February 14th, 2007
Source: Nova Spivack and Radar Networks
By 2029, sufficient computation to simulate the entire human brain, which I estimate at about 1016 (10 million billion) calculations per second (cps), will cost about a dollar. By that time, intelligent machines will combine the subtle and supple skills that humans now excel in (essentially our powers of pattern recognition) with ways in which machines are already superior, such as remembering trillions of facts accurately, searching quickly through vast databases, and downloading skills and knowledge.
But this will not be an alien invasion of intelligent machines. It will be an expression of our own civilization, as we have always used our technology to extend our physical and mental reach. We will merge with this technology by sending intelligent nanobots (blood-cell-sized computerized robots) into our brains through the capillaries to intimately interact with our biological neurons. If this scenario sounds very futuristic, I would point out that we already have blood-cell-sized devices that are performing sophisticated therapeutic functions in animals, such as curing Type I diabetes and identifying and destroying cancer cells.
I can’t predict whether Kurzweil is on target with his view of the future, but Web/Internet is gradually going to get a lot smarter, growing more similar to the human brain and collective intelligence that conceived it.
Dan Farber, vice-president of editorial at CNET Networks and editor in chief of ZDNet, has more than 20 years of experience as an editor and journalist covering technology. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.