Ray Kurzweil Interview

Exceprts from a CIO Magazine interview:

The relative wealth that we now have comes from productivity, and we’re going to see dramatic productivity enhancements in the future. If you jump ahead 20 years or so, we will be able to create virtually any physical product at almost no cost, just from information and fabrication techniques. In fact, we’re not that far today from being able to create physical products with software because we have computer-assisted inventory control systems, just-in-time procurement, computer-controlled movement of materials and assembly.

We’re seeing international competition for the first time in types of work that require education and skills, and that’s going to continue. And I think it’s a good thing. China is committed to building 50 MITs, as they put it. That’s not an exaggeration. They’re creating scores of world-class technology universities. But these people are going to create intellectual property from which we’ll all benefit. If somebody creates a breakthrough in bioengineering, we all benefit. It may also result in China respecting intellectual property more, if they are heavily invested in creating intellectual property. Still, I believe the United States retains an edge in terms of innovation. We still lead the world in terms of creating new paradigms, new business models, new ways of creating products.

Let’s look at a few trends. A lot of the equipment that IT departments concern themselves with nowrouters and serverswill all be gone. There won’t be computers on desks. We’ll eliminate most of that clutter, certainly by the end of this decade. Technology will be very mobile; it’ll be so small that it’ll be virtually invisible. Everybody will be online. Images will be written right to our retinas. We’ll have very high-speed bandwidth connections at all times. The computing substrate will be everywhere.

I think it’s important to understand that technology and human civilization are deeply integrated and that that integration is going to become more intimate. We’re getting closer to our computers. I was talking to a woman yesterday who said her 10-year-old son’s notebook is an extension of him. She said it might as well be inside him. Well, soon computers will be inside us. Within one to two decades, we will be able to place nonbiological intelligence inside us, noninvasively.

By the 2020s we will be placing millions or billions of nanobotsblood cell-size devicesinside our bloodstream to travel into our brains and interact with our neurons. We will be extending our cognitive capability directly through this intimate merger of biology with machines.

Search Battles Intensify

The New York Times writes:

Propelled by Google envy, new players and Internet industry giants are rushing into the online search market, setting off a burst of activity that contrasts sharply with the lull after the dot-com collapse.

despite its push into new areas, some experts say that Google may be vulnerable because the search market, one of the Internet’s most profitable areas, will increasingly be shaped by brand and other nontechnology factors. And that shift may play to the advantage of larger competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo.

Ultimately, Google may have the most to fear from Microsoft, which could well use its Windows monopoly to dominate search functions. Such concerns have, in turn, caused Google to enter Microsoft’s domain with Google Desktop.

For Microsoft, providing better access to information stored on a personal computer’s hard disk has been a goal for more than a decade. Microsoft has said publicly it will soon offer a better search function for PC’s. There is also widespread speculation in the industry that Microsoft intends to integrate its PC search functions with a Web search engine to combat Google.

At the Web 2.0 conference, much of the discussion centered on the next phase of Internet uses, described as D-to-D, or device-to-device, which would direct communications between computers, rather than between computers and human Web users.

Future competition for domination of the Internet may also mean refighting the battles of the past – in particular, the Web browser wars. There have been reports that Microsoft’s control of the browser market may be loosening. America Online, for example, is thought to be preparing to re-enter the market with a new browser.

Google is also rumored to be developing a Web browser as part of its strategy to defend itself against Microsoft, whose new Web search service will almost certainly be integrated into Internet Explorer.