Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the future

What will the future will be like? According to Ray Kurzweil, technologies are going to transform everything we do.

Ray Kurzweil: I think these exponentially growing technologies are going to transform everything we do.

That’s Ray Kurzweil, best known for his projections into the future. They’re based on what he calls the Law of Accelerating Returns – that’s the idea that once the base of technology has been developed, it grows exponentially every year.

He spoke of this century’s challenges.

Ray Kurzweil: We’re going to clean up the environment and replace fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy – that’s an exciting prospect. All of these phenomena or trends will reach tipping points very soon and will be quite transformative within the next 20 years.

Also … how we spend our time.

Ray Kurzweil: We’re going to be spending more of our time in virtual reality environments. We’re ultimately going to be able to inhabit these full-immersion, very realistic, visual-auditory virtual reality environments including tactile communication. And that’s going to merge with phenomena of virtual worlds like Second Life, but they’re going to become very realistic.

And even life expectancy.

Ray Kurzweil: According to our models, within 15 years we’ll be adding more than a year every year to your remaining life expectancy. So as you go forward, your life expectancy will move away from you. The sands of time will run in, rather than run out.

Earth & Sky spoke with Kurzweil at the 2008 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Our thanks to:
Ray Kurzweil
Kurzweil Technologies
Wellesley, MA

Lindsay Patterson