Ray Kurzweil gave the evening keynote on day one of the Killer App Expo. Below are my notes:
Kurzweil discussed that many discoveries and innovations in science are much more predictable that most people realize. While individual predictions are difficult, projecting trends can be accomplished with the right information.
Understanding logarithmic graphs is the key to understanding Kurzweil’s analysis of technology growth and future projections. Plotting historical innovations shows that the rate of change is often very predictable – even when changes seem to come out of nowhere, like the popularity of the web.
Biology is an area that interests him, where a lot of breakthroughs in the science of biological processes is just now becoming understood. Reprogramming biology offers the potential for extraordinarily health impact. He describes biology as an information technology, where the laws of accelerating returns apply.
On artificial intelligence: “If all of the applications using artificial intelligence were to stop working tomorrow, our economy would grind to a halt.”
Moore’s Law will come to an end by 2020, when we won’t be able to double the processing speed of a chip using today’s technology. New technologies are in the work for the next generation of chips: 3D.
On the brain: the actual complexity isn’t as complex as the assumed complexity.
By 2010, computers will disappear. Storing every photo you’ve ever taken on a jump drive in an example of this. Eyeglass embedded screens will allow for large displays.
2029: $1000 of computation = 1,000 times the human brain.
Blood-cell size devices are just starting to exist today.
On energy consumption: we have plenty of energy, but we’re not capturing it. Solar panels are not information technology but old industrial technology today. Nano engineered solar panels will make things more competitive, but 20-25 years out, we’ll be able to make extremely inexpensive solar panels. Less than 1% of the land in the United States should be able to capture the energy we need.
I hope some of you were able to enjoy Kurzweil’s presentation streamed live onto Technology Evangelist and ustream. The bandwidth has been pretty flaky this afternoon, so I don’t know how many of you were able to participate. However, we shot the presentation in HD, so look for publication of that here sometime soon.