By Tom Z
10:48 AM EST, January 3, 2013
Ray Kurzweil is an author and technology expert whose seemingly crazy predictions have been proven correct time and time again. He also inspired my favorite Our Lady Peace CD with his book Spiritual Machines. In college I gave a book report on Spiritual Machines without ever reading the book. I just talked about the album lyrics and made some shit up. I got an A. Suck it, college professors! Now, Kurzweil has shared some reasons to be optimistic in the new year. I found this one especially sage (via bigthink.com):
I mean, a kid in Africa with a smartphone has access to more intelligence search and knowledge than the President of the United States did 15 years ago. We just take that for granted. There's a billion smart phones in the world. Six billion cell phones. We'll have six billion smart phones within a few years. It's tremendous power in everybody's hands. It's democratizing of the tools of creativity.
A kid with a notebook computer started Facebook; a couple of kids with notebook computers and a late-night dorm room challenge started Google. And we're seeing more and more examples of that – these very powerful tools are available to everyone.
It doesn’t matter how bad things are. What matters is, how bad things used to be. I’ve had two jobs where I replaced people who were not well liked in the company. Because of that, my coworkers thought I was great. At my other jobs, where the positions were created from scratch, everyone was like, “ehh, this guy’s alright.” Speaking of jobs, after I worked at Dick’s Sporting Goods, making $5.50 an hour and rearranging hockey sticks all day, spending 8 hours organizing Excel spreadsheets wasn’t that bad. I also started my post-college life living in a closet-sized apartment in New York City, so now everything seems spacious and cheap by comparison. When gas goes up to $4.50 a gallon, I don’t care. I used to pay 13 dollars for a gallon of milk. Or, let me put it this way: You don’t want to be the first guy who dates Rihanna. You want to be the guy that dates her after Chris Brown.
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