We had a chat yesterday Jonathan Weber, former editor of Industry Standard in San Francisco, who is now editor of an online site called New West.
He flew in from Montana for the conference. He said was struck by how futuristic Web entrepreneurs here are thinking. “People on the street in Montana aren’t talking about this,” he said. “It will be some years out before general people become users.” Start talking with people in Montana about Skype, for example, and their eyes glaze over, he said.
But then you read the latest views of Ray Kurzweil, who is one of the nation’s most acclaimed inventors, and his ideas about how we’ll live in 25 years, and you think: Wow, forget about the people in Montana, I’d better start thinking about this future anyway. Here’s a review (free registration) from our colleague Michael Langberg. Keep in mind this stuff, if you believe Kurzweil, will happen in the lifetime of many of you. Full thing is worth reading, but here’s a snippet:
Billions of sub-microscopic robots will swim through our brains, augmenting our mental powers. We’ll eat cloned meat grown in factories, without having to slaughter animals. Inexpensive personal computers will match human intelligence in their ability to analyze information and make decisions.
Then things get weird.
Looking ahead 40 years, Kurzweil [pictured left] believes humans will evolve into semi-mechanical beings who can alter their physical appearance at will. We’ll live almost forever, barring accidents or violence, in a world without hunger or poverty. And humanity’s expanded brain power will ultimately reach out to control the universe.
This may sound crazy, but Kurzweil makes a compelling case in a new book, “The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.”