A recent issue of New Scientist, not readable online, has some amazing predictions for the future from Ray Kurzweil. The basics: computing power by 2015(ish) will approach that of the human brain. By 2020(ish) that power will cost $1000. By 2030 it’ll be part of us and growing.
On nanotechnology: if we can build efficient solar panels using nanotech, we can supply all the world’s energy needs by covering 0.03% of the surface with collectors. Goodbye power problems, oil, pollution, etc. We could also use nanotech as our own nutrition source, shut off the gut and eat for pleasure but never get fat. Genetic life extension means we never die of old age, instead growing our own new organs as the old ones deteriorate.
Personally, I’m waiting for the replicator from Star Trek. Once someone builds a replicator that can replicate itself (and someone hacks the damned DRM off the thing) then all bets are off, capitalism dies and we all live happily ever after.
I love the song “Do You Realise?” by The Flaming Lips: “do you realise/that everyone/you know/someday/will die”, but there’s just a chance that they could be wrong. I would love to see a singularity (event so influential after which all previous predictions are useless) in my lifetime. Having fun waiting for it, too.