I HAVE spent a lot of the past week checking out Ray Kurzweil’s world after reading Carole Cadwalladr’s interview with him in The Observer. It is a pretty eye-opening experience. Google’s new director of engineering estimates that computers will gain ‘consciousness’ by 2029 – i.e. when the machines have learned to make their own decisions.
Kurzweil is one of the poster boys of Singularity, defined by Wikipedia as the „moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence”. Associated with this are the concepts of Human 2.0 or Transhumanism, which are when humans begin to augment or replace parts of themselves with robots or computers.
Kurzweil has a great deal to say about a future in which we have reverse-engineered the brain – i.e. figured out what every bit of our grey matter does, how and why. According to Kurzweil,
„By 2030, reverse-engineering of the human brain will have been completed and non-biological intelligence will merge with our biological brains.” (He wrote this in 2003 by the way.)