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Google data centers can now produce 3.5 times the computer power as before on the same budget and electrical output, according to Mr. Facebook has been vital to the progress of IoT ever since the social networking giant open-sourced many data hub designs through its Open Compute Project (OCP), causing a structural shift in the way the industry operates. We are a tight-knit group of traders, analysts, news editors, designers, coders, and data engineers. Together with our partners, we are building the world’s most easy-to-use, comprehensive library of financial data and business information. The trademarks, logos and service marks displayed on the website, including but not limited to the Bidness Etc logo, are marks or registered marks of Bidness Etc and others.
As the Internet of Things expands, with everything from thermostats to cameras to cars plugging into the net, so does the need for machines that can handle those connections.
The worry is that powering all this extra hardware will require exponentially larger amounts of electricity—not to mention all the money and space spent on the hardware itself.
Compared with five years ago, Holzle says, Google’s data center servers can now generate three and a half times more computing power with the same amount of money and the same amount of electrical power. In recent years, Google started using machine learning algorithms to analyze and refine the operation of its data centers, improving efficiency in some facilities by 15 to 25 percent. Futurist, author and inventor Ray Kurzweil delivered a keynote speech to 800 attendees at 2016 Tech Leadership Conference in Waterloo, Canada. The fashion industry will explode with new ideas as people design, make and share clothes using 3D printers. As a child, he brought home old bicycles and radios to fix when 5 year olds “could still rummage through neighborhoods.” At 14 he wrote a paper on how the brain worked.
Kurzweil was one of 2 keynote speakers at Communitech’s annual Tech Leadership Conference held in Kitchener, Canada. Second keynote speaker was Robin Chase, Zipcar founder, the world’s largest car sharing company, and expert on innovation and the sharing economy.
In a presentation on virtual & augmented reality, Jesse Hirsh technology strategist, said these can transform architectural and construction industries. By modeling battlefields and how troops move in them, virtual reality can transform military conflicts, he says. Adam Green, who runs advertising agency relations for Google Canada, spoke on marketing for tomorrow.
Mark Roberge, chief revenue officer at Hub Spot, a software company for in-bound marketing, said massive job loss in media can be an advantage in marketing. In a presentation on artificial intelligence, Nikolas Badminton said machine learning systems can spot skin cancer in photos of seniors or work with children in schools.
Chris Eliasmith, PhD director of the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo, conducted a learning session on building a brain. In a fireside chat with education futurist Sarah Prevette, former Open Text CEO Tom Jenkins outlined three emerging trends in the tech industry. Job losses are expected to reach 30 per cent over the next 5 years, says Jenkins, now chair of the Open Text board and chancellor of the University of Waterloo. Ray Kurzweil has made a name for himself for making outlandish technology forecasts, many of which have proven accurate. Ray Kurzweil’s initial claim to fame was his inventions — including the flatbed scanner, the first print-to-speech converter for the blind, and a groundbreaking music synthesizer .
While his critics dispute the accuracy of some of his forecasts, Kurzweil has predicted the age of mobile computing, digital books, wearables, self-driving cars, and high speed wireless data transmission.
Many of Kurzweil’s ideas seem outlandish at first — a necessity he argues, because our human brains are only equipped to think linearly while technology is evolving at an exponential rate.
Kurzweil sees humans heading for a tipping point — adding more than a year to our life expectancy each year. For Silicon Valley’s successful tech entrepreneurs the world is a playground of creative ways to unwind, and even boost productivity.
So it’s not surprising that tech entrepreneurs find creative ways to blow off steam in their spare time.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, for example, spends time learning flying trapeze, while former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is an avid beekeeper. From DIY rocketry and zero gravity flight to sonic meditation, many tech execs need more than yoga to claim their me time — and say it helps them feel more fulfilled, relaxed, productive at work.
In his own words: The first piece I collected related to Alice was a facsimile of a 90 page handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, written by Charles Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll. Alice is emblematic of the imaginative alternative realities we will create with emerging tech. Once I was walking in a San Francisco, CA city fair and recognized the girl Alice Liddell in a painting by artist Terry Guyer. I also have a painting of the White Rabbit by Grace Slick and a hologram of the Cheshire Cat, who disappears when you move leaving only his smile.
