I haven’t been to Telecosm in years … the last year that I
registered was 2001 when 9/11 occurred and caused a lot of
conferences to change their schedules. I’m here this year to
catch up on the capitalist view of the world … Forbes conferences are
always impressive to me.
George Gilder did a brief introduction and kicked things off.
He immediately went into a short story of how he met Ray Kurzweil …
and then invited him to the stage.
Ray told the story of his Telecosm introduction of The Age of Spiritual Machines.
For anyone who has not read this book, I highly recommend it. Ray
went on to explain how this led to his indepth research and study of
the trends that he outlined, and how he is now using this as a
foundation to forecast future trends … 3, 5, and even 10 years out.
He spoke about how his research is getting very good at predicting
longer range trends with surprising accuracy … even being very
conservative. His new book – being released today – is called The Singularity is Near. I got my copy here at the conference, and even had it signed by Ray after the evening session at the fireside chat. He indicated that information is becoming the most important aspect of computing.
It’s funny seeing Ray just weeks after Accelerating Change 2005
… he’s giving (of
course) almost the exact same presentation. It’s always cool to
hear though … the constant reminder of exponential growth. His
graphs including showing the Mass Use of Inventions – the World Wide Web being adopted far faster than the cell phone.
He had a great chart that showed the growth in supercomputing –
measured by calculations per second (CPS) – and said that the estimates
of the power of the human brain range from 10^14 to 10^16 CPS.
His estimates on when we would reach that point were confirmed as being
sooner when a group in Japan just annouced last week that they will
attain 10^16 Calculations per second by 2010!
He next went to The Biotechnology revolution: the intersection of biology with information technology. He talked about the research into biology and what is now possible with new technolgies. RNA interference
is a newer technique to turn-on and turn-off individual genes, and is
now being widely tested and moving towards human trials. United
Theraputics (Nasdaq: UTHR) is one company that Ray is involved with doing research in this area.
As Ray wrapped up, George and Ray went into a brief chat on
stage. It was interesting to hear the difference in questions
here at Telecosm. They were more economic based, and global
society based – Where are the profits going to be made? Will
America keep up? Will this solve global war issues? How
will people deal with this radical growth? How will this be
regulated? A great opening night!