When it comes to making predictions about Artificial Intelligence, few people have been able to anticipate and accurately predict what will happen. Some have gone too far and believed we could do things we really can’t while others have predicted things that were far too modest. One person, however, stands above and has been extremely accurate: Ray Kurzweil, a top AI influencer. He has been able to predict so much in the last two decades that one must wonder whether he has been using a time machine.
So how accurate is Ray Kurzweil on AI?
Well the mathematicians vary, but he is somewhere between 80-90% accurate in his predictions since the 90s. He does this through a system he calls the Law of Accelerating Returns, which states that “every fundamental measure of information technology follows predictable and exponential trajectories.” These trajectories more often than not have to do with computers and how much power they have. He uses another system as well: graphs. He uses graph to compare the amount of digital information on the internet and seeks to understand how much is out there for artificial intelligence to understand. Through very careful research, he has found that the amount of information available on the internet doubles every 1.25 years. Unfortunately, he predicts that we will lose control of that very soon and will have more content for AI to learn than has ever existed for humans.
A few of Ray Kurzweil’s accurate predictions:
Computers as Clothing
Let’s start in 1990 when Kurzweil predicted that that “personal computers are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, and are commonly embedded in clothing and jewelry such as wristwatches, rings, earrings and other body ornaments.”
Look around and you will see that this is accurate. We are all wearing FitBits, Apple Watches, and other forms of technology. Though inaccessible to most, there are items of clothing that have computers built into them and transmit information about our bodies. You can sync LED lights to your phone and wear them on your clothing and you can wear bedazzled earbuds.
Constant Connection to the Internet
In the year 2000, he said that by 2010 we will all “have very high-bandwidth wireless communication to the Internet at all times.” It might not have been in 2010, but he was only a few years off there.
LTE networks, Wi-Fi, and other connections have allowed us to consistently stay. We carry super computers in our pockets and use the internet everywhere we go. While there are still some places where we can’t connect to the internet, it is pretty much a constant.
In that same breath, he was also able to accurately predict Siri.
In the year 2000, Kurzweil was also able to predict a form of technology and AI that few would have deemed even possible. He predicted, “displays will be built into our eyeglasses and contact lenses and images projected directly onto our retinas.”
Google Glass, though fleeting, was a piece of AI technology that did just that. It was able to interact with our world in a way that few other pieces of tech could. There are still iterations of it throughout the tech such as the Snap’s Spectacles.
If you ask people about what scares them most about artificial intelligence, many of them would say the ability to keep a working memory of everything and be able to pick and choose it for use. Once again, Kurzweil predicted this in the year 2000.
He said, “Computers will tap into the worldwide mesh (what the World Wide Web will become once all of its linked devices become communicating Web servers, thereby forming vast supercomputers and memory banks) of high-speed communications and computational resources.”
This is the Cloud from which we get all our information and our phones and computers can pull them up. Even scarier, AI can tap into the information presented on the internet, information that has been crowdfunded, and pick and choose what is useful and what isn’t.
For Kurzweil, being able to predict the future of artificially intelligent machines and technology wasn’t difficult – he just used his brain and his theories to build on what we already had. In fact, he may be one of the only people who accurately knows what is going to come of technology and artificial intelligence.