An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.… read more
Originally published in 2005 with the launch of The Singularity Is Near.
Questions and Answers
So what is the Singularity?
Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated… read more
The rise of artilects (artificial intellects, i.e., godlike massively intelligent machines with intellectual capacities trillions of trillions of times above the human level) in this century makes the existence of a deity (a massively intelligent entity capable of creating a universe) seem much more plausible.
There are now thousands of AI scientists around the world (concentrated largely in the English-speaking countries) who feel that… read more
October 1, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil
How My Predictions Are Faring | Overview
In this essay I review the accuracy of my predictions going back a quarter of a century. Included herein is a discussion of my predictions from The Age of Intelligent Machines (which I wrote in the 1980s), all 147 predictions for 2009 in The Age of Spiritual Machines (which I wrote in the 1990s), plus others.
Perhaps my most important predictions are… read more
I decided to write this article after I found that many colleagues and participants whom I spoke with at the recent Humanity+ (ref. R.A. Koene, 2010b) and Transvision (ref. R.A. Koene, 2010a) conferences were struggling with personal and strategic decisions when they considered what sort of future to strive for.
We are hampered by a historical dearth of attention to the very fundamentals that could support… read more
We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.… read more
February 4, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil
Is it time to rethink the promise of genomics?
There has been recent disappointment expressed in the progress in the field of genomics. In my view, this results from an overly narrow view of the science of genes and biological information processing in general. It reminds me of the time when the field of “artificial intelligence” (AI) was equated with the methodology of “expert systems.” If someone referred to… read more
October 29, 2011 by Hugo de Garis
How the properties of quarks and gluons can be used (in principle) to perform computation at the femtometer (10^-15 meter) scale.
I’ve been thinking on and off for two decades about the possibility of a femtotech. Now that nanotech is well established, and well funded, I feel that the time is right to start thinking about the possibility of a femtotech.
You may ask, “What about picotech?”… read more
Over the next million years, a descendant of the Internet will maintain contact with inhabited planets throughout our galaxy and begin to spread out into the larger universe, linking up countless new or existing civilizations into the Universenet, a network of ultimate intelligence. (updated)
Originally published in Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge.
The Earth has already input information to… read more
Nanotech pioneer J. Storrs Hall’s original concept, the Utility Fog, consists of a swarm of nanobots (“Foglets”) that can take the shape of virtually anything, and change shape on the fly. Here he discusses the technical details and feasibility of this nanoconcept.… read more
From The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism by Howard Bloom, Prometheus Books, 2009. Reprinted with permission.
Why bankers are like bacteria
What has tumbled you and me into the pit of the Great Recession of 2008-2010? What causes boom and bust? Does economic catastrophe come from a perverse monetary system, from capitalism, speculators, overpaid CEO’s and greed? Does it come from conspiracies of… read more