This includes self-driving cars, prosthetic legs for paraplegics, and wirelessly accessing info on the internet. These ACM bulletins feature association members whose personal and professional stories are a source of inspiration for the larger computing community.
In the 1970s, he became a household name with his invention of an electronic music synthesizer that closely imitates the sounds of traditional musical instruments.
Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, hired Kurzweil to serve as a Director of Engineering at Google to develop a system that understands language as well as humans do.
My thesis has been that human intelligence is primarily based on our ability to recognize patterns. Around 1974, I happened to sit next to a blind gentleman on a plane flight who explained to me that his blindness was not a limitation except for one thing, namely his inability to read ordinary print without a sighted assistant. Ray Kurzweil with his reading machine for the visually impaired & learning disabled, from the late 1970s.
As a result, we modeled what a piano does to sound using signal processing and pattern processing algorithms. A recent mathematical breakthrough now allows us to develop deep neural nets, with dozens of levels that can understand the hierarchical structures found in images and in particular in language.
In these virtual environments we will have a body — which could be just like our body in real reality or could be different. Many think author, inventor and data scientist Ray Kurzweil is a prophet for our digital age. Raymond Kurzweil was born February 12, 1948, and he still carries the plain, nasal inflection of his native Queens, New York. His uncle, who worked at Bell Labs, taught Ray computer science in the 1950s, and by the age of 15, Kurzweil was designing programs to help do homework. After earning degrees in computer science and creative writing at MIT, he began to sell his inventions, including the first optical character recognition system that could read text in any normal font.
Contributing Editor David Hochman, who last interviewed Rachel Maddow for Playboy, spent extended time in San Francisco with Kurzweil.
When people talk about the future of technology, especially artificial intelligence, they very often have the common dystopian Hollywood-movie model of us versus the machines.
The non-biological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today. For instance, at the Joslin Diabetes Center, they turned off the fat insulin receptor gene that tells you to hold on to every calorie in your fat cells. We’re involved with a company where we add a gene to people who are missing a gene that causes a terminal disease called pulmonary hypertension, and the treatment has actually worked in human trials. The point is health care is now an information technology subject to the same laws of acceleration and progress we see with other technologies. As they gain traction in the 2030s, nanobots in the bloodstream will destroy pathogens, remove debris, rid our bodies of clots, clogs and tumors, correct DNA errors and actually reverse the aging process. I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy.
Just as we went from primates to humans and invented art, music and science, with that additional neocortex we’re going to be adding even more profound forms of communication and more profound activities as we, again, add to the levels and scope of our neocortex. By the 2030s, you and I could be hundreds of miles apart, and it will seem just as though we’re sitting together as we are now—there are even technologies that will enable us to touch one another. Not only will people be able to have sex together in different locations, but you will have the ability to change who you are and who your partner is. We have already to some extent separated the biological function of sex from its communication, sensual and recreational purposes.
I do see some social awkwardness in myself and in some of my associates who are brilliant in technology.
I think the Google leadership realizes, as do most enlightened technology leaders, that paradigms are short-lived and you have to constantly reinvent yourself. At Google we’re constantly looking for new ideas and for people who can fashion new ideas and success. Bill Gates is completely ignoring the 50 percent deflation rate that’s inherent in information technology. Certainly within 20 years we’ll be meeting all our energy requirements through solar and other renewables. We know how to clean up or desalinate water using other emerging technologies, such as Dean Kamen’s Slingshot water-vapor-distillation system, at very low cost, particularly if we have low-cost energy.
I don’t think I actually said that, but if you google my predictions, you’ll see I’ve fared quite well overall. Early on, it was predicted that software viruses, which were just then emerging, would ultimately become so powerful they would render the internet useless, and part of that prediction came true. It’s a mental technique in which I assign myself some challenge or question before dozing off. Religion originated in prescientific times, and it attempted to answer valid questions, such as why are we here and what is this incredible miracle of people coming into existence who didn’t exist before?
