Inventor, entrepreneur and thinker Ray Kurzweil is legend in Silicon Valley.
While probably best know for inventing the first music synthesizer, the Kurzweil K250, his inventions and achievements are too numerous to list here.
Singularity University's Ray Kurzweil Predicts Three Technologies Will Define Our Future covers some of his latest thinking (BTW, he is founder of Singularity University).
The three technologies are genetics, nanotechnology and robotics. Key quote from the article:
In what ways are these technologies revolutionary?
The genetics revolution will allow us to reprogram our own biology.
The nanotechnology revolution will allow us to manipulate matter at the molecular and atomic scale.
The robotics revolution will allow us to create a greater than human non-biological intelligence.
We cover all of these trends and regular readers may remember I consider genetic engineering to be one of the technologies that scares me the most.
It's not that genetic engineering is bad.
Just the opposite. There are all sorts of amazingly positive things happening in the genetic engineering field these days.
What scares me is the advancements in this field are happening at a very fast rate. So fast it's outpacing our ability as a society to think through the implications - good and bad - of what the science is capable of doing. Designer babies, for example.
The same is true for nanotech and artificial intelligence. Key quote from the article:
Kurzweil calls genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics overlapping revolutions because we will continue to experience them simultaneously as each one of these technologies matures.
These and other technologies will likely converge with each other and impact our lives in ways difficult to predict, and Kurzweil warns each technology will have the power to do great good or harm—as is the case with all great technologies. The extent to which we’re able to harness their power to improve lives will depend on the conversations we have and the actions we take today.
There's little near term risk of Cylons taking over, a zombie apocalypse happening or even grey goo enveloping the world.
But it's not too early to start thinking about the implications of these technologies and how we ensure they are used in positive ways.