Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the future is radically different from today—his book The Singularity Is Near spells out a prediction, among others, of our future as cyborgs. He spoke with CIO about sci-fi changes that he imagines within two decades. Good news: He says your CIO job isn’t going away.
“In the second decade of this century, we’ll have full immersion virtual reality, as if you and I were sitting with each other. So we’ll be able to visit with each other, either in large meetings or Internet encounters, in this way pretty ubiquitously.
“It’s already coming. I give about a third of my speeches using a virtual reality technology called Teleportec. It appears to the audience that I’m there, and I can move around, I’m life-size, I’m high-resolution. It looks like I’m there, people have been fooled. And I can see them and point at people and establish eye contact.
“Also in the second decade, computers will disappear as physical objects. We won’t be carrying around these rectangular displays. They’ll be built into our glasses and written to our retinas. The electronics will be in your clothing or your belt, we’ll be online all the time with very high bandwidth communication. We’ll have to work out some way to communicate to the system, but it’ll have good speech recognition.
“Will we still need CIOs? CIOs are very well-positioned, if you take a broad view of information as I do. Everything of importance is information. Even if you’re a steel company it’s the information the executives deal with and need access to. So managing information is going to be where it’s at.”