With recent stories about the pending debut of completely automated burger-making machines,  robot butlers working in some California hotels, and drone technology,  we wondered - when will they 'take over?'

According to noted scientific and technology futurist Ray Kurzweil,  we've got 15 years left.  Ok, they won't necessarily "take over" our world.   But the world's leading visionary in AI (artificial intelligence)  is pretty accurate in his predictions for technology.

Kurzweil is such an expert, Google hired him in 2012 to work on their next project: an artificially intelligent search engine that knows us better than we know ourselves.

He proposes the idea known as "the singularity", or the time in the future when men and machines will actually merge.  According to the British newspaper The Guardian:

"Kurzweil's prediction comes hot on the tail of revelations that Google is in the throes of assembling the greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth. The company has bought several machine-learning and robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces lifelike military robots, for an undisclosed sum; and the smart thermostat maker, Nest Labs, for $3.2bn (£1.9bn)."


Kurzweil himself brings an impressive track record of inventions, including three that completely changed the course of computer technology.  In 1990, he also predicted the future course of digital technology to where we are today - at a time when computers were really only used by academics and scientists.

If you think Kurzweil is too futuristic,  read this paragraph, again from The Guardian:

"For years he has been saying that the Turing test – the moment at which a computer will exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to that of a human – will be passed in 2029. "Today, I'm pretty much at the median of what AI experts think and the public is kind of with them," he adds. "The public has seen things like Siri [the iPhone's voice-recognition technology], where you talk to a computer. They've seen the Google self-driving cars. My views are not radical any more."  (Bold lettering added for emphasis).

We were thinking about watching The Terminator tonight, but now, maybe we'll just forget it...