The exponentially accelerating pace of technology will be incomprehensible to the unaided human mind within thirty years.
If you have heard anything about the movie “Her” you know that it is a futuristic science fiction flick. However, the movie does have a foundation in reality. Particularly interesting, is that the future depicted in the movie shows a genuine attempt to reconcile abstract technological evolution with the concrete; things that our eyes can recognize, such as wooden furniture and handwritten letters. According to a report made by the Huffington Post which was published on Feb. 18, a future with Transhumanist technology may be closer than we think.
The movie begs the question; how far are we from a reality where computers can interact with us, with other computers, learn with us and ultimately express creativity and sentiments? When are computers going to pass the 1950s Turing test, where they can deceive humans into thinking they are not machines? To do this they would need to exhibit human-like behavior and humans are very good at perceiving when something is not quite right.
Ray Kurzweil, a futurist who works for Google, thinks that within the next ten years computers will exceed the computing capacity of the human brain, if measured in FLOPS or floating operations per second. He also believes that within the next thirty years, one single computer will have more computational power than every brain on Earth combined. Kurzweil bases his predictions on Moore’s law, which has more or less been proven. The 30-year period is calculated by the exponentially accelerating pace of technology. Something similar to Samantha, the AI in the “Her” movie, will becoming a reality by 2030 under these calculations.
By 2045, Kurzweil believes humans will have molecule-sized computers inside their brains and bodies, which will enhance their cognitive powers and regulate their health. In order to optimize these functions our brains could connect to the cloud. This singularity, as Kurzweil calls it, is a point where any further advance of a variable leads to an infinite advance in one that is correlated with it. In other words, machines will be advancing technology at this singularity in a way that humans will not even be able to comprehend unless they are neurologically connected to the AIs, similar to a neuropsychological evaluation.
Sound far fetched? Apple Macintosh was unveiled to the world thirty years ago and took up most of the space on your average desk. Today, Apple has built a phone you can fit in the palm of your hand that has computational capacity 200 million times more powerful than the original Apple Macintosh. Projecting out 30 years, a molecule-sized computer that is a billion times more powerful than the iPhone is not far fetched at all, if you do the math.