Get to know Ray Kurzweil, the prophet of the digital era
will be possible very soon according to Kurzweil
The times when prophets led entire nations through divine predictions have changed. Today, the new prophets guide us not by divine inspiration but through technology. A clear example of a modern prophet is Ray Kurzweil, the man who´s predictions have an incredible 86% accuracy rate. Get to know what the future will look like according to this technological guru!
Who is Ray Kurzweil?
Raymond Kurzweil was born in Massachusetts in 1948. The artistic vein of his parents influenced his vocation as a musician and writer. However, a definitive influence that made him an expert in artificial intelligence and computer science years later was the science fiction books he read during his childhood and the computer-based teachings he received from his uncle, an engineer at Bell Labs.
During his youth and adulthood, Kurzweil created several companies focused on new voice recognition technologies, optical scanners, voice synthesizers, or virtual instrument platforms capable of reproducing sounds identical to the instruments of an orchestra.
The creativity and genius of Kurzweil have influenced many of the technologies we use today. In fact, he is the mind behind many projects developed by Google, where he holds the position of Director of Engineering.
In addition to his active participation with the technological giant, he also runs the company Kurzweil Technologies.
This company experiments with new devices capable to increase the conversational capacity between machines and humans.
Kurzweil the futurist
Although Kurzweil inventions have given him great prestige, his accurate predictions have put all the reflectors on him.
Everything started in 1999 when Kurzweil launched one of his first predictions. He assured that ten years later, smartphones and self-driving cars would be part of our lives.
Other Kurzweil predictions announced that around 2009 personal computers would be designed in different sizes. Also, they would become part of the accessories and clothes that we use daily. Just think of the iPod nano and the smartwatch. Along with this prediction, he also mentioned that in the same year all people would be using mobile computers instead of stationary ones.
In 2000, Kurzweil also unveiled the possibility that by 2010, all computers may be connected to a high-speed network provided with various computational resources that would include large memory banks. In short, Kurzweil was saying how the modern version of cloud computing would be.
Another prediction from this technological guru announced that in 2010 we would see the integration of a display in contact and conventional lenses to project any type of information on our retinas. In 2013, Google launched its famous Google glasses, which are able to connect to the internet through wifi or Bluetooth. The lenses react when detecting some movement of the head when touching the frame or when you speak.
Promising or frightening future?
The futuristic vision that Kurzweil has for the next few decades seems to be very promising in fields such as connectivity, science, and medicine. Anyway, they could be frightening as well if we think twice about the dark side of this accelerated technology.
For example, in an interview for the CBC, Ray Kurzweil estimates that by 2030, nanotechnology will be so advanced that it will be able to eliminate diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer, and Parkinson. The medical revolution using this technology will increase our life expectancy exponentially.
Ray Kurzweil says in a few years, the virtual reality will be totally immersive and will cancel the physical spaces to work. This will modify the organization of transportation and interpersonal relationships among other things.
The Singularity is near
Ray Kurzweil is one of the most respected minds behind the Singularity theory. According to this theory, in 2045 human intelligence will multiply a billion times when combined with artificial intelligence. Kurzweil also calls it "when humans transcend biology"
One of Ray Kurzweil's most reckless predictions was made in 2015 at the Exponential Finance conference. On that occasion, he announced the possibility that we could become cyborgs thanks to nanotechnology.
Continuing with the same idea, in 15 years we would be able to connect our brain to the internet through DNA nanobots. That would give us the ability to access all the information available on the web by just thinking about it.
These scenarios sound amazing and even attractive, but they can become a disaster too. Having our brain connected to the internet can expose us to numerous risks such as the invasion of the privacy and hacker attacks. Perhaps, the right to privacy will be obsolete and anyone will be able to know what we think even if we don't say a single word.
Ray Kurzweil´s most controversial prediction
“In the 2030s, we are going to send nano-robots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud. Just as we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we will be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud”. Kurzweil 2015
This would suppose a huge change in any kind of relationships because it can destroy the barrier that prevents others to get into our intimacy.
Also, authoritarian regimes can use such technology to control the population and suppress the freedom to think.
If Kurzweil´s predictions for the next years become true, we will have a great opportunity to improve our life in many ways.
At the same time, this could mean the first step into a technological Era where computers exceed human intelligence as Kurzweil says in his well-known book Spiritual Machines. But what will happen if we don´t use our intuition to manipulate such technology properly? Will computers be able to replace humans definitely? Too many questions and scenarios to think about!
If you want to learn more about the fascinating projects led by Ray Kurzweil don't forget to visit his website.