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Ray Kurzweil On IT And The Future of Technology

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the change-junior's-batteries dept.

Biotech 450

Roland Piquepaille writes "In this interview with CIO Magazine, Ray Kurzweil says that one day, software and computers will reside inside us. He adds that by 2020, "we will be placing millions or billions of nanobots -- blood cell-size devices -- inside our bloodstream to travel into our brains and interact with our neurons." He also says that if we're not enhanced by machines, they will surpass us. But he doesn't think it will happen. According to him, machines and humans will merge. In the mean time, he's pursuing his anti-aging quest and takes about 250 supplements to his diet every day! With this regime, he says his biological age is 40 while he's 56 years old. By 2030, there will be very little difference between 30-year-old and 120-year-old people, says Kurzweil. He's certainly a bright person, but I'm not sure that I agree with someone taking daily such an amount of pills. What do you think? This summary contains some selected -- and biased -- excerpts to help you forge your opinion."

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You might also be interested to see his (5, Informative)

Pingular (670773) | about 10 years ago | (#10550934)

website [kurzweilai.net]

Re:You might also be interested to see his (2, Insightful)

thenewcloo (789980) | about 10 years ago | (#10551120)

this guy sounds like a nut

MOD DOWN PARENT -- KNOWN CRAPFLOODER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551169)


Why gee, look at Pingular [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]'s last 4 posts, nothing but "I can contribute nothing but I can link to Wikipedia or other sites for cheap upmods!" Please don't waste your mod points modding this known Slashdot crapflooder [slashdot.org] up.

I'm a little special (1)

BlackTriangle (581416) | about 10 years ago | (#10550937)

Riding the ole school bus, know what i'm saying? so kurzweil is the man. all joking aside, this guy should shut the fuck up and concentrate on raking in the dough.

Machines *in* humans (1, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 10 years ago | (#10550960)

Great!

Every sci-fi dystopian movie I've ever seen is coming true.

Re:Machines *in* humans (2)

cannon fodder 0109 (787777) | about 10 years ago | (#10551033)

Ghost In The Shell

2030? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550962)

Maybe 2100 so we'll know if this anti-aging shit actually works. In 2030 the 120 year old would have been near 100 years old today.

Re:2030? (2, Interesting)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 10 years ago | (#10551122)

You really think they want *anti* aging? Oh boy, just imagine nanites aging you because you don't support the prevailing political view. Live fast and die young baby....

Yuck.

I want some anti anti nano machines I can buy from the local kiosk...

This gets really weird if you think about it.
Anything we thought was speculative goes out the window really fast. (and I've been watching the
sci fi perspective for almost 30 years).

Re:2030? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 years ago | (#10551149)

I think all those pills he's taken might have done more then just increase his age. Talk about having your head in the sky.

He must be high, I want whatever he's having. :)

VIAGRA!!!!1111oneone (0, Offtopic)

sh1ftay (822471) | about 10 years ago | (#10550967)

By 2030, there will be very little difference between 30-year-old and 120-year-old people Yeah, It's called an improved version of viagra.

Resistance is futile (4, Interesting)

yomommaDOTorg (821912) | about 10 years ago | (#10550970)

You will be assimilated. Seriously, though... It it really such a bad thing? A couple of nanobots could cure a lot of diseases. Then again, we risk the possibility that there will be haves and have nots. Perhaps the poor will get nanobot version 1.0, and the rich get nanobot version XP. I certainly don't want to be the guy running nanobots that crash or get h4x0red. Then again, even without bots, we have similar problems. Clean water, clean air... No matter what happens the little guy gets screwed, so we might as well sign up for this too. It sounds cool anyway.

Re:Resistance is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551047)

Hey, if all you rich yuppie types want XP, go ahead and have it. With the current state of XP, and the adaptability of it to you yuppies, I think I would opt for the 1.0.


Maybe we'll be up to service pack 3 by the time we have little johnny fives floating around in our skulls


Disclaimer: I am a wanna be yuppie

Re:Resistance is futile (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551082)

Perhaps the poor will get nanobot version 1.0, and the rich get nanobot version XP.

If we currently don't even cough up enough welfare to help the poor afford basic things like food and heat, what on God's fucking greeen Earth makes you think that we will EVER be giving them ANY version of nanobots?

"Resistance is futile" 'cause you're gonna bite it (1)

maynard (3337) | about 10 years ago | (#10551084)

More like "Resistance is futile, you will die".

It's obvious that what he really wants is life extension. And he may get some. Understanding the biology of aging has certainly improved over the last fifteen years as we completed the Genome project. But even if we extended life out to such ridiculous time spans as the thousands of years, each of us must face the inevitable truth that one day we will die. It appears as though while intellectually he may be willing to admit it as axiomatic, emotionally he can't face up to this fact. Can't say that I blame him either. Death bothers the fuck out of me too. --M

Life extension w/o nanobots (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551129)

It's obvious that what he really wants is life extension. And he may get some.

