Sunday, February 26, 2012

Global Future 2045: Kurzweil The Acceleration of Technology in the 21st Century 3

Here is the conclusion of Raymond Kurzweil's lecture on the acceleration of technology at the Global Future 2045 Conference in Moscow.
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Human Genome Project
We are actually reprogramming biology.  By the way the Genome project itself was good example of this exponential growth I am talking about.  Halfway through the project, critics were saying, this isn't working you've only collected one percent of the Genome after seven years of which is half of the fifteen years that was predicted.  One percent seven years?  It's going to take 700 years which is what we said originally.  My reaction was no it's almost done, because it's an exponential trajectory.  It's doubling every year, after seven years it had been doubling every time.  It continue to double every year and the project was finished on time.   Every other aspect of biology has continued to scale up exponentially now that we're treating it as an information technology.

So these technologies - the ability to reprogram our genes, for example, are in an early stage but these technologies are going to double in power every year.  They will be a thousand times more powerful than they are now in ten years.  They'll be a million times more powerful then they are now in twenty years.  It will be a very different era.

Via: Kurzweil
Exponential Growth
Let me show you just a few examples of how this works.  Here's a good example  These  graphs over here, by the these are logarithmic scales.  Every level on this graph is a thousand times more than the level before it.  

So a straight line is exponential growth.  So that line represent trillions fold increase over a century.  Trillions fold in what?  This is actually showing the number of bits we move around wirelessly through the world.  The power of communications technology, wireless communications.  One hundred years ago that was Morse Code, over AM radio.  Today it's 4G networks.  But look at how smooth a trajectory that is.  You would think that given all the vagaries of news and headlines of a billion dollar company goes bankrupt, new products come out, one company takes over from another company, countries accused of dumping products, that this would be very erratic.  I mean look at how smooth a trajectory that is.

via: singularity
First Exponential Growth Observed
Let me show the one that I first discovered.  This is the power of computing going back to the 1890 census.  This is a logarithmic scale, every level on this graph is 100,000 times greater than the level below it.  So this represents trillions fold increase, in a little over a century.  Several billion fold just since I was an undergraduate. 

 A lot of people say you can't just take exponentials and project them out indefinitely, every exponential comes to an end.  Well, in information technology a particular method will come to an end, but it leads to research pressure to come to a new method.  Moore's Law, which is the shrinking of computer processors on a chip, was not the first paradigm to bring exponential growth to computing,  

This diagram started decades before Gordon Moore was even born. Chips was the 5th paradigm not the first.  In the 1950s we were shrinking vacuum tubes, making them smaller and smaller.  In 1952 CBS predicted the election of Eisenhower, the American President.  First time the American networks did that.  Then they were making the vacum tubes smaller and smaller until they couldn't shrink them anymore and keep the vacum and that was the end of the shrinking of vacum tubes.  It was not the end of this exponential growth.  It just went to another method to resistors and finally to chips.

But again look at how smooth the trajectory of that is.  It was not affected by anything.  It was not affected by the Great Depression, that swept the world in the 1930s.  It was not affected by World War I or World War II or by the Cold War or any of the events of the 20th century or the 21st century, or even the recent recession.  No it continued through the recent economic problems and it's really remarkable how smooth a trajectory that is.
Singularity presentation Ray Kurzweil at Google
View more PowerPoint from Sergio Stein [We include a presentation for Google done in 2009 by Kurzweil with many of his graphs].

Exponential Deflation
I won't dwell on these examples of electronics, but up there the cost of a transistor, you could buy one transistor for a $1.16.  I remember being in college and being very excited that wow I can get a whole transistor for only one dollar.  Today you can get several billion for a dollar and they're actually better because they're smaller and they're faster.

The cost of a transistor cycle has come down by half in less than a year.  That represents a 50% deflation rate.  Economists actually worry about deflation.  The concern is as everything becomes information technology, you can get the same stuff a year later for half the price fueled by more.  But you're not going to double your consumption.  So therefore the size of the economy as measured in Rubles or Dollars will shrink for actually a variety of good reasons that would not be a good thing.


Exponential Demand
That's actually not what we see.  I can show fifty other graphs like this.  We actually more than doubled our consumption every year, because one performance reaches certain levels whole new applications explode.  People didn't buy iPods for 10,000 dollars each which is what it would have cost 15 years ago.  When the price performance is there, whole new capabilities, search engines, fax machines, digital cameras, social networks take off.  That represents 18% growth in constant currency even though we can get twice as much capability here for the same price.

