I have invested considerable time exploring the tipping points in human history. When I say tipping point, I mean a fundamental change in the nature of being human. As described in my Post on the topic, there were two main tipping points in human history: from hunter-gatherer to agriculture, and agriculture to our industrial society.
In a world of knowledge abundance, there are so many things to consider. Knowledge has always been the engine that drives human development – and it has been throughout history. Knowledge expanded in the hunter-gatherer days with the invention of fire. In those days, a human obtained all its food by foraging. Although the source of food did not change, fire allowed humans to cook food and consume more calories. The human brain expanded with this caloric increase, and soon we invented language – the first in a series of innovations that drove the growth of knowledge. All that followed – from agriculture to the great inventions of the second industrial revolution – enabled us to advance as humans. I explored that progression Here.
Ray Kurzwiel has always been very good at predicting; which will make some of his recent predictions scary for some and fascinating for others. That’s the general reaction when people are exposed to some of what Futurists see coming. Out of the 147 predictions he made in his various books, only 3 turned out to be totally wrong. With that knowledge in hand, this recent Article describes some of Ray’s recent predictions. Scary, fascinating, or some combination of the two? Here is a look at three of his recent predictions:
This recent Article highlights the progress made in brain science, our focus on solving grand world challenges, and the critical need to continue this advancement. The article describes how a paralyzed man using only his brain signals was able to operate, maneuver, and walk in a whole-body robotic exoskeleton. This press release provides more details. The findings could advance efforts to help paralyzed patients drive computers using brain signals alone; “perhaps starting with driving wheelchairs using brain activity instead of joysticks and progressing to developing an exoskeleton for increased mobility,” says Stephan Chabardes, neurosurgeon from the CHU of Grenoble-Alpes, France.
The brain is clearly one of the next great frontiers. In this World Economic Forum Article on reading minds, we get a glimpse into the exponential progression of brain science. The author cites research published by AI experts in China, the US and Japan showing that computers can replicate what people are thinking by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines that measure brain activity – linked to deep neural networks that replicate human brain functions.
Some in the Futurist community are focused on technology and ethics. Gerd Leonhard has been particularly vocal on the topic. I’ve dedicated a section of my keynote to what I believe will be a growing dialog. I use this slide to pose a question to the audience:
The example provided above comes from Ray Kurzweil, famous Futurist, Inventor and author. In an appearance at last years Exponential Finance conference, Kurzweil said this:
“Our thinking will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking. We’re going to gradually merge and enhance ourselves. In my view, that’s the nature of being human – we transcend our limitations. We’ll be able to extend (our limitations) and think in the cloud. We’re going to put gateways to the cloud in our brains.”