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Ask Ray | The future of human self-awareness, deeper mirrors

November 15, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

The False Mirror, by René Magritte, 1928. Oil on canvas. © 2010 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Hello Ray,

In the last few years I have been basically writing in Persian and hardly anything in English. One thing I’ve been recently discussing that I thought may be of interest to you is that it seems to me the next stage of human consciousness will be about being self-aware of ourselves in a different body.

Maybe recognizing ourselves in the mirror after plastic surgery is the first… read more

Ask Ray | The incredible unlikelihood of being

July 24, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Hello Ray,

The universe existed several billion years before humans were conscious, and will exist several billion years after we are conscious.

So, it is statistically improbable for the chronological timeline of the universe to be located at this precise moment, when we are conscious, that is, an 80 year lifespan within some 30 billion years.

Are you aware of any theories, besides survivorship bias from statistics, that… read more

Ask Ray | There are already many cyborgs among us

July 15, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

Check out this article on NBC News. I discussed this topic at Time’s 2003 The Future of Life Summit, during the session “The next frontier.” My full dialog is below. My point was “there are already many cyborgs among us.”

Ray Kurzweil

NBC | “Cyborgs among us: human biohackers embed chips in their bodies”

related viewing from NBC:read more

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 | 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 | US Supreme Court acknowledges that personal space has merged with the digital world

June 28, 2014 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

My friend — of 50 years! — Mark Bergmann, brought this recent quote from US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to my attention:

“Modern cell phones are such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy,” said Roberts, commenting in the recent Supreme Court ruling on cell phones warrants.… read more

Ask Ray | We could have had the benefits of the Singularity years ago

November 15, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

brain plug

Dear Ray,

I’ve written a book about the future of software: After the Software Wars. I talk about Linux primarily, but it has implications for things like how we can have driverless cars and other cool technology faster.

The book starts with a quote by John McCarthy, the inventor of Lisp: “Some people think much faster computers are required for Artificial Intelligence, as… read more

Ask Ray | Welcome, new computer overlords!

March 21, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

hail ants

Ray,

I noticed in one of your recent essays on IBM’s Watson you say, “I, for one, would then regard it (an AI) as human.” I, for one, find that to be your most controversial statement in that article.

Apparently, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings did you one better the next day when he wrote on his screen, as part of his final written wager, before being defeated by… read more

Ask Ray | Will future people lose sight of their humanity?

November 30, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

A Nice Place to Visit

Dear Ray:

Have you seen this Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit?” I think it is a good illustration of the likely consequences of our future.

I’m eager for my 12-year-old son to watch Transcendent Man with me. I think it’s important for him to understand the implications of free will.

Resa

Resa,

Thanks. Yes, I’m very familiar… read more

Ask Ray | Will human intelligence amplication widen the divide between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’?

May 11, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

The face of a robot woman.

Dear Mr. Kurzweil,

My name is David Gonzalez, and I am a high school senior. I have been doing extensive research on the Singularity and the technologies used to bring about these changes and plan to major in bioengineering in college. I have some concerns as to the nature of our technological progression towards the eventual dawning of the Singularity. 

You have mentioned that the exponential growth of technology will… 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

Attention, Kmart shoppers: there’s a robot checker open in aisle six

November 5, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Robot clerk 'attacks' human

Wow, it’s happening already. Cornell robotics researchers are now teaching robots complex tasks such as performing as grocery-store checkout clerks.

Can robot butlers (as in Robot & Frank) be far behind?

This is a big step beyond what Cornell researchers in Prof. Ashutosh Saxena’s lab were teaching their smart robots the last time we (virtually) visited the lab in May.

We saw then… read more

Avatar meets rejuvenation biotech at stellar SENS event Friday night in L.A.

December 9, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

Avatar

If you’re in Los Angeles Friday night, the happening place to be is at the SENS Foundation event at Giant Studios, where the fantastic Na’vi characters in Avatar were brought to life, along with Gollum in Lord of the Rings and thousands of other creatures, using advanced motion-capture tech.

Legendary Cambridge University scientist Dr. Aubrey de Grey, who pioneered SENS (Strategies… read more

Avatars meet in Second Life to celebrate Future Day 2012

March 5, 2012 by Natasha Vita-More

natashafutureday2012

The first Future Day on March 1 featured events in 14 cities in 8 countries. The largest event was at Terasem Island in Second Life, with about 50 attendees.

The auditorium at Terasem Island was full and we were eagerly awaiting three of the speakers to arrive: Ben Goertzel, Martine Rothblatt, and Howard Bloom.

I introduced the event by… read more

‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

airlineavatar1

As if TSA groping in airports wasn’t enough, now we’re going to be subjected to some kind of creepy composite of Princess Leia from Star Wars and the advertising scene in Minority Report.

“I can be just about anything you want me to be,” over-enthuses the simulated “customer service representative,” five of which are intended for installation in LaGuardia, JFK. and Liberty Newark airports in early July, according to read more

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