Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (Ray Kurzweil)

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Information technologies are not available only to an elite. As discussed, desirable information technologies rapidly become ubiquitous and almost free. It is only when they don’t work very well (that is, in an early stage of development) that they are expensive and restricted to an elite.

Early in the second decade of this century, the Web will provide full immersion visual-auditory virtual reality with images written directly to our retinas from our eyeglasses and lenses and very high-bandwidth wireless Internet access woven in our clothing. These capabilities will not be restricted just to the privileged. Just like cell phones, by the time they work well they will be everywhere. In the 2020s we will routinely have nanobots in our bloodstream keeping us healthy and augmenting our mental capabilities. By the time these work well they will be inexpensive and widely used.

As I discussed above, reducing the lag between early and late adoption of information technologies will itself accelerate from the current ten-year period to only a couple of years two decades from now. Once nonbiological intelligence gets a foothold in our brains, it will at least double in capability each year, as is the nature of information technology. Thus it will not take long for the nonbiological portion of our intelligence to predominate. This will not be a luxury reserved for the rich, any more than search engines are today. And to the extent that there will be a debate about the desirability of such augmentation, it’s easy to predict who will win, since those with enhanced intelligence will be far better debaters.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who else can we talk about this sort of thing besides somebody else who has read the book. The discussion about matter and spirit is ongoing, it is not necessarily instigated by a book like The Singularity Is near. It is a conversation that goes on eternally. However the exponential rate at which technology is developing, and the exponential rate of exponential acceleration of technological development is something that is difficult to discuss with somebody who has never heard about the subject before.