The crux of understanding the rate of technological change, and therefore its vast implications for generations to come, revolves around the idea of a technological singularity - Kurzweil's renowned specialist subject. Technological singularity is the widely anticipated emergence of a greater-than-human superintelligence, through technological means, which will radically change humanity's future.
In line with this concept, computer processing and associated costs have diminished consistently, and at an exponential rate. The relentless shift in the 'price/performance' metric, which enabled the building-sized computers of the 1970s to be shrunk so far as to sit in our laps and fit in the palms of our hands, shows us that smart devices of the future will not only be thousands of times smaller again - but thousands of times more powerful.
"The chip that sings 'happy birthday' in a novelty greetings card contains more technology than was available to the entire allied forces in 1945," said Kaku. "And what do we do with it? We throw it in the trash."
Handheld devices like the iPhone 5s, Galaxy Notes and smartphones of the near future will eventually become similarly disposable technology, the equivalent units likely absorbed into our bodies, according to Kurzweil. As nanotechnology becomes an inevitable reality, we will see smart devices shrink to the size of blood cells within a few decades, enabling unforeseen enhancements. Augmented Reality could also become embedded within our optic system - AR is a field that is expected to transition from novelty to a new normal in the coming years.
Throughout their spate of colourful predictions, both Kaku and Kurzweil illustrated how far-fetched our current reality would have seemed in the early days of computing, and perhaps even in the 1990s, considering that change is not following a linear pattern, but a booming 'logarithmic trajectory'.
To grasp this rate of change, the audience was asked to consider the gigantic leap from Morse code to high-speed 4G/LTE data transfers.
"The future of the computer is to disappear; to be present everywhere but visible nowhere. I fully expect that even the word 'computer' will disappear from everyday language," Kaku told the captivated audience, inferring that as we adjust to 'smart' devices and experience in every aspect of life, super powerful technologies will be as ubiquitous as electricity is now, within smart vehicles and buildings, and equally taken for granted.
The future is bright, but technology a 'double-edged sword'
Permitted to ask a limited number of questions, audience members quizzed the speakers on climate change and the effect of technology, over time, on the global rich-poor divide.
Kurzweil wasted no time in praising the forward-thinking investments currently taking place in Abu Dhabi, stressing the utmost importance of planning for several generations ahead, but spoke cautiously about our current dependency on oil fuels and petrochemicals, and the associated ecological issues.
"Climate change, it seems, will not be possible to reverse," Kaku noted grimly, but was optimistic about the ability to harness energy from seawater via fusion reactions, believing that universal clean energy may be a reality within two decades.
While new technologies have led to new sources of energy, and revenue, it was noted that these are not always sustainable and logarithmic technological growth can be a doubled-edged sword, bringing unforeseen risks and challenges - though both agreed we have gained more than we have lost from the advancement of technology.
Commenting on how technology will influence the current, vast rich-poor divide, Kaku pointed to the rate of cell phone and smartphone adoption across the African continent - currently at 30% - which is giving access to online education resources and allowing connectivity to the wider world, despite the lack of cabling infrastructure.
Concern was also voiced regarding the dilution of cultures worldwide, as global connectivity becomes increasingly holistic, though both speakers championed the theory of a 'bilingual culture', expecting to see traditional ways of living coincide with a common, planetary culture, interconnected online and via the cloud.
Top 5 predictions - a futurist's perspective
Throughout the evening, both Kaku and Kurzweil cited predictions ranging from the seemingly inane to Holy Grail-esque scientific leaps. In no particular order: