Futurist and tech inventor Ray Kurzweil told an audience this week that by 2029, computers' reasoning will be on par with that of humans, the Wall Street Journal reports. Kurzweil made the declaration in an onstage interview at the Journal's CFO Network annual conference in Washington.
By 2029, Kurzweil predicts, computers will have the capacity to pass the Turing test--a criterion proposed in 1950 by English mathematician Alan Turing to determine whether a machine can "think." Passing the test would mean that a human judge could not distinguish between artificial intelligence and human thoughts.
Kurzweil based his argument in the rate of technological innovation, the Journal reports: As technology continues to grow at an exponential rate, things that seemed like science fiction years ago will soon become attainable, he said.
Some of Kurzweil's other seemingly sci-fi predictions included humans eventually being able to store knowledge outside of their brains, to access when needed, and the implantation of tiny computers into a person's body to help stave off disease and live longer, according to the report.
The idea of sentient computers matching wits with humans brings about obvious comparison to a litany of science fiction horror stories. But Kurzweil says he is not worried about deploying the sentinels.
"We're not creating these machines to displace us," he said in the interview. "We create these machines to make ourselves smarter."
JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com. @J_M_McDermott