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Interview: BT predicts future of computing

Futurologist says AI entity will win the Nobel prize

Are you an optimist about the future? Do you believe we can improve technology at the same time we save the world from hunger, overpopulation, pollution and environmental destruction?

I am an optimist. I recognise that there are dangers in the future. But somehow I still believe that we will manage to avoid those problems and that the future will be much better than it is today. If you go far enough ahead we will solve a lot of those problems using advanced machines. Someway or somehow we will manage to find a way to avert it without destroying the world. That's what I believe. If I look at the negative part of it, there is a risk, a significant risk that we might destroy the world on ways that we couldn't be able to ask. And I think that in the next several decades there will be a balance on problems being caused by technologies as well as solutions being made by them. But in the short to medium terms it probably won't be much better or much worse than it is today. We will have some new problems but we will also have new solutions too. But in the very long term, there's a lot of optimism ahead that we might solve a lot of the problems that we caused, and we will eventually catch up with new problems being caused by a coming technology. So, concerning the far future I am an optimistic, because the opposite is too nasty to think about.

BT's 2006 Technology Timeline predicts that by 2051 humanoid robots will beat the England football team. But would they beat Brazil?

I am not a football fan by any means. The last time I was interested in football I was really quite small, but I remember this guy called Pelé. I'm pretty sure he was Brazilian. You guys seem good at football. I think that if any country in the world is still going to beat the robots it will be Brazil.

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