If futurist, inventor, and Google executive Ray Kurzweil is right about the future, we ll all be augmenting our brains with extra capacity in the cloud at some point in the future.Which sounds exciting, even if a little frightening.But this very advance could also pave the way for the rich to become thousands of times smarter than poor people, which would likely permanently solidify and even exacerbate current socioeconomic stratifications.
I asked Kurzweil if he saw that consequence as a possibility, and he strongly disagreed.Here s why I think he might be right about the technology, but wrong about the impact.Ray Kurzweil has received honors from three U.S. presidents and 20 honorary doctorates from global universities.
He s built and sold software companies, invented omni-font optical character recognition, built the first electronic music synthesizer of concert-hall quality, and has long been a leader in artificial intelligence.
He predicted the rise of the internet, new heights in supercomputers, and narrowly intelligent systems that could beat the best human experts in chess and other games, among 200 or so other predictions, and he s right about 86 percent of the time.In other words, he s pretty smart.Last week Kurzweil keynoted Postback, Tune s mobile marketing conference in Seattle full disclosure, I work for Tune .
The phones we use today are several billion times more advanced than the computer he first used at MIT 30 years ago, and 100,000 times smaller.
That kind of advance, says The Singularity Is Near author, will allow us to provision augmented reality and virtual reality from right within the nervous system — direct silicon to brain integration, not the clunky goggles and hardware we wear on our faces today.