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Ray Kurzweil is on a mission. He is famous for, among other things, predicting the technological singularity. The singularity will be achieved at the time when the exponential growth of the power of computers and technology hits such a speed that it fundamentally changes the world, and humans’ role in it. It is not a prediction of doom, though. Kurzweil predicts that we will be neurologically hooked up to computers in the not too distant future, and that technology will do more good than harm.
The term, “singularity”, is a metaphor borrowed from physics. Physics dictates that in a the gravity of a black hole, which also increases exponentially as it is approached, there is a threshold distance away from the center, the Event Horizon, past which nothing can return.
It is hard to overstate the rate and amount of change in the last century. Given that and the speeding of the rate of technological growth, it does seem credible to predict enormous and fundamental shifts for the future.
That said, many have accused Kurzweil of being primarily religious, in the new age sense, in his claims. They have said that his predictions are primarily motivated by a fear of death. It is true that Ray Kurzweil is singularly sure about The Singularity.
Whatever happens with machine intelligence and the interplay of computer systems with human nervous systems, one thing is for certain: technology is going to change human life in enormously important ways, and fast.
You can listen to Kurzeil explaining the singularity below, and decide for yourself if you believe his predictions for the not too distant future: