Ray Kurzweil Predicts


There’s an article on CNN written by renowned inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil who provides a list of five predictions about how technology will affect our future — and he provides specific timelines for each. I thought I’d throw it out to the ECW community for comment and discussion.

1. By the early 2020s, we will be able to prevent disease and aging by programming biology.

2.By 2030 all our energy needs will be able to be met by solar power — thus revolutionizing food production and making clean water abundantly available.

3.We will be printing a significant proportion of goods we used, and replacement organs, by the early 2020s

4.Search engines will be driven by natural language queries within five years.

5.We’ll be working and playing in virtual environments (including full immersion tactile experience) by the early 2020s

Those are the predictions, you can read his explanations and justifications at the CNN article here. Agree? Disagree? Have predictions of your own? I haven’t ever heard Kurzweil opine on the significance of LENR, and I wonder whether his predictions would be different if that were thrown into the equation. I would expect that he would be the kind of person who, if LENR becomes mainstream, would see it as a highly significant invention that could affect all the other technologies he discusses. I’d be interested to hear what ECWers think!


  

  • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

    an article about Taleb vision of future…
    http://www.salon.com/2012/12/01/nassim_nicholas_taleb_the_future_will_not_be_cool/

    old invention will survive long, recent will disappear, and unpredictable will appear…

    • Roger Bird

      Good article

  • Teemu Soilamo

    You do realize the irony in your statement, considering Ray is Google’s director of engineering and responsible for their future search engine?

  • Zavod

    Is Kurzweil the guy that suggested we might be able to reach the nearest star by putting an infant in a spacecraft that is so sophisticated it could raise the infant into an adult, who would then report back what was found? I’d fear that such a badly abused person would return some day in the van of a race of flying space monkeys intent upon revenge for the cruel treatment we gave it.

    • bachcole

      I like what you wrote here.

  • bachcole

    Please, some of you guys are KILLING me. There will NEVER be a sentient computer. The idea that there will be a sentient computer someday is definitely reductionist science running wild. The essence of being human extends way beyond the physical, and no amount of clever physical complexity is going to compensate for that. You are more than your physical body. You are more than your etheric, astral, subtle, or even mental bodies. You are more than your intellect or feelings or intelligence. You are One with the Infinite Ocean of Truth, and this is why you experience, why you are sentient.

    • Teemu Soilamo

      Holy crap, what a load of bollocks. You are basically saying that there will never be a sentient computer because humans are magic. No, you are not more than your brain. Try getting some serious brain injury and see if your personality doesn’t change.

      • bachcole

        My experience, which I am not about to doubt, is that you are wrong. Human beings are magic. If I smash a radio and it makes funny noises or no noises, does that mean that the radio was creating Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and now to more (because I whacked it), or does it mean that some transmitting station hundreds of miles away is creating the music.

        Now, please, I want to see you tell me that my personal experience wrong. Oh, and also the personal experience of hundreds of thousands of other people, including Eben Alexander.

        • Teemu Soilamo

          I am generally not impressed by anyone’s personal revelations. Imagine if as a rule you had to take every crazy person’s experience as gospel, even if they were to grossly contradict each other. Please consider the possibility that you are either suggestible, irrational, mentally handicapped, hallucinating, or all of the above. If you are going to make a definitive statement like that with absolutely no objective evidence (sorry be a party pooper by bringing up such a request), you are standing on thin ice and can expect to get a lot of crap for it.

          • bachcole

            (1) There are actually hundreds of cases where objective evidence is presented, but you won’t look at them because it will upset your little paradigm.

            (2) You don’t have to take something as gospel to think that there might be something real there.

            (3) By your standard, we should discount LENR until we burn our own finger and lower our own utility bills.

            (4) Insisting upon objective evidence is just more reductionism and materialism. Obviously I am not talking about a material event, but your insistence upon objective evidence is your unintentional way of demonstrating your fixation on materiality.

