Ray Kurzweil On 'The Singularity' Future

The noted futurist has released a movie, The Singularity is Near, exploring how technology may reshape the fabric of our physical reality and life experiences.
I consider these cosmological constructs akin to medieval debates on the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin, and check out decades before Kurzweil sees us reaching this point.

While not being much of a believer in human destiny, I feel we are on the cusp of a dizzying array of fundamental shifts, but wonder if some of Kurzweil's other predictions -- such as being able to meet all of our energy needs through renewable sources in a mere 20 years -- will be anywhere near accurate. More selfishly I'm intrigued by his belief that we are about to witness a dramatic extension in life expectancies, initially through the introduction of nanotechnologies into our bodies and eventually through the merger of our thoughts and feelings with our progeny, the ever-expanding non-biological intelligence that we are creating.

In reviewing predictions from Kurzweil's 1998 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, I believe he's batting a bit over 500. (Ray sees his rate being significantly better -- close to 90%.) On the broad scale, if Kurzweil's predictions take twice as long to occur, they won't even show up as a blip on future logarithmic graphs.

However, like any other aging baby boomer, my time is short. A few extra years can equal eternity in my opportunity to personally experience this transformed reality. That's why I'm rooting for Ray's timeframe (and suspect it's why he's projecting it too), hoping that instead of using my one-way ticket to see the Terminator, I'll be bathing in the immersive glow of a virtual Ponce De Leon's fountain of youth.

How To See It

In addition to the June 24th New York showing attended by this writer, The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future has been presented at the Sonoma International Film Festival, Breckenridge Festival of Film, and the San Antonio Film Festival. At the Breckenridge Festival of Film it won the Best Special Effects and 2nd Place Audience Award.

As many producers have found, it's apparently easier to string thousands of computers together over the Net to help search for extraterrestrial life than it is to find channels to profitably distribute an independent film. Unfortunately the short of it is that Singularitarians and the general public will have wait awhile before having the opportunity to view the movie. Visit the movie's official site for information updates.

For Further Reading

Q & A: Futurist Ray Kurzweil

Kurzweil: Computers Will Enable People To Live Forever

Kurzweil, Hawkins Offer Different Timetables On Development of Self-Aware Computers