Here’s the article, by John Rennie. Quote:
It seems only fair to allow some latitude for interpretation on the dates. But even then, it is hard to define the rightness or wrongness of Kurzweil’s predictions.
Kurzweil himself has no such difficulty, however. He knows precisely how well he’s doing. Last January, Michael Anissimov of the Accelerating Future Web site posted an item in which he suggested that seven of Kurzweil’s predictions for 2009 seemed to be wrong. Kurzweil replied with a note that argued it was wrong to single out merely seven predictions when he had actually made 108 in The Age of Spiritual Machines.
“I am in the process of writing a prediction-by-prediction analysis of these, which will be available soon and I will send it to you,” he wrote. “But to summarize, of these 108 predictions, 89 were entirely correct by the end of 2009.” Another 13 were “essentially correct,” by which he meant that they would be realized within just a few years. “Another 3 are partially correct, 2 look like they are about 10 years off, and 1, which was tongue in cheek anyway, was just wrong,” he wrote. So by his own scoring, he is at least 94.4 percent accurate.
Brian Wang says, “IEEE Spectrum tries to hold Ray Kurzweil to a high prediction standard but does not apply that standard to themselves”. Brian, this is Rennie’s first article at IEEE so the criticism doesn’t exactly apply. IEEE is not a unified entity necessarily, it’s a forum, where people of sufficiently high status can post. A lot of organizations are like that, including the World Future Society. They have no unified identity.
I’m a big fan of Ray Kurzweil. Visiting his website got me involved in the Singularity Institute and put me where I am today. He inspired me, deeply. Anyone who doesn’t read The Singularity is Near is not a serious futurist. Still, plenty of his predictions for 2010 were obviously premature. I consider it probable that most if not all of them will come true by 2020, however.
The thing about futurism is that the traditional success rate is so abysmal that even a success rate of 60-70% ought to be considered extremely high.