This is part 2 of the series on technological futures. When discussing the future, especially the future of technology, there are some writers who almost always seem to be quoted. Near the top of the list is the futurologist Ray Kurzweil, who has much to say about our technological future, and also about the growth in human intelligence. His views are quite optimistic, especially around computers and the nature of knowledge.
Kurzweil popularised the concept of 'the Singularity', but it was science fiction writer Vernor Vinge who originally coined it. In a nutshell, the Singularity describes a tipping point in technological development when computers exceed the power of total human capability. This will occur, Kurzweil argues, due to a rapid advance of technology and proliferation of human and machine intelligence. Whether we shall see the Singularity is one question. Whether it will have such as profound effect on our society and our humanity as Kurzweil and other predict, is an even bigger question. We simply don't know if computers can or will surpass human thought, or what the implications might be if they eventually do. Such questions have for years been a focus of the Strong vs Weak AI (Artificial Intelligence) debate.
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