices are the dominant computing substrate. - Not going to happen. Possible if some breakthroughs occur but not certain - there are some pro.
  • Massively parallel neural nets and genetic algorithms are in wide use- Neural networks are already in massive use today. Not in wide use, a few are in place in large corporations but not something outside of a few games in most apps.
  • Destructive scans of the brain and noninvasive brain scans have allowed scientists to understand the brain much better. The algorithms that allow the relatively small genetic code of the brain to construct a much more complex organ are being transferred into computer neural nets - Don't know about this, but Blue Brain Project and BRAIN Initiative are likely to bring us some interesting results, maybe not in 2019 but in 2024, 10 years from now.
  • Pinhead-sized cameras are everywhere. - Very possible. Pinhole maybe but not really clear if he is talking sensor size here.
  • Nanotechnology is more capable and is in use for specialized applications, yet it has not yet made it into the mainstream. "Nanoengineered machines" begin to be used in manufacturing - We already use nanotech for a wide variety of applications, especially in manufacturing, but more advanced nanotechnology is at least 2 decades away. We may use nano sized particles but nanotech machines are nowhere to be seen I don't see them appearing in the next 5 years.
  • Thin, lightweight, handheld displays with very high resolutions are the preferred means for viewing documents. The aforementioned computer eyeglasses and contact lenses are also used for this same purpose, and all download the information wirelessly. - True.
  • Computers have made paper books and documents almost completely obsolete- People will still read their paper newspapers and books and magazines but it's not for lack of tech that this prediction won't come true. Yeah, paper still has appeal and will die VERY slowly.
  • Most learning is accomplished through intelligent, adaptive courseware presented by computer-simulated teachers. In the learning process, human adults fill the counselor and mentor roles instead of being academic instructors. These assistants are often not physically present, and help students remotely- Regular classrooms are not going away in 5 years, but more and more people learn via Google and internet in general. It's getting there and the saving to government will make sure that it will happen in time.
  • Students still learn together and socialize, though this is often done remotely via computers.- No, this will still be done in person.Sorry but this is TRUE, most people socialise online now.
  • All students have access to computers. - True.
  • Most human workers spend the majority of their time acquiring new skills and knowledge.- Jobs with repetitive tasks are indeed disappearing and people need to constantly renew their knowledge and learn new skills. I don't think it is anywhere near majority of time or even most human workers.
  • Blind people wear special glasses that interpret the real world for them through speech. Sighted people also use these glasses to amplify their own abilities. - I can see something like this happening..Sighted people most certainly don't. Blind people have other technologies available to them.
  • People with spinal cord injuries can walk and climb steps using computer-controlled nerve stimulation and exoskeletal robotic walkers.- Probably going to happen at some level and for the wealthy, but this will not be mainstream in just 5 years. I think it far more likely that the spinal cords will be repaired or a link between the 2 parts will be established - no need for mechanical stuff when we have muscles.
  • Computers are also found inside of some humans in the form of cybernetic implants. These are most commonly used by disabled people to regain normal physical faculties (i.e. - Retinal implants allow the blind to see and spinal implants coupled with mechanical legs allow the paralyzed to walk).- Already today we see some retinal implants, so some forms of blindness could be cured by these implants. Retinal implants exist but they are VERY basic and probably are limited in how much they can improve in the next 5 years. cloned organs will probably come along sooner.
Ok i'm unfortunately out of time, but here's the rest of Kurzweil's predictions for 2019, without my annoying commentaries :
  • Language translating machines are of much higher quality, and are routinely used in conversations. This one is true
  • Effective language technologies (natural language processing, speech recognition, speech synthesis) exist Speech synthesis existed 25 years ago lol!! This is not a useful prediction since it is subjective.
  • Access to the Internet is completely wireless and provided by wearable or implanted computers. Not implanted but certainly smart phones can be carried on your person and are wireless.
  • People are able to wirelessly access the Internet at all times from almost anywhere True now pretty much.
  • Devices that deliver sensations to the skin surface of their users (i.e.--tight body suits and gloves) are also sometimes used in virtual reality to complete the experience. "Virtual sex"—in which two people are able to have sex with each other through virtual reality, or in which a human can have sex with a "simulated" partner that only exists on a computer—becomes a reality. Maybe possible but not likely to be very functional.
  • Just as visual- and auditory virtual reality have come of age, haptic technology has fully matured and is completely convincing, yet requires the user to enter a V.R. booth. It is commonly used for computer sex and remote medical examinations. It is the preferred sexual medium since it is safe and enhances the experience. Unlikely - social and technical issues.
  • Worldwide economic growth has continued. There has not been a global economic collapse. WRONG!!! GFC is proof of that.
  • The vast majority of business interactions occur between humans and simulated retailers, or between a human's virtual personal assistant and a simulated retailer. True, internet shopping and services are becomming the norm now.
  • Household robots are ubiquitous and reliable. RUBBISH!!!!!!!!
  • Computers do most of the vehicle driving—-humans are in fact prohibited from driving on highways unassisted. Furthermore, when humans do take over the wheel, the onboard computer system constantly monitors their actions and takes control whenever the human drives recklessly. As a result, there are very few transportation accidents. This may happen but it may be a few years later but not too far off.
  • Most roads now have automated driving systems—networks of monitoring and communication devices that allow computer-controlled automobiles to safely navigate. Unlikely, costs will probably stop this happening.
  • Prototype personal flying vehicles using microflaps exist. They are also primarily computer-controlled. FANTASY!!
  • Humans are beginning to have deep relationships with automated personalities, which hold some advantages over human partners. The depth of some computer personalities convinces some people that they should be accorded more rights. Not on anything but the most extreem level.
  • While a growing number of humans believe that their computers and the simulated personalities they interact with are intelligent to the point of human-level consciousness, experts dismiss the possibility that any could pass the Turing Test. This is not a prediction really.
  • Human-robot relationships begin as simulated personalities become more convincing. As they have been doing for ages now, no way to verify because no datapoints to check.
  • Interaction with virtual personalities becomes a primary interface
  • Public places and workplaces are ubiquitously monitored to prevent violence and all actions are recorded permanently. Personal privacy is a major political issue, and some people protect themselves with unbreakable computer codes. So do we count surveilance cameras? Does this include understanding actions and prediction. I think he is deliberately vague.
  • The basic needs of the underclass are met. (Not specified if this pertains only to the developed world or to all countries) For developed world, this was the case long ago. For developing world, Bill Gates optimistically predicts something like 21 years. Having lived in the developing world, I doubt both predictions - this is a socio-political issue more than a technological one.
  • Virtual artists—creative computers capable of making their own art and music—emerge in all fields of the arts. This is not new, what is really the problem is how do you quantify it. Art is subjective so if I get a computer to print a page of random dots, it can be called art.


