Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Life In 2015 - Interview With Futurologist Ray Kurzweil

The Center For Responsible Nanotechnology has put up an interview with Ray Kurzweil, who has written the already legendary article The Law Of Accelerating Returns.

Ray Kurzweil is well known for making accurate future technology predictions. He has been successfully predicting the future by using extrapolations of the current state of technology since the beginning of the nineties.

It's a long read, but well worth it. Especially if you aren't familiar yet with what the future will look like.

I'll just take the liberty of copypasting question 11 of the interview right here:

Question 11: How do you envision the world in 2015? What economic and technological predictions would you make for that year?

By 2015, computers will be largely invisible, and will be very small. We will be dealing with a mesh of computing and communications that will be embedded in the environment and in our clothing. People in 2005 face a dilemma because, on the one hand, they want large, high-resolution displays. They can obtain these displays by buying expensive 72” flat-panel plasma monitors. But they also want portable devices, which have limited display capabilities. By 2015, we will have images input directly onto our retinas. This allows for a very high-resolution display that encompasses the entire visual field of view yet is physically tiny. These devices exist in 2005, and are used in high-performance applications, such as putting a soldier or a surgeon into a virtual reality environment. So in 2015, if we want a large, high-resolution computer image, it will just appear virtually in the air. We will have augmented reality, including pop-up displays explaining what is happening in the real world. We will be able to go into full-immersion, visual auditory virtual reality environments.

We will have useable language technologies. These are beginning to emerge, and by 2015 they will be quite effective. In this visual field of view, we will have virtual personalities with which you can interact. Computers will have virtual assistants with sufficient command of speech recognition that you can discuss subjects with them. Search engines won’t wait to be asked – they will track your conversation and attempt to anticipate your needs and help you with routine transactions. These virtual assistants won’t be at the human level, that won’t happen until we have strong AI. But they will be useful, and many transactions will be mediated by these assistants. Computing will be very powerful, and it will be a mesh of computing. Individuals who need the power of a million computers for 25 milliseconds will be able to obtain that as needed.

By 2015, we will have real traction with nanotechnology. I believe that we will be well on the way to overcoming major diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes through the biotechnology revolution that we talked above. We will also make progress in learning how to stop and even reverse the ageing process.

CRNano has a new interview section, which has more interviews that are also worth your time.

Also see the Singularity FAQ.

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