Everybody thinks about the future, but not everyone makes it their life’s work. Besides being an inventor and author, Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s premier futurists and he’s the de facto frontman for The Singularity. Time Magazine recently interviewed the prophet of accelerating technology for their ’10 Questions’ segment. You can see the video below. While Kurzweil doesn’t say anything he hasn’t said before, the video is a great synopsis of his views on technology, the reshaping of our biology, and the possibility of extending our lifespans indefinitely. Slowly but steadily, it seems like mainstream audiences are being exposed to Kurzweil’s brand of futurism. Is the world ready to accept the possibility of exponential growth? Thanks to Time, more are at least contemplating it.
While Kurzweil has made appearances on Television since 1965, and has received dozens of public accolades, he’s far from a household name. I’m not sure he will ever become universally famous, but I definitely think that his vision of the future is slowly making its way to the greater public – at least in the US. He recently appeared in PBS’s discussion on Bioethics, his movie – The Singularity Is Near – is making its way towards widespread distribution, and not a day goes by that his name doesn’t pop in news feeds and blogs all over the internet. Whether or not you agree with predictions about the future, you can see why many find him a great subject for discussion in the video below. He has fantastic visions of the future that he obviously believes in deeply and can articulate well. Even if you think he’s a lunatic, he’s not a raving one.
As I’ve said many times before, I’m a pretty big fan of Ray Kurzweil, but I’m a little uneasy with a single person representing the diverse and often contentious community of futurists in the world. It seems that whenever opponents attack techno-optimism they do so through Kurzweil. There are so many other, worthwhile, theorists who explore and discuss the future it seems a shame that the mainstream can only be exposed to one. Don’t get me wrong, there are many well-accepted public figures who make predictions about the future of the universe (Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking among them) but when it comes to exponential growth and The Singularity Kurzweil is the go-to guy. He’s probably the one I would choose if I had to send someone to speak about accelerating technology…but I don’t have to send just one. Hopefully as Kurzweil breaks ground with major media outlets and brings the Singularity into popular discussion we’ll have the chance to expose the general public to the plurality of thought that exists within our community. Thanks to Kurzweil for helping put the Singularity on the map (and Time for covering it) but let’s not forget that the future is a big place. There’s room for more than one opinion.
[image and video credit: Time]