Fortune magazine has an article this issue on Ray Kurzweil, my favorite inventor/futurist. He has a great track record on predicting future technological events. He invented the flat bed scanner, the electric piano, speech recognition software; he has started 10 companies and sold 5; he's written five books; he has a computer science degree from MIT; he predicted that a computer would beat the world chess champ by 1998 (it happened in 1997) and he predicted the rise of a worldwide computer network back in the 80s. The fact that I'm writing this to be posted on the internet is testament to his vision.
He's now working on a computer managed hedge fund, among other things. The man is a little weird (he takes about 200 pills a day; vitamins, anti-oxidants, etc.) but he shouldn't be written off as some nut. Read the article.