"When I was a student at MIT, we all shared one computer and it took up a whole building. The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. What now fits in your pocket 25 years from now will fit into a blood cell and will again be millions of times more cost effective." -- Ray Kurzweil
Tech professionals have become somewhat inured to descriptions of the exponential rise in computing power in what is commonly described as Moore's law. But when inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil strings together dozens of examples on logarithmic graphs to support his claims of an imminent transformational moment in history, it's an intellectual jolt.
Kurzweil's books have attracted a wide following and his latest project, a film, The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future, evokes a more immediate visceral reaction to his projections on how an ever accelerating technology will increasingly reshape the very fabric of our physical reality and living experience.
The movie utilizes the device of dual story lines. The main thrust is a high-level review of technological trends presented through snippets of Kurzweil's interactions with about 20 leading technologists/scientists and futurists. Most are squarely on-board with Ray, agreeing that we are on the cusp of an epochal shift and eager to discuss the profound implications on a range of fields including energy, medicine, health, and law.
Although environmentalist Bill McKibben questions the morality of imposing such vast changes upon on our own lives and shared ecosphere, and technologist Bill Joy reflects on the dangers inherent in these new technologies, most see the shift as inevitable and generally of tremendous benefit for those of us lucky enough to be alive to experience it.