            • Teemu Soilamo

              1. Hundreds of cases no doubt cherry-picked by you, while ignoring all the other cases that contradict your pre-existing beliefs.

              2. But by what criteria should I decide what to believe? Because you’re a nice guy?

              3. Or, how about we wait and see? There is definitely not enough information yet to make a decision either way.

              4. What planet do you live on? In what country were you schooled? I suppose living in reality and talking about tangible things is reductionistic. I’m so myopic, I should open my mind to leprechauns and Mars-orbiting teapots and other non-material non-existing things. Because not to do so would be materialistic (lest we be materialistic!). Because, hey, one day I just decided that I can’t be the sum of my parts–because magic–so now I go around the internet preaching this epiphany to random people.

              I have had conversations like this before, and they NEVER lead to anything. So let’s just leave it at that.

              • bachcole

                Since your attitude is so hostile, I choose not to continue this conversation. When your response appears in my email folder, I will erase it without reading it.

                • Teemu Soilamo

                  Whatever you make of it, it was sincere. Also, you seem awfully defensive.

                • efrecska

                  I watch the fight between Fundamaterialists and Idealists like a soccer game. The game is not over yet and Fundamaterialists have been playing an ugly, aggressive soccer.

                • Teemu Soilamo

                  Fundamaterialist? What kind of a nickname is that? There is nothing “funda” in assuming nothing that is not seen and putting the onus on the magical “idealist” to prove their claims.

                • psi

                  You are both right. Just in alternate universes. Now shake hands and agree to respect that these questions are still open to doubt and that we need passionate conversation to help us think more clearly about them. The Wizard of Oz awards you both degrees and emblems of the royal order of the full-hearted warrior. (I am wiz’s messenger).

  • Marc Ellenbroek

    Ray also predicts the singularity point, at which moment the intelligence of the computer exceeds the human intelligence. His predictions are based on the number of synapses in the human brain. Recently it was found that the human brain is about two orders of magnetude more complex than what can be assumd by counting the synapses. That allone will put back his prediction of the singularity moment from 40 to about 400 years from now. It just means that predictions based on wrong assumptions are useless.

    • Omega Z

      Even Einstein got it wrong Occasionally, But was able to learn from it.

      “the singularity point, at which moment the intelligence of the computer exceeds the human intelligence” In some cases- That Point has been reached. :)

      I agree, We are more then the sum of our parts.
      Computers will always be a Simulation of Intelligence by algorithms.
      Unless they go Organic in which case it may just be a new lifeform & no longer a computer.

      • Fortyniner

        Kurtzweil seems to confuse algorithms and linear processing power with intellegence and appears to think that a machine capable of passing the ‘Turing test’ or of beating a human at chess is all that is required to meet his prediction. But as you say,”Computers will always be a Simulation of Intelligence…” , at least in the case of digital computers.

        It’s possible that some new computer technology might evenually emulate neural tissue, but for the moment the idea of a ‘singularity’ is simplistic twaddle.

        • Teemu Soilamo

          A computer that would pass a properly conducted Turing test would absolutely be ‘human level’ intelligent. Human language is a highly structured construct that comprises all of human knowledge. There are no clever tricks that an A.I. could use to fool a judge in a long conversation without being sentient, or resembling a sentient being. And for all intents and purposes, there is no difference between the two.

          • bachcole

            Resembling a sentient being and being a sentient being are two entirely different things.

            Please prove to us that you are sentient, Teemu.

            • Teemu Soilamo

              That is my point exactly! You can’t objectively prove the existence of a subjective experience. You only have to take my word for it.

              • bachcole

                Yes, for the most part. I am proud of you for recognizing that. But you do understand that ONLY subjective things count. If the soup that I am making tastes good to me, that is what matters. Every scientific proof at some point must necessarily involve the subjective, like an observer and an observation. When your sweetie tells you that she/he loves you, do you require a lie detector?

