- The Kurzweil interview, continued: Portable computing, virtual reality, immortality, and strong vs. narrow AI
- The Kurzweil interview: More comments on the "exponential growth" of computational power
On the evolution of hardware technologies and "augmented reality":
... We're going to solve this dilemma we have now with displays. On the one hand, people like 50-inch screens, and they'll spend thousands of dollars on them. On the other hand, they like watching movies on a 1- or 2-inch screen, but that's really not a satisfactory experience. We are going to solve that by putting the displays in our glasses, which will beam images to our retinas. This will create very high-resolution virtual displays that can hover in the air. And it can also completely overtake your visual field of view in three dimensions, creating full-immersion visual/auditory virtual reality.On the exponential advances in technology:
We'll also have augmented real reality. The computers will be watching what you watch, listening to what you're saying, and they'll be helping. So if you look at someone, little pop-ups will appear in your field of view, reminding you of who that is, giving you information about them, reminding you that it's their birthday next Tuesday. If you look at buildings, it will give you information, it will help you walk around. If it hears you stumbling over some information that you can't quite think of, it will just pop up without you having to ask."
... So ultimately, everything is going to be transformed by information technology. We're moving toward tabletop devices that can actually create three-dimensional objects. Right now you can take an information file, and turn that into a movie, or a book, or a sound recording, and those things used to be physical products, and now are just information.A general observation about virtual reality:
Well, the same thing will be true of what we now think of as physical products. We'll be able to have an information file, and be able to turn it into any three-dimensional object that you need, such as a module for a house, a solar panel, a toaster, or even the toast, or a blouse, by basically reorganizing matter and energy from very basic input materials, which will be recycled, to create physical products, and there are a number of roadmaps to get there, and I believe we'll see those kinds devices within 20 years.
... We'll be spending quite a bit of our time in virtual-reality environments. Environments like Second Life are really a crude harbinger of what is to come. We'll have these virtual-reality environments which will be quite competitive with real reality. They'll be very realistic. They'll be full immersion, just as in SL you can be someone else, you don't have to look the same in these virtual environments.I first read The Singularity Is Near earlier this year. It ties in with a lot of things I've been discussing on this blog and elsewhere, in terms of the evolution of mass media in the next few decades.
And they won't just be kind of a plaything. Second Life already has a real economy, and people do real business transactions and have real romance. And we'll be doing that in a real panoply of virtual-reality environments.
On a related note, I'm going to carry out a qualitative analysis of Singularity and some of Marshall McLuhan's writings in my final paper for this semester's class at Harvard ... I'll be sure to post some of the analysis here after the course ends in January.