The movie Simone presents an “unrealistic notion of how technology is introduced to the world,” says Ray Kurzweil in this review. He examines this portrayal from the perspective of his own transformation at the TED conference into Ramona, the state of the art for real-time virtual personality transformation two years ago.… read more
In a recent Red Herring magazine article, writer Geoffrey James said “pundits can’t stop hyping the business opportunities of artificial intelligence” and described AI as a “technological backwater.” Ray Kurzweil challenges this view, citing “hundreds of examples of narrow AI deeply integrated into our information-based economy” and “many applications beginning to combine multiple methodologies,” a step towards the eventual achievement of “strong AI” (human-level intelligence in a machine).… read more
Vernor Vinge’s Hugo-award-winning short science fiction story “Fast Times at Fairmont High” takes place in a near future in which everyone lives in a ubiquitous, wireless, networked world using wearable computers and contacts or glasses on which computer graphics are projected to create an augmented reality.… read more
September 22, 2002
On Sept. 21, 2002, Ray Kurzweil presented an award to Ezra Rapoport at the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors ceremony. Rapoport, an 18-year-old inventor and part-time employee of KurzweilAI.net, was recognized for his invention of a speech-compression method that transmits speech clearly and reliably over phone lines using only 3 Kbps, allowing for 20 conversations over a single phone line.… read more
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) inducted Ray Kurzweil on Sept. 21, 2002. Sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Hewlett-Packard, the ceremony recognized Kurzweil for the Kurzweil Reading Machine and a lifetime of invention, including the first “omni-font” optical character recognition (OCR), the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first full text-to-speech synthesizer, the first realistic-sounding electronic music synthesizer, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.… read more
October 20, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil
The Deep Fritz computer chess software only achieved a draw in its recent chess tournament with Vladimir Kramnik because it has available only about 1.3% as much brute force computation as the earlier Deep Blue’s specialized hardware. Despite that, it plays chess at about the same level because of its superior pattern recognition-based pruning algorithm. In six years, a program like Deep Fritz will again achieve Deep Blue’s ability to analyze 200 million board positions per second. Deep Fritz-like chess programs running on ordinary personal computers will routinely defeat all humans later in this decade.… read more
Robert A. Freitas Jr. (author, “Nanomedicine”) visualizes a future “vasculoid” (vascular-like machine) that would replace human blood with some 500 trillion nanorobots distributed throughout the body’s vasculature as a coating. It could eradicate heart disease, stroke, and other vascular problems; remove parasites, bacteria, viruses, and metastasizing cancer cells to limit the spread of bloodborne disease; move lymphocytes faster to improve immune response; reduce susceptibility to chemical, biochemical, and parasitic poisons; improve physical endurance and stamina; and partially protect from various accidents and other physical harm.… read more
In the early 1980s, MIT professor Sherry Turkle first called the computer a “second self.” With this essay, she presents a major new theory of “evocative objects”: Wearable computers, PDAs, online multiple identities, “companion species” (such as quasi-alive virtual pets, digital dolls, and robot nurses for the elderly), “affective computing” devices (such as the human-like Kismet robot), and the imminent age of machines designed as relational artifacts are causing us to see ourselves and our world differently. They call for a new generation of psychoanalytic self-psychology to explore the human response and the human vulnerability to these objects.… read more
The amount of information you could process if you were to use all the energy and matter of the universe is 10^90 bits and the number of elementary operations that it can have performed since the Big Bang is about 10^120 ops. Perhaps the universe is itself a computer and what it’s doing is performing a computation. If so, that’s why the universe is so complex and these numbers say how big that computation is. Also, that means Douglas Adams was right (the answer is “42″).… read more
book review | Ray Kurzweil’s read on latest AI insights in the book Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us
October 31, 2002
This review was originally published in Wired, “Peer Review,” in October 2002.
As one of the world’s leading roboticists, Rodney Brooks (Director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Chairman of the successful iRobot Corporation) is also the consummate teacher.
He has a penchant for clear explanation and in his latest book, Flesh and Machines, How Robots Will Change Us, Brooks lucidly explores a wide range of themes related to his life with robots.
These range from personal anecdotes (e.g., his first encounter with another legendary robot builder, Hans Moravec, who was then living in his Stanford laboratory and musing about exotic topics ranging from sky hooks to tree-like robots), historical vignettes (e.g., Marvin Minsky’s unsuccessful attempt to solve the computer “vision” problem in a single Summer in 1966), algorithmic insights (e.g., how his Genghis robot achieved “animal-like behavior” from a few dozen simple programs operating in parallel), philosophical musings (e.g., what is the true nature of consciousness, “apart from our own personal experience of what it is like to be us?”), and ethical dilemmas (e.g., when will we need to stop treating robots like slaves).
The book ranges far and wide, but maintains a unity around the author’s passion for creating what he calls “situated creatures,” which we can eventually regard as our teachers and companions.
On November 15-17, 2002, leaders in life extension and cryonics came together to explore how the emerging technologies of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and cryonics will enable humans to halt and ultimately reverse aging and disease and live indefinitely.… read more
Why have we made limited progress in AI? Because we haven’t developed sophisticated models of thinking, we need better programming languages and architectures, and we haven’t focused on common sense problems that every normal child can solve.… read more
December 3, 2002 by K. Eric Drexler, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Bradbury
What would it take to achieve successful cryonics reanimation of a fully functioning human brain, with memories intact? A conversation at the recent Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler sparked an email discussion of this question. They agreed that despite the challenges, the brain’s functions and memories can be represented surprisingly compactly, suggesting that successful reanimation of the brain may be achievable.… read more