One of the leading voices in the future of our society, from the advances in medicine to the efficiency of energy creation, is Ray Kurzweil. He is a famous inventor and futurist that has been highly successful with his inventions in the past and published several books related to where our technology will take us as a species.
As a futurist Ray Kurzweil is able to make accurate predictions related to what technologies will exist in the future based upon statistical models that look at the progress of technologies in recent past. Information technology has followed a steady exponential curve of progress for the last 150 years and as a result we have good reason to believe it will continue to do so in this fashion. While we have been fortunate enough to experience the beginnings of this exponential growth of our information technology most of us do not have a deep understanding of exactly what this means for our future.
Most people barely blink an eye when they consider the fact that they have a computer in their pocket that is a 100 times faster than any computer they had in their home on their desktop just a couple decades in the past. Neither do people recognize exactly how the world has changed since the integration of the Internet into our society. We now carry the largest body of human knowledge on a phone in our pocket. All this occurred over the course of less than 20 years.
To think that the growth of this technology is exponential is difficult to comprehend because our minds have evolved to think linearly. To truly understand what the future holds for us as a species requires us to calculate out the exponential growth and view it scientifically. Some of the predictions of Ray Kurzweil have an artificial intelligence that is indistinguishable from a human intelligence by the year 2029. At that point those artificial intelligences will grow smarter at an exponential rate. For us to stay current with the rate of technological advancement around that time will require us to integrate machines as part of our consciousness.
We will have the ability to build digital backups of our intelligence so in the case of a physical accident that would injure our bodies beyond repair we could simply upload a new consciousness into a newly created version of ourselves. This may seem like science fiction but it is one of the most likely scenarios to evolve from our current view of future. What may be even more surprising to people is we will likely have our entire consciousness digitized which can then live in a digital world that is created to feel the same as the real world. Living in a digital world will take up less energy and little resources. This will allow us an unlimited amount of digital landscape without having to heavily pollute our planet.
While these technologies are a little ways into our future, approximately 2050 or so, they are much closer than many imagine. Many who are alive today will come to see these technologies come into existence. There is no saying exactly what will happen tomorrow but if history is our guide we have a promising future as a human race.