4 october 2018

"It seems that we live in the most interesting time." Which Ray Kurzweil predictions have already come true?


Once Kurzweil gave one of his unpublished books to Larry Page, the co-founder of Google. Larry was so impressed that he invited Ray to work in Google to lead the company's projects working with AI. Ray is now well-known for his predictions on the future of technology and all of humankind. Let's check his forecasts that have already come true, and the ones we might see materializing shortly.

What has already come true

In 1990, Ray Kurzweil predicted the following.

1. A computer would win The World Chess Championship in 1998.
It happened a year earlier. In 1997, the Deep Blue supercomputer developed by IBM beat Garry Kasparov.

2. In 2010, personal computers would be able to answer user questions by wireless access to data on the Internet in 2010.
This process now is our reality.

3. In the early 2000s, exoskeletons would allow disabled people to walk.
Companies such as Ekso Bionics and others now creating and testing exoskeletons and bionic prostheses.

In 1999, Ray Kurzweil predicted the following.

1. People would be able to give voice commands the computer by 2009.
By 2009, virtual assistant technologies like Google Now and Siri were emerging, but today they are found in millions of devices

2. In 2009, computer displays would become part of glasses, creating an augmented reality. Experiments with augmented reality began long before 2009. Mass production of Google Glass was launched in 2011, and their presentation took place in 2012.

In 2005 Kurzweil said that by 2010 virtual solutions will allow real-time language translations when words in a foreign language will be translated into text in another language. Microsoft (Skype Translate), Google (Translate) and other companies have already implemented it, though it happened by 2015.

Johnny Mnemonic / TriStar Pictures
Image: Johnny Mnemonic / TriStar Pictures

What lies ahead

In the forecasts released in 2016, Ray Kurzweil described his vision of the coming decades.

2020. Personal computers will achieve computing power comparable to the human brain.

2022. In the US and Europe, laws will be adopted that regulate the relationship between people and robots. The activities of robots, their rights, duties, and other restrictions will be formalized.

2024. Elements of computer intelligence will become mandatory in cars equipment. People will be forbidden to drive a car not equipped with computer assistance.

2025. Mass-market of gadget implants will emerge.

2027. A personal robot, capable of entirely independent complex actions, will become as common as a refrigerator or a coffee maker.

2028. Solar energy will become so cheap and widespread that it will satisfy the total demand of the entire humankind.

2029. Thanks to computer simulation of the human brain, computers will be able to pass the Turing test, showing the presence of intelligence as humans understand it.

Image: Ex Machina / Universal Pictures

2030. The flourishing of nanotechnology will lead to a significant reduction in the cost of production of any goods.

2031. 3D printers will be used for human organs printing.

2032. Nanorobots will be used for medical purposes. They will be able to deliver nutrients to human cells and remove toxins. Robots will also conduct a detailed scan of the human brain, which will allow us to understand better how it works.

2033. Self-driving cars will fill the roads.

2036. Programming approach to biology will allow program cells to treat diseases, and 3D printers will be able to produce new tissues and organs.

2037. There will be a massive breakthrough in understanding the mystery of the human brain. Some of the algorithms will be decoded and included in neural networks.

2038. Robotic people will appear as creations of transhumanistic technologies. They will be equipped with additional intelligence focused on a specific narrow sphere of knowledge, which the human brain can not wholly gripe. There will also be a variety of implant options, from eye-cameras to new prosthetic arms.

2039. Nanomachines will be implanted directly into the brain and perform user-defined input and output signals from brain cells. This will lead to a "full immersion," which does not require any additional equipment.

Image: Lucy / Universal Pictures

2040. A full-speed throughput of the Internet will be 500 million times bigger compared to the numbers we have today.

2042. Nanorobot army will complement our immune system and "cleanse" all diseases, granting us immortality.

2043. Thanks to nanorobots, a human body will be capable of taking any form. Cybernetic devices will replace internal organs.

2044. The non-biological intellect will become billions of times more powerful than the biological one.

2045. The onset of technological singularity. The Earth will become one giant computer.

Ray Kurzweil also suggested that in 2099 the process of technological singularity will spread to the whole Universe.

Ray Kurzweil

American author, computer scientist, inventor, and futurist. He is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology. 
One of the Hi-Tech Nation forum speakers.

"By the 2030s, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate."

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