Author and Inventor Raymond Kurzweil who gave Bill Joy the willies, predicts that machine intelligence will overtake/merge with humanity by the end of the century.

In this one potential future, the world would become a very unusual place indeed. Where converging advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology and computer technology combine to propel "humanity" to the next stage in its evolution.

In this one potential future, the world would become a very unusual place indeed. Where converging advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology and computer technology combine to propel "humanity" to the next stage in its evolution.

"By the end of this century, I don’t think there will be a clear distinction between human and machine," Kurzweil told the Foresight Institute’s Eighth Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology on Friday.

"We can expand the capacity of our brains by a factor of thousands or millions, and, by the end of the century, by trillions," predicts the inventor-turned-author of the Age of Intelligent Machines and the Age of Spiritual Machines.

Technology, of course, has been part of human existence since our Cro-Magnon ancestors first picked up a stone and realized it could be more than something to stumble over.

But Kurzweil is talking about something a bit more ambitious. If he’s right, exponential progress in science and engineering will allow us to merge with machines. We will become more resistant to disease, think faster, live longer, become transhuman and communicate in ways unimaginable today.

If he’s wrong, well, then we’ll continue to have buggy software, imperfect memory, disease and lifespans that fall far short of the lowly leopard tortoise (50 to 150 years).

Author: Declan McCullah

News Service: Wired News

URL: http://wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,39967,00.html