Kurzweil and Cox

Had an interesting weekend. I had the opportunity to watch Ray Kurzweil in Transcendent Man talking about his predictions for the future of mankind. I’ve read a few of Kurzweil’s books, most notably The Singularity Is Near and whilst I may not agree 100% with his predictions and time scales, I agree with the majority of what he’s saying.

I also watched episode one of Brian Cox’s Wonders Of The Universe which was about time. Not the usual time of the human scale, hours, days, years, and not even the deep time of geology where eons pass by and rock flows like water. He was talking about cosmological time, our sun orbits in our galaxy every 250 million years, the universe is 14 billion years old (with only another 15 billion years to go).

It was the strange combination of the two programs that got me to thinking. We only have 15 billion years left to experience the universe (discounting multiverse theories). We are already about halfway through.

I want Kurzweil to be right so I can spend the next billion years learning all I can about the universe and 10 billion years after that working out what to do about the last 5 billion years left!

I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit and it gives me something to aim for. I would give it a 50/50 chance of me reaching the singularity (assuming we recognise it) and a 1 in 100 chance of surviving past it. Something like a 1 in 1000 chance of seeing the end of the stelliferous era, which is pretty good odds really.

My kids I would give a 99% chance of reaching the singularity, and a 50/50 chance of living past it. If the can get past the next 100 years I would say they can choose to see the end or not as they please.

It makes me realise how insignificant my current day to day problems are, and perhaps it should give me better perspective on my life and how important my family is.


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