I have no respect for the man. His predictions are poor and mostly wide of the mark. At best he is a very poor futurist. He projects existing research and technology into the future and makes guesses based on that and doesn't take real world limitations into account.
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#201 forever freedom

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 01:35 PM

I have no respect for the man. His predictions are poor and mostly wide of the mark. At best he is a very poor futurist. He projects existing research and technology into the future and makes guesses based on that and doesn't take real world limitations into account.


I wouldn't go as far as to clal him a poor futurist, considering how incredibly hard it is to predict the future in a society as dynamic as ours. But as anyone else who tries to predict the future, many predictions will way off.


I do believe Kurzweil is too smart to make some predicting mistakes that he makes, which i attribute to two possible causes: 1. He wants to believe what he says 2. He is trying to speed things up. He is trying to influence the future by predicting it the way he wants things to turn out. The more people believe it, the more likely it is to come true. Indeed we can see how hard he tries to influence the future by joining google and trying himself to "build a mind", helping to create AGI.

Don't say "you have no respect for the man". This isn't right. He has already done a lot for the benefit of humanity, more than 99% of people.

Edited by forever freedom, 24 January 2014 - 01:37 PM.

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#202 william7

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:54 PM

In this video Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence Eliezer Yudkowsky says he worries about someone in AI research rushing ahead and dooming mankind. I think Kurzweil is potentially the guy who will doom us all. Kurzweil's current project, called a new Manhattan Project no less, is to simulate the human brain towards his AI goals. Below is the relevant portion of the article Google and NASA Make Quantum Leap With New Computer that describes this fiasco. Does anyone for a moment not think that the results of all this AI brain research won't be handed directly over to the government to support its national security agenda in behalf of the world's wealthy and powerful? Their primary interest is in better military and security applications to deter and control the masses so they can stay in power.

But one man at Google definitely has a specific vision. As Greg Satell at Forbes wrote, "In many ways, the Google-NASA partnership represents a new Manhattan Project, but instead of the aim being a nuclear explosion, the goal is to simulate the human brain, a feat that Google's Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, believes will be completed before the end of the next decade."

Kurzweil is one of the world's leading experts on artificial intelligence, and with his position at Google, he has a great deal of freedom to direct the company's $6.7 billion research and development budget towards A.I., and towards calculations and problem-solving that only a machine as sophisticated as a quantum computer could handle. Kurzweil is the author of seven books, including The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near, in which he addresses, among other elements of artificial intelligence, an event called "the singularity."