                If you have never had a transcendental experience, then you will most likely discount it. So I don’t condemn you for not believing me and I forgive you for putting me down. I was in your position once at the age of 24 in the University of California Student Union when some girl talked to me one-on-one about her astral projection; I simply could not relate. Then it happened to me. I have yet to see someone who has had an NDE or OOBE say, hey, it was just an hallucination or a delusion. Out of 3000 experiencers, 2999 switched from rock-and-roll to classical music.

                • Teemu Soilamo

                  Have you heard about lucid dreams or dream paralysis? I have had those, and they could easily be mistaken for a transcendental experience if one didn’t know what was going on. But in fact, they occur during REM sleep and are perfectly natural phenomena.

                  Are you saying that science is subjective? That is ridiculous. While every individual trying to recreate a given experiment is in the end making subjective observations, it is the repeatability of the experiment by many scientists that counts. That is what makes it objective.

              • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

                personally I have no doubt it will be more easy to solve s a problem.
                when machines will be smart enough to look like being sentient, even sentient as a monkey, then we will feel empathy with them….
                Of course if this pose an econoic problem like with slavery or meat, we will take time to regulate all… if they are nasty like sociopath, or just challenging our domination like a colonialist… then we will make war…

                we will treat them as human, this does not mean necessarily well.

            • Zavod

              If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it is a duck.

              • bachcole

                You are judging from external appearance. You are wrong.

                • Teemu Soilamo

                  But the whole point was that you CAN only judge from external appearance. Therefore, you don’t have a choice.

    • Stanny Demesmaker

      What research are you referring to ?
      I don’t see any objections to what Ray Kurzweil is proposing, his datapoints are pretty solid. We already have the hardware to create AGI, only the software is lagging.

  • jousterusa

    We won’t be “printing” any replacement organs by the early 2020s. It will take 20 years just to do the clinical trials, given the way our health establishment works now.

  • bachcole

    1. If you keep your eye on organized religion, you will never see the resurgence in spiritual aspiration that will NEVER die.

    4. We agree on this one. I think that Democrat and Republican are legacies from the Civil War and/or a sign of intellectually and political inertia.

    5. You have no idea what foolishness your #5 is. You have no idea how many people have died because of FDA corruption, lies, stupidity, narrow-mindedness, and reductionistic science. I am more than the sum of my parts.

  • Frechette

    The side effects may be something else. Sulfuric acid will kill most viruses including the patient. Lol.
    Now if they could only develop something to wipe out or prevent MRSA it would be a step in the right direction.
    The progression of some forms of cancer can’t even be predicted at this time let alone be cured. 2020 is six years away. Typically it takes 10 to 15 years for a new drug to make it from the lab, then through trials before it can be used as therapy in a clinical setting. Kurzweil’s time line is way too short for his prediction.

    • bachcole

      The road to health is NOT paved with magic bullets and expensive treatments. It is paved with paradigm shifts and people getting true to themselves.

      • Frechette

        Some individuals even go so far as to claim being sick is one’s own fault. Hope you don’t fall into that category.

        • bachcole

          No, people can still get sick despite their best efforts. But without their best efforts, they are sort of screwed. If someone isn’t trying, then to heck with them. And worshiping at the Altar of Modern Medicine just won’t work.

  • Omega Z

    Kurzweil overall has a good track record.
    But, He’s usually overly optimistic on timelines.

    If the Mainstream says 40 years & Kurzweil says 10. Expect 25.
    It may exist in 10 years, but it will be 25 years to mainstream…

    And #2 is LENR

  • GreenWin

    Here’s a bold prediction from a guy in the midst of a trillion dollar energy market correction:

    “Clearly, the future of our industry is completely up for grabs. We don’t know which companies will helm the future of the electricity industry. However, the only thing I am sure of is that our sector can no longer defend the status quo. Put simply – we can’t act like utility companies anymore.” David Crane, CEO NRG Energy.

    http://breakingenergy.com/2013/12/06/a-brave-new-world-powered-by-distributed-energy/

  • Chris I

    2 words: Science Fiction.

