February 08, 2006

Some Highlights of a recent Ray Kurzweil interview

Ray Kurzweil is famous predictor of technology and a millionaire inventor of the music synthesizer and other investions.

In the interview he gives some of his rules of thumb on predicting the future of technology. We will increase the price-performance of computing, which is already
formidable and deeply influential, by a factor of a billion in 25 years, and we will also shrink the technology at a predictable pace of over one hundred in 3D volume per decade.

Some other predictions: By 2020, a single chip will provide 10**16 instructions per second, sufficient to emulate a single human brain. We will go to the third dimension, effectively superseding the limits of Moore's law, which deals only in 2-d integrated circuits

Fields such as energy are still not information technologies, but that is going to change as well. For instance, in Singularity I describe how we could meet 100% of our energy needs through renewable energy with nanoengineered solar panels and fuel cells within twenty years, by capturing only 3% of 1% of the sunlight that hits the Earth. Note: a related developmentPenn State researchers are creating titania nanotubes that they believe can achieve 15% efficiency soon. They believe they can create their titania nanotbue solar cells without spending 5 gigajoules per square meter, which is what takes to make silicon solar cells.

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. 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

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