Ray Kurzweil responds about accuracy of his predictions

I made 108 predictions in The Age of Spiritual Machines (TASM), which, incidentally, I wrote in 1996 to 1997. It takes a year to publish, so the book came out at the end of 1998...

To summarize, of these 108 predictions, 89 were entirely correct by the end of 2009. An additional 13 were what I would call “essentially correct” (for a total of 102 out of 108).

The specificity of my predictions in TASM was by decades. There were predictions for 2009, 2019, 2029, and 2099. The 2009 predictions were providing a vision of what the world would be like around the end of the first decade of the new millennium. My critics were not saying “Kurzweil’s predictions for 2009 are ridiculous, they will not come true until 2010 or 2011.” Rather, they were saying that my predictions were off by decades or centuries or would never happen. So if predictions made around 1996 for 2009 come true a year or a couple of years after 2009, given that the specificity was by decade, and the critics were saying that they were wrong by decades or centuries, then I would consider them to constitute an essentially accurate vision of what the world would be like around now.

Kurzweil's book "The Singularity is Near" is a fascinating read, suggesting humanity is on the cusp of a new stage in evolving technology, particularly in genetics, computers, and nano machines, to the point we could potentially upgrade ourselves. The implications are staggering.

Thanks to that, Kurzweil is sometimes dismissed as a kook, or worse. Critics seek to disprove his future theories by debunking predictions he's made in the past.

Given a little latitude, plus or minus a couple years for predictions made in terms of decades, Kurzweil's predictions have a much better track record than, say, those of Joan Quigley, Nancy Reagan's astrologer.

What does his track record mean for his predictions about the 2050s? At the very least, it's time to read his book.

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