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The Next Hundred Years of Your Life: Pedro Domingos (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Pedro Domingos’ talk titled “The Next Hundred Years of Your Life” at TEDxLA conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Welcome to the Future

I’d like to welcome each of you to the next 100 years of your life. What I’m going to describe may sound like science fiction, but it’s not. All the technologies involved already exist in early form today. So in the next ten minutes, I’d like to give you a preview of the next 100 years of your life.

It’s coming, so get ready. When we picture our future lives, we tend to assume that we’ll live to maybe 70 or 80 because that’s how long people live today. But most of us in this room will live far beyond that, maybe even forever, because of the progress that medicine will make in our lifetimes. Because technological progress is continually accelerating, we have a hard time picturing just how much change we’ll see in the next decade, let alone the next 100 years.

A Glimpse Into the Past for Perspective

So perhaps for perspective, we should first take a step back into the distant past because that’s the world that we’d have been born in if technology had always progressed at the current rate. A decade’s worth of progress now is roughly equivalent to the entire 18th century, or to the entire first millennium AD, or to the 10,000 years before that, or to the previous 100,000 years. Let’s say, you’re about 40 years old. If you’re 20, just divide everything by two.

Then, if technology had always progressed at the current rate, you would have been born into the world of a 100,000 years ago. Picture that. Your parents were hunter-gatherers, and all they had were stone tools and fire. When you were a toddler, the first big revolution happened.

The Acceleration of Technological Progress

Your tribe discovered language just in time to teach you. And you started wearing clothes and making cave paintings. Just as you entered puberty, another big revolution, agriculture. Your parents became farmers and settled down. Empires rose and fell. You got married in a freshly built medieval cathedral.

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