Ray Kurzweil believes that while we are the creators of technology today, tomorrow it will be able to invent itself. And when that day comes, we may, in fact, be screwed.
“Technology has been a double-edged sword since fire kept us warm but burned down our villages,” he told me in the above video interview.
The Singularity is the day in 2029 that Kurzweil says technology will be able to pass the Turing Test and think for itself. He explained at the DEMO conference this week in Santa Clara, Calif., that we are using 2012-upgraded computers to make the computers of 2014. Eventually, technology become artificially intelligent enough to create new versions of itself.
Kurzweil joked that if our A.I. turns against us, we’ll need to build a stronger A.I. and hope it doesn’t turn against us too. If that turns against us, well, you can see how that’d be a problem.
In the meantime, we continue to work on A.I. and strive for a computer that can think like us, and therefore, be a friend to us. One example is Apple’s Siri, which Kurzweil says is “primitive” in its natural-language processing, though “we know how to do a better job of that already.”