Ray Kurzweil Discusses His Optimism for the Future

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ray Kurzweil Discusses His Optimism for the Future

Ray Kurzweil

In two recent interviews, Ray Kurzweil emphatically affirmed his optimism about the future. Despite the impression in the media that things might be getting worse, Kurzweil remains confident in the trends he fist started tracking 35 years ago.

Futurist, author, inventor and Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil spoke recently at the CeBIT 2017 Conference. In the talk, Kurzweil covered many of his common themes and extrapolations of his Law of Accelerating Returns, an extension of Moore's Law. Kurzweil is famous, in large part for this postulation, which he uses to track many technology models that, when distilled to information, point to exponential progression trends.

"There has actually been 18 percent growth every year, in every form of information technology, for the last fifty years, despite the fact that you can get twice as much of it each year for the same cost," he states in the video below.

Kurzweil first explored these technological trends in the books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near, and has continued over the years to be a popular speaker on the subject. He started making his predictions 35 years ago, and they are still coming true.

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To be honest, if you have seen Kurzweil speak before, you might want to skip to 34:20 for the question and answer portion. His take on alien life and the importance of religion are interesting viewpoints.

Kurzweil shares his optimism about the future in the segment too. "The reality is things are getting better, but people don't realize that," he says, following up the question with a number of facts and statistics on poverty, longevity, education, democratic values, and health.

Kurzweil encourages us to weigh the exponential rise in news availability with the actual trends in crime, illness and violence. Our compassion is what is being demonstrated by the collective feeling that things are getting worse instead of better.

"We hear about this terrible thing that happens to a family halfway across the world, and our heart goes out to them—it's actually a good thing, even though it is painful, because then we actually try to do something about it," he says.

Also recently, James Bedsole, who previously made an excellent documentary about the futurist, interviewed Kurzweil, in his Google office in Mountain View, California.

"Optimism is not an idle prediction about the future, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy."
In the interview (included below), Kurzweil is asked if he is comfortable being an optimist. "Optimism is not an idle prediction about the future, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy," he answers. "I do come out on the optimistic side, but it is not an idle optimism that ignores the dangers."

People quickly forget the past, according to Kurzweil. "Imagine life without search engines or search engines or smartphones," he suggests.

SOURCES ExpovistaTV,  James Bedsole

By  33rd SquareEmbed


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