I’d say the most important is the Golden Rule — to treat other people the way you would wish to be treated.
But I think it’s humanity’s mission to transcend our limitations, and the most profound limitation we have is that of our life span. Explaining the accelerating rate of technical progress, Kurzweil said technical developments form very predictable trajectories, and those trajectories are exponential. Kurzweil said 4 years ago Google founder Larry Page and he were asked by the National Academy of Engineering to study emerging energy tech. 2 years ago Kurzweil presented this to the prime minister of Israel, who attended his class at the MIT Sloan School in the 1970s.
Highlighting the global challenges for humanity with featured solutions from field leaders.
Internet-enabled security cameras, for instance, are already causing a substantial rise in global power usage. As a result of Facebook’s openness program in 2011, Google has also opened many of its practices to the public. With our diverse experience in equity markets and data schematics, we are merging design and powerful interface with rich cloud-based technology to develop industry-specific products and solutions. The data traveling to and from all those thermostats, cameras, and cars, you see, must flow through the massive data centers operated by the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook. And it’s worth noting that Google makes both online thermostats and self-driving cars. These gains can be credited in part to Moore’s Law, the tech tenet that says the computing power in a computer chip will double every 18 months. With the rise of the Internet of Things, the demands placed on our data centers may be growing, but the technology needed to handle those demands is improving as well. Google is leading this revolution, he says, followed by companies like Facebook and Microsoft. For years, Google kept its data center technologies under wraps, seeing them as a competitive advantage. Ray Kurzweil envisions the future — by year 2020, 3D printing will transform manufacturing.
Jobs will be lost, manufacturing will turn into an information industry, but there’s a silver lining behind industry disruption, he says. 800 people attended the show, featuring presentations on robot ethics, marketing for tomorrow, artificial intelligence and building a brain.
Kate Darling, PhD a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, expert on interaction of people and machines, spoke on robot ethics. They’re going to steal our jobs, spy on us as drones, even kill us — a scenario in Hollywood movies, Darling says.
By simulating 3D reality, architects can design buildings easily and creative people can design their own cottages, Hirsh says.
Regulatory platforms need to become principal based rather than rules based to adapt to changing environments. Here, we summarize some of his predictions that could have the largest implications on medicine. In the 1980s, he eerily predicted the emergence of a global online network long before the internet as we now know it exists.
His most famous theory is the singularity: tech will continue to evolve at exponential pace, changing human destiny, giving humans the option of immortality.
Biology is inherently an information process, Kurzweil argues, and in the coming decades, humans will gain the ability to not only turn off disease genes and program our own biology.
Long hours, high stress and overwhelming pressure — the work culture of Silicon Valley is notoriously unforgiving. Later he expanded this into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it became a world-wide success. I have since collected various original editions, annotated editions of the book, and some paintings.
He also reckons singularity, where human intelligence will merg with non-biological technology, will happen in 2045.


He is an author who gained wide attention for his predictions on how advances in technology will shape the future.
His many honors include being named as an ACM fellow and receiving the National Medal of Technology. It is expected this project will result in new ways to manage information and search the web. This technology was a solution in search of a problem in that we did not have a good idea what it would be good for.
We developed these 2 new technologies and introduced the Kurzweil Reading Machine on January 13, 1976.
The Kurzweil 250, which we introduced in 1984, was recognized as the first instrument that could realistically recreate the sound and feel of a grand piano.
Language allows us to communicate a hierarchical idea from one brain to another, so language is itself inherently hierarchical. We are moving from search being based just on keywords to search being based on the actual meaning of language.
His Jewish parents escaped Hitler’s Austria, but Kurzweil grew up attending a Unitarian church.
Two years later, he wrote code to analyze and create music in the style of various famous composers. Kurzweil knew a “reading machine” could help the blind, but to make it work, he first had to invent a text-to-speech synthesizer, as well as a flatbed scanner; both are still in wide use.
