Friday, May 11, 2007

The Smartest/Nuttiest Futurist on Earth

Fortune Magazine brings an interview with Ray Kurzweil, titled "The Smartest/Nuttiest Futurist on Earth". He asserts that the exponential development of computing power can be extended to other fields, such as medicine and climate forecasting, as long as their most fundamental aspects can be mapped into bits and bytes.

An interesting quote, paralleling a previous posting titled "DNA Hardware and the Final Frontier":
By 2027, he predicts, computers will surpass humans in intelligence; by 2045 or so, we will reach the Singularity, a moment when technology is advancing so rapidly that "strictly biological" humans will be unable to comprehend it.
Kurzweil may be right about his theories of exponential technological development in some areas; he has been right about other forecasts. Human sciences don't evolve exponentially though.

Along the same theme, this edited version of the "Shift happens" slide-show, by Karl Fisch, shares similar predictions about technology against a backdrop of startling world-wide changes in the areas of education, labor, and economy.

I trust the judgment of our future scientists, but scientists are not a fixture in the circles of politics. Whether we will live in a time of liberating enlightenment or unprecedented exclusion remains to be seen.

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