I have written Ray a short initial response, which I pursued one or two lines of criticism but mostly admitted that he’s right that 7 is a narrow selection of predictions and that if he is 102 for 108 then I would be very impressed. The key issue is how vague or precise these predictions were to start with, as Brian writes here.
Kurzweil requested that I withhold further judgment until he produces his point-by-point analysis of his 1996-1997 predictions, so I will be waiting on that before posting my full response. In truth, it’s been a few years since I looked at The Age of Spiritual Machines, but I remember reading it several times in the 2000-2005 date range.
I think that Kurzweil is one of the best futurists out there, but here he is essentially claiming that his ability to predict the future is unparalleled. I think that such a claim deserves a lot of skepticism and verification before acceptance. Maybe he is right, though — this issue is complex, and requires time to go through the whole thing. The reason why I focused on 7 predictions in my initial criticism is because I found them listed at another place on the Internet and addressing all 108 predictions would have been quite time-consuming. It could be that they are a highly non-representative sample.
Reflecting that, I have updated the title of my original post from “Kurzweil’s Failed 2009 Predictions” to “7 of 108 of Ray Kurzweil’s 1996-1997 Predictions for 2009 Which Seem Incorrect to Me”.