We already have the means to extend our lives and it doesn't involve nanobots. Here's a recap:

  • Don't smoke
  • Drink in moderation, if at all
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat highly processed and refined foods only in moderation
  • Increase your intake of "good" fats
  • Keep your body weight at a reasonable level
  • Exercise vigorously 2-3 times a week

We don't have to wait for any nanobots to start living longer lives. But the above suggestions don't grab as many headlines as nanotechnology, I guess.

Re:Life extension w/o nanobots (4, Insightful)

at_18 (224304) | about 10 years ago | (#10551226)

The above suggestions will only allow you to live maybe a few years more than the average human lifespan.

Kurzweil is looking to life extension of centuries and thousands of years, quite a difference. That's way he gets headlines.

Re:"Resistance is futile" 'cause you're gonna bite (3, Insightful)

Wetware (599523) | about 10 years ago | (#10551232)

Why is the idea of living for thousands of years ridiculous? I've got a long list of things I would like to do, but can't because life is too short. I would love to take the time to learn many professions and develop a reputation in any that I end up being good at. How about take a stab at politics? Learn enough to compose a symphony? Watch every movie ever made and not worry that I am wasting my time with the bad ones? I can't do them all under current circumstances. Ridiculing an extremely long lifespan is an example of the ingrained "death-ism" of which he speaks. I don't have any idea of how long we really can live, but every extra year, particularly in good health, is quite appreciated by me. I would rather live long enough to get bored than not have the option. Of course, under those circumstances, we may have to reexamine the role of voluntary suicide.

Re:"Resistance is futile" 'cause you're gonna bite (1)

maynard (3337) | about 10 years ago | (#10551265)

Why is the idea of living for thousands of years ridiculous?

And even if you live ten thousand years you will have only delayed the inevitable. That was my point. --M

Re:Resistance is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551192)

A couple of nanobots could cure a lot of diseases.

That's wishful thinking. There is no evidence of any nano healing method for any disease right now. But people wo spend lots of money in useless food supplements are likely candidates to buy unsubstantiated nano-cure claims anyway.

Uh huh... (4, Insightful)

memodude (693879) | about 10 years ago | (#10550971)

...just like we were going to have intelligent robots by 2001.

Re:Uh huh... (1)

Exos (241632) | about 10 years ago | (#10551201)

I think his point is we might have intelligent humans by 2020.

I have no problem with this, but.... (4, Insightful)

incog8723 (579923) | about 10 years ago | (#10550972)

What's wrong with existing as a human? Why do we have to constantly "improve" upon our existence? My take on any modifications to humanity are such that it's basically pointless. We might be smarter, but will we be happier? That's what life is about.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551027)

Improve upon our existence? We havent done that since the last evolutionary step to homo sapiens.
Tyler Durden said it best: "Self improvement is masturbation".
What he is talking about is the singularity a new level of intelligence. A new step in evolution.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (4, Insightful)

Pampusik (458223) | about 10 years ago | (#10551051)

Then, you need to ask youself, "what is the point of existing at all?" History seems to show we're really great at having babies and killing each other. Folks, this is evolution. Survival of the fittest.

What Kurzweil is saying is that, as a species, it's time for us to create our children. The next step in our evolution is to for us to transcend humanity... which is likely to make some people very unhappy because we would, in effect, be emulating god. :)

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (0, Flamebait)

harkabeeparolyn (711320) | about 10 years ago | (#10551085)

What Kurzweil is saying is that, as a species, it's time for us to create our children.

And being the nerd that he is he's figured out a way to do it that doesn't require anyone to get any pussy.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (2, Insightful)

Illissius (694708) | about 10 years ago | (#10551077)

will we be happier? That's what life is about.
The meaning of life is abusing your hormones for pleasure, until you eventually end up dying?

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551115)

Take away my pain and illness, and I'll be happier. That's a pretty direct improvement.

You can call that pointless and let your body rot out from under you if you like. I'll take improvements in medical science any day.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | about 10 years ago | (#10551159)

We might be smarter, but will we be happier? That's what life is about.

Well, if ignorance is bliss, then no, we will not be any happier. ;-)

More seriously, I will be very much happier knowing that I am growing and improving and increasing my capabilities. I will be very happy to sprout a pair of wings and leap off tall buildings for pleasure. Having backups in case one of me goes splat (with a transmitter telling my "home base" my current state/configuration, and all the sensory input I take in, so that another me can be brought into existence upon accident with all the memories and thoughts that "I" had instants before my untimely demise) would make me very happy indeed, and more of a risk-taker as well.

The future is going to be drastically different than anything we've ever seen.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1, Interesting)

harkabeeparolyn (711320) | about 10 years ago | (#10551173)

What's wrong with existing as a human? Why do we have to constantly "improve" upon our existence?

