On November 3rd the world’s most renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil took to the stage at a Foreign Council Relations special event to answer questions about the future, AI and to make some bold predictions about where some of our industries are heading from medicine to fashion.
Kurzweil is most well known for his book,“The Singularity Is Near”, but he’s also the co-founder and chancellor of Singularity University and director of engineering at Google. Allegedly he has made 147 predictions since the 1990s and has a success rate of 86 percent.
He also has his fair share of detractors in the industry: Cathy O’Neil said that he needed help. But that hasn’t stopped people gathering around him like a modern day saint.
Let’s take a look at some of his latest predictions:
Fashion and food in the early 2020s
“We’ll be able to print out clothing. There’ll be lots of cool open-source designs you can download for free. We’ll be able to create food very inexpensively using 3-D—vertical agriculture, using hydroponic plants for fruits and vegetables, in-vitro cloning of muscle tissue for meat.”
Constructing a building in a couple of days in the early 2020s:
“A building was put together recently, as a demo, using little modules snapped together, Lego-style, printed on a 3-D printer in Asia. Put together a three-story office building in a few days.”
Machines having human conversations by 2029:
“That’s been a key prediction of mine. I think the AI community is gaining confidence that we’re not far off from that milestone.”
Merging with technology by the 2030s:
“Medical nanorobots will go inside our brain, connect our neocortex to the cloud. So your smartphone, even though it is itself a billion times more powerful per dollar than the computer it multiples itself again a millionfold by connecting to millions of computers in the cloud. We can’t do that directly from our neocortex. We do it indirectly through these devices. We’ll do it directly in the 2030s.”
Disease in the future:
“We have the ability to reprogram biology away from the disease. Immunotherapy, for example, which is a very exciting breakthrough in cancer, I think it’s going to be quite revolutionary, it’s just getting started. That’s reprogramming the immune system to go after cancer, which it normally doesn’t do.”
“They’ll eliminate 99 percent of the 2 million deaths a year from human drivers.”