Cease and desist

By | September 10, 2009

Ray Kurzweil, the famous “futurist” who has made some ludicrously inaccurate predictions, sent an angry letter to Newsweek magazine to try and clear his name. (I wonder if he will do the same if he comes across this post: The scary thing about Ray Kurzweil) Here is an excerpt:

I appreciate your bringing my ideas to your readership. However, there are numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Daniel Lyons’ story. For example, of the many accurate predictions for the year 2009 that I wrote in my book The Age of Spiritual Machines, written in the late 1990s, only three are listed in the sidebar “Kurzweil’s Crystal Ball” while a larger number are listed as “false.” Of these “false” predictions, a number are in fact true, and others are only a few years away. For example, “Computers will be commonly embedded in clothing and jewelry” is listed as false. When I wrote this prediction, portable computers were large heavy devices carried under your arm. Today they are indeed embedded in shirt pockets, jacket pockets, and hung from belt loops. Colorful iPod nano models are worn on blouses as jewelry pins, health monitors are woven into undergarments, there are now computers in hearing aids, and there are many other examples.

“Most portable computers will not have keyboards” is listed as “False.” When I wrote this, every portable computer had an (alphanumeric) keyboard. Today the majority of portable computers such as MP3 players, cameras, phones, game players and many other varieties do not have keyboards. The full quote of my prediction makes it clear that I am referring to computerized devices that “make phone calls, access the web, monitor body functions, provide directions, and provide a variety of other services.”

I’ll give the man a wide berth for his definition of portable computers as “computerized devices that make phone calls, access the web, monitor body functions, provide directions, and provide a variety of other services”, but since when do MP3 players, cameras and game players have (alphanumeric) keyboards to begin with, other than the odd buttons here and there?

Related post:
Poor use of a multimedia device

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