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Video: Ray Kurzweil on 'Exponential' Tech Advancement

By Justin Stoltzfus
Published: April 18, 2013 | Last updated: April 18, 2013 12:47:05
At last year’s SXSW event, eminent IT guru Ray Kurzweil spoke about continued advances in technology and how they can be predicted. Starting with the example of IBM’s Watson, a computer that bested two human "Jeopardy" competitors in 2011, Kurzweil noted that computers are now "dealing with the subtleties and vagaries of the human language," something that goes beyond previous "logic-based" advances like chess player Garry Kasparov's match against IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1997. The power to deal with less-ordered data structures like metaphors, puns, riddles and jokes is part of what is starting to close the cognitive gap between humans and machines.

Kurzweil also made some interesting predictions about future advances, showing a set of logarithmic charts that present exponential trajectories that Kurzweil called "predictable." One such assertion is his indication thatMoore’s Law, which is based on the doubling of transistors on an integrated circuit, will remain until around 2020. At that point, it will be replaced by what he called the "sixth paradigm of three-dimensional computing."

Another major prediction was on health care, which, Kurzweil said, only recently became an information technology. Citing the progress of the Human Genome Project, Kurzweil said that IT advances in medicine also work on exponential scales, and should double each year, leading humankind into what he called a "very new era" by around 2035. While the exact ramifications of some of these predictions were left unsaid, Kurtweil’s keynote speech did not fail to inspire in its masterful portrayal of what the future may hold based on how far we’ve already come in today’s "tech revolution."

This video is a must-see for anyone who is interested in trying to gauge the future of our technological progress. Using proprietary data, Kurzweil provides some pretty specific insights into the direction in technology over the next few years, as well as how it might be handled by those stakeholders.


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Written by Justin Stoltzfus | Contributor, Reviewer

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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.

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