I also expect that technological progress over the next century will be impressive. But it will happen step by step, not all at once in some dramatic event. Progress in computing is already running up against obstacles, like problems printing smaller elements on chips and the supply of electricity, that I think will slow the great advances of recent years. New digital and biotechnologies will change life, but I seriously doubt anything will be "transformed." I really dislike that word, which lends a suddenness and importance to change that change rarely has.
As far back as the 1950s, John von Neumann, the mathematician, is said to have talked about a “singularity” — an event in which the always-accelerating pace of technology would alter the course of human affairs. And, in 1993, Vernor Vinge, a science fiction writer, computer scientist and math professor, wrote a research paper called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.”
“Within 30 years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence,” Mr. Vinge wrote. “Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”In “The Singularity Is Near,” Mr. Kurzweil posits that technological progress in this century will be 1,000 times greater than that of the last century. He writes about humans trumping biology by filling their bodies with nanoscale creatures that can repair cells and by allowing their minds to tap into super-intelligent computers. . . . “Ultimately, the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence,” he continues. “This is the destiny of the universe.”
What all of this "Singularity" stuff shows me is that technological change has not altered the fundamental human thought patterns that have made apocalyptic religion so popular, and that only reinforces my belief that fundamental changes in human nature are unlikely in the foreseeable future.