Google Director of Engineering and prominent futurist Ray Kurzweil believes that human-computer hybrids will be stronger, wittier, and more attractive.
At this year’s SXSW technology conference, Kurzweil predicted that computers would achieve “human-level intelligence” by 2029. He further predicts that the increase in a computer’s capacity to understand will lead to “our putting them inside our brains, connecting them to the cloud, expanding who we are.”
A bold prediction? Absolutely. But Kurzweil boasts an 86% success rate on similarly bold predictions he has made over the last few decades. His visionary ability has guided him into the proverbial halls of power in one of the most influential tech companies in the world, where he is helping to create a self-fulfilling prophecy with his work on Google’s machine learning projects.
Kurzweil doesn’t think that his latest prediction ventures too far into science fiction. In fact, he’s asserted that the hybridization of humans and computers is “…not just a future scenario. It’s here, in part, and it’s going to accelerate.” And in fact, the level of human attachment to smartphones and other similar information technology lends his words a lot more credibility than may be apparent at first glance.
According to Kurzweil, machines are already “powering all of us.” And while your cell phone has yet to make the transition from the side of your head to inside your head, he believes that “by the 2030s, we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud.” That would give us “more neocortex” to work with, which would enable us to be smarter, funnier, “better at music,” and even sexier. “We’re really going to exemplify all the things that we value in humans to a greater degree,” he concluded.
Cybernetic neural enhancement already exists to some extent in Parkinson’s patients, and Kurzweil can only see it expanding from there:
Ultimately, it will affect everything. We’re going to be able to meet the physical needs of all humans. We’re going to expand our minds and exemplify these artistic qualities that we value.
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