I don't know where you live but in the country I live in everyone could use another 20 IQ points and I mean right fucking today. George W. Bush has the authority to start a nuclear war and he is about to be elected to a second term.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 10 years ago | (#10551179)

Hmm. Take that to it's logical endpoint and we wouldn't have anaesthesia and antibiotics. I guess you'd really like to understand why surgeons in the UK are called "Mr.". Speed surgery. With hacksaws. (No painkillers). Yuck. But seriously, we hold these
guys in great regard. (and we love their passion for
not being the quacks that couldn't fix things).

Things are *going* to get really interesting. Go read some 60's science fiction and that's where we
are headed. Pretty weird really. But, since you are aware of it, you should be one of those who defines the ethics rather than waiting for others to define it for you. You don't get to opt out of society. Not ever.

Wow. Not my problem. OK, so don't complain.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (2, Interesting)

incog8723 (579923) | about 10 years ago | (#10551221)

Haha... I think everyone misinterpreted what I was trying to say. I led off my comment with "I have no problem with this"...

To be more specific, I think that everyone should just be grateful that they have a life. "Improving on it" often has devastating results. I'm happy living on a farm, or in a hole. That's just me, and I'm not criticizing anyone for wanting more from their pathetic existence, but it's just playing with fire. No matter what you do, you're still going to die, and the point is to enjoy the time you have.

Re:I have no problem with this, but.... (1)

adoarns (718596) | about 10 years ago | (#10551237)

We might be smarter, but will we be happier?


I think most of us are happier without measles, smallpox, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. In each one of these cases, we've modified our bodies by injecting extremely rudimentary nanobots: little chemical machines that interact with our immune systems to bolster their activity against dangerous pathogenic microbes.

Article summary (1, Funny)

Xeo 024 (755161) | about 10 years ago | (#10550978)

All he's trying to say is 10 years from now we're all going to robots.

Re:Article summary (1)

Xeo 024 (755161) | about 10 years ago | (#10551004)

All he's trying to say is 10 years from now we're all going to robots.

Oh my, I meant to say BE, "we're all going to BE robots", NOT "DO robots" you sickos..

what do I think? (0, Troll)

js3 (319268) | about 10 years ago | (#10550981)

I think he is a nut

Re:what do I think? (4, Insightful)

InternationalCow (681980) | about 10 years ago | (#10551144)

Not a nut, just not very well informed. See, one of the fun things happening now in molecular biology is that we are starting to see the contours of the agin g process. And it looks like it is actually three processes in one:
1. There's a sensor in your cells that measures the amount of oxidative damage done. Beyond a certain limit it kicks in the senescence program, and BAM! your cells go into G2 meaning a slow coast to death (can't go into much detail on this one)
2. Stem cell maintenance. You need telomerase for that, an enzyme composed of RNA and protein. It keeps the length of the ends of your chromosomes more or less constant. People without functional telomerase (a disease called dyskeratosis congenita) die at a young age of anemia, leukemia and other disorders associated with aging. They also have bowel problems and their skin looks like it's 80 years old when they're 30
3. Genome integrity. A whole bunch of enzymes is busy keeping your chromosomes from breaking, effecting all kinds of different repairs needed for all sorts of damage that a genome (an organism's DNA) can suffer. Various diseases result from a lack of one of these enzymes and they all mimick an aspect of ageing (Werner's, Bloom's, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Fanconi anemia etc etc).
So, preventing ageing will not be the result of tackling oxidation or whatever on its own (which is what all the supplements are doing). IF we are ever going to be able to offer any kind of athanatic treatment (term borrowed from Dan Simson) it is going to be a complex one.

What do *I* think? (1)

kfg (145172) | about 10 years ago | (#10550982)

I think this will make it a damed sight easier to drive my flying car, that's what I think

KFG

I dont like pills but... (4, Funny)

Mikeybo (801849) | about 10 years ago | (#10550985)

It's funny because yesterday I was thinking of how long it will be possible to take pictures with our own eyes instead of using a camera.

Re:I dont like pills but... (4, Funny)

js3 (319268) | about 10 years ago | (#10550999)

I think it is even funnier to think that you would print out of your butt

Re:I dont like pills but... (4, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 10 years ago | (#10551117)

You already can. They are stored in a random access file system (known as the BFS), using a pulpy grey mass as the recording medium. I hear you can even store moving pics and sound as well. You can play them back internally, and you can output the sound portion at will.

The printing mechanism is still a bit rudimentary, using a mechanism similar to a large format plotter (moving a pen in X/Y coordinates). Some models do this better than others. Some are even extraordinary at this. A few work well in 3D space. Unfortunately, if you are saddled with a lower performing output module, you cannot yet buy an upgrade for it, nor install a new one. You are stuck with it as delivered.

