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There are some people in the world who we will immediately sit up and listen to. If they happen to be a Google engineer (and let’s not forget – these are unofficially regarded as some of the most intelligent people on the planet) – we’re even more inclined to switch on.
If they also have predicted 86% of their own predictions successfully (out of a total of 147), it stands to reason that this is a person who we should be tuning in to.
This person in question is none other than Ray Kurzweil. In his book, The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil has proceeded to make umpteen more predictions that span right the way to 2099. Some of them are so obscene that you just have to question how plausible they really are. Then, when you look at Kurzweil’s past – it goes without saying that each and every one of the below could happen in the near future. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
What does Kurzweil believe will happen in 2019?
With 2019 now less than three years away, we should assume that most of Kurzweil’s predictions for this year will occur.
Some of the predictions are already well on their way. For example, one of them is that paper books and documents will be pretty much eradicated – completely replaced by digital alternatives. Elsewhere, it’s suggested that computers will be embedded in absolutely everything we do – they’ll be in our furniture, jewellery and walls. Again, steps have already been made to make this happen.
However, some of the predictions aren’t as obvious. Kurzweil has said that creative AI will be able to create art and music, while humans will even start to develop meaningful relationships with AI as well.
Elsewhere, other predictions include autonomous vehicles being mainstream in the world’s roads – something that Google have already made immense headway in. Perhaps one of the more useful forecasts relates about language translation devices, which should be able to be comfortably used in conversation so that the days of language barriers are long gone.
Finally, the power of all of the computers in the world will be equal to human brainpower in the world, while computing will be dominated by three-dimensional nanotube lattices.
Remember, all of the above should happen in the next three years according to Kurzweil – it’s scary stuff.
What are Kurzweil’s predictions for 2029?
The core of Kurzweil’s predictions seem to focus on computers just gaining more and more power. For example, he has suggested that by 2029 the vast majority of manufacturing, agricultural and transportation work is completely automated. At the same time, computers will be able to easily learn how to complete these tasks – everything will be a completely automated process. Artificial intelligence will be pivotal in this era; machines will be conscious and able to adapt very easily.
In terms of hardware, the distance that your money goes in relation to personal computers suddenly becomes significant. Here, $1,000 will purchase a device that is over 1,000 more powerful than the human brain. Additionally, while the world may now be just about trying to get to grips with VR eyeglasses and headphones, these will become a thing of the past by 2029. They will be replaced by computer implants.
Medical experts will also be able to learn a lot more about the human brain. Brain mapping isn’t new, but the advanced mapping predicted for 2029 certainly is. This will be able to identify countless sub regions of the brain which were previously never even known.
What does Kurzweil believe will happen in the 2030s?
Unsurprisingly, the 2030s brings slightly fewer predictions. Nevertheless, they are still hugely powerful and again, when one considers Kurzweil’s past success, it is frightening to read.
Firstly, we should now reach a stage where minds can be uploaded to computers. Ultimately, we will become software-based – our minds can be viewed by devices (just like the films all of those years ago led us to believe).
Perhaps an even scarier thought revolves around the use of nanomachines in the brain. It has been suggested that these will be able to be placed in the brain, so that they can control the signals coming in and out.
The final prediction takes the previous two even further. Kurzweil has said that it will be possible for brain nanobots to elicit emotional responses from people. That’s right; they will be able to pull out an answer or emotion right from your brain.
Moving on to the 2040s…
A lot has been spoken about the potential of virtual reality over the years and the 2040s is meant to be the era when this really comes to the forefront of our lives. Now is the period that people will most likely spend most of their time immersed in virtual reality – they will be living in another world, almost.
In terms of artificial intelligence, it should come as no surprise to read that this is predicted to be even more advanced. By this era, artificial intelligence should become billions of times more capable than any intelligence created biologically.
Five years later (2045)…
Just several years on from the previous period, it’s time to see just how far your $1,000 is going to go. This amount of money should purchase a device that is billions of times more capable than every single human combined. That’s not just one human – that’s every single person in the world put together.
Suffice to say, by this stage AI will become the smartest life form on the planet.
Kurzweil’s tips for 2049…
By 2049, another point is going to be made on virtual reality. It’s by this point that we’re not just immersed by virtual reality, but there becomes a distortion between what is real and what isn’t. This is due to foglets, which are tiny robots which can assemble themselves.
Kurzweil’s predictions for 2099
While 2099 may seem a lifetime away, the scary part is that many people currently living will get to see this point. In other words, a lot of Kurzweil’s predictions will be witnessed by millions of people who already exist (should the forecasts come to fruition).
That last part leads on to human life expectancy. Kurzweil believes that some humans will be as old as the Baby Boomers – and in a completely fine state of health.
Unsurprisingly, his predictions for this era again centre on artificial intelligence. Now, there should be absolutely no advantage for the human brain – it’s completely dwarfed by AI. Quite incredibly, Kurzweil has suggested that organic human beings will actually be in the minority and instead replaced by devices. These devices will have equal legal status within humans – again, it feels like the movies.
With AI also helping to create computers that are the size of a planet, it means that computer viruses are a huge threat to the world. With most of the human race now controlled by software, viruses are one of the biggest threats that we will cross and will have the capability to cause far more damage than they currently do.