essays collection

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Learning in the Age of Knowledge

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An overview of how education is changing with technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

A myopic perspective on AI

September 2, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

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

Response to ‘The Singularity Is Always Near’

May 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

Technium

In “The Singularity Is Always Near,” an essay in The Technium, an online “book in progress,” author Kevin Kelly critiques arguments on exponential growth made in Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near. Kurzweil responds.

Allow me to clarify the metaphor implied by the term “singularity.” The metaphor implicit in the term “singularity” as applied to future human history is not to a point of infinity, but rather to the event horizon surrounding a black hole. Densities are not infinite at the event horizon but merely large enough such that it is difficult to see past the event horizon from outside.

I say difficult rather than impossible because the Hawking radiation emitted from the event horizon is likely to be quantum entangled with events inside the black hole, so there may be ways of retrieving the information. This was the concession made recently by Hawking. However, without getting into the details of this controversy, it is fair to say that seeing past the event horizon is difficult (impossible from a classical physics perspective) because the gravity of the black hole is strong enough to prevent classical information from inside the black hole getting out.

Raymond Kurzweil at ACM1

May 23, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil speaks at ACM1: Beyond Cyberspace about a future in which computers will appear to be conscious and the distinction between humans and machines will gradually disappear.… read more

A Dialog with the New York Times on the Technological Implications of the September 11 Disaster

September 27, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In preparation for the New York Times article, “In the Next Chapter, Is Technology an Ally?,” Ray Kurzweil engaged in a conversation with computer scientist Peter Neumann, science fiction author Bruce Sterling, law professor Lawrence Lessig, retired engineer Severo Ornstein, and cryptographer Whitfield Diffie, addressing questions of how technology and innovation will be shaped by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.… read more

Researching Health and Well-Being at the Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Researching immortality, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

We Are Becoming Cyborgs

March 15, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The union of human and machine is well on its way. Almost every part of the body can already be enhanced or replaced, even some of our brain functions. Subminiature drug delivery systems can now precisely target tumors or individual cells. Within two to three decades, our brains will have been “reverse-engineered”: nanobots will give us full-immersion virtual reality and direct brain connection with the Internet. Soon after, we will vastly expand our intellect as we merge our biological brains with non-biological intelligence.… read more

Statement for Extropy Institute Vital Progress Summit

February 18, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

Responding to the Presidential Bioethics Council report, “Beyond Therapy,” Ray Kurzweil has written a keynote statement for the Extropy Institute’s Vital Progress Summit, an Internet virtual discussion and debate.… read more

The Economics of Innovation

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An examination of the changing nature of wealth, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers Getting Stupider?

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

Ray Kurzweil responds to John Brockman’s “The Edge” Annual Question of 2007

February 4, 2007 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil responds to John Brockman’s The Edge Annual Question – 2007: WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT? WHY?… read more

Spielberg catches Kubrick’s baton: a review of the film AI

June 18, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

AI the movie

The androids and other intelligent machines in A.I. represent well-grounded science futurism, says AI pioneer Ray Kurzweil.

Stanley Kubrick developed his ideas for a movie to be called A.I. for over ten years, passing the baton to Steven Spielberg upon his untimely death. As was his working style, Kubrick did not write a screenplay, but kept copious notebooks of ideas. The task of carrying Kubrick’s conception to fruition presented Spielberg with a singular opportunity, but also unique challenges, the most obvious being how to meld Kubrick’s dark visions with his own affirming perspective.

Remarks at The Celebration, A Gala to Celebrate the Groundbreaking of the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind

October 22, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil’s remarks given at the groundbreaking of the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind… read more

Foreword to Electronic Reporting in the Digital Medical Enterprise

June 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Doctors in the year 2012 will have access to full-immersion virtual-reality training and surgical systems, microchip-based protein and gene analysis systems, knowledge-based systems providing automated guidance and access to the most recent medical research, and always-present visual displays of patient data for instant interaction via voice.… read more

The Paradigms and Paradoxes of Intelligence: Building a Brain

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How to build a brain, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

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