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Ray Kurzweil is a man of many accomplishments and the holder of numerous honorary degrees.  He is also a futurist and a transhumanist.  He has made a number of predictions over the course of the past 25 or so years, many of which he feels have been validated; others might challenge some of their validation.  Today let us take note of four of his 'still-in-the-future' predictions.  

     1.  Within 10 years we will have the option of spending time in 3D virtual                    environments that will appear just as real as the real world.  (Those seeking more information about virtual reality can ref:

     2.  Within 20-25 years we will have small devices known as nanobots "inside our bodies fighting disease, improving our memory and cognitive abilities".      (

     3.  By 2029 computers will pass the Turing test.    (

     4.  By 2045 "the pace of change will be so astonishingly quick that we won't be able to keep up, unless we enhance our own intelligence by merging with the intelligent machines we are creating".

Not everyone agrees with Kurzweil's predictions on these matters, but those who do have generated several theories regarding how these developments will impact the human species.

     1.  Perhaps we will merge with intelligent machines and become superintelligent cyborgs.  (Why do I hear a small voice repeating, "Resistance is futile"?)

     2.  Maybe artificial intelligence (AI) will help us to overcome our human frailties and enable long life, perhaps even indefinite life spans.

     3.  Perhaps we will scan our consciousness into computers and live inside them virtually forever.

     4.  And maybe computers will turn on us and place us in a reservation in the Mid-west or even just annihilate us.

(For more on Kurzweil see the Time article Feb. 11, 2011.

The Time article notes that "the one thing all these theories have in common is the transformation of our species into something that is no longer recognizable as such to humanity circa 2011".  John Stewart in a paper on the directionality of evolution said, "Humanity is beginning to enter the early stages of the transition to intentional evolution and development" (  Stewart makes the point that evolution can be viewed as a somewhat passive process until the emergence of an intelligent life form that is capable of taking over the directionality of evolutionary processes.  He adds that our desires and motivations "have been shaped by past evolution to be successful in previous environments, not the future".  Thus, "if the transition is to be completed successfully, humanity will have to free itself from the dictates of its biological and cultural past".  This means that the possibility of a technological singularity "lends great urgency to the development" of "new psychological capacities" and "the adoption of pro-evolutionary goals". 

In most of our discussions on various issues we have debated one "Stone Age" perspective versus a different "Stone Age" perspective.  The possibility of a Singularity suggests, at least to some, that all these "Stone Age" perspectives will be left behind. Let's explore that possible scenario.  Do you think that Kurzweil's four cited predictions have a high probability of occurring?  Why/why not?  If they do indeed have a high probability, then do they necessarily imply a need for "new psychological capacities"? If so, what new capacities would they be?  Who is to decide what they should be?  How would they decide?  Can the new capacities exist with the "old capacities" or should the old capacities be weeded or completely discarded?

Well, my current psychological capacity needs a rest.  Or is that just old age?  There's that voice again, "Resistance is futile".  Okay ..., let's make it a nap.  Hopefully I'll awaken by Sunday so we can visit with each other once again.  See ya' then.    

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  • Bharati

    Interesting views from members.

    October 21, 2013

  • Gerald M.

    Health promotion, life extension and transformation, through microbots, AI and robotics were discussed from different perspectives.

    October 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Kurzweil wants to reverse engineer the human mind to enhance intelligence, end disease and promote longevity. It is clear from reading his new book "How to Create a Mind: theSecret of Human Thought Revealed" that he doesn't know much about neuroscience, psychology, nor computer science. His hierarchical pattern recognizer
    "borrowed" from Jeff Hawkins (see Jeff's book "On intelligence") and is inferior to Jeff's model. Furthermore this model alone does not constitute an adequate theoretical let alone practical model to do all the thinks Kurzweil wants to do with our brains. (He's not touching mine!) To truly reversevengineer the human mind were need a multidisciplinary group of folks a from A.I., neuroscience, cognitive psychology, the liberal arts, and members of the Takoma Paarak Socrtes Cafe Meeetp.

    October 19, 2013

  • Craig Y.

    We gain in technology. Are we lost in wisdom or does it matter?

    October 15, 2013

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