When Kurzweil first started talking about the “singularity”, a conceit he borrowed from the science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge, he was dismissed as a fantasist. He has been saying for years that he believes that the Turing test – the moment at which a computer will exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human – will be passed in 2029. The difference is that when he began saying it, the fax machine hadn’t been invented. But now, well… it’s another story.
The fax machine was invented back in, I think, 1928, in Japan. Something to do with the difficulty of sending kanji (?) down a telegraph wire.
Hmm, looking that up I’m out by a number of years. First fax patent was in 1843