Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kurzweil Takes on His Critics

...and wins:

As I discuss in detail below, I made 147 predictions for 2009 in ASM, which I wrote in the 1990s. Of these, 115 (78 percent) are entirely correct as of the end of 2009, and another 12 (8 percent) are ―essentially correct (see below) — a total of 127 predictions (86 percent) are correct or essentially correct. Another 17 (12 percent) are partially correct, and 3 (2 percent) are wrong.

So, it is easy to focus on the few predictions that were incorrect, excluding the majority of predictions —which were accurate — and craft a biased analysis. This selection bias may be combined with a misunderstanding of what the prediction meant in the first place, or ignorance of the current situation, resulting in citing an accurate prediction as inaccurate. For example, one commentator lists only three accurate predictions and cites five that are false, leaving out almost all of the 127 predictions that are accurate or essentially accurate.

Of these false predictions, a number are, in fact, true. The remaining are only a few years away, and I consider them essentially correct, given that these predictions were specified by decades (not years) in ASM.

You can find Kurzweil's analysis of his own accuracy, prediction by prediction, here. After reading it, and remembering just how absurd many of these predictions sounded when originally made, no fair critic can argue that Kurzweil's vision of the future hasn't been substantially vindicated. Given this, we should consider carefully what he has to say about the coming decade.

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