Searching the Haight for Signs of Life

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Immortality on the Way... Scientists Still Working on Flying Cars

Futurists often overestimate the impact of technology. We know from empirical macroeconomic measurements that technology has a fairly linear impact on business cycles over time, at least if I remember Kydland's class well enough.

But this InformationWeek article (Kurzweil: Computers Will Enable People To Live Forever) is nonetheless inspiring, and maybe Dr. Kydland underestimated the possibility of an exponential increase in productivity through computing. If you believe Ray Kurzweil, MIT professor and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and the Lemelson-MIT prize (from the article, paraphrasing a speech at SCO-06):

—Doctors will be doing a backup of our memories by the late 2030s;

—By the late 2020s, doctors will be sending intelligent bots, or nanobots, into our bloodstreams to keep us healthy, and into our brains to keep us young;

—In 15 years, human longevity will be greatly extended. By the 2020s, we'll be adding a year of longevity or more for every year that passes;

—In the same timeframe, we'll routinely be in virtual reality environments. Instead of making a cell call, we could "meet" someone in a virtual world and take a walk on a virtual beach and chat. Business meetings and conference calls will be held in calming or inspiring virtual locations;

But still no flying cars.


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