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TransVision Thursday Keynote Ray Kurzweil

26 July 2007 (updated 12 June 2020)

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TransVision Thursday Keynote Ray Kurzweil

I’m in Chicago for TransVision 2007. Here are some notes and thoughts from Ray Kurzweil’s keynote.

Ray Kurzweil mentioned that he usually has to explain accelerating change. This group is different. Why do some people get it quick, and why do some resist? It might be attacking their coping mechanisms.

Some rationalize death. A key implication of technology is exponential growth. Short term linear looks the same, but long term there are profound differences. Few persons understand the implications of exponential growth.

Two centuries ago no one recognized this because things have changed. Failure is not failure. Advice to entrepreneurs is to persist. Timing is also important.

Many techs fail by being too early or too late. The application of ai is gradually becoming less narrow. We are adopting technologies more quickly. Technological evolution took up exponential growth on smooth line from biological evolution.

We are moving through epochs of technology. Maybe there was an intelligent designer, as explored with James Gardner. The fifth epoch is beginning, as the merger of biology and human technology. Exponential growth actually comes in S curves, which don’t last forever.

However, whan a particular tech runs out of steam, it produces pressure to produce the next innovation. There may indeed be limits, but they’re not very limiting. Moore’s Law has endured throughout the entire 20th century, across world wars and multiple computing architectures. Power for human brain functional simulation in super computers appears to be between 2010 and 2015.

Processor speeds are increasing exponentially, and costs are falling exponentially. DNA sequencing cost is decreasing exponentially. DNA sequence data stored is increasing exponentially. Internet hosts are increasing exponentially.

We’re shrinking tech exponentially. Reverse engineering the brain also requires advances in software. Templates of intelligence come from reverse engineering the human brain, AI research, research of human thought, etc. All expand the AI toolkit.

Scanning of the human brain is also advancing exponentially. The brain appears neither to be simple nor unmanageably complex. The brain is a fractal of the genome. A little bit of data can expand to great amounts of data.

AI community keeps shortening consensus predicted time required, getting closer to kurzweil’s prediction of 2029. The portion of a product or service’s value that is information is asymptoting toward 100 percent. Radical life extension will not require a vote, just like the internet did not require a vote. It all happens a step at a time.

Ecommerce advancing exponentially. Education expenditures increasing exponentially. Machines are improving in speech recognition, and pattern recognition generally. Humans can only consider a couple dozen variables, and computers can consider thousands.

Neural nets and genetic algorithms are attempting to model human thought patterns. Artificial intelligence is real intelligence that is not yet so subtle as human intelligence. Transhumanism is about transcending human limitations. We’re the only species that does that.

We seek to go beyond our limitations. In 2010 computers will disappear. They’ll be very small. There will be ubiquitous high bandwidth.

It will be embedded in clothes and common objects. There will be full immersion virtual reality and augmented reality. Computers are doing more and more things that some thought only humans could do. The equivalent of human brain computation will cost 1 dollar.

Reverse engineering will be complete. Computers pass the turing test. Nonbiological intelligence combines with biological and continue to advance exponentially. Nanobots will provide neural implants that are nonsurgical, and expansion of human intelligence.

Average life expectancy is extending. It was only 48 years in 1900, and 37 in 1800. We’re now at 78 years average. According to models, we’ll be adding more than one year every year to our lives in less than 15 years.

Decentralized self-organizing systems are inherently stable. New system called “world wide mesh” is even more like that than internet.

GNR promise and peril is confronting us. The G, genetics, is facing us today. The N, nanotechnology, is coming in 20 years, and the R, robotics and strong AI, after that.

Other Sessions

Here are my other other notes and thoughts from TransVision 2007:

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