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Ray is systematically restating his opinions in much more vague manner than his original publication of the Singularity is Near.


"By the end of this decade, computers will disappear as distinct physical objects, with displays built in our eyeglasses, and electronics woven in our clothing, providing full-immersion visual virtual reality."

Now (from the PDF):

"Personal computers are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes"..."the prediction does not say that all computers would be small devices integrated in these ways, just that this would be common, which is indeed the case"

Sorry Ray, I'm not convinced.

I believe Ray completely ignores economics in his predictions. Things such as Moore's law appear when there is always constant, high economic demand. There is always constant, high economic demand for faster computers due to the intrinsic nature of how computers are used. There is NOT constant, high demand for new consumer technologies that haven't been developed and extensively marketed yet.

A corrollary is tablet computers. Development and research into touch interfaces did not increase exponentially after it was developed. Rather, you had to wait 9 years for an Apple to come along to do the hardwork of changing consumer preference to create the economic demand for this improved human-computer interface.

Ray usually seems to assume that an AI is in charge of the economic demand leading to its creation before it is created. He ignores the "stickiness" inherent in consumer demand. Perhaps there is a place for the post-service economy techno-marxist cyber utopia he envisions, but I don't see it occurring before capitalism has run its course globally, which will still take some time.

Exactly, tons of different technologies are POSSIBLE. But it's a matter of what's economically feasible (what consumers will pay for, etc.)

We could have had Web TV in 1995 if it was really economically feasible... but no on figured out the business model. And it looks like it still hasn't been figured out, although Google is trying again with Google TV.

That said, I think Kurzweil, while grading himself overgenerously, did a pretty good job, and no one else is making these kinds of predictions. I actually did the same thing back in 2009, since I am a Kurzweil fan. It's a little interesting how many things came true in 2010 -- he cheated by a year but it helped him a lot!

About economics: Have you heard of Moore's second law about how fabs are going to increase in price exponentially, too?

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