Shutter. (2, Funny)

jfisherwa (323744) | about 10 years ago | (#10551155)

Did anyone else blink their eyes at something and make a fake shutter noise inside of their head moments after reading this comment?

Come on, I can't be the /only one/.

No More Roland Articles Please!! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550987)

Ok, it's pretty much accepted that Roland is paying off Slashdot to get hits to his weblog or has some kind of deal with them.

Can you at least add him the the author list so we could at least filter him out?

This guy is using slashdot as his own advert. How come nobody running this site is noticing or addressing it?

Re:No More Roland Articles Please!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551003)

Because Rolnad pays them 20 bux a month, which is more then they ever got from working on open-sores software, so it looks like a lot of money.

Re:No More Roland Articles Please!! (3, Funny)

adamjaskie (310474) | about 10 years ago | (#10551183)

Ok, it's pretty much accepted that Roland is paying off Slashdot to get hits to his weblog or has some kind of deal with them.

While both Kurzweil and Roland make electronic keyboards and synthesizers of various shapes and sizes, I do not think the two companies would be happy about your confusion between them, nor would Roland be happy that you are insinuating that they are trying to make Kurzweil look like a nutjob.

Poor sap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550990)

He's just afraid to die, but unlike the rest of us, he lies to himself about his own mortality.

Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550992)

I'm a freshman at Harvey Mudd College, and he's supposed to come and give a speech there in about a week or two.

I'm really excited because he's not supposed to be there himself. Supposedly he's invented some kind of hologram projector that will be projecting him for us to see while he looks at us with camera's.

Supplements might not be a good idea... (2, Informative)

KrackHouse (628313) | about 10 years ago | (#10550993)

I stopped taking supplements after reading this [technewsworld.com] article a few weeks ago. Here's an excerpt:
Careless use of vitamins, taken by millions in the belief that they promote good health, could be causing thousands of premature deaths.
A study investigating whether antioxidant vitamin supplements can prevent cancer found that rather than saving lives they seemed to increase overall risk of death.
Although the effect was small, it amounted to 9,000 premature deaths among every million supplement users.

Food for thought.

Re:Supplements might not be a good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551061)

From the Article you linked:
"Two combinations of supplements were associated with increased mortality. The risk of death was 30 percent higher for people taking beta-carotene and vitamin A than for those not taking the combination."

Not understanding which vitamins are fat or water soluable can be bad for you if you take supplements.

I bet, those who understand the aspects of deficiency and toxicity, dont have the problems that many from this study did while taking their supplements.

Also, IMHO, natural supplements are far better to use.

Re:Supplements might not be a good idea... (1)

Antos700 (581386) | about 10 years ago | (#10551094)

Not really. Just because it's natural, doesn't make it any safer. All drugs have side effects, natural or otherwise.

A lot of the natural suplements are known to cause things like water retention on their own, or life threatening side effects if commbined with conventional medication.

So IMHO, just eat a normal diet (read: non-fast food) and stay away from the suplements unless your doctor/dietition recommended them.

Re:Supplements might not be a good idea... (4, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | about 10 years ago | (#10551096)

I don't bother with most supplements. I take a few vitamins (like vitamin C), but I stopped taking ALL medication about 3-4 years ago, and stopped all caffiene a year after that.

I've found that I no longer get sick and am in much better health overall than I was before. My guess is because I let my body do what it should, and not get used to artificial aids that are often not as good as what the body can do anyway. I'm 42, and am often told I look 30. When I have my backpack on my shoulder, as I do frequently, I am still mistaken for a student at one of the local universities. I've had gray hairs -- they show up during stress, then fade a few months after the stressful events. My barber has noticed this, too.

I'm not saying I've found a fountain of youth, but I have noticed dropping out of the 9 to 5 world, running my own business on my own terms, and not letting meds fix everything in my body seems to have made a HUGE difference in how I feel, how much energy I have, and (according to others) in how I don't look anywhere near my age.

All about the thalamus in the skull. (1)

CyberThalamus (822198) | about 10 years ago | (#10550997)

Create the cyberthalamus and everything changes. When we know the output and control the input to sentience, we are beyond the singularity.

Kurzweil is a genius (0, Flamebait)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10550998)

Anyone who has not read his Age of Spiritual Machines is a noob. Its just incredible reading, specially for anyone who is remotely interested in technology.

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | about 10 years ago | (#10551022)

He may be a genius, but history is replete with examples of genius going hand-in-hand with mental instability. I'm not saying Kurzweil is crazy, but I do think that sometimes people like him project their desires into their predictions while discounting superfluous things like politics, social mores, and economics.

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (1)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551053)

perhaps. But his case for the singularity has not bean beaten yet and many have tried.
Read the book, then talk :)

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551062)

I think human-computer merging will happen _because_ of politics and economics: specifically I"P" law. If a computer running 802.11 and a P2P app is actually demonstrably physically part of someone's body, the infofascists would have a harder time legally shutting them down.