"The singularity" is the term for the theoretical emergence of technological superintelligence, when computer intelligence and human intelligence reach equilibrium and become inseparable. Moreover, many believe computer superintelligence would quickly and handily surpass human intelligence. The scientists and theorists who believe the singularity is coming, Kurzweil being prominent among them, project the event happening within a general range of 2030 to 2070.

There is a lot to be read about the singularity, about quantum computing, and about quantum mechanics for that matter, but for the purposes of this story, the takeaway is this: Google has given an important job with a great deal of responsibility to a man who believes 100% that, within less than a century, machines will have intelligence equal to or greater than that of the most intelligent human being. Kurzweil will have direct access to the Ames Research Center quantum computer, as well as Google's deep pockets, in order to explore and develop artificial intelligence.



#203 william7

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:42 PM


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#204 amoeba

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:52 PM

Hi,

This an interesting thread. I was amazed as a teenager in the 80s by Moore's Law, but it would frighten me at times as well. Like Kurzweil, I first stumbled on the idea of a Singularity in that decade in the sense that if the doubling continues, the world will look vastly different by the 2030s. After reading Engines of Creation in 1987, and only understanding the main points, I thought 2030 would be when nanotech really took off. Apparently Kurzweil said 2025, so pretty close.

In 1989, I thought more about my vague images of the 2010s, 2020s and 2030s and went out to the 2040s. Now that really disturbed me because in my imagination, the curve would start to go almost vertical. An if that were the case, what about the 2050s? I was studying a chapter called "Poles, Residues and Singularities," and thought "That's it...." I turned to a friend after class and explained this: "We are headed straight into a black hole."

He got it right away. So my point of view, that I still hold, is that we would enter a societal/technical black hole in the 2040s/2050s, and by that I meant person in 1989 traveling to the 2040s/2050s would not recognize the planet. But unlike Kurzweil, I didn't think it was inevitable since the exponential could peter out.

Then I came across Kurzweil in 2004 while looking up my own 1996 prediction on brain repair...

#205 amoeba

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

I had made several predictions in the 1980s, 1990s and up through 2004 when I saw Kurzweil's graph he presented at something called "Expos 5" in 2001. I was floored because I had never seen a graph or heard anyone make predictions as I had based on Moore's Law. (I lost interest in computers in 1987 even though I kept using them for research and left that area entirely in 1991 so not surprising that I'd never heard of Kurzweil beyond knowing there was a keyboard with that name.)

I was just as stunned to hear and read how close our predictions were. For example, I announced in a history class n 1985 that the Soviet Union would end by 1995 since computers were entering Russia through the Eastern Bloc. (Kurzweil never set a time frame for that) Our timeframes for widespread solar (2030 for me), repair of mild brain injuries (2016 - 2019 for me; mid 2010s for Ray) , ending diseases (all death by disease slashed, say 80% to 90% by 2020 for me; Kurzweil says mostly overcome all diseases by 2019.

I have many other predictions in China democratizing (by 2015 Kurzweil doesn't mention it); Machine Translation -- this one is funny since I have a picture of Kurzweil looking into the camera with both grinning widely. My friend admitted that they were poking at my prediction of 2015 made in 1996 but here is a case where Kurzweil has been off, has been somewhat vague, and also doesn't see that you don't need his 2029 AI to wipe out translators.

So while I'm a big fan I'm also critical that he sometimes shifts timelines. This is true in health as well...

#206 forever freedom

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:35 PM

ending diseases (all death by disease slashed, say 80% to 90% by 2020 for me; Kurzweil says mostly overcome all diseases by 2019.




This is the most important one, and unfortunately the one where Kurzweil and incidentally you are the most off... very unfortunate for us all =/
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#207 amoeba

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:28 PM

I agree. I wrote the first two posts to set up that in many ways I have thought like Kurzweil as long as he has, the early 1980s. Kurzweil isn't hard enough on himself. More examples:

me: 2002: The Human Genome Project has been completed so nobody (in the most developed countries) will die of cancer or AIDS if diagnosed in 2014.
Ray: 1999: He wrote that there would be great advances in cancer by 2009. But at the end of the chapter, "Molly" from 2030 or so says "Treatments were even much more advanced in 2009, but you couldn't have predicted that."

When he assess himself, he doesn't admit that 2009 wasn't that advanced in treating cancer relative to 1999 and doesn't mention Molly.

Another annoyance is that Kurzweil says "so if you can old on another 10 or 15 years, coming biotechnology will bring us to the next bridge..."
But Uncle Ray said the exact same thing in 2005. He should preface that he has been off on this, but he doesn't.

With respect to our 2019 and 2020 predictions on beating diseases, I still have 7 years to get that mostly correct. I doubt we'll be that far off, and keep in mind that most assumed decades into the future.

Kurzweil also said in 2005 that 1) people's age will start to reverse before 2020. 2) Major health improvements will come along the way.
I didn't predict either gradual gains or a sudden boost by 2018, but now it look closer to the latter.