His best-selling titles The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Singularity Is Near offer eerily specific forecasts on artificial intelligence, biotechnology and human evolution. He co-founded Singularity University, a research institute and think tank that focuses on how science can solve humanity’s challenges involving water scarcity, overpopulation and energy shortfalls. You describe a near future in which nanobots inhabit our bloodstreams, our brains upload to the cloud and people never die. My view is that we will use these tools as we’ve used all other tools—to broaden our reach. By the 2030s we will have nanobots that can go into a brain non-invasively through the capillaries, connect to our neocortex and basically connect it to a synthetic neocortex that works the same way in the cloud. I have three seconds to come up with something clever to say, and the 300 million modules in my neocortex won’t cut it.
Once we can expand our thinking in the cloud, our intelligence grows beyond anything we can currently comprehend.
That type of thinking made sense, but it ignores the sort of exponential growth we see with technology. It’s beginning to revolutionize clinical practice and will completely transform medicine within one to two decades.
That was a good idea 10,000 years ago when our genes evolved, because the next hunting season might not work out so well. We’ll soon have the ability to rejuvenate all the body’s tissues and organs and develop drugs targeted specifically at the underlying metabolic process of a disease rather than taking a hit-or-miss approach. By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate but rather your remaining life expectancy. If we’re doing the same things for hundreds of years, life will become profoundly monotonous. What you’re describing could change the very nature of relationships, not to mention redefine what it means to be monogamous.
You can certainly have sex without having babies, and you can even have babies without having sex. In the 1980s, you invented the Kurzweil K250 music synthesizer, the first keyboard capable of simulating the sound of a grand piano and other orchestral instruments. My friendship with Stevie Wonder goes back to 1976, when he invited himself to my office to listen to the Kurzweil reading machine for the blind. Every generation has its defining psychological label, and armchair therapists today love throwing around the catchall terms on the spectrum and Asperger’s. But we’re intelligent enough to compensate for that and find ways of interacting with people. You can’t ride just one paradigm and one algorithm, though the PageRank algorithm that underlies search has certainly been one of the most successful algorithms in history. Despite oppressive regimes, the consensus is actually moving in the right direction toward greater liberty, freedom and democracy. If you read Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature, he documents a very profound inverse exponential in violence. The poor today have amenities that kings and queens didn’t have one or two centuries ago, including refrigerators and toilets, not to mention computers, televisions and recorded music. A vast digital divide separates those with access to communications technology from those without access.
People think the world is getting poorer, but according to the World Bank, for example, poverty in Asia has been cut by 90 percent over the past 20 years because these societies have gone from primitive agrarian economies to thriving information economies. We’re awash in energy—10,000 times more than we need, from the sun—and we’re going to move to these renewables not just because we’re concerned about the impact on the environment but because it will be cheaper and more economic. We’re going to have a vertical agriculture revolution where we’ll grow food in vertical buildings, recycling all the ingredients and resources so there’s no ecological impact, unlike the environmental disaster represented by factory farming. I did an analysis of the predictions I made for 2009 in the book The Age of Spiritual Machines, which I wrote in the late 1990s. The difference between myself and my critics is that we’re looking at the same reality, but they apply their linear intuition about where we will go, and I’m thinking about it from the exponential perspective. Software viruses did become very sophisticated and powerful, but we also have a technological immune system that detects new viruses and semi-automatically reverse-engineers them and puts out antidotes that are spread virally on the internet in the form of antiviral software.
But what about this trigger-finger impulse we all have to check our screens at every stoplight, at every pause in a conversation? Books by Sherry Turkle and others articulate that we would rather communicate on our devices than with each other. He said the censors in your mind are relaxed in your dreams, which is why you’ll dream about things that are culturally and sexually taboo. I’ve always been wary of LSD, because if you end up on a bad trip, you can’t get off the ride. And then the inverse miracle of them disappearing, and where did they go, and what happens, and what is the nature of consciousness, and do we really have free will, and what are we supposed to be doing when we’re here? Today we have more insight into the nature of reality from physics, biology and neuroscience, so we should update our answers to these questions based on our greater understanding of the world. I have enough trouble staying on top of my responsibilities when I’m alive and kicking, so the idea of being in suspended animation for decades is not appealing. That’s the hardest thing for people to accept, because birth and life and death have been with us since the beginning of recorded history. Some people dismissed it, saying it’s nice but at a half percent solar is a fringe player, not going to solve the problem. After we double 7 more times, and meeting 100% of the world’s energy needs, we’ll still be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight we have.