So I mentioned the biotechnology revolution, this again a very smooth doubling every year and the cost has come down by half.  Many other aspects of biology are scaling up in this exponential manner.

This little graph here I had only a few points in the 19080s and projected out to what I said would be a world wide web of communication connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world, to each other and to vast knowledge resources as emerging by the late 90s.  People thought that was crazy, when in the early 1980s the entire Defense budget could only tie 2,000 people together.  That's the power of exponential growth.  that's what happened.  This graph on the right is the same data but seen on a linear scale rather than logarithmic scale.  It's the same information, but it looks like to the casual observer that the World Wide Web came out of nowhere in the 1990s but you could see it coming if you looked into this exponential trajectory.

3D Printers
We're shrinking technology.  I mentioned that this computer in my pocket is 100,000 times smaller than the one I used as a student.  We can now actually manufacture things, just from information using 3D printers and very inexpensive inout materials.  So if I want to send you a book or a music album or a movie, I can send you an email attachment and you can read a book or movie or a sound recording.  But I can also send you a violin.  If you have a three dimensional printer, you can print it out.

Three dimensional printers have been expensive.  Just a few years ago they cost tens of thousands of dollars, now they are in the thousands of dollars.  There're a few announcements that there are some in the hundreds of dollars.  It's coming down in price.  The scale of precision is getting finer and finer at an exponential pace.  Right now it's in microns, millions of a meter.  It will be in billions of a meter - nanometers, which will be true nanotechnology, within 20 years.  But that's not an artist conception, that's an actual violin that was printed on a three dimensional printer.

Someone printed out an airplane in modules, then snapped them together, and flew them.   Today with a three dimensional printer you can print 70% of the parts you need to build another three dimensional printer.  That will be 100% within ten years.  Ultimately this is going to revolutionize manufacturing.  We ultimately will be able to print out clothes.  You can have your #D Avatar and dress it with different fashions, then actually print out your clothes on your desktop 3D printer.

De-Factorization Of The United States
This is going to revolutionize manufacturing which is why I say that the future is not in manufacturing jobs.  In fact already, in the United States, 1/3 of the population worked in factories in the 1900.  It's down to 3% today, it's really going to be in the creation of the intellectual property and the intellect that goes into all of these industries.

This is actually where 2045 comes from.  This is a cover story in the American magazine Time Magazine, about this idea the law of accelerating returns.  They wanted to print that graph but they said hey we want you to put this one computer on it that we covered a few weeks ago.  So we put it on there and it's right on the curve.  This is a curve that I laid out in 1981.  It's still exactly correct, in terms of the power of computation.  ut's an exponential graph.  So this represents exponential growth that's going to continue well into the future.

New Book How To Create A Mind: The Secret Of Human Thought
The last important area I want to cover is on the brain.  I've been thinking about thinking in 50 years.  I'm writing a book that's coming out this Fall called How To Create A Mind: The Secret of Human Thought.  It really describes what I mentioned earlier which is this algorithm in the neocortex that is repeated 300,000,000 times and is self-organizing.  The connections one conceptual level to the next are made by these modules themselves.  So not only those our brain create our thoughts, but our thoughts actually create our brains quite literally.  This is all scaling up exponentially.  

There are many different projects like the Blue Brain Project that simulate the neocortex.  This one system Watson, which can actually deal very intelligently with human language.  In the game Jeopardy which is very subtle in the use of language, humor, puns and metaphors and requires accessing all of human knowledge.  This system read in natural language all of wikipedia in English.  It actually read 200,000,000 pages and mastered it all and come up with any information from those 200,000,000 pages within three seconds.  It's based on models that are very similar to what I'm describing, Markov Models actually, or the mathematical equivalent.

This is a simulation of the slice of the neocortex.  All of this is scaling up at a exponential pace.  We are working simulations of the human auditory cortex where it processes sound,  the visual cortex, the cerebellum where we do our skill formation, for example, catching a flyball, a kid does that without thinking about it, although he has to learn how do it.  I always wondered how does that work?  A child is relating a movable object then moves up his hand and catches the ball.  In order to do that you have to solve a dozen simultaneous differential equations in two seconds.  Most ten year olds haven taken calculus, so we wondered how that worked.  The cerebellum solves those equations.  We've actually figured that out.  There are working models and simulations of the cerebellum.