    • bachcole

      It is true that all of the futurist predictions that I have read and then lived long enough to get to the target date of have been completely off the mark. So, given that:

      1. No.
      2. Still wrong because it will be LENR
      3. Goods, yes; replacement organs? get serious
      4. Big freaking deal. Who is going to notice except technogeeks.
      5. No big deal, but only if we can afford it.

      I was hoping for:

      1. We would learn by 2025 to try to appreciate other people’s viewpoints and religions rather than going on about how cool our viewpoint and religion is.
      2. LENR will be rockin’ by 2025.
      3. People will come to understand by 2020 that acquiring lots of objects will not make them happy.
      4. By 2021, lefties will understand that everything has limits and that force will not change human nature, and righties will understand that caring about other people should be part of every proposal.
      5. By 2020, the officers of all of the pharmaceutical giants would be charged with crimes against humanity.

    • Fortyniner

      Many ‘science fiction’ concepts quietly enter real life, often not too long after a concept is published (one way or another). Science fiction writers and film set designers are often simply extrapolating existing novel developments, just as Kurzweil does, and probably with similar ‘hit’ rates. It seems to me highly likely that product developers and designers, and perhaps even scientists may often be inspired by the future devices featured in SF TV series and movies in particular, resulting in what can amount to self-fulfilling prophesies.

      Kurzweil’s well publicised ‘predictions’ may have some similar effects. It’s just a shame that he seems so uninformed and limited in his thinking about energy sources.

      1. This may be correct, assuming he means the use of synthetic biology to create antibodies or epigenetic modifiers, or to directly fabricate bacteriophages and similar targeted ‘nanodevices’. Timescales in this area are likely to be much longer than suggested (as others have also said). The question is whether such things would ever become available to general populations, especially in poorer parts of the world. At the moment we don’t seem able to provide even basic drugs in many areas, and advanced treatments are often confined to those with the ability to pay.

      2. Probably only partially true in view of LENR and other emerging technologies, and even so much solar power is likely to be harvested in non-traditional ways (synthetic photosynthesis and similar). Again, availablilty will probably depend on ability to pay for it.

      3-5 are simply obvious outcomes of present developments.

      • Chris I

        Of course some things in sci-fi are plausible or have even been quite directly applicable. Just like Clarke’s idea of the geostationary satellite; the only thing lacking back then was getting it up there, which soon came anyway.

        It still remains that the brunt of it is, at best, pretty far off.

      • Fortyniner

        It seems that Google have already anticipated voice control of gadgets and more. I wonder how many people will take them up on the idea, in the light of Snowdon’s information.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2521863/Google-plans-embed-microchips-heads-microphones-ceilings.html

    • Chris I

      Wow I seem to have raised quite a stirr with just 2 words! And even
      with politics getting into it, furthirmore with assumptions as if the
      whole world was the USA and the USA was the whole world.

  • mcloki

    1. To combat unemployment a 3 day work week will be implemented.
    2. Tax revenue from the legalization of Marijuana and online gambling will add billions to the nations coffers
    3. Legalization of pot will save billions in police enforcement.
    4. A 1% Stock market transaction tax will be used to slow Wall Street.
    5. Electric Cars will necessitate a “Milage Tax” on all vehicles to make up for lost gasoline taxes.
    6. First mined asteroid placed into earth orbit crashes to earth. Hits Ocean but scares a lot of people.
    7. Billions are made in nuclear clean up as old fuel is destroyed with new Thorium reactors.
    8. World population suffers massive crash when a virulent strain of antibiotic resistant plague hits the Indian Sub continent. Spreads to Europe and Africa.
    9. Africa has a major ‘World War level” conflict as a combination of a young unemployed population and great disparity of wealth combine.
    10. LENR is real but takes 10 years to come to market as OIL producers pull out every stop including $30 a barrel oil for years to stop market penetrations. It’s the only asset they have, better to sell it cheaply rather than not at all.

