In a recent letter written to John Rennie responding to his recent critique of Ray’s predictions, Kurzweil defended himself and his predictions, and most importantly, linked to this. This huge document is over 150 pages long and packed with cool images and facts.
Kurzweil hits back at Rennie:
While I appreciate some of the things John Rennie has to say, his review of my predictions is filled with inaccuracies, including misquotes of mine, and misunderstandings of the meaning of my words and the reality of today’s technology. For starters, he takes note of my point about selection bias, but his entire article suffers from this bias. While he acknowledges that I wrote over 100 predictions for 2009, in a book I wrote in the late 1990s, he only talks about a handful of them. And he persistently gets these wrong. He writes that I predicted “widespread, foolproof, real-time speech translation.” We do in fact have real-time speech translation in the form of popular phone apps. But who ever said anything about “foolproof?” Rennie just made that up like a lot of the factoids in this article. Not even human translators are foolproof. Apparently that has now been removed from the online version.
It’s true that the only way to really figure anything out is look at each prediction one by one, as Ray has now done. I haven’t read the analysis yet but it looks very impressive. Here’s the punchline on page 5:
As I discuss in detail below, I made 147 predictions for 2009 in ASM, which I wrote in the 1990s. Of these, 115 (78 percent) are entirely correct as of the end of 2009, and another 12 (8 percent) are â€•essentially correct (see below) â€” a total of 127 predictions (86 percent) are correct or essentially correct. Another 17 (12 percent) are partially correct, and 3 (2 percent) are wrong.