The 14 Challenges Facing Humanity

Fourteen challenges were announced at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston last week.

Make solar energy affordable
Provide energy from fusion
Develop carbon sequestration
Manage the nitrogen cycle
Provide access to clean water
Reverse engineer the brain
Prevent nuclear terror
Secure cyberspace
Enhance virtual reality
Improve urban infrastructure
Advance health informatics
Engineer better medicines
Advance personalized learning
Explore natural frontiers

Panel experts included Google founder Larry Page; genome pioneer Dr. Craig Venter; and inventor of optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis and speech recognition technology — Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil predicted “that we will have both the hardware and the software to achieve human level artificial intelligence with the broad suppleness of human intelligence including our emotional intelligence by 2029.”

Humans and machines would eventually merge, by means of devices embedded in people’s bodies to keep them healthy and improve their intelligence, predicted Mr Kurzweil.

Kurzweil also predicted …
“We’ll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons.” Nanobots will “make us smarter, remember things better and automatically go into full emergent virtual reality environments through the nervous system.”

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American Association for the Advancement of Science