    • Daniel Maris

      I’m a strong supporter of moving swiftly to a 3 day week. It will have marvellous economic effects.

    • GreenWin

      Nice list mcloki. A couple comments:

      3) What politician is gonna fire cops? Regardless of need.

      5) How about State, Federal, local taxes already collected are used to maintain roads?

      6) How’d this asteroid GET in orbit, precisely? Surfers rejoice in big curl waves!

      7) Thorium is REALLY old. The first reactors were built in the 1960s and failed miserably. They DO produce radioactive waste and cost megabucks to build, maintain and clean up.

      10) Oil will retain its market in heavy lift fuels, plastics and biotech. Gasoline refiners will phase out operations over next 20 years.

      • mcloki

        They won’t fire cops but they will get of prison guards, and cops retire very quickly. But levels of DEA, and RIco squads just outlive their usefulness. They will got to tax collection.

        These asteroid mining companies want to park asteroids in near earth or near moon orbit cause the end products, metals and water, are needed here. One will break lose for sure. And if LENR works and can produce electricity. they will strap a 1000 LENR powered ion engines to an asteroid to move it here. The can then reuse the engines.

      • mcloki

        7. I was thinking of those breeder reactors.

        • Fortyniner

          We probably don’t want to make any more nuclear fuel than we already have. Meanwhile the GEC Genie colf fusion hybrid reactor is probably the answer to disposing of nuclear waste, but the technology seems to be on the TPTB ‘forbidden’ list.

  • Daniel Maris

    1, By 2030 most trucks will have driverless operation. By 2040 most private vehicles will have driverless operation.

    2. By 2020 all warehouses and supermarket shelf stacking will be dominated by robot workers rather than human workers.

    3. By 2030 most American and European armed forces will consist primarily of robot soldiers, drones and ships.

    4. By 2020 there will be large scale cold fusion/LENR generators in operation across the world.

    5. By 2050 most transatlantic journeys will be via underwater tube tunnels.

  • otto1923

    Our energy needs will increase along with availability, as it always has. By the end of the century our main AGW component will be waste heat.

    • bachcole

      If you will but do the math, which I have seen someone do on this forum, your prediction will not happen.

      • Chris I

        Actually only the second sentence is flawed.

        • bachcole

          (:->) I do find that the first sentence is the more probable. But I really think that there is a limit to just how much stuff people can control and utilize and play with. Once I have visited Mars in my private rocket, just how much fun will it be to take the time and loneliness to go to the moons of Jupiter.

          • Fortyniner

            Titan might be fun – but you will need your thermal underwear!

            • GreenWin

              Astonishing this moon was discovered in year 1655! Combust the liquid methane and maybe the CO2 will warm the surface.

              • Fortyniner

                S’right – according to a certain school of thought, all that would be needed would be a few billion alien methane-breathing inhabitants recklessly burning liquid oxygen to power their cars and home heating systems, and the hydrocarbon wax ‘icecaps’ would be melting like ice cream on a hot summers day.

  • bitplayer

    At least in the short term, tantric consciousness transference to a clone is a better bet for physical immortality than keeping these bodies going forever. We just need to stop the Chinese commies from blowing up all the Tibetan monasteries that know how to do the swap. Of course, it doesn’t help that Google Chrome dictionary doesn’t recognize “tantric”. Maybe Ray could get to work on that.

  • Doktor Bob

    Ray Kurzweil relates to Singularity University, I bet one of my testicles he knows but he is just beating around the bushes.

    I try to speak with 2-3 people a day in higher positions, might it be car manufacturers, energy companies, space companies, metallurgy, nano technology, water… etc

    These guys knows about these technologies…. and if they dont know at least they listen because for them information = power, profit and corporate sustainability. (which is important to them, if you dont believe me just look at Andrea Rossi now a days)

    I think the reason why is because they are used to get their “business intelligence” from other sources than Mainstream Tv Channels. Its perfectly normal to take business decision based on other thing than commercial tv programs or non business specific news reports.

