David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Ray Kurzweil on Multi Technology

I’ve always claimed in interviews that it doesn’t really matter whether the actual future resembles the future I wrote about in Infoquake and MultiReal. There are simply too many variables in predicting the future, such that if you do get it right, it’s largely a matter of luck. But like all authors, I do secretly harbor this fantasy about the world turning out exactly like I predicted it, and my books being hailed as visionary tomes before their time, and my grave becoming a tourist spot for centuries where young kids with beards hang out writing romantic poetry late at night.

So it’s comforting to see that the visionary Ray Kurzweil (whose The Age of Spiritual Machines I heartily recommend) has, in effect, completely endorsed my idea of multi technology. Here’s what he says in an interview with GOOD Magazine:

By the late 2020s, nanobots in our brain (that will get there noninvasively, through the capillaries) will create full-immersion virtual-reality environments from within the nervous system. So if you want to go into virtual reality the nanobots shut down the signals coming from your real senses and replace them with the signals that your brain would be receiving if you were actually in the virtual environment. So this will provide full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses. You will have a body in these virtual-reality environments that you can control just like your real body, but it does not need to be the same body that you have in real reality. We’ll be able to interact with people in any way in these virtual-reality environments. That will replace most travel, but we’ll also have new travel technologies for our real bodies using nanotechnology.

Contrast that with how I describe the multi network in the appendices for Infoquake:

A multi projection is a virtual body that “exists” in real space. While the multied body is only an illusion created by neural manipulation, it can interact with real (“meat”) bodies in a way almost indistinguishable from physical human interaction…. The multi network depends on two key components: (1) the trillions of microscopic bots that process and relay sensory information to the network, and (2) neural OCHREs that manipulate the mind into “seeing” the sights, “hearing” the sounds, and “feeling” the sensations of the network. Similarly, those who interact with multi projections allow neural manipulation to trick the mind into believing the virtual bodies are present.

The big difference between good ol’ Ray and me is that a) he actually knows what he’s talking about, and b) I didn’t figure we’d get this working for another few hundred years. Kurzweil thinks we’ll be sending multi projections around the globe about the same time that Malia Obama gets her Masters degree. I think many of Kurzweil’s predictions are a tad on the optimistic side — he thinks the singularity will happen, oh, any day now — but basically sound.

(Thanks to Richard Strayer for pointing out the interview.)

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