The movie Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, marks the 15 year anniversary of The Matrix. Here we have two highly anticipated films about an Artificial Intelligence smarter than humans, and the idea of ‘Plugging In’. In 1999, we were captivated by the idea of The Matrix. I remember waiting outside in line to get tickets like it was yesterday. The hype was real. But what makes this year’s release even more exciting is today’s social conversation around AI –today, AI technologies are actually in the mainstream news, and we can see it advancing fast.
A lot has changed in technology in the 2000′s, to say the least. Here are 15 crazy technologies that didn’t exist in 1999 that will make you think a bit about how fast the tech revolution is advancing, and where it might be going. Some of the stuff we will see before 2020 will be pretty cool. Can’t wait. So what are some obvious differences between now and when The Matrix came out?
Today, we actually talk to robots.
1. Personal Voice Assistants (2011)
Personal Voice Assistants – Siri (October 2011)
Today, videos & the internet aren’t just in a room, they’re ON US.
2. Smartphones (2007)
First Video Calls (2006)
Today, we actually plug-in.
3. HD Head Mounted Display (2013)
Today, we have virtual communities.
4. Social Media (2003)
Social Media – Myspace (2003) Facebook (2004) YouTube (2005) Twitter (2006)
Today, we know exactly where we are.
5. GPS (2000)
Benefon Esc!- First GPS Cell Phone in Switzerland (2000)
Google Earth was originally called EarthViewer 3D created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004.
Today, we print organs.
6. 3D Bio-printing (2009)
Today, we print objects.
7. Personal 3D Printing (2011)
Personal 3D Printer less than $1000 (2011)
Today, we build with atoms.
8. Nano-Fabrication (2012)
Today, we have real robot arms.
9. Prosthetics That Feel (2014)
Today, cars can drive themselves (super excited for this one).
10. Self-Driving Cars (2011)
Today, we can control computers with our thoughts.
11. Brain-Machine Interfaces (2005)
Today.. we have flying buddies.
12. QUADCOPTERS! (2013)
Today, we have decentralized currencies.
13. Crypto-currency (2009)
Today, we can read our entire genomes.
14. Human Genome Sequencing (2003)
Human Genome Project complete (2003)
One more.. we have freaky-ass horse robots.
(15) Quadrupedal Robots (2005)
Boston Dynamics Big Dog (2005), acquired by Google in 2013.
Pretty exciting, huh?
So what is Transcendence, you ask?
(To put it shortly, two words. Exponential.Technology.)
If you really want to understand Transcendence, see ‘Transcendent Man’.
If you want to understand the idea of Transcendence, watch Transcendent Man beforeTranscendence – it was a good movie – go see it. Not quite the instant classic Matrix was, but what made the anticipation of the release so exciting for me was the conversation of the Singularity joining the mainstream.
What’s fascinating is, Transcendenceisn’t just a sci-fi idea of the far future anymore – it’s predicted to be a reality in our lifetimes. Oh, and by the greatest predictor of technology ever – AI pioneer and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who is currently building the next generation of voice assistants at Google (for real). Johnny Depp basically assumes his status in the movie, but before you go see it, I recommend watching the documentary on Kurzweil called Transcendent Man, so you can learn about his ideas first. Unfortunately it’s not on Netflix, but it is on Amazon Video.
If you are curious about new ideas in radical life extension and things you can do today to increase your chances of living past 100, definitely check it out. When I watched it 5 years ago,it changed the way I think forever.
Another good one to get you thinking about AI is Her.
There are so many questions around this topic. Join the conversation now, don’t miss out on the exciting years to come. When will the Singularity Happen? How will we plug in? What will it feel like to plug in? Will we live forever? Will I lose my identity? Will I get a robot body? Will I have a choice?…
More posts on the philosophy of Transcendence coming soon…
-Here’s to doing Flying Kung Fu with Morpheus before I die.
We live in such a cool time! Like, the best time… ever?!
First of all, trying to wrap our heads around the concept if time is an excruciating task for the mind. (Read this post first then check out out a must-watch video on this). Just trying to think about how long it has been since dinosaurs roamed the earth is like trying to lift heavy weights with the brain. Try this, it overloads my brain every time: picture how long 100 years is and how much could happen during that time. Could possibly be one human lifetime, right? Then picture 10 of those going by. That’s a long time, 1,000 years. A lot goes down over the course of 1,000 years. Multiple generations of families and their love stories and tragedies. Multiple battles lost and won. Forests grown and depleted. Then try to imagine 2,000 years passing… 3,000 … 4,000… 5,000… 6,000… 7,000… 8,000… 9,000, ten thousand years, tick-tock (Check out this cool Vsause video where every second is a thousand years). Almost hard to grasp at this point, huh. Truth is, that’s not even the beginning of it! 10,000 years on earth is really a blink of an eye from the cosmic perspective. 1,000 years going by 10 times over (crazy forever in human terms) is literally like one millisecond for planet earth. Now, let’s wait for that 10,000 years to happen again, and again, and again, and again, and again, (five more times), and we have 100,000. Double that whole thing (ouch), that’s 200,000 years (first humana lived). Repeat everything so far 5 MORE times, and we’ve finally done our best to perceive a Million years.
