Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor and entrepreneur who projects information, biological and nano technology trends. His conclusions are radical, but there are many who agree with him.

He began forecasting technology for his inventions. He realized he had to design products that would use the technology available at the time of their introduction, not that of the time of their conception and development.

Kurzweil sees exponential growth of knowledge and technology throughout human history. He believes this accelerating change in technology and in our understanding of the brain and body will result in machine intelligence superior to ours in the near future. Accelerating change will then continue under control of combined human-artificial and purely artificial machines. It will be so rapid and profound that we are unable to comprehend or predict beyond a certain point in time. He calls that point the "singularity" (a term coined by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge).

Kurzweil also foresees the possibility of immortality as we better understand the body and become adept at repairing it and manufacturing replacement parts. He predicts we will have a mouse that does not age within ten years, and that young people alive today may have the possibility of prolonging their lives to the time when they may be repaired indefinitely. If that sounds good to you, read his book Live Long Enough to Live Forever.

This article summarizes his predictions and their implications for the future of humanity.

Below is a sample of the sorts of predictions Kurzweil makes -- a $1,000 computer will have the hardware capacity of the human brain around 2020. There are many others on his Web site.