Scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil has given specific dates for when humanity will reach immortality and artificial intelligence (AI) will reach the singularity, reports iflscience.com.
The good news, if his predictions turn out to be accurate, is that you just have to wait out the next seven years for a chance to live forever.
Kurzweil is adept at predicting technology, correctly predicting in 1990 that a computer would beat human world chess champions by the year 2000, the rise of portable computers and smartphones, the move to more wireless technology, and foreseeing the explosion of the Internet before it was obvious to everyone.
In 2010, he even revised his 20-year-old forecasts to see what came of it. In his article, he claims that of the 147 predictions he made in 1990 regarding the years prior to 2010, 115 turned out to be “completely correct,” 12 were essentially correct, and only 3 were completely wrong.
For example, he was mistaken that by 2009 unmanned vehicles will be in full use. And while claims of immortality are very bold, they should at least not be dismissed outright.
Kurzweil has been making such bold predictions for some time now, sticking to the surprisingly accurate dates he originally set.
“2029 is the consistent date I predicted for AI to pass a valid Turing test and therefore reach human intelligence levels,” Kurzweil told Futurism in 2017.
“I have set a date of 2045 to reach the ‘singularity’ when we increase our effective intelligence by a billion times by merging with the intelligence we have created.”
Regarding immortality, Kurzweil believes that by 2030 we will be able to “increase the duration of human life by more than a year every year.”
The nanobots will flow through our bloodstream, repairing and linking our brain to the cloud. When this happens, we will be able to send videos directly from our brains, as well as back up our memories.
For Kurzweil, the singularity is not something to be feared, but something that will improve humans, ultimately making us “god-like”.
“We’re going to be funnier. We’re going to be sexier. We’re going to be better at expressing loving sentiment,” he said in 2015.
“If I want to access 10,000 computers for two seconds I can do that wirelessly,” he explained, “and [my computational power] multiplies itself in the cloud ten thousand fold. That’s what we’re gonna do with our neocortex.”
“So I’m walking along and I see Larry Page coming, and I better think of something clever to say but 300 million modules in my neocortex isn’t gonna cut it. I need a billion for two seconds. I’ll be able access that in the cloud, just like I can multiply the intelligence of my smartphone thousands-fold today.”
Nanobots have been used to deliver useful drugs to brain tumors, but without significant advances over the next few years, it’s hard to imagine how we could get to this point within seven years.
Brain-computer interfaces have come a long way: paralyzed patients can form sentences using their minds, and monkeys can play pong.
However, we are far from the future described by Kurzweil, where human-AI interaction happens in the old-fashioned way. Only time will tell if he’s right. Fortunately, according to his predictions, we will have plenty of time.