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (1)

to be a troll (807210) | about 10 years ago | (#10551080)

Also if you like good Canadian Rock music check out "Spiritual Machines" by the band Our Lady Peace. Its an amazing album inspired by the concept of this book and even has excerpts read by the author himself. The whole album has a very eary sci-fi feel to it...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 05A8H0/qid=1098037172/sr=1-6/ref=sr_1_6/102-948549 9-7778526?v=glance&s=music [amazon.com]

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 years ago | (#10551105)

surely intresting reading..

but the guy is comparable to a religious wacko, hoping to live forever through miracle x.

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (1)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551185)

Religios wacko to those who have no idea of his reasoning.

Re:Kurzweil is a genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551229)

Kurzweil is a pretty typical techno-optimist. While many of his predictions are possible, they aren't nearly as certain as he clearly wants to believe.

The Matrix has us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551009)

But honestly, this is a stupid idea. I personally don't want Script Kiddies controlling me!

"You little bastards, give grandad back! You know it's not fun to make him give you his wallet, and his car keys! No it isn't, even if it seems to be so!"

Kurzweil, you are going to die (1)

infolib (618234) | about 10 years ago | (#10551021)

Face it.

"Bright" in What Sense? (5, Funny)

Simon G Best (819178) | about 10 years ago | (#10551023)

By 2030, there will be very little difference between 30-year-old and 120-year-old people, says Kurzweil. He's certainly a bright person...

So, either 94-year-olds today have a surprisingly youthful future to look forward to, or today's 4-year-olds are going to age awfully fast!

Re:"Bright" in What Sense? (2, Insightful)

Fallen Andy (795676) | about 10 years ago | (#10551263)

I personally hope that our older (and often surprisingly wiser) friends get to live to 120.
I'm a mere 45 year old.

Anyone who thinks that Martin Gardner went senile at age 60 is obviously brain dead. He's 90 now, and we hope he beats George Burns...

Don't trash older folk. I once used to help my father at the oldest continously running hospital in Europe (The Great Hospital Bishopsgate Norwich) and I can tell you that the worst thing you can do to an older person is dump them in a place for old people...

When I left university (Bristol UK), I spent a couple of years working in a company with a couple
of guys pushing 70 who could do *TRUE* magic with
their machine work (one was from British Aerospace and the other from Rolls Royce Aerospace).

Don't even think of criticizing concorde or anything else with people like that - they would
rip your spine out and feed it to your rear end!

Bottom line, be humble and learn. It's a rough ride out there (nod to the sargent in Hill St Blues).

Those guys are still unsung heroes in my dreams.

Hurr Hurr (1)

Vicsun (812730) | about 10 years ago | (#10551040)

Did mr P. just link to his own weblog?

The Pills thing.. (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 10 years ago | (#10551048)


Well, go with what works for yourself i say, pills didn't work for me and i was taking about 5 different types a day. One of them I would feel the effects of when i will be 70. Now i only take a few if I remember to take them and that would only be a odourless garlic tablet. What i found instead was a healthy lifestyle without the pills is a better option, eat real food and excercise.
Also, those natural pills are even worse (i had 2 types as well), than the chemical based ones, at least they are tested first.

Vision of the future (5, Insightful)

dnixon112 (663069) | about 10 years ago | (#10551054)

He seems to have a good vision of the future. I read his book "The Age of Spiritual Machines" and it's clear he's not a 'nut' he's a smart and succesfull programmer and businessman. I think he has a lot more vision about the direction things are going in then most people. Many of his previous predictions have come true.

My only beef with him is that his timeline is pretty radical. His whole premise is based on his 'Law of Accelerating Returns' which basically states that the pace of technological growth is increasing exponentially and we're at the point where the pace of growth is about to shoot straight up. The reason I think his timeline for all these predictions is too optimistic is because of considerations outside of his realm of thinking. Things like politics, buearocracy and social concerns can really slow down the adoption of new technology. What good is the latest nerve regeneration treatment when stem cells are illegal in the US. What good is the latest disease fighting nano-bots when their FDA approval is pending. What good is the latest wearable computer when all your friends will make fun of you when you wear it. These are the types of issues he never really deals with.

Re:Vision of the future (1)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551071)

Yes in the US. But you forget that EU, Israel and asian countries are persuing those researches. It cannot be stopped.

Re:Vision of the future (1)

dnixon112 (663069) | about 10 years ago | (#10551124)

I'm not suggesting it will be stopped. I'm just saying that his timeline is too optimistic.

Re:Vision of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551123)

The funny thing is we consist of many micro machines which develop though programmed instructions. Google Behe "darwins black box". One day you will realise that God is the ultimate programmer, let's hope it's before you die.

Re:Vision of the future (2, Informative)

wasted (94866) | about 10 years ago | (#10551165)

What good is the latest nerve regeneration treatment when stem cells are illegal in the US?

