In the February 19 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, there is an interesting article written by David Kushner entitled “When Man and Machine Merge”. It is about the life and work of Ray Kurzweil, a man who Kushner says is a “prophet of the techno rapture”. Kurzweil is best noted for inventing the modern synthesizer but is gaining notoriety for his views about how computers will soon be running the world. He says that that by the year 2045, computers will surpass us in intelligence, the universe will itself become conscious and humans will live forever. According to RS, Kurzweil says that “molecular robots will spread throughout the tiniest recesses of all matter, turning rocks and trees into living computers.”
I am not sure about all of this. I don’t even pretend to understand it. But one quote from Kurzweil leaped off the page at me. “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st Century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress.” With the rate of technological and scientific advancements increasing as they are, I have no doubt that, should the world be around for another 100 years, we will see change like no other time in history. I suppose the real question is: “will it be progress or just change?” There is a difference.
The farther you read into the article, the more you realize that Kurzweil is quite the eccentric. Possibly even crazy. According to the article, his most ambitious plan is his most personal: He plans to bring his dead father back to life. “Nanobots can extract some DNA from his grave site. Then they’ll get memories from my brain and put it all together.”
OK. The jury is back.
But I do think he is on to something when it comes to the exponential change we are about to experience. My advice is: Hang on for dear life!