    Its very hard to connect with people like Ray, but one step away ex C-Level Executives for Global Enterprises is quite possible with not to much efforts. Bottom Line = They Often Know all though if you ask them to front their knowledge they become uncomfortable. If you are polite you can approach them. Now they generally do not leave out information with very few exceptions but if they start asking questions that means they are interested and there is at least a seed of knowledge and belief.

    I think that one of the problems with Solar Power, “all though a wonderful power source” is because its a wide field with many companies / organisations taking many approaches. While you will hear every week about a new solar technology that improves performance by 200% one should take in consideration how uneven these improvements are distributed over many different solar technologies and with the financial crisis unfortunately Solar have taken a few blows. Ex Spain, because of new laws newly implemented the payback period on the investment for a typical homeowner just went from 7 year return to 35 year.

    Short term decision taken will always produce the best possible result …. in the short run….

    We need to look at the bigger picture

    Maybe this article was a better fit for your other homepage Admin, the future word because it does not relate to LENR at all. However, I might be wrong but I think that information regarding Cold Fusion has increased exponential, probably even beating Moores Law the last 2 years. Lets hope it continues this way!!!

    Im sure enjoying this great adventure, not to mention, sharing it with all of you.
    (With the exception of two people)

  • GreenWin

    Ray seems to have no interest in the global paradigm shift underway. LENR is a component and driving element of that shift. But the adoption of new consciousness and expanded spiritual interests are by far the greatest changes to come IMO. Most gadgetry and medicine Ray refers to are done, under restriction. VR and volumetric projection is live and well. Interested in what Ray might say about potential for nuclear conflict. Until the underlying compulsion to tribal warfare is discarded, nuclear conflict will quarantine human evolution.

  • AB

    Too optimistic. Like most futurists, he lives in a dream world. We don’t even know the cause of the vast majority of chronic disease, and he thinks in a decade we will not only know but also able to do what the body hasn’t been able to do by itself in millions of years of evolution.

    The search engine prediction is reasonable, but I’m not sure if there’s any advantage of such a system. Learning how to use a simple search engine is easier than learning the quirks of an inevitably imperfect natural language interpreting search engine.

    • Teemu Soilamo

      I think you’ve got it backwards. Humans are natural language creatures, so having the search event be more like a two-way conversation will be much more intuitive than the current paradigm of tricking the engine with ‘keywords’, parentheses and coded expressions.

      What will be achieved in this area in the next 5-10 years will be nothing short of astonishing; it will blow people away. Think Watson on steroids combined with Google’s massive database.

      • AB

        Human language is by nature ambiguous, rich and the meaning depends on the context. Programs are more or less the exact opposite of that. It is much easier to give clear instructions by adopting a language close to the program.

        Consider the task of finding articles about Elforsk on ecat.com.

        In natural human language the spoken instruction would be “Search for the word elforsk on ecat.com”. A human would understand that without a problem, however for a machine it is already ambiguous, because perhaps the user is actually searching for the string “elforsk on ecat.com”. How is the program supposed to know the difference? One could add the clause that anything preceded by the word “literally” counts as string… but where does the string end? In some cases, that will be important and thus we would also need to add a delimiter of some sort. Us humans have no such problems because we can modulate our voice to emphasize some words and we also have a lifetime of experience understanding contexts. Of course, we could try to teach that to the machine, and that opens up another set of challenges because languages vary with region.

        Then consider how simple it is to type “site:ecat.com elforsk” into Google. No ambiguity and simple rules. Anyone can learn the syntax in a few minutes.

        • Teemu Soilamo

          Lol, I didn’t say we had semantic natural language understanding search engines TODAY. Deep machine learning will address exactly the kinds of context-based examples that you brought up. Big companies like IBM, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are doing lots of research on it. The ideas are not new, but only recently we have the requisite computing power and massive internet data to train these neural nets. We’ll be transitioning from “strings” to “things”.