The improvements are a result of more efficient machines, electrical systems, and cooling mechanisms. Last year, Google released a paper describing how the company had overhauled its data center to improve efficiency by up to 25% in specific facilities. Holzle is the man who oversees Google’s worldwide network of data centers, and he believes that efficiencies brought by devices such as Internet-connected thermostats, lighting systems, and self-driving cars will balance out the extra power needed to drive our computing centers.
But it’s also the result, he says, of far more efficient machines, cooling systems, and electrical systems. And Jason Mars, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan who specializes in data center technologies, knocks Holzle’s thesis down another peg. And he has more insight than most, having worked along Google data center engineers to analyze the performance of its data centers.
But in 2011, through its Open Compute Project, or OCP, Facebook open-sourced many of its streamlined data center designs, sharing them with the world at large.
Google isn’t sharing its particular algorithms with others, but according to head of data center operations Joe Kava, its paper has directly sparked similar efforts from outside companies. He authored best selling books on artificial intelligence, and heads up a Google team studying machine intelligence and natural language understanding.
Stem cells can be programmed to rejuvenate heart attack victims, genes manufactured and injected into the body to reduce pulmonary hypertension. Fridges can be programmed to lock their doors and tell you when to exercise, says Badminton, who studies how technology is affecting the office. In addition to solving brain disorders, the model can help scientists and engineers build smarter machines, he says. Now it is poised to disrupt white collar sectors such as financial services and banking, he says. The location of servers will be more important if countries and regions form trading blocs, restrict access.
In the Wall Street Journal, he deflected criticism from theologians who insist death is necessary by saying: “Oh, death, that tragic thing? Here, in their own words, 8 entrepreneurs explain their favorite extra-curricular activity. Kurzweil received ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1978 for his invention of a computer based machine that read pages aloud to the blind.
What was your inspiration for developing a machine that could read text aloud to the blind? The state of the art at the time was that OCR could recognize a single type front typed with fixed spacing. We worked extensively with a team of 8 blind engineers and scientists from the National Federation of the Blind in order to perfect the product. You recently returned to Kurzweil Music Systems as a Chief Strategy Officer for the company.
It was not possible to have a recorded sample for every loudness level of every note for the entire duration of a note, so samplers would loop the last waveform as the note decayed. The latest challenge we are dealing with at Kurzweil Music is to realistically model the resonances of all the strings when the pedal is down.
You said language is the vehicle for developing machines that can understand the meaning of ideas and concepts. Evolution created the neocortex as a unique brain structure that could understand the hierarchical nature of reality. In the hundreds of thousands of years that followed we have created a vast knowledge base of language that provides all of our thoughts and insights. Recently, you predicted that by the 2030s, shared, virtual environments will be immersive and actually feel real.
Kurzweil, who heads a team of more than 40 as a director of engineering at Google, believes advances in technology and medicine are pushing us toward what he calls the singularity, a period of profound cultural and evolutionary change in which computers will out-think the brain and allow people to live forever. The program won him the prestigious Westinghouse Science Talent Search, a prize that got the 17-year-old an invitation to the White House. In the 1980s Kurzweil created the first electronic music keyboard to replicate the sound of a grand piano and many other instruments. Much of his work sounds like science fiction, but Kurzweil rationally lays out his vision at symposia, college lectures and confabs such as South by Southwest and TED.
His Google team is developing tools for machine intelligence and natural language understanding, including a series of “chatbots” that can converse with you and have different personalities.
