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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 | 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

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 | 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 | Asimov’s ‘The Last Question’

November 27, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Asimov The Last Question

Dear Ray,

About Asimov’s “The Last Question” — I was captivated by Asimov’s story as a child, and again some 50 years later in reading Ray’s version of the answer in The Singularity Is Near.

Looking forward to getting his new book!

Thank you,
Ron Eckhardt

Dear Ronald,

Thanks. Yes, the evolution of intelligence runs counter to the second law.… 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 | 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 | Experiment to find out if we’re being simulated

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: Bing Maps Platform)

Hi, my name is Luke.

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… read more

Ask Ray | Fermi Paradox and the Singularity

June 9, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

(A graphical representation of the Arecibo message, sent as radio waves into space in an attempt to actively communicate human existence to alien civilizations. credit: Wikipedia)

Hello Ray,

This may seem asinine but I had a thought regarding the Fermi Paradox and the Singularity. (Wikipedia: “The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.”)

As you well know there is nowhere near enough life in the galaxy (as we see it… read more

Ask Ray | Future battle for resource storage as a substrate for sentience

April 7, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

universe

Ray,

A disturbing thought occurred to me recently: given that we are on the cusp of personal immortality and the entrance into the age of conscious information (for lack of a better term), it seems that there will eventually become a real resource shortage at the most fundamental level.

What I’m suggesting (and you’ve probably already considered) is that as individuals make the transition to electronic… 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 | 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 | How do you find the motivation to live forever?

May 26, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Transcendent Man poster earth

Dear Ray:

How do you find motivation to want to live forever? How do you find comfort in your father’s death, knowing you may never truly see him again — only an avatar of what he’d represent?

John Hansen

John:

I have the motivation to live to tomorrow, metaphorically speaking. I think everyone has that motivation. As we get to times in the… 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 do you respond to Noam Chomsky’s claim that ‘Watson is not good AI’?

February 19, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

brain chip

Hello,

I was wondering if I could get a comment from Mr. Kurzweil. I know he thinks Watson will win the Jeopardy! match — I agree. Professor Noam Chomsky has told me that Watson is not good AI, though, and I’m curious how Kurzweil would respond to Chomsky’s words, found here.

I read your article in PC Magazine, which is what persuaded me to… read more

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