Okay, so Kurzweil’s “singularity” is hard to swallow. But even without big breakthroughs in nanotech and AI, it seems to me current technology pushed to new levels is going to change things a lot.
For example, here’s links to articles that have appeared quite recently that point toward the availability in the pretty-near future of a kind of total personal information system. Let’s see what they add up to…
It starts here: Intel estimates that in about 10 years they can build a matchbox-sized PC that stores terabits (trillions of bits) of data and can record everything you say and do. You’ll have to wait for 2014 to get a PC that can store the 97 terabytes needed to add a video of everything in your whole life.
Right on cue, H-P is working on spectacles that record everything you see. An inconspicuous camera in the frames sees all and keeps it. Sort of like those cameras in police cars that keep a record of what’s happening, but planted on your head. Designed to “capture your life.”
And here’s a telephone, SenSay, that keeps track of your calls, your e-mail, and where you are at all times with motion sensors and GPS. It monitors your body temperature and galvanic skin response. Combine that info with where you are and what time it is and SenSay can guess what you’re doing and adjust itself accordingly. (But can it learn to mind its own business?)
But what would all this be without software to put it together? Well, wouldn’t you know, Microsoft has been anticipating this trend for some time and has a project called MyLifeBits to develop software to capture and organize everything in your life. Everything you ever read, hear, see, say, write, etc., all organized in a stream for tracking.
Needless to say, since you’ll have the nifty cell phone you can be jacked into the Internet—and vice versa. If you’re a sick veteran, why not just have your data stream read by the local VA hospital? Indeed, why not have the system monitor your physiology, sick or not, with minimally invasive interfaces and have it evaluated periodically by a service? I think our body information will be a constant stream of data within a decade just like everything else. ACS can tap into that stream and nag people about what they’re eating (that, course, could be monitored) and exercise (remember the GPS and motion sensors in SenSay?).
I dunno about you, but becoming a walking, talking node in the big NET of life is enough singularity for me.