Contrary to what the opponents of the current administration would have you believe, stem cell research is legal in the US. The federal government will not fund research on new embryonic stem cell lines, however.

Here is President Bush's speech explaining it. [whitehouse.gov]

So, if new embryonic stem cell lines are likely to cure diseases, private industry will probably jump in so they can patent the resulting cures.

AI seems likely, but nanobots are iffy (0)

kylemonger (686302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551055)

The eventually of AI I'll accept but roving nanobots still seems like fantasy to me. The only thing we're successfully miniaturizing fast enough to save Kurzweil from involuntary discorporation is computing power. Kurzweil better hope we develop fast enough machines, good enough software and neuroscience to be able to download his mind into a machine before his body rots away. I still think it's a long shot given his age.

In a related story... (1, Funny)

capz loc (752940) | about 10 years ago | (#10551076)

In a related story, Ray Kurzweil has been hit by a bus. The coroner's report revealed that Kurzweil forgot to take his bus-repelling dietary supplement today.

Met with Ray Kurzweil (4, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | about 10 years ago | (#10551081)

I had an opportunity to meet Ray at a Distinguished Guest lecture he delivered at my company last week.

I also managed to ask him about his views (in his capacity as an established innovator/inventor) on aggressive Patenting and Copyright laws by corporations (for example SCO vs IBM, and the Record Industry lawsuits).

It was gratifying to know that he was well aware of these problems, and even commended the "Open Source movement" and stressed on it's importance to encourage free flow of information and it's significance in the fight against the evergrowing stifling of innovation.

It was an interesting lecture, where he covered quite a few of the topics in this article. Apparently, he treats his body as a "biological experiment" to try out different drugs (he's a diabetic) on himself.

An interesting guy to say the least.

Re:Met with Ray Kurzweil (1)

drlake (733308) | about 10 years ago | (#10551162)

Hey Ray, I've got a "biological experiment" for you. Maximize the preservatives in your diet and minimize the bacteria, etc., by subsisting completely on Twinkies and Bourbon. Now THAT's an experiment!

Pills-Overdose (2, Informative)

eagle52997 (691489) | about 10 years ago | (#10551098)

Taking that many supplements is dangerous. Perhaps some readers know that Vitamin C is water soluble, so taking more does nothing unless your body needs it right then, because its going to come out again in less than 24 hours. But, for other minerals, and essential elements, there are narrow ranges which are healthy. Take fluoride for instance, just the right amount strengthens your teeth, and allows them to recover from cavities. But too much and ugly brown spots for on the teeth. Others are more serious like iron or copper...while some is necessary for enzymes to function properly, too much overloads your body and will cause other problems Woman dies of iron overdose [slashdot.org]

Hemmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551099)

In the mean time, he's pursuing his anti-aging quest and takes about 250 supplements to his diet every day! With this regime, he says his biological age is 40 while he's 56 years old. By 2030, there will be very little difference between 30-year-old and 120-year-old people, says Kurzweil.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

God (in my case) or The Gods or the Fates or Murphys Law or The Cold Emptiness at the Core of Existence (depending on tastes) has/have a way of dealing with folks like this...

Cheers,
prat

Sounds familiar... (1)

robw810 (819414) | about 10 years ago | (#10551102)

"In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles -- micro-robots -- has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. It has been programmed as a predator. It is evolving swiftly, becoming more deadly with each passing hour. Every attempt to destroy it has failed. And we are the prey." From "Prey" by Michael Crichton

Re:Sounds familiar... (0, Flamebait)

Rapsey (241302) | about 10 years ago | (#10551164)

Chrichton is a dumbass. If you enjoy reading moronic sci-fear he is just the guy you want. But dont confuse his ideas with reality.

Kurtzweil is overoptimistic (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 10 years ago | (#10551103)

Much of what he's predicting now he was predicting, in 1980, for 2000.

If we get life extension that really works, it will probably work only for genetically modified humans. The genome, and the species, will have to be changed. The new models probably won't interbreed with the old ones. It will take a few generations to get these new species thoroughly debugged. But it will be really great for people a few centuries downstream.

If you thought race and religion were problems, wait until we have multiple species of humans.

Whatever (0)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | about 10 years ago | (#10551104)

Hear this : nanobots and crazy life quality increases like this guy claim are the flying cars we still expect. Barring a miracle, it just won't get there in our lifetime.

And by definition, nanobots aren't 'blood cell sized'. Nanotechnology is defined by devices smaller or in the range of a nanometer, like a virus; cells are much bigger than that.

This guy is spewing buzzwords like there's no tomorrow :| Infaillible recipee to get attention these days...

Supplements (2, Funny)

Crash McBang (551190) | about 10 years ago | (#10551107)

I'm not sure that I agree with someone taking daily such an amount of pills. What do you think?

I think he has the world's most expensive urine.

