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How Accurate are Kurzweil’s Predictions?

Ray Kurzweil. Photo: acceleratingfuture.comAs I reported in my "Singularity Skepticism Argument #1: "Fucking whatever man, pass me that shit" post on January 5, Michael Anissimov (an h+ magazine contributor, btw) claimed that a number of predictions Ray Kurzweil made about stuff that would happen by 2009 failed to check out. On his Accelerating Future blog, Michael posted: "Here are the failed predictions: ‘Personal computers with high resolution interface embedded in clothing and jewelry, networked in Body LAN’s. The majority of text is created using continuous speech recognition (CSR) software. Computer displays built into eyeglasses project the images directly onto the user’s retinas.’"

Then on Monday, Michael published an email response from Kurzweil. In his letter, Kurzweil claimed a high batting average: that 89 out of 108 predictions were correct and another 13 were essentially correct.

Yesterday, Michael featured a comment from Keith Norbury that he agreed with. Norbury wrote: "It looks as though Kurzweil and Anissimov are both quibbling…" More poignantly, Norbury offered up this interesting challenge to what we might call the doctrine of inevitability: "Kurzweil’s main point is that technology is improving exponentially not linearly. That’s a difficult point to grasp. However, we still don’t know if even exponential growth is enough to tackle some sticky problems, such as simulating human intelligence. Nobody knows where the goal posts are yet."

btw, our interview with Ray Kurzweil, I think, shows that he is a more flexible and more experimental thinker about the nature of consciousness than many might suspect.

5 Responses

  1. April 5, 2011

    […] far, Kurzweil’s track record for accurately predicting the future stands at 102 out of 108 correct predictions, so it’s safe to say this man is not simply just a fortune telling shyster. […]

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