And in this case, we’ll be extending the most important attribute we have, which is our intelligence. I mean, this little Android phone I’m carrying on my belt is not yet inside my physical body, but that’s an arbitrary distinction. So we’ll have an additional neocortex, just like we developed an additional neocortex 2 million years ago, and we’ll use it just as we used the frontal cortex: to add additional levels of abstraction.
We’re approaching a point where technological progress will become so fast that everyday human intelligence will be unable to follow it.
We’re starting to reprogram the outdated software of life—the 23,000 little programs we have in our bodies, called genes. We can modify stem cells to have desirable effects such as rejuvenating the heart if it’s been damaged in a heart attack, which is true of half of all heart attack survivors. Our immune system is great, but it evolved thousands of years ago when conditions were different. We can enjoy any earthly environment, but we’ll also have fantastic imaginary environments limited only by our imaginations, and our imaginations are going to become greater.
Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift is just one harbinger of the coming era of virtual reality. Another application will be to send signals directly to your neocortex as though they’re coming from your senses.
Gutenberg’s first book was the Bible, but that was followed by a lot of more prurient titles.
A couple could become each other, for example, and experience the relationship from the other’s perspective. People are doing things to their bodies that were considered radical some decades ago and are now considered mainstream, like tattoos and piercings but also cosmetic surgery. I have always dreaded cocktail parties, but I’ve always had one good male friend and, from an early age, was able to connect one-on-one with women.
We’re working on natural-language understanding, trying to get computers to understand the meaning of documents, and it’s quite an incredible team. Your chance of being killed hundreds of years ago was far greater than it is today because there was extreme scarcity of resources hundreds of years ago. Often their objection is that they don’t want to live hundreds of years the way the quintessential 99 year old is perceived to be living — frail or ill and on life support. Pesticide-free fruits and vegetables done through hydroponic plants, in vitro cloned meats.


In The Singularity Is Near you wrote that by 2015 we would be able to depend on robots to clean our houses. Not to put a damper on things, but what is to stop darker forces from using the technologies you describe and putting society in grave peril? So we can then very quickly create either an RNA-interference-based medication or an antigen-based vaccine and spread protection quickly if there were an outbreak. This is the paradigm we use to keep these technologies safe, but it’s not a pat solution, because the technology keeps getting more sophisticated.
More than 25 percent of auto collisions involve cell phones, and people are going to rehab for internet addiction.
As we learn more about the brain and expand our brains through merging them with technology, we’re going to treat it as a network to improve our use of time in more creative and profound ways.
Alcohol is probably the oldest means we’ve had of changing our consciousness, escaping the anxiety of reality, and it can be useful for that.
There’s actually no falsifiable experiment you could run that would definitively answer the question of whether or not an entity is conscious. People talk about getting used to death and accepting it, but the end of each life is a terrible loss, like the Library of Alexandria burning down. Kurzweil said solar has been around for over 25 years, and its market share has doubled every 2 years. They were ignoring the exponential growth — like they ignored the exponential growth of the internet and human genome project. He believes that IoT has put a greater load on data hubs but this is offset by improvements in technology required to handle such operations.
Tiny robots might be inserted into the brain to extend thinking, connected to cloud computers accessing vast amounts of data in seconds.
Cute robots help autistic children be responsive, and are companions for seniors, she says. The Kurzweil Machine, as it was called at the time, relied on Kurzweil’s invention of 2 component technologies, the charge coupled device flatbed scanner and a new text-to-speech synthesizer.
My team and I developed software that could recognize the abstract invariant features of letters.
How are recent tech advances improving the quality of the sound that these music systems produce?
If you loop one waveform, all the overtones become perfect multiples of the fundamental frequency of the note.
All several hundred strings interact with each other in complex ways but we feel that advanced signal processing can realistically recreate this effect. Why is language so central to this effort, and how might a computer process concepts such as meaning and context? Can you give us an example of what these environments might look like and what enabling tech will make them possible?
