1. Ray Kurzweil
Predicted: Practically all modern technological developments.
Raymond Kurzweil’s life and career are far too interesting to do complete justice to here. His inventions are numerous—text reading software, speech-recognition devices—and five of his novels have been bestsellers. He is the current Director of Engineering at Google, and as a “futurist”, he’s made dozens of predictions over the several decades—with an absolutely unbelievable rate of accuracy. Not only do Kurzweil’s predictions almost always come true, he usually can accurately predict WHEN they will come true.
Among the many, many examples: in his novel The Age Of Intelligent Machines, Kurzweil predicted the fall of the Soviet Union by 1991; a computer beating the best human players at chess by 2000; and wireless Internet becoming practical for mainstream use in the early 21st century. In The Age Of Spiritual Machines (1999), he predicted E-books, face recognition software, and nanotechnology, and these are just a handful of examples.
Kurzweil stated that by 2009, 89 out of 108 predictions he had made were entirely correct. Of the rest, 13 were “essentially correct”—likely to come true within a few years. A re-evaluation in 2012 determined that Kurzweil’s prognostications are correct a ridiculous 86 percent of the time-and the good news is, this is a man who has predicted that it won’t be too long before we humans conquer death altogether.