Ray Kurzweil predicts that computers will be as smart as humans in 12 years

January 1, 2000

Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, thinks it will take 12 years for computers to reach human levels of intelligence.

“By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence,” Kurzweil said in an interview at the South by Southwest festival.

Known as singularity, the event is discussed by scientists, futurists, technology stalwarts as a time when artificial intelligence will cause machines to become smarter than human beings.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who acquired ARM comany with the intent on being a driving force in singularity, said it could happen in the next 30 years. “I think a big paradigm shift is coming,” Masayoshi Son said, discussing his upcoming $100 billion investment fund. “The biggest theme in my view is singularity.”

Right now, computers must pass something known as the Turing test — developed by famous computer scientist Alan Turing — to see if a machine can show behavior in a way that’s equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, a human.

“That’s not realistic,” Kurzweil said about artificial intelligence potentially enslaving humanity. “We don’t have one or two AIs in the world. Today we have billions.” Kurzweil said humans need to converge with machines, pointing out the work already being done in Parkinson’s patients.

“They’re making us smarter. They may not yet be inside our bodies — but by 2030 we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud. We’re going to be funnier, sexier and better at music. We’ll exemplify all the things we value in humans, to a greater degree.”