Re:Supplements (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551191)

I've been drinking Kurzweil Urine(tm) for years, and I feel GREAT !

He might be right in substance, but not in timing (1)

aralin (107264) | about 10 years ago | (#10551111)

I think that as so many people who predict future, including the science fiction writers, he suffers from the "I wish I live to see that" syndrome in his guestimates of dates when these things will happen. I don't think these supplements will be enough for him to live to see it.

huh? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 10 years ago | (#10551119)

I think that's awfully optimistic. While technology has advanced more rapidly than most people had believed, we still get colds, flu and of course, the "visionary" sky cars simply won't work unless they just fly themselves. I don't trust cell-phone-drivers, cell-phone-pilots will only make the situation worse.

The world will come to an end (2, Funny)

alanbs (784491) | about 10 years ago | (#10551136)

Once nano-bots are inside our brains and can interact with out neurons, that will be the end of civilization. Once true virtual reality exists, not one man in the world will ever get married again, and the economies of the world will unravel (after a boost of course in some industries). Unlike The Matrix, only this will truly free man from his bondage.

Ray's timing is out there (5, Insightful)

tempest69 (572798) | about 10 years ago | (#10551148)

We are just begining to scratch the surface of what's out there in Molecular Biology. We are just beginning to understand the signifigance of glycoproteins in cellular systems. We are still trying to figure out some of the basics of single celled organism's internal signaling. There are a huge amount of genes that we dont have the slightest clue about their function, we know what they build now, but we need to figure out what it's for.

Imagine in 1776 you had a portable gas generator, and a truckload of computer parts from the last 20 years. Could you assemble a computer? sure. But what If you had 18th century knowlege. Your not really going to understand what the generator is for. Your probably going to try and make the peices into some sort of clock arrangement, marveling that you got the PCI card properly inserted into an ISA port.

I'm not ragging on Biological Scientists, but right now were at the stage where we have found the pile of computer parts, and we know how a few of them fit, but It might be a while before we notice that seam on the back of the palm pilot for batteries. Because it doesn't look important.

It might be a while before we really figure out how cellular life works. 10 years seems optomistic for just that. Ageing is a way larger issue. I dont think that immortality is around the bend.

Either way, I hope Ray keeps up the good fight.

Storm

Anti-aging quest ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 10 years ago | (#10551163)

In the mean time, he's pursuing his anti-aging quest and takes about 250 supplements to his diet every day!

He could take it a little more easy :)

So you would say it's the main purpose in training Taiji?

P.K: The classics say the main purpose in training Taiji is to achieve longevity, which in the Daoist teaching means immortality or the ability to survive after death in your diamond body. The Buddhists talk of enlightenment which means to create a body of light for the same purpose. After death you live on in your energy body one way or another. If your energy body is strengthened and refined through correct effort during your lifetime then the deeper aspects of yourself become independent from the body, immune from death in your crystallised energy body. If you haven't achieved that, then you either gradually fade from all individual existence or return in a body to try again to escape the rounds of life and deaths. This is the truth of life. It is well understood by all real teachers. Other purposes for Taiji are minor ones, created by people in normal life, usually to nurse the body and make it more comfortable, or to attain fighting power and the dubious respect that confers. Unfortunately concentrating on health or self-defence may just make the mind more attached to the body, strengthen the ego and block internal development.


loc. cit. [communigate.co.uk]

CC.

Nanobots, a potential new virus? (1)

Antos700 (581386) | about 10 years ago | (#10551168)

What disturbs me when the topic of nanobots come up is how people seem to think they are some magic injection. But time after time, I can't help feeling that the proposed use is nothing more than an inorganic virus.

All machines have some sort of failure rate. Imagine if nanobots went bad? Especially these ones that he proposes will play around in our brains. New terrorist tool anyone?

But even assuming the nanobots worked as discribed on the packet, what about immune system reactions and kidney/liver clogging? Also, there has been research that suggests aluminium (for example) can cause alzheimer. So what if the inorganic materials have a similiar effect?

I want to see some pretty hard core proof that these have been taken into consideration before it gets anywhere near the market. Like GM, once the cat is out of the bag, we are gonna be stuck with the fundimental change forever.

the *real* secret to long life (4, Insightful)

tuxette (731067) | about 10 years ago | (#10551172)

A French woman named Jeanne Calment [google.com] lived to the ripe old age of 122. Her secret to longevity - chocolate, port wine, olive oil, quitting smoking at the age of 120, bicycling, etc. Basically, living life to the fullest and enjoying life rather than fearing old age. Unlike this anal-retentive pill-pushing twat. What good is living forever when you're stuck on a diet of pills and powder along with an otherwise boring lifestyle?

Another Rich Guy Looking For The Fountain of Youth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551177)

These people are so egocentric, that they believe the earth owes them a spot forever. It's all about doing the best you can during your lifetime and making way for the next generation. But, rich powerful people think they're special.