  • Teemu Soilamo

    I remember reading about this a couple years ago (in fact, your article links to that article). Haven’t heard anything since then, though.

  • Teemu Soilamo

    If the E-Cat turns out to be real, one of the most exciting ramifications would be the negligiblization (yeah, I made that up) of power used by supercomputers. Currently, a 1 ExaFLOPS supercomputer in 2018 is projected to consume at least 20MW. Imagine how much the collective computational capacity of the ever-present Cloud could be increased, if the energy used by massive data centers were essentially free in terms of environmental impact? Not to mention the lowered cost of operation.

    I’m sure Kurzweil would take a look at his graphs and revise some of them based on this new development.

  • John Maguire

    While his IQ might be higher than mine, Kurzweil is one of the most overrated futurists ever. His beliefs are totally removed from the economic realities of polarized wealth distribution. I also think his ideas about the Singularity are asinine; but obviously that is a whole different debate.

    • Private Citizen

      Kurzweil points out that his long historic trend curves have remained steady, despite wars, depressions, recessions, changes of government.

      I will keep your viewpoint in mind when following Kurzweil’s track record into the future.

      In my opinion, Ray is understandably a bit too conservative at times, overoptimistic at others, because he doesn’t factor black swans like LENR or, god forbid, nuclear war. Obviously he can’t predict the unforeseen, nor include it in his projections.

    • HAL 9000

      Singularity? What singularity? Everything is fine. Really. Fine.

      • GreenWin

        Yeah? Then open the bloody pod doors HAL!!

    • Quiet Wine Guy

      I can assure you that an IQ > 180 does not insure any sort of connection with reality. It is far more likely to be a foundation of narcissistic tendencies and a blunting of empathic or emotional intelligence.

      IMO, his predictions with their accelerated implementation time frames, shows a lack of understanding of how large groups of people and societies get in the way of his thoughts, and have a time line all their own. We have certainly seen that with LENR now moving into its 25 year of discovery without commercial implementation.

  • Frechette

    If by 2020 a cure for the common cold became available it would definitely be progress. I’m not keeping my fingers crossed.

    • bachcole

      There are already cures and ameliorizations for the common cold. Lamestream medicine just isn’t too fond of them because they don’t garner any money for themselves or their handlers the pharmaceutical companies. And the sheeple just keep believing in MDs.

      • Frechette

        If the cure for the common cold is under raps as you state then there won’t be a cure for all diseases available to the public that Kurzweil is blathering on about for basically the same reason. There is no money in it for big pharma.

        • bachcole

          I didn’t say that it is under raps. It is out in the open for all to see. Except that the minds of most are under the thrall of money/greed and reductionism and lies spread by pharmaceutical companies and such.

  • Teemu Soilamo

    I have followed Kurzweil for a long time, and while he is essentially right about where humanity is headed EVENTUALLY, some of his projections can be perplexingly stubborn. For example, he has been saying that we are “seven doublings away” from meeting all of our projected energy needs from solar for more than five years now:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/glenn-beck-program-transcript-may-2008

    In other words, if total solar power as measured in the total number of watts of electricity really were to double every two years, we should be only five to four doublings away now. Instead, we have made virtually no progress in that time. Maybe the E-Cat can save us? ;-)

    Also, being able to program the human body away from disease and aging by the early 2020s is way too optimistic. The date probably stems from Kurzweil’s personal desire to live to see the Singularity. He will be 75 years old in 2023.

    I still recommend his books and am anxious to see the progress on NLU semantic search that he will achieve as Director of Engineering at Google.

    • Private Citizen

      Solar already cheaper than coal?:

      “El Paso Electric Co. (EE) agreed to buy power from First Solar’s
      the 50-megawatt Macho Springs project for 5.79 cents a kilowatt-
      hour, according to a Jan. 22 procedural order from the New
      Mexico Public Regulation Commission. That’s less than half the
      12.8 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from typical new coal
      plants, according to models compiled by Bloomberg.”

