The Electric Commentary

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ray Kurzweil Interview

CBS recently interviewed Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity is Near:

"Exponential growth looks like nothing is happening, and then suddenly you get this explosion at the end," says Mr. Kurzweil, a prominent inventor, mathematician, and entrepreneur. Evolution has taken millions of years to bring humanity to this point, he says. With the help of technology, the pace of change is about to accelerate at an astonishing rate.

Where humanity will be by midcentury is barely conceivable to us now, he says. Humans will merge with their machines to make quantum leaps in intelligence and abilities. They will vastly improve their bodies using nanotechnology and live extremely long lives — or perhaps abandon their bodies altogether, continuing on indefinitely in a nonbiological form.

Kurzweil lays out these startling conclusions in "The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology." It tops the science bestsellers list at

"The Singularity" refers to a future time (Kurzweil says around 2045) at which technological progress accelerates beyond our current ability to understand it. The concept was popularized more than a decade ago by mathematician and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge.


  • I haven't read this book, nor have I read any of Kurzweil's other books, but I have read similar predictions that people have been making over the past 50 years or so about the promises of artificial intelligence that have yet to pan out. I'm not saying that Kurzweil is full of it, but I do find a lot of the predictions about nanotech, biotech, and AI a little hard to swallow. If it turns out that I'm wrong, please don’t hesitate to come visit me at my cabin in Montana.

    By Blogger dhodge, at 11:32 AM  

  • I defintely see signs of nanotech and other stuff arising, but then again that flying car I was supposed to get in 2000 is way overdue.

    I think future predictors overpredict exciting changes and underpredict the less dramatic ones, behind the scenes ones. For instance, "Lost in Space" predicted 1997 as having space travel as a family vacation and independent robots, but failed to predict digital displays or the microchip.


    By Anonymous Scott H, at 12:29 PM  

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