The Acceleration of Technology in the 21st Century: the Impact on Education and Society

Ray Kurzweil

Full notes are at : Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil – Developer of the scanner, the first OCR, print to speech, text to speech, first synth

  • In 1999 received the national medal for technology
  • Invention Hall of fame
  • 12 doctorates
  • Honored by 3 US presidents

This was a session that left many people speechless. It was definitely a moment of “you had to be there.” Though the conclusions sound crazy, the clarity of Ray’s models of prediction as demonstrated during the first part of his presentation built a trust that made the audience at least hold an open ear.

Here are the bullet points:

Information and technology growth can be predicted.

In general, by taking into account each development has the on the creation of the next, we see Exponential models are highly dependable for predicting how progress will take place in a given field. This holds true for:

  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Technology
  • Genome studies and modeling the human brain

What does this result in?

Growth in factors of millions over the period of 25 years for computational device processes, nano technology and our ability to understand the information systems of biology and the brain.

So what will the world look like in the future?

2010: Computers disappear

  1. Images writen on our retinas
  2. High bandwidth connection to the Internet at all times
  3. Electronics embedded in the environment, clothing, eyeglasses
  4. Full immersion Virtual Reality
  5. Augmented reality (adding computer generated images to what you naturally see with your eyes)
  6. Virtual personalities as the primary interface to electronic devices
  7. Effective language technologies

2029: In intimate merger

  1. $1000 CPU = 1k times the power of the human brain
  2. Reverse engineering of the brain complete
  3. Computers pass the Turing test
  4. Nanobots
    1. Neural Implants without surgery
    2. Full VR with 5 senses – Be someone else – “Experience beamers”
    3. Intimate connection with non-biological forms of intelligence

Average Life expectantly has been increasing in a predictable way as well. According to his models, in 15 years, life expectancy should increase more than a year every year. So if you can hang in for 15 more years…
I’ll leave it there. What do you think?


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