Nanorobots the size of blood cells will enter the brain through capillaries and provide the brain with signals as if they were coming from our real senses — eyes, ears, tactile sense, etc. Some will be re-created earthly environments and some will be new fantastic ones limited only by our imagination. That year, on the game show I’ve Got a Secret, Kurzweil pressed some buttons on a data processor the size of a small car. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you’ve likely seen the name Kurzweil on the back of a synthesizer.
It’s why you can buy an iPhone or an Android phone that’s twice as good as the one two years ago for half the price. It is part of who I am—not necessarily the phone itself, but the connection to the cloud and all the resources I can access there.
It’s a very thin structure around the brain that emerged 200 million years ago with mammals, which were rodent creatures. We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes.
I’ll be able to access that in the cloud just as we can access additional computation in the cloud for our mobile phones, and I’ll be able to say exactly the right thing. It’s a horizon past which the concepts we’re familiar with are so transformed that it’s hard to see past it. One is 2029, which is when computers will pass a valid Turing test, meaning they’ll be indistinguishable from human intelligence in a conversation. It was not in the interest of the human species for individuals to live very long, so people typically died in their 20s. So we’re going to make ourselves smarter, as we’re doing already, but as we directly merge with this technology and expand our thinking into the cloud, we’re going to be adding more levels of abstraction to our thinking. Today the technology is not quite realistic, but by the mid-2020s, with retina-based devices transmitting images directly to your retina, similar devices in your ears and other sensors that stimulate the tactile sense, you and I could be in different locations and yet feel completely as though we’re both at a table in the Taj Mahal or walking on a virtual Mediterranean beach, feeling the moist warm air on our faces.
The same thing happened with film, videotape, the internet and products such as Second Life, which was an early attempt at virtual reality and has a large adult sexual-interest section. You could transmit a more idealized version of yourself to your lover, or she may alter how she wants you to look.
As you go into virtual environments, some people create avatars that look very much like themselves, and other people create fantastic new types of creatures.
I was hoping to meet her at the Grammys last year, but she was sitting too far away from me. More recently, Alanis Morissette approached me at an airport to thank me for the Kurzweil keyboard. I met my wife at a party and spilled red wine on her pants, which might have been intentional.
One of the beneficial things we’ll have from technology is very high-quality learning, from preschool to graduate school, all free and all online—including interaction with teachers and fellow students. Look at the continued violence in the Middle East and the totalitarian regimes in Africa and North Korea, not to mention corruption, racism and greed.
The kid in Africa with a smartphone has more intelligent access to information than the president of the United States did 15 years ago, and progress like that spreads very quickly. They did one thing, which was make phone calls, and they did it poorly, and they didn’t fit in your pocket.
But as we get to the 2020s, we’ll be able to print out most of the material resources we need with 3D printers and similar technologies.
Even some of the ones that were incorrect, like self-driving cars, were not all that incorrect.
I gave a speech not too long ago to junior high school science winners from around the country, and they came up afterward and said, “Oh, that’s really so true. I was in the Army Science Advisory Group, and my issue was protecting ourselves against bioterrorism. This is part of the protocol that emerged from the Asilomar Conference, which established guidelines and ethical standards for responsible practitioners, as well as a rapid-response system just in case. Yes, the dangers get more dangerous, but our tools for combatting them also become more powerful.
In the course of this interview, dozens of people have died around the world from human drivers. Teenagers and even younger children growing up today are communicating with people around the world in ways that are very uplifting and educational.
This novel I just wrote with my daughter is called Danielle, and it’s about a precocious young girl. You could ask the entity, and some character in a video game today could say, “Yes, I’m conscious, and I’m very angry at you,” and we wouldn’t believe it, because it doesn’t have the subtle cues we associate with having those subjective states. I do believe we will begin to overcome the causes of our short lives, and that’s going to become a flood in the very near future. Over the past decade, Google has streamlined its own operation, designing its own data centers, its own computer servers, and its own networking gear—and the results are enormous. People have learned languages or lost weight more quickly working with robots rather than humans.
The machine also relied heavily on Kurzweil’s major advances in optical character recognition.
In a piano, however, the overtones are not perfect multiples of the fundamental frequency, they are what is called enharmonic and that gives the piano its unique sound.
