If Google’s director of engineering has his way, we’ll all be around indefinitely – in the cloud at least. AI (artificial intelligence) guru Ray Kurzweil is one of a number of technologists, inventors and futurists who believe that the ability to upload our minds to the web, create virtual bodies, and thereby live forever, is within touching distance.
Kurzweil invented the first flat-bed scanning and optical character recognition systems, foresaw the internet explosion and correctly predicted that a computer would beat a chess Grandmaster by the turn of the century. The 66-year-old thinks we’ll achieve digital immortality as soon as 2045, and takes 150 supplements a day as part of his efforts to get himself across the line.
Whether or not his vision for humanity (“increasingly non-biological to the point where the non-biological part dominates and the biological part is not important any more”) appeals to everyone is another matter.
Our trend-watching consultancy The Futures Company groups various technology-led enhancements in human capacity (of which “mind uploading” is perhaps the most extreme example) under the label “cognitive enrichment”.
Developments in real-time translation (think Google Translate, without the gobbledegook) are expected to break down cultural barriers and foster greater collaboration. Microsoft has already launched a real-time translation app for Skype.
Artificial intelligence is no longer a sci-fi writer’s dream but part of our everyday lives: from aviation and manufacturing to medicine and computer games.
My business associates and I have been cashing in on a lot of these trends, from home delivery to smart cities, but some concepts mentioned in the article are so far from my experience that it’s hard to imagine the world they exist in.
The entire post is worth a read.