The Age of Spiritual Machines was one of those important books that I read a number of years ago – and still a good read for Kurzweil’s apparently accurate prophetic outlook.
This post was triggered by me recently telling some friends the history of Kurzweil keyboards. Kurzweil’s genius has brought us Optical Character Recognition, the first reading machine for the blind, speech recognition technology, music synthesis and much more. This is his comment on the rate of change we are experiencing:
The whole 20th century, because we’ve been speeding up to this point, is equivalent to 20 years of progress at today’s rate of progress, and we’ll make another 20 years of progress at today’s rate of progress equal to the whole 20th century in the next 14 years, and then we’ll do it again in seven years. And because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress, which is a thousand times greater than the 20th century, which was no slouch to change.
If things seem to be moving too fast now…