Of course, I'd rather be right about health and wrong about what I've gotten right over the past 30 years [This started in 1983 when I was 13 and tried to predict video games in 1995 and 2005] .

#208 Mind

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 07:09 PM

ending diseases (all death by disease slashed, say 80% to 90% by 2020 for me; Kurzweil says mostly overcome all diseases by 2019.




This is the most important one, and unfortunately the one where Kurzweil and incidentally you are the most off... very unfortunate for us all =/


You can't rationally say that until the end of 2019...and that is the point of some of the recent comments. Right now, it seems like Kurzweil is going to be increasingly wrong on many predictions, but that is because most of us only use linear short term thinking. Contrary to Pwain's suggestion that anyone could have predicted the same things as Kurzweil, it is prima facie evidence that he has gone beyond most other "futurists" by predicting events and technology based upon an accelerating curve. Hardly anyone else has predicted on this type of scale and that is why we are here in 2014 thinking that his predictions won't come true. If progress is accelerating, then these predictions will generally turn out correct.

#209 Matt

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:15 PM

Ray says that economic downturns do not largely cause much change in the rate of innovation and technological progress? Or what if there is a slowdown but the once economic recovery starts occurring, there is a speed up, and we essentially catch up in the coming years to the point where we would have been technologically anyway. Perhaps he might have had a few misses in 2009, but it was right in the middle of a world economic crises.

His 2019 predictions look to be fairing a lot better in my opinion. I think perhaps the nanotech predictions are a few more years off, but we are in them midst of a huge biotechnology revolution with genetic engineering, 3D printing, Stem cells.

Good article on GE http://www.newscient...ml#.UuprTT1_uSo
"What used to take two years or more can now be done in six weeks, says Zhang. "That's a big difference." For those who have spent years trying to make just one or two specific changes to plants or animals, this is revolutionary."

And we've ONLY just reached the $1000 genome.

Intel showed at CES it shrunk a whole computer to the size of an SD card, enabling better wearable computing that can be used for health monitoring. We'll of course shrink these even further in the coming years.

This just the other day:
http://phys.org/news...wire-tiles.html
"the team describes how they designed and assembled, from the bottom up, a functioning, ultra-tiny control computer that is the densest nanoelectronic system ever built.
The ultra-small, ultra-low-power control processor—termed a nanoelectronic finite-state machine or "nanoFSM"—is smaller than a human nerve cell. It is composed of hundreds of nanowire transistors, each of which is a switch about ten-thousand times thinner than a human hair. The nanowire transistors use very little power because they are "nonvolatile." That is, the switches remember whether they are on or off, even when no power is supplied to them.

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#210 Sergej Shegurin

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:51 PM

Ray Kurzweil's predictions are very pessimistic and discouraging for he ignores just everything except his lovely mind uploading and nanobots.
Kurzweil doesn't speak of tissue engineering approaches which would be able to replace our organs with new young artificially grown or 3D-printed organs.
Also he ignores the using of AI for genetic networks understanding. It seems like Kurzweil needs AI just for mind uploading.

His predictions of human-level AI emerging are also very pessimistic.
I doubt he has read the recent (dec2013) article of Anthony Zador "Conneconomics: The Economics of Large-Scale Neural Connectomics" which states that after several feasible improvements (see p8) we would need only $200 millions for complete understanding of the mice connectome.
I doubt that Kurzweil understands both deep learning techniques and how brain works (I mean it's deep Kohonen - like structure and really huge amounts of information collected now by HBP project which would have 100 petaflops computer by the end of 2014 year btw and the brain makes just 1 petaoperations at synapses so it's quite probable that if 100 flops are enough for one operation at synapse modelling we would be able to have AI even in 2015).

In fact the probability of making human-level AI is about 10% for each year of 2015-2023 range (and 10% for later years).
The same probability holds true for tissue engineering success. I think most of those who were born in 1955 and are alive in 2025 would live as much as they wish.

It's very bad that if you question people when and how they would achieve immortality they answer "2045, by mind uploading and nanobots".
It's like far far fantastics for them. There's no call to action in Kurzwail's speeches, he just states how beautiful everything is.
There is no call for $1 trillion funding for science to defeat aging and death (the united government budget of USA, Europe, China and Japan exceeds $15 trillion).

I'm not expert on Kurzwail predictions and perhaps he has said smth I don't know.
But I have listened him several times and understand him like most of his listeners do. He speaks of mind uploading and singularity and nanobots.
He makes really unnecessary stress on those too far away matters instead of stressing real things like AI and tissue engineering and need for huge funding of relevant science.

Edited by Sergej Shegurin, 24 February 2014 - 05:58 PM.






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