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Ray Kurzweil’s Impossible Vision

ABSTRACT—Ray Kurzweil, he really does say the craziest things. So crazy, in fact, that if he weren’t Ray Kurzweil, we might stop listening. Kurzweil, a computer technology genius and head of Kurzweil Technologies, an R&D technology company that specializes in Artificial Intelligence applications that include computer vision and speech recognition systems, has made a fortune showing the world just what computers can do. As an author and visionary in the field of AI, he’s also had no small success telling the world what computers will do. His record thus far isn’t bad: in 1990 he predicted the year a computer would defeat the world chess champion, and as anticipated in 1997 Gary Kasparov waved the white flag to IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer. That, and Kurzweil’s status as a pioneer in AI software, has given his more radical predictions an air of added credibility. With that in mind, try this one: By 2029, machines will be as smart as us.

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