These nanorobots will be communicating wirelessly with each other and with the cloud and will provide an interactive virtual environment.
We will also have augmented reality, so that you can be in a real living room but have a friend sitting there on the couch with you even if she is hundreds of miles away. He knows everything about everything, and it’s all filtered through the lens of whatever’s at the forefront of the wired world.” Kurzweil, who wore a Google watch on one wrist and a Mickey Mouse watch on the other, spoke for hours with his gaze fixed on the middle distance, as if he were in a kind of trance, Hochman says.
My smartphone is several thousand times more powerful and millions of times less expensive than the $11 million IBM 7094 computer I used when I was an undergraduate at MIT in 1965.
The big innovation came 2 million years ago when humanoids evolved and developed a large forehead.
10,000 years ago you would track an animal in the field and expect it to speed up as it went along. It doesn’t work well on things that tend to affect us later in life, because it didn’t select for longevity.
We could have one programmed to deal with all pathogens and could download new software from the internet if a new type of enemy such as a new biological virus emerged. And as virtual reality becomes more realistic, certainly sexual activity will be extremely popular. I think our aesthetic will modify, given the freedom of virtual reality, so you won’t have to be the same person all the time, but you could when you want to be. I think the principal role of education should be to encourage people at all ages to do projects and learn from those projects. Not every society is a perfect democracy today, but most believe it is the desirable norm we should seek.
On one hand we’re seeing more violence because people are capturing it on their cell phones. We’re talking about remaining healthy and young, actually reversing aging and being an ideal form of yourself for a long time. We’ll be able to print clothing at pennies per pound, which is what 3-D printing costs, and there will be an open-source market with free designs you can download and then print out on your printer.
Things were so different when I was 8.” [laughs] People are seeing the results of exponential growth because you don’t have to wait that long now to actually see it unfold. I grew up in an era when you couldn’t have a private phone conversation: You didn’t know who was listening in on the line, because there were other extensions.
There are 1.2 million deaths and millions of injuries each year caused by human drivers, which is why self-driving cars are on the way. Or it could be a literary issue, like how am I going to express this idea in something I’m writing? But I think our greatest opportunities to be creative, to communicate with others and to have relationships are fostered by technology.
But my contention is, as we get to the 2030s, artificial consciousness will be very realistic.
And though he didn’t say so, one big result of the project is that Google has opened up its practices as well. In Japan, factory robots are given names, do gymnastics with workers to make them more acceptable. Having greatly enhanced the technology behind omni-font optical character recognition, Kurzweil developed a computer program that was capable of recognizing text written in any normal font.
They also don’t see how many incredible things they would witness over time—the changes, the innovations.
I wrote these books actually as a way of encouraging myself and shaming myself into taking good care of my health so I would be an exemplar of what I’m talking about. A significant portion of their neocortex had evolved to understand the person and interact with them, and then suddenly that person is no longer there for them to use that part of their brain, which leads to the shock of mourning. We used this additional neocortex to create more levels of hierarchy so that we could master more abstract knowledge. If you get tired of your partner, you can turn your partner into someone else, or you can transform yourself. In the past, the next village could have been destroyed and you might never have heard about it. I run into very few people, if any, who tell me their lives were ruined by some invasion of privacy. And we will believe it, and they’ll get angry at us if we don’t believe them, and since they’ll be very smart, we don’t want that to happen. That additional amount of neocortex is what we used to add higher levels of abstraction, and that was the enabling factor for us to invent, first of all, language, but also things like humor and music. I try not to solve it, but rather I let my mind free, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, as I invariably do once or twice, I often find myself dreaming in a strange, oblique way about this question.
Do a complex language translation, a complex search or many other types of transactions, and you’re accessing thousands of computers while you sit quietly in a park somewhere.
John Searle, a philosopher at Berkeley, says consciousness is just another biological attribute, like digestion, lactation or respiration, but that’s not the case.
Over the next couple of decades we’re going to make ourselves smarter by integrating with these tools.



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