At the International Congress in Moscow, Russia, called “Global Future 2045”, renowned scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil spoke about the future of mankind.
With the number of his inventions, Ray Kurzweil can be compared to the famous American physicist Thomas Edison. He has been awarded praises such as “thinking machine” and “fountain of genius.” He became famous for his prophecies, which tend to come true.
THE WORLD IN YOUR POCKET
In the 21st century, we will move forward not by 100 years but by 20,000 years, promised Professor Kurzweil. The speed of progress constantly increases. Incredible advances that have been made in just a few years, are all around us today: nano-scaling, communications, brain research, deciphering genome.
For example, the critics of early genome project believed that research and deciphering of tens of thousands of base pairs of DNA would take 10,000 years. The project was completed in nearly 10 years.
Another example is the explosive growth of the Internet in the mid-1990s. Ray Kurzweil predicted in the early 1980s that there would be communication networks that would unite millions of people around the world.
Back then, this idea was called crazy. The project by the Ministry of Defense, which was the prototype of today’s internet, connected only 2,000 people. And today, thanks to the World Wide Web, we are connected to the world without leaving home.
Today we surf the internet from our smartphones and the entire volume of knowledge from previous generations is displayed in the palm of our hand.
In 1937, the principles of the first electronic digital computer were introduced. And the first fully electronic computing device appeared in 1943. Since then, the power of computers increased every three years. Nowadays, it happens every 11 months.
Smartphones that we have in our pocket are a billion times more powerful than the computer that we used when studying at the university forty years ago. And in 25 years, it will be a hundred thousand times smaller and billion times more powerful. And it will be integrated into our body. According to Ray Kurzweil, this is not a fantasy but a reality.
Perhaps the most important part of guessing that came to the scientist and with which people are quick to agree, but the consequences of which are very hard to grasp, is the increasing pace of technological progress.
The pace of technological progress is not going to remain at the same level. According to Kurzweil’s calculations, it is accelerated twice every ten years. Centennial progress at the current rate of development can be achieved in twenty-five years.
The next ten years will replace twenty, and the next decade up to forty years. As a result, the 21st century will be equivalent to twenty millennia with the current rate of progress.
Thus, the achievements of the 21st century in the field of technological progress and significant improvements will be about a thousand times greater than the pace of the twentieth century.
10 YEARS TO IMMORTALITY
Even life expectancy has increased at an accelerating rate. In the 18th century, it grew every year by a few days, in the 20th century, by a few weeks. Presently, it increases by about 120 days per year.
And with revolutionary discoveries made at an early stage of genome experiments, including cloning for medical purposes, manufacturing of biotech drugs, and other changes, Kurzweil predicts that within ten years, we will be adding more to life expectancy each year.
This means overcoming the process of aging include high-tech methods, such as nanomedicine, biotechnology, and genetic engineering.
For example, genome deciphering will allow us to update the structure of the genome as frequently as we upgrade the software on our smartphone. We will be able to reprogram itself and thus protect ourselves from diseases.
Also, in the first half of the 21st century, it is expected to create robot doctors at the molecular level, which may “live” inside the human body, eliminating all existing damages or preventing them from occurring.
WORKING IN CYBERSPACE
There will also be a revolution in today’s workforce. In the 19th century, the United States had one-third of its population working in the factories, and now, it is only three percent. Our future is in the creation of intellectual property.
In addition, we are witnessing a restructuring of jobs around the world. Today, there are no boundaries between countries. In the past, anyone who wanted to work in the state of New York had to live in the state of New York. And now we can work just as productively in cyberspace.
And according to Ray Kurzweil, the situation of an intellectual employer being tied to a specific geographical location is a thing of the past.
Featured image: Ray Kurzweil at UP Experience 2008 – Ed Schipul, CC BY-SA 2.0
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