Will Kurzweil Sign up For Cryonics if needed? (1)

Cryofan (194126) | about 10 years ago | (#10551180)

Ray Kurzweil has said that he plans not to die by taking advantage of this impending nanotech, but what if it takes longer to appear than he thinks? He has said that he has no real problem with the idea of cryonics. Will Ray Kurzweil sign a cryonics contract if he needs to?

250 Supplements/"Certain Diet" (2, Interesting)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 10 years ago | (#10551205)

I'm curious to know what each 250 supplement is, and in what dosage, as well as what his "certain diet" consists of. I've never found his research to be more than slightly off, so more data on this would be helpful. As for those who consider this guy to be some sort of nutcase, yes, I can see how one interview can give that impression. However, I would stress the need do more research and investigation before drawing a conclusion from a single datapoint, which is never good science.

Why is this 'futurist' drivel in 'Science'? (2, Insightful)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | about 10 years ago | (#10551218)

Kurzweil has done some impressive stuff in his day. But sadly, he's turned into a parody of one of those 90's futurists - more embarrassing in 2004, though. The list goes on and on: life extension, nanobots in our bloodstream, strong AI, the singularity, we're going to be spending lots of time in Virtual Reality (sure thing, dude).

The foundation for 90% of the things he says are a bunch of hand-waving. Sure, we're about 20 years from discovering how to build nanobots that can do something useful in our bloodstream (oh, yeah, love those Drexler designs for nano-mechanisms - so pratical). Sure, there's an actual test that really measures aging. Sure, life extension is right around the corner and all you have to do is pop a big bunch of pills. Sure, after about 40 years of failure, strong AI is right around the corner (all we need is another 100 years of Moore's law to turn SHRDLU into HAL, really).

He may admit that he's a neophyte in most of the fields that he allegedly 'tracks'. That's not an excuse to throw all caution to the wind.

At best it's just silly. At worst it's pseudo-science and a pathetic desire on the part of your standard rich white guy to spend loads of money on living forever. I find it kind of disgusting, because we've got finite resources to spend on real problems, and these guys are busy pumping everything they can into the "Science" of "Me Extension".

Meanwhile, evil old Bill Gates is pissing around doing things like spending tens of millions of year trying to eliminate malaria - doesn't he know that the singularity is coming? He should buckle down to serious work - like designing flying nanobots to hunt down all those mosquitoes, instead.

In short, Kurzweil is a kook. He's utterly blinded by his own selfishness and wishful thinking that he couldn't track a real technology trend to save his life.

Re:Why is this 'futurist' drivel in 'Science'? (2, Funny)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | about 10 years ago | (#10551264)

Incidentally, while he may think that he's 'really 40', his biological age of 56 is very, very obvious: who else but a baby boomer could be such a pioneer in this kind of pretentious selfishness?

I can at least hope that he has to stuff a reasonable portion of those pills up his ass.

Does anyone take him seriously anymore? (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 10 years ago | (#10551224)

No, really! I mean he certainly had some interesting things to say back in the day, but now it just seems like it's all unsubstantiated fabrication. He's like Negroponte from the MIT media labs. You know, the authorative voice on technology that hasn't produced a single thing that matters. They are both like zombies their personas living on after their tenuous claims have died and been buried.

oblig (1)

frankvl (817911) | about 10 years ago | (#10551225)

I, for one, welcome our pill swallowing overlord!

His arrogance is only exceeded by his ignorance (2, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | about 10 years ago | (#10551234)

Right now, there's a restricted architecture to the way our brains work. The brain uses electrochemical signaling for information processing, and that's a million times slower than electronic circuits. You can make only about 100 trillion connections in there. That may seem like a big number, but the way in which we store information is inefficient, so that a master of an area of knowledge can really remember only about 100,000 chunks of knowledge. If you use Google, you can already see the power of what machines can do. In the future, we will be able to expand the 100 trillion connections we have with new, virtual ones. Once nonbiological intelligence gets a foothold in our brains, it will grow exponentially. As we get to the 2030s, human beings will have biological brains enhanced with more powerful nonbiological thought processes.

He belittles the human mind and its "limitations", and yet we are nowhere close to even emulating even a fraction of it.

Its nice to have a vision, but this guy is talking out of his ass.

pills aren't enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10551260)

although pills are necessary to enhance life (food alone doesn't provide enough goodies, even ingested in mass quantities), proper rest is at least if not more important. going to be early and getting up early, and maintaining that biogical circadian rythm allows for proper hormone release which is essential to prolong lifespan and delay the onset of nasty diseases. in modern society, proper rest is the one thing most people need to watch out for.

Kurzweil keyboards rock (1)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | about 10 years ago | (#10551261)

I think this [kurzweilmusicsystems.com] is his biggest accomplishment. As far as all that futuristic stuff, I don't know...
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