"The Singularity is Near": Technology and the changes to the Human Condition
Ray Kurzweil looks at the future in his new book " The Singularity is Near" as a culmination of three related fields of innovation. Genetics, nano-technology, and robotics. (Kurzweil, 205) The human genome is only about 800 million uncompressed bytes which really isn't all that much compared to the amount of data that a large mainframe program may run. To put it in perspective, the genetic information about the brain is 12 million bytes of compressed data, "smaller than Microsoft Word." The argument has never been that computers are smarter than humans, but that they can process instructions more efficiently.His thoughts are that if we can crack the instructional code for the human genome that we can possibly live forever. Perhaps this is a bit of an overstatement, but as Aubrey de Grey analogizes "how long does a house last?" implying that with upkeep it may exist indefinitely.
I think Kurzweil's time line is a bit optimistic. But when I say a bit optimistic, I mean by perhaps a decade or two, not centuries or millennia (Kurzweil addresses this all in depth in the book; we're actually seeing exponential growth across a massive number of fronts). …
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