Google futurist sees nanobots in humans by 2030s
Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, is a prominent futurist – seemingly with a knack for making popular and accurate predictions of the near future. He foresaw the fall of the Soviet Union (and, impressively, predicted what technological factors would lead to that fall), he foresaw the impact that the internet would have on our lives in the 1990s, and he foresaw the defeat of the “best human chess players” by machines before the year 2000 (Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in 1997). This is why, although many of his predictions seem far-fetched, people take them seriously. Lately, he’s been talking about nanobots.
‘Nanobots’ is a term to describe tiny robots – about the size of a biological cell – that are set to achieve a task at the microscopic level. These robots will be intelligent and autonomous, and if Kurzweil is to be believed, they’ll be flowing through our bodies within the next 15 years.
Kurzweil believes that these minute technological marvels will contribute to our health by creating a kind of cybernetic immune system, effectively eliminating disease and transforming us into superhuman beings. He also believes that they will “transmit our brains into the cloud” rendering us, in a sense, immortal.
According to Kurzweil, this innovation will be one of many that leads us towards a “singularity”. The singularity, in futurist terms, describes the point in our future where we create machine super-intelligence. That can be thought of as an artificial intelligence (AI) so advanced that it can improve itself exponentially. Once AI reaches that pinnacle, it will quickly ‘explode’ into levels of intelligence that are dramatically post-human.
It is hard to deny that Kurzweil’s predictions appear, on the face of it, to be more science fiction than science fact. However, you could make a compelling case that we are already on the way to realizing this future. Wearable technology, the internet of things, and cloud computing, are all huge shifts in the technology sector – the extrapolation and convergence of these trends could well mimic the future Kurzweil proposes. And, of course, Kurzweil claims to have been right in 102 predictions out of 108 by 2009… would you bet against a record like that?
Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in its Global Trends Managed Fund.
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