Kurzweil—The Singularity is Much, Much Nearer

I wrote an article published eight years ago, “2030—Ray Kurzweil’s Predictions or Bill Joy’s Fears?” Naturally, I freely expressed my opinions and concerns, many of which remain.

Today, I noticed an interview that CBS News did with Kurzweil on the heels of his new book, “The Singularity is Nearer”—a follow-up to “The Singularity is Near,” published in 2005. According to Kurzweil, his previous 2030 estimate for when humans and machines eventually merge has gone by the proverbial wayside. Now he says it will happen sooner.

Select predictions from his latest book include:

  • AI will be as smart as humans within five years. Now, he calls his earlier estimates for singularity pessimistic, citing Elon Musk’s estimate that it will happen within two years. After Artificial General Intelligence comes the singularity, said Kurzweil. Although this reality scares most of us, Kurzweil believes that if we can attain more intelligence, then why not? He also reminds us that, based on our electronics, we’re already smarter than we were 50 years ago. He also reminds those who are frightened that most people don’t appreciate the exponential growth of technology.
  • Kurzweil says we’re on track for all our energy needs to be met by wind and solar technology by 2034. He is convinced that expanding our ability to tap into the power of the sun and the wind will get us there.
  • According to Kurzweil, two things are behind our advances. The first is our brain. Second, we have a thumb.
  • By early in the 2030s, we will reach Longevity Escape Velocity. As time passes, the risk of death will not increase; we won’t succumb to aging. Although he admits the concept is not infinite. He means that we won’t increase our chance of dying as time goes by. When asked what age he wants to live to, Kurzweil responds, “Why would I ever want to die?”

I wonder what Bill Joy would say…

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