“Awe is the best drug in the World.” – Jason Silva (subscribe)
Here’s when the REAL fun starts. A MILLION years is still NOTHING! A million years! When we talk about life on earth, a million years is not that much. Now try to perceive 10 million years…tick…20 million…tock…30 million (oh, the pain)…100 million years! Think a hundred mill is pretty old? Nah. Not on earth terms. When we talk about dinosaurs, we talk in hundreds-of-millions-of-years. I know. Everything we have tried to perceive thus far, perceive it again, and stack the two on top of each other, and you finally are perceiving how long ago the first dinosaurs walked: 200 MILLION years ago. Read this post from the beginning two more times and we’ve imagined how long ago the first animals squirmed around in the sea 600 million years ago. Jesus, I know, right! And you thought 100,000 years was a gosh-darn long time to wrap your head around!
By now you might be thinking, how long has stuff been going on anyway? Well, the first living cells have been doing their thing for, wait for it… 3… b i l l i o n years. Yes, three-billion-six-hundred-million to be more accurate! (not like a million years happening six HUNDRED times over is anything worth noting;) What’s crazy, is that means for about 3 billion years (forever), earth was a ball of mold baking in the sun, before anything exciting happened (at least that’s the way I think of it). Unfathomably long, it’s pretty much comedy at this point, no matter how hard we try to grasp it. Earth itself? Just tack-on another eternity to that, a BILLION years (tick-tock), NBD.
My point here is, after four billion agonizingly boring years have passed on ‘our’ planet that we call home, we suddenly enter the age of wizards and gods. It started less than 300 measly years ago when we captured lightning (electricity) in a bottle. Then, suddenly less than 30 years ago strung a net of interconnected magical crystal balls (computers) across the entire globe (internet). Then, suddenly, less than 3 years ago, there’s a magic superfast-information-processing-program-being (Watson) that beat one of the smartest humans at a live game of trivia.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
Does that mean that any university lab today is indistinguishable from hogwarts? Lol, yep. So we’ve cracked magic. And us mortal human-wizards are giving rise to smarter and smaller artificial wizards, which are magically creating smarter versions of themselves each year. The crazy thing is, this pattern is only speeding up, and we can’t think of a good reason why it would ever stop… Sooner than most people think, in the next couple decades or so, (like a quarter of a breath on our planet’s terms) it’s predicted, based on steady patterns, that the first artificial wizard will be more intelligent and fast-thinking than all the human wizards combined.
“By the 2030s, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate.” – Ray Kurzweil
This is because the power of information technology aka computers aka superfast-thinking crystal balls of knowledge, grows exponentially. This itself is hard to grasp, in the same way that it’s hard to go from trying to percieve 10 years to 100, and a hundred million years to a billion. Indeed, our technology doubles in power about once every year, so after 30 years of doubling 1, you have 1 billion. Most people naturally think linearly, so one might imagine the smartphone of 30 years from now being 30x smarter, when in fact it will be 1,000,000,000x times smarter. That’s the key. It’s in another universe. I find it very exhilarating to realize that technology 30 years from now is just as impossible to imagine as iPhones were to our young parents.
Video: Jason Silva
We live in the age of magical powers, so let’s have as much fun with it as possible while we’re here. We have had crystal balls (internet) for only like 20 years, or 0.01% of human history. Without a doubt, there has never been a century in the history of this forever-old earth, that has seen as much change as this one. Right. Now. That’s pretty special, considering how old our earth is. It’s older than we can imagine, which says to me that we are more special than we can imagine. And each year from now-on will experience more technological change than the last. Until there comes a point, around the year 2045 (prediction), where tech evolves so fast that it becomes impossible to imagine what tech will be like the next year. We’re talking in the realm of science fiction at this point. When I think of sci-fi tech I think of teleportation and spontaneous beaming of physical objects. Who knows. Then again, this iPad I’m typing on was complete science fiction to my grandparents.
Being alive today, we are more special than we can wrap our heads around, so let’s take advantage of these magical tools of creation and make some extraordinarily cool stuff! 🙂
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