writings | the Wall Street Journal: magazine • 6 luminaries on the future

feature: by Ray Kurzweil
January 1, 2020


— story —

publication: the Wall Street Journal
section: magazine
issue: no. 53
label: the Innovators Issue
section: the Columnists
story title: We ask 6 luminaries to weigh-in on a single topic
deck: this month: the Future
author: by
date: November 2014


note: This story is collected for the Kurzweil Library.

about | the Columnists

Wall Street Journal magazine presents: the Columnists. In a series of intimate conversations: renowned figures from the arts, media, entertainment, business, technology, and more — reflect on various themes that have guided their careers. We capture their unfiltered thoughts + musings — mixing revelation, anecdote, and philosophy.

— summary —

Wall Street Journal magazine asks 6 luminaries to weigh-in on a single topic. For this month: the topic is “the future.” Our contributor Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, futurist, and best-selling author.


image | above
Stipple portraits of the 6 featured columnists.

  1. Jennifer Lee
  2. Ray Kurzweil
  3. Dolores Cardelucci
  4. Wylie Dufresne
  5. name
  6. name

art | the Wall Street Journal

no. 1 | Jennifer Lee

bio: She’s co-writer + co-director of Disney’s film Frozen. She’s adapting the book a Wrinkle in Time for screen.

What excites me about the future is the same thing that overwhelms me. I love how computer tech has made it easier to connect globally. Borders are broken down. Cultures find common connections. But the tech + applications are expanding exponentially, and it can seem daunting. When I was 16 years-old, my grand-father said: Things will never be as good as you dream, but never as bad as you fear.

Whether it’s true or not, it’s helped me step back from fear — and be pragmatic about an issue or apparent threat to the future. When I was 11 years-old, I read the book a Wrinkle in Time and spent many daydreams + sleepless nights imagining what it would be like to break-free from the limitations of time. But time has marched-on — in a steady click. So I time-travel through my work.

— by Jennifer Lee

no. 2 | Ray Kurzweil

bio: He’s a best-selling author, inventor, and futurist.

The reason we have a brain is to predict the future — so we can anticipate the consequences of actions, and the consequences of in-action. That became good for survival and hard-wired into our brains. The common wisdom is that you cannot really predict the future. It’s true for a lot of things — but not about the capacity of information technology.

I wrote an essay reviewing all of my predictions — including 147 I made about the year 2009. They were 86 % correct. I started making these predictions more than 30 years ago. That’s the power of exponential growth. I’m optimistic about the future — because it’s different from what we see in science fiction films: where one evil individual gets hold of a futuristic tech and then threatens humanity. Software artificial intelligence — in the form of devices like smart-phones — is not in one person’s hands. It’s in 2 billion hands.

— by Ray Kurzweil

no. 3 | Dolores Cardelucci

bio: She’s a psychic to Hollywood stars.

I have read people since I was a young person. I just automatically did it. I hear voices — that’s how I read. I hear the voice that people hear when they sit down to meditate and listen to their own answers. I read the mental atmosphere around the person — and I predict.

You know that expression: We saw each other and knew instantly it was love? It’s the same thing in a reading. People who are not readers do this all the time. You have a friend who advises you: I’ve got a feeling about this. I do workshops with big groups, and it’s based on their own intuition. I teach them how to read each other, how to see this as just a part of life. Just to be still and know that we can all hear what we should do.

— by Dolores Cardeluccil

no. 4 | Wylie Dufresne

bio: He’s the chef + owner of restaurants Alder and wd~50 in New York, NY.

In food, I think we’re coming to the end of the railroad track. We’ve ridden what’s been laid before us, and our duty is to continue laying more track. The track has to go on. It’s not going to end — but we’re not necessarily sure where it’s going to go. I hope that when the score is tallied-up, we (at my restaurants) will have contributed a decent amount of track — and been part of the avant-garde.

But I’ve never been much of a futurist. I’m not trying to channel my inner Buck Rogers. I’d say I’m more of a modernist. We’re not trying to anticipate trends. My sense of the future is actually — in some ways — very short term. Life as a cook is about the immediate future. It’s not about next year. It’s about: How am I going to get through these 12 hours and come-out on the plus side?

by Wylie Dufresne

no. 5 | name

no. 6 | name

[ story file ]

story title: writings | the Wall Street Journal: magazine • 6 luminaries on the future
deck: feature: by Ray Kurzweil
folder: writings

[ end of file ]