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Old January 9 2013, 06:08 AM   #39
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Information age to "Hybrid Age"

RAMA wrote: View Post
Almost everything you wrote is innacurate actually. I can certainly cite proof
No, you certainly cannot.

I wasn't going to do this, but let's get straight to the point:

From "The Age of Intelligent Machines"
Early 2000s

  • Translating telephones allow people to speak to each other in different languages. - FAIL: Technology undeveloped
  • Machines designed to transcribe speech into computer text allow deaf people to understand spoken words. - PARTIAL FAIL: Market never materialized
  • Exoskeletal, robotic leg prostheses allow the paraplegic to walk. - FAIL: Still experimental in 2012
  • Telephone calls are routinely screened by intelligent answering machines that ask questions to determine the call's nature and priority. - FAIL: Technology developed in 2010s and is only used by call centers.
  • "Cybernetic chauffeurs" can drive cars for humans and can be retrofitted into existing cars. They work by communicating with other vehicles and with sensors embedded along the roads. - EPIC FAIL
  • The classroom is dominated by computers. Intelligent courseware that can tailor itself to each student by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. Media technology allows students to manipulate and interact with virtual depictions of the systems and personalities they are studying. - FAIL
  • A small number of highly skilled people dominates the entire production sector. Tailoring of products for individuals is common. - FAIL
  • Drugs are designed and tested in simulations that mimic the human body. - FAIL
  • Blind people navigate and read text using machines that can visually recognize features of their environment. - FAIL
  • PCs are capable of answering queries by accessing information wirelessly via the Internet. - PARTIAL WIN, see SIRI.

  • Phone calls entail three-dimensional holographic images of both people. - IMMANENT FAIL: Video chat isn't even that popular.
  • By 2020, there will be a new World government. - IMMANENT EPIC FAIL

To be fair, that was Kurzweil in 1990, projecting on trends that seemed obvious in the late 1980s. Surely he learned and wisened a bit with his old age, so he should be more accurate with his 1999 predictions... right?

In "The Age of Spiritual Machines", Kurzweil predicts that by 2009:

  • Most books will be read on screens rather than paper. - FAIL: Not even half
  • Most text will be created using speech recognition technology. - FAIL
  • Intelligent roads and driverless cars will be in use, mostly on highways. - EPIC FAIL
  • People use personal computers the size of rings, pins, credit cards and books. - PARTIAL FAIL: some tablets are the size of books
  • Personal worn computers provide monitoring of body functions, automated identity and directions for navigation. - PARTIAL FAIL: Smartphones do this, but are not "wearable computers"
  • Cables are disappearing. Computer peripheries use wireless communication. - PARTIAL FAIL: Wireless devices exist alongside wired ones.
  • People can talk to their computer to give commands. - PARTIAL FAIL: People CAN, but nobody wants to
  • Computer displays built into eyeglasses for augmented reality are used. - FAIL
  • Computers can recognize their owner's face from a picture or video. - FAIL
  • Three-dimensional chips are commonly used. - FAIL
  • Sound producing speakers are being replaced with very small chip-based devices that can place high resolution sound anywhere in three-dimensional space. - FAIL
  • A 1000 dollar pc can perform about a trillion calculations per second. - FAIL: most high-end PCs currently peak at around 20 billion
  • There is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms and other forms of "chaotic" or complexity theory computing. - UNSURPRISING FAIL
  • Research has been initiated on reverse engineering the brain through both destructive and non-invasive scans. - FAIL
  • Autonomous nanoengineered machines have been demonstrated and include their own computational controls.- FAIL
Most of Kurzweil's last round of predictions haven't lapsed yet, but already his perennial predictions of "wearable computers" has still failed to materialize, mainly because imbedding computers in your clothing is the kind of idea that sounds really cool until you try to sell it to someone and realize what a stupid idea it really is.

In fact, MOST of Kurzweil's predictions have this feature: the SOUND cool, until someone tries to SELL those ideas and is jarred by the reality that they are either totally impractical or technologically infeasible.

Ray Kurzweil is at best average in making near-term projections about technology that he is intimately familiar with (e.g. speech recognition and computerized language support) but has been wrong on literally every other subject he has offered a prediction for. His predictions are therefore about as reliable as the premise for "2001: a Space Odyssey."
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