I'm passing on this recent post on the Skeptic mailing list for your interest.
Kurzweil, who apparently has an impressive track record for predicting computer breakthroughs, in his new book ''The Age of Spiritual Machines'' (he is also the author of ''The Age of Intelligent Machines," 1990) predicts that a computer will pass the "Turing Test" (where you could have a dialogue with a computer about deep and meaningful subjects and not be able to tell if it is a person or a computer) within 20 years, and exceed the computing power of all humans on earth by 2060. By 2100, he says, computers will be fully conscious, self-aware, and "spiritual" (whatever that means), etc. Check it out. Here is Raymo's description of Kurzweil:
"Kurzweil's credentials as computer guru are impeccable. He is inventor of the
first commercially marketed speech-recognition system, the first computer music keyboard capable of accurately reproducing the sounds of real orchestra instruments, the first system that can recognize all forms of alphabetic characters, the first system for text-to-synthesized-speech, and other key developments in making machines behave more like us."