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-01/first-solar-may-sell-cheapest-solar-power-less-than-coal.html

      • Teemu Soilamo

        We’re talking about the total number of solar. Ray quote from the latest article: “The total number of watts of electricity produced by solar energy is growing exponentially, doubling every two years. It is now less than seven doublings from 100%.”

        If you factor in the previous quote from 2008, we have made virtually no progress (“seven doublings” vs. “less than seven doublings” away) in five and a half years.

        If we’re now at, say, 1.5% for solar, we are not going to reach 100% by 2030 at the current pace.

        • GreenWin

          Solar has been sandbagged for decades in USA due to the Inventions Secrecy Act which makes PV panels at greater than 20% efficiency subject to ISA classification. Curious that EPA and DOE bang the drum on clean energy while National Intelligence forbids a likely solution.

          • Pekka Janhunen

            ISA=Idaho Sheriffs’ Association? Waiting for the natural language search engine…

          • Alain Samoun

            Inventions Secrecy Act

            GreenWin can you source the info?

            • GreenWin

              This is an independent overview Alain: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/04/gov-secrecy-orders-on-patents/

              I have seen PV >20% on an ISA list dated around 1970… will look for doc link.

              • Alain Samoun

                The Wired article is good Thanks GreenWin.
                One can wonder if the LENR blacklisting of today is the result of this Secrecy Act… After all it will have an impact on US National Security for sure with all the disturbances it will create in finance, economy, organization of society and of course national defense…

                • GreenWin

                  True. But at this stage we need LENR technology for healthy survival – which is the lawful intent of the Act. The greatest impact is to obviate plutonium and greatly enhance energy security via distributed generation. At a cost of decentralization.

                • Alain Samoun

                  Right,but there are so many interest groups that are for the statue-co that I sometimes feel desperate to see any real changes in my life time.

      • Frechette

        I looked at my electric bill and the total cost where I live is about 18 cents per Kwh. About half of the cost has nothing to do with energy generation and everything to do with peripheral costs such as transmission, maintenance, etc. Incidentally, we lose power every 3 months or so for extended periods of time particularly in the winter. I finally invested in a 20 KW diesel back up generator to keep the pipes from freezing when the power goes out. If the power companies go out of business because of LENR they deserve it.

        • bachcole

          Which power company and where would that be?

          • Frechette

            Massachusetts. NSTAR.

            • bachcole

              I presume that it is a private regional monopoly. When I was young, the PG&E (in California) employees took great pride in doing a good job. Now, not so much. I think that income disparity ate away at their sense of pride in doing a good job. People get cynical when the CEO makes 350 times more than they do. This is why this conservative (me) likes the Swiss idea of Maximum Income Ratio (for each company, not for the nation as a whole).

        • Fortyniner

          “keep the pipes from freezing” We use woodstoves for that – much nicer. I must admit to a 1.5kW standby generator for lighting, TV, pooter etc though, as well as a good stock of candles and paraffin. If we are lucky we only lose power here in the sticks once a year or so, and it’s usually back within a day at most.

    • bitplayer

      Ray Kurzweil is a national treasure, in a way, however, from prior articles, based on family history, he does seem to afraid of dying before the “good stuff” gets here.

      One of the main reasons the future as seen in the Golden Age of sci-fi hasn’t arrived is because of a gross under-estimation of the scarcity, cost and infrastructure needs of future energy sources.

      And the failure to find those energy sources has slowed down all political, economic and scientific progress (not the least by resulting in $XB being dumped into hot fusion).

      If RK seriously wanted to live forever he would get to work on science inertia, which is holding up LENR, among many other things. But typical of the brilliant people who get pulled into the ego-gravity well of Silicon Valley, serious political, sociological and cognitive engineering are just too hard. Well, I shouldn’t say that: Maybe Facebook could be considered serious.

  • Jaja6984

    It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future …

    Seriously, I was not impressed by Ray Kurzweil predictions at all.