Futurist predicts humans will achieve immortality by 2030

Computer scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil has set some very precise timelines for when humanity will achieve immortality and artificial intelligence (AI) singularity. The good news, if his predictions prove correct, is that you only need to survive the next seven years to have your chance at eternal life.

Kurzweil has a reasonable track record of predicting about technology, correctly predicting in 1990 that a computer would beat human world chess champions by the year 2000, the rise of portable computers and smartphones, the shift to more wireless technology, and the explosion of the internet before that obvious to everyone.

In 2010, he even checked his own predictions from 20 years ago to see how they fared. In the piece, he claims that of the 147 predictions he made in 1990 over the years leading up to 2010, 115 turned out to be “completely correct,” while another 12 were essentially correct and only 3 were completely wrong.

He gets things wrong, of course, like predicting that self-driving cars would be in use by 2009.

While claims of immortality are bold (and, let’s face it, probably false), at least they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Kurzweil has been making bold predictions like this for some time, staying remarkably close to the dates he originally set.

“2029 is the consistent date I predicted by which an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore reach a human level of intelligence,” Kurzweil told Futurism in 2017. “I have set the ‘singularity’ date of 2045, where we will multiply our effective intelligence billions of times by merging with the intelligence we have created.”

Regarding immortality, Kurzweil believes that by 2030 we will be able to increase “human life expectancy” by “more than one year per year.” Part of this – itself progressing towards the singularity 15 years later – will see nanobots coursing through our bloodstream, making repairs and connecting our brains to the cloud. When this happens, we can send videos (or emails if you want to think about the more boring aspects of a fucking cyborg) straight from our brains and back up our memories.

For Kurzweil, the singularity is not something to fear, but something that will improve humans and eventually make us “godlike.”

“We’re getting funnier. We’re getting sexier. We’ll be better at expressing loving feelings,” he said in 2015.

“If I want to access 10,000 computers for two seconds, I can do it wirelessly,” he explained, “and [my computational power] multiplies ten thousandfold in the cloud. That’s what we’re going to do with our neocortex.”

“So I walk along and I see Larry Page coming, and I better think of something smart to say, but 300 million modules in my neocortex aren’t going to make it. I need a billion for two seconds. I will be able to access it in the cloud, like today I can multiply the intelligence of my smartphone a thousandfold.”

Nanobots have been used to deliver drugs into brain tumors, but without significant advances in the next few years, it’s hard to imagine how we could get to that point in seven years. Brain-computer interfaces have evolved significantly, with paralyzed patients able to spell sentences with their minds and monkeys (finally) playing pong.

However, we are a long way from the future Kurzweil described, as interactions between humans and AI are largely taking place in old-fashioned ways. Only time will tell if he’s right. Fortunately, according to his predictions, we will have plenty of time.

[H/T: Popular Mechanics]

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