The Implications of the Acceleration of Technology
So let me address one more thing and then we will have time for questions.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  It's actually a very popular or influential public perception movement that the world is getting worse, that the world is getting more violent, the poorer are getting poorer, the environment is getting worse, the world in general is getting poorer, turns out not to be the case.  I have 50 different graphs like this.  

I'll show you this one, just to make the point that the world is actually getting better.  The reason we think the world is getting worse is because we have much better information about what's wrong with the world.  So if there's a battle in Fallujah, it's not far away, its right on our palmtops.  We experience it.  So when there are problems with poverty and health or conflict or war somewhere in the world, we hear about it.  Very often we can't solve it right away so we're frustrated because we're sympathetic creatures and we like to solve problems that we hear about.  So people get frustrated thinking things are getting worse.  It's not like these problems didn't exist, in fact they were much worse.  [We include a Google motion chart from the World Bank illustrating what Kurzweil is talking about.  If you cannot see the embedded movie, here is the link: http://bit.ly/xbfjms].



Improvement On All Fronts Worldwide
There is a recent book by Steven Pinker that actually humans conflict and violence has been steadily coming down, despite all appearances, because you hear about violence all the time, but actually there's much less of it in the world than there has ever been.  The world is healthier,  human longevity was 20 a thousand years ago, 37 in 1800, it's now pushing 80.  So this graph is a moving graph, since 1800 and these are all countries.  The big red circle is China, actually watch China, because it does some interesting things.  This is on two different scales on the X axis is the wealth of nations, income per person, actually GDP per capita.  It was in the hundreds of dollars, on average, in the 1800s.  

On the Y axis is life expectancy which was in the 20s and 30s depending on where you were.  The worldwide average 37.  So let's see what happened.  This is not the early industrial revolution, a few countries are experimenting with new industry and are making some progress.  China's bouncing around.

As we get to the 20th century, this picks up pace and while there is a have, have not divide, there's a wind that carries all of these nations towards the right hand corner of the graph, towards greater longevity and greater wealth.  This is not stopping.  It's not slowing down.  Here's a snapshot of 2009, but this is going to continue.  In fact, it's really going to continue into high gear because of this acceleration of change, this ongoing exponential growth of information technology.  So there's still a divide.  The rich nations are still better off than the poor nations, but the poorest nations in the world where actually much better off than the rich nations were at the beginning of this process.

Longevity, Energy & Food Resources
People say well if we live a little longer we're going to run out of resources or running out of energy.  It's not true.  We're running out of energy only if limit ourselves to 19th century technology.  For example, solar energy we have 10,000 times more sunlight than we need to meet 100% of our energy needs.  In other words, we only have to capture 1/10,000 of the sunlight falling on the Earth to meet all of your energy needs.  The cost per watt of solar energy on this graph here is coming down very quickly.  As a result, the total amount of solar energy shows smooth exponential growth in for last twenty-five years.  It has doubled every two years.  Very smooth exponential growth doubling every two years.  

It's only seven doubling from meeting 100% of our solar energy needs.  Which means right now it's meeting 1% of the worlds energy needs.  So people say 1% that's insignificant but they ignore this exponential growth, which is the same thing we did with the Internet, with the Genome Project.  It's only seven doublings at two years each to meet 100% of our energy needs.  And there are many other exponentially growing energy technologies as well.  There are similar stories for clean water, for food that are coming from new technologies.

Health & Increasing Life Spans
Here's the progress we've made on health and longevity so far.  This is when health and medicine were not information technologies.  It was hit or miss, but still very useful.  This is going to go into high gear now that health and medicine have become information technologies.  We have the means of literally reprogramming our biology away from disease and away from aging.  Many of these technologies are really gaining fruition.

There was just the day before yesterday a major announcement that if you have a heart attack, half of the survivors have a damaged heart, and therefore very weak.  My father had this condition, he could hardly walk.  You can now get that fixed with stem cell therapies that actually regrow your heart.  That's just one example.  We're going to be able to regrow every organ in the body to be younger and free of disease.  So hang in there.  It'll be a very interesting future for all of us.

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