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A leading U.S. inventor and scientific futurologist has predicted that machines will intellectually surpass humans by the year 2030.
Dr. Ray Kurzweil has stated that there will be 32 times more technical advancement in the next 50 years than there was in all of the 20th century. Kurzweil's predictions were made while addressing the American Associations for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston. Highly touted in his field, Kurzweil had been chosen as one of the 18 new-age thinkers to predict the most important technological challenges facing humanity.
He said his predictions were based on the fact that computer chips had been doubling in processing power ever two years for the past half century. And that computers had traditionally been comprised of 2D chips made from silicon but in recent times scientists have developed 3D chips with far-superior performance, that are made with materials that are more efficient and smaller than metal-based computer chips.
"The paradigm shift rate is now doubling every decade, so the next half century will see 32 times more technical progress than the last half century. Computation, communication, biological technologies - for example, DNA sequencing - brain scanning, knowledge of the human brain, and human knowledge in general are all accelerating at an ever-faster pace, generally doubling price-performance, capacity and bandwidth every year," said Kurzweil.
Kurzweil believes that once artificial intelligence reaches the sophistication and subtlety of human intelligence, it will inevitably sprint past it because of the acceleration rate of information-based technologies, and the ability of machines to make knowledge easily transferable.
"We are understanding disease and ageing processes as information processes, and are gaining the tools to reprogramme them. RNA interference, for example, allows us to turn selected genes off, and new forms of gene therapy are enabling us to effectively add new genes. Within two decades, we will be in a position to stop and reverse the progression of disease and ageing resulting in dramatic gains in health and longevity," he added.
He went on to say that computers would soon lead to a "post-human" world where an artificial being would exist side-by-side with humans like something out of a science fiction novel.
Although considered by some as a radical in his field, Kurzweil's forward thinking can not be denied. His resume shows him as an innovator in many computing fields such as the technology behind CDs (optical character recognition), and automatic speech recognition.
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