Futurist, optimist, and iPhone-ad personality Ray Kurzweil says things are getting better - exponentially.
AUSTIN, Texas - Ray Kurzweil has long been known for his hyperbolic, optimistic predictions about technology. Will artificial intelligence surpass human intelligence? Of course. Can they perform real-time native language processing? Why not? How about biomechanically extending human lifetimes by several centuries? Just hold on a few more years!
As you would expect, this kind of optimism draws a lot of fire from more pessimistic, perhaps more realistic, critics. On Monday at SXSW, Kurzweil took on the skeptics with an array of historical charts, future forecasts, and the simple belief that "you can start world-changing revolution with just the power of your ideas and everyday tools."
The cornerstone to many of Kurzweil's predictions is the Law of Accelerating Returns, a phrase he coined in his 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines. The law states that certain kinds of progress are exponential, not linear, resulting in a profound acceleration of said progress. Think of it as Moore's Law for everything.