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Few people have contributed to the world of science and technology like Ray Kurzweil. As well as contributions in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.
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Kurzweil has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. He is most known these days for his views on transhumanism and his cheerful approach to life extension technologies.
He has been employed by Google since 2012 as the director of engineering. Today is Kurzweil’s 71st birthday, celebrate with us by reading more about this fascinating figure, and how he continues to influence the industry.
Robots ready for work
How the rise of robotics will affect the labor market is a key question as we head towards a more tech-driven future. Kurzweil is not shy about sharing his views on the future and while optimistic about robots and AI generally, he also warns that it won’t all be smooth sailing.
In an interview published in 2017, Kurzweil warns there will be difficult episodes in the transition to life with AI.
The future of food is vertical.
As populations rise and agricultural land shrinks new ways to produce food is critical. One of these is vertical farming.
Vertical farming involves growing produce in nutrient-rich indoor environments. Often grown in stacked trays or racks the produce can be grown in much denser numbers than traditional farming allows.
According to Ray Kurzweil, "The 2020s will be the decade of the vertical farming revolution." Kurzweil suggests that companies like InFarm from Germany and xx from California will have their growing pods in or close to all major supermarkets.
Are you ready for nanobots in your blood?
Kurzweil is a formidable predictor of the future. The talented futurist has guessed at many of the technologies we now take for granted well before they entered the public consciousness.
One of these is the idea that humans will become hybrid machines by the year 2030. Despite the craziness of the idea, we are well on our way. Researchers are working on nanobots that can live in our blood-stream and do everything from scanning for a disease to transmitting your thoughts to a wireless cloud.
Re-engineered Brains and supercomputers
The human brain is a powerful thing that we are really on just beginning to understand. While there is a long way to go before we truly know the secrets of what is in our own heads, Kurzweil is confident that once we do, we’ll never look back.
Kurzweil predicts that by 2029 computers will be far more powerful than the human brain. Humans will be able to manipulate this supercomputer power into machines that have the subtlety and suppleness of human intelligence.
Musk ready for singularity
Projects like Elon Musk's Neurolink are likely to be a huge part of this development. Humans may be able to access the intelligence of civilization in just a few keystrokes.
“What I talk about, ultimately, that leads to computers having human intelligence, our putting them inside our brains, connecting them to the cloud, expanding who we are. Today, that’s not just a future scenario,” he said.
“It’s here, in part and it’s going to accelerate, Kurzweil said during an SXSW panel appearance. "By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence," he said during an SXSW panel.