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Ask Ray | Thoughts on Amazon’s plans to use drones for delivery

December 4, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon Prime Air drone in warehouse

Dear readers,

I am reviewing the recent news on Amazon’s interest in using unmanned drones to make product deliveries.

There is public discussion about the feasibility of this logistically, and some concerns about using drones in public due to privacy and other issues.

You can read some background on Amazon’s plans in this report by 60 Minutes:

CBS News | “Amazon unveils futuristic planread more

Ask Ray | Death can be erased if humanity makes the right moves

November 26, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

medical doctor with virtual DNA scan of patient

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

Is it stressful to view life as a sort of race against the clock, in which it’s presumably — at least partly — in your power whether you die like all past humans have, or find a way to survive indefinitely?

It seems like a lot of pressure to live with, no? I’m speaking purely from a personal, psychological/emotional point of view here.… read more

Ask Ray | Your recent book mentioned cuteness and made me wonder

September 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

baby kitten and puppy

Ray,

Your recent book on creating intelligence mentioned cuteness in passing, and it made me wonder: why are most baby animals so cute. Naked mole rat is a possible exception?

They can’t look cute so we become gaga, if not for we humans, then it has to be for the parents, and if cuteness is not an exclusively human concept, its origins must be way back in time… read more

Ask Ray | Oral nutritional supplementation decreases hospitalization length by 21% says report

September 4, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

oral nutritional supplement

Dear readers,

This is a valuable study about supplements and health that I wanted to share with our readers. 

American Journal of Managed Care | “Impact of oral nutritional supplementation on hospital outcomes”

The findings say “the use of oral nutritional supplementation decreases length of stay, episode cost, and 30-day readmission risk in the inpatient population of hospitals.”

That’s the conclusion of an eleven-year retrospective… read more

Ask Ray | How can my consciousness survive indefinitely?

August 23, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Energy of Human Mind

Dear Ray,

Should my brain be downloaded into a computer, my consciousness would not follow along, since if it did, I — the conscious I that I know and love — would be in two different places at once, both in my body and in the computer, presumably a contradiction of some sort, and the I in the computer may think and react identically to me and it may… read more

Ask Ray | A little thought experiment on cognitive functions

August 15, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Image created with the Connectome Mapping Toolkit (credit: University of Lausanne and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Dear Ray,

After finishing reading The Singularity Is Near and How to Create a Mind I have a few questions about some higher level cognitive functions in regards to your theory of pattern recognizer construction of the brain.

First, you believe that all forms of organized information systems have some form of consciousness albeit at varying degrees of magnitude.

More importantly there seems to be a positive… read more

Ask Ray | Human and robot rights in the future

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: stock image)

Dear Mr. Raymond Kurzweil,

How are you? My name is Noga, I’m a 16-year-old girl from Tel-Aviv, Israel.

First of all, I wanted to say that I’ve read one of your and it was fascinating. Secondly, I wanted to ask you a question. I’ll start from the beginning.

In my school, we have a course called “Human Rights.” It’s a course where we discuss many things that… read more

Ask Ray | Computer-based intelligence will become equivalent to that of human intelligence

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

people with cloud gears

Dear Ray,

If the development of computer-based intelligence will become equivalent to that of human intelligence within the next twenty or thirty years, this computer-based intelligence will be able to build even better computers.

Such computer intelligence will, no doubt, find a way to enhance the thought process of the human mind.

No doubt it will supersede the capacity of the human mind. This leads me to… read more

Ask Ray | Experiment to find out if we’re being simulated

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: Bing Maps Platform)

Dear Ray,

Hi, I’m contacting you now and asking you to please consider the following scenario. AD 2060 or later:

Humans can simulate multiple universes. We do so, and eventually intelligent life evolves in one and achieves a civilization with roughly the same science and computation as Earth 2010. This life will be a completely alien species, on a (simulated) alien planet.

That species figures out that… read more

Ask Ray | The future of Moore’s law

May 28, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

slide - Moore's law is only one example

Dear readers,

A recent article in EE Times discusses the future of Moore’s law: “Broadcom: Time to prepare for the end of Moore’s Law.” This comes up innumerable times. People assume that Moore’s law is synonymous with my law of accelerating returns, which it is not.

Moore’s law was the fifth, not the first, paradigm to bring exponential growth to the price-performance of computing. The law ofread more

Ask Ray | An interesting article about body and mind

May 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

gear brain

This is a really interesting article about body and mind which I recently read. I wanted to share it with my readers:

The New York Times | “I am not this body”

Here is a compelling excerpt: “I do not identify with my body. I have a body but I am a mind.

“My body and I have an intimate but awkward relationship, like foreign roommates who share… read more

Ask Ray | How do you gauge if strong AI is a few years away?

April 30, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

silver robot with cosmos

Mr. Kurzweil,

I’m currently in the middle of How to Create a Mind. I’m struggling with this one a bit more than you’re other books, but it’s very enjoyable and elucidating.

You have for some time predicted human level machine intelligence arriving by 2029.

However, in Mind you estimate the speed of a computer necessary to simulate the brain at 100 trillion cps, and state that the… read more

Ask Ray | How can I maintain my stream of personal identity?

April 24, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Dr. Kurzweil,

My name is Stanley. I too was born and bred in Queens, New York. I am also an Alcor member since 1992. I was part of the New York stabilization team and was part many cryonic cases.

I I am currently experiencing an extreme case of death terror.

I am 45 years old and am desperate not to require cryopreservation, and live to be uploaded.… read more

Ask Ray | Thoughts on the consequences of the elimination of aging

April 8, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

orange heads with DNA

Hello Ray,

I would like to begin by stating that I am a huge fan and supporter of yours. I read your book The Singularity Is Near last year, and I was enchanted by all of your ideas on the exponential development of human technology and science. I am 100% singularitarian.

I understand that you are a very busy man, but I would tremendously appreciate it if you… read more

Ask Ray | How to Create a Mind thought experiment

February 10, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Albert Einstein

Ray,

I just finished reading How to Create a Mind. I found it both interesting and informative. At the end, I believe that there is an inherent difference between a human brain and an AI system, a difference that can’t be overcome by any amount of added speed and capacity. To illustrate this difference I have included a thought experiment:

Take the most powerful artificial brain in existence. Include all programs necessary to make… read more

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