When we speak about transhumanism and futurism, we can’t ignore the involvment of Ray Kurzweil, one of the main engines for transhumanism and future science.
Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He is the author of several books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism.
The Wall Street Journal called him “the restless genius.”
Forbes said he was “the ultimate thinking machine.” .
Inc. Magazine proclaimed him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.”
Hes biography is really impressing and hes achievements are implemented in our everyday life.
In this article we are going to talk about Ray’s predictions.
Are Ray Kurzweil’s predictions achievable? (All the transhumanists will say YES!)
Ray predicted that a computer would beat a man at chess, that technologies that help spread information would accelerate the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that a worldwide communications network would emerge in the mid 1990s (i.e. the Internet).
The law of accelerating returns
Most of Kurzweil’s prognostications are derived from his law of accelerating returns — the idea that information technologies progress exponentially, in part because each iteration is used to help build the next, better, faster, cheaper one. In the case of computers, this is not just a theory but an observable trend — computer processing power has doubled every two years for nearly half a century.
Kurzweil also believes this theory can be applied to solar energy. As part of a panel convened by the National Association of Engineers, Kurzweil, together with Google co-founder Larry Page, concluded that solar energy technology is improving at such a rate that it will soon be able to compete with fossil fuels.
A dialog between Lauren Feeney and Ray Kurzweil about climate changes
Feeney: A lot of climate scientists say that we have about 10 years to turn the situation around, otherwise we’re going to hit this tipping point and we are all doomed. So you think we’re going to make it?
Kurzweil: Even if those timelines were correct, there will be quite a transformation within 10 years and certainly within 15 or 20 years. The bulk of our energy will be coming from these renewable sources. So, I think we have plenty of time. I think we can make it to the point where these renewables are taking over. And I think there are reasons besides climate change to move away from fossil fuels — that whole oil spill, remember that, that’s not climate change, that’s just pollution. But I don’t see a disaster happening before we can get there because it is pretty soon at hand.
Ray Kurzweil and how the life expectancy will grow faster than aging itself
Ray Kurzweil has predicted that by the year 2022, life expectancy will increase an average of more than one year for every subsequent year, for all individuals of every age. This will be what’s known as the longevity escape velocity. If one can live to this date, then medical advances to prevent death will progress faster than aging itself.
Not all of Ray Kurzweil’s predictions came true
When you go back and check Kurzweil’s previous books, you find that many of his predictions turned out to be wrong-not just a little bit wrong, but wildly, laughably wrong. During the height of the dotcom boom in 1998, Kurzweil predicted that the economy would keep on booming right through 2009 (and on to 2019, for that matter) and that one U.S. company (he didn’t say which) would have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. This prediction turned out not to be true. Kurzweil also predict-ed that by 2009 a top supercomputer would be capable of performing 20 quadrillion operations per second (20 petaflops in computer jargon), the same as the human brain. In fact, the top supercomputer just broke the one-petaflop mark-though Kurzweil says he considers all of Google to be a giant supercomputer and that it is, indeed, capable of performing 20 petaflops. Kurzweil also predicted that by now our cars would be able to drive themselves by communicating with intelligent sensors embedded in highways, and that speech recognition would be in widespread use.
Neither has happened, but he insists they’re both right around the corner.
Even if not all Ray’s predictions came true, we, the transhumanists, wait and observe what the future holds us.