Skip to main content

Get your head in the cloud: Kurzweil predicts humans will be artifically intelligent by 2030

While other brilliant minds like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned against the rise of artificial intelligence, Ray Kurzweil, famed inventor and futurist, and currently also Google’s director of engineering, is taking a vastly different approach to technological innovations on the AI front.

In fact, according to Kurzweil, humans will be artificially intelligent by 2030, making us half-homo sapien, half-computer. On June 3 at the Exponential Finance conference, Kurzweil predicted, “Our thinking then will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking. We’re going to gradually merge and enhance ourselves. In my view, that’s the nature of being human – we transcend our limitations.”

Related Videos

In just 15 years, Kurzweil believes, the human brain will become a hybrid of biology and technology, and we will “put gateways to the cloud in our brains.” And as the cloud becomes more and more advanced and is able to store increasing amounts of information, so too will our brains. By the late 2030’s or early 2040’s, Kurzweil said, the majority of brain function, at least in terms of information processing and thought processes, will be non-biological.

Kurzweil, whose work at Google focuses largely on improving computers’ artificial intelligence, is a strong proponent of singularity — the point at which AI will exceed “true” human intelligence. We are on the cusp of this phenomenon, he believes, with 2045 marking the turning point in the true dominant species of the world. Known for his frequent and sometimes seemingly outlandish predictions, Kurzweil is no stranger to making big bets, nor to winning them.

In fact, as per his own analysis of the 147 predictions he made for 2009 throughout the ’90s, a respectable 86 percent of them turned out to be correct, including the primary usage of portable computers, computer displays in eyeglasses, and a computer beating a human at chess, just to name a few. He did, however, miss the ball on self-driving cars, which he thought we would’ve mastered by now.

Of course, despite his lofty projections for the future of artificial intelligence, Kurzweil noted, “Technology is a double-edged sword … every technology has had its promise and peril,” adding that “We have a moral imperative to continue reaping the promise [of artificial intelligence] while we control the peril. I tend to be optimistic, but that doesn’t mean we should be lulled into a lack of concern.”

There are of course considerable ethical dilemmas that must be considered should humans ever become cyborgs, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. The question is, just how soon will that be?

Editors' Recommendations

Finally, an A.I. voice assistant that doesn’t collect and monetize your data
new crowdfunding projects Mycroft Mark II

Science fiction is full of sinister sentient computers. The most famous is, of course, HAL 9000, the artificially intelligent ship’s computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which gains self awareness and sets about murdering its crew. But HAL’s got some equally villainous pals -- such as the Ultimate Computer from Superman III, Proteus IV from Demon Seed, Colossus from The Forbin Project, and, of course, Skynet from Terminator.

However, while silver screen A.I. is almost always evil, science fiction does have at least one sentient computer that isn't so sinister. Mike (an abbreviation of Mycroft, the name of Sherlock Holmes’ brother) is a fun-loving supercomputer from Robert Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. A character as far removed from the cold, austere as HAL as is possible, Mike becomes the best friend of the book’s narrator, and a key driver in the fight for freedom in the novel’s lunar society. He is a sentient supercomputer on humanity's side.

Read more
Artificial intelligence now used in new tools to sharpen your debating skills
artificial intelligence

The Center for Argument Technology (ARG-tech) located at the University of Dundee now provides tools based on in-house artificial intelligence designed for arguments. While that may sound completely useless given humans do extremely well at arguing each other, this AI is meant to make those arguments more productive, so everyone involved can reach an agreement.

According to ARG-tech director Chris Reed, his group first turned to the BBC’s Moral Maze 10 years ago. They created large “maps” based on every debate that took place on the show, and turned those maps into infographics using an algorithm to “determine the most central themes.” From that data, the team pulled important issues, where participants stood, the highest points in conflict, and more.

Read more
Album+ with offline A.I. is Google Photos for the cloud naysayers

Artificial intelligence simplifies things like finding the best shot or deleting duplicated photos to save space on your phone — but machine learning also requires so much space, that these programs are largely cloud-based. That’s changing as A.I. programs get smaller and hardware gets larger and now, for iOS users, there’s an A.I. photo program that can run entirely offline. Album+ is an app by developer Polarr that encompasses a number of features that already exist in apps like Google Photos, but brings them offline.

Using A.I. and computer vision, Album+ can recognize people and objects in your photos, making it easy to search for a specific photo. That same search tool also works with documents and snapshots of receipts.

Read more