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Singularity Q&A

techno human

Originally published in 2005 with the launch of The Singularity Is Near.

Questions and Answers

So what is the Singularity?

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated… read more

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

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

Gelernter, Kurzweil debate machine consciousness

Are we limited to building super-intelligent robotic “zombies” or will it be possible and desirable for us to build conscious, creative, volitional, perhaps even “spiritual” machines? David Gelernter and Ray Kurzweil debated this key question at MIT on Nov. 30.… read more

Response to ‘The Singularity Is Always Near’

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.… read more

Our Bodies, Our Technologies: Ray Kurzweil’s Cambridge Forum Lecture (Abridged)

In the 2020s, we’ll see nanobots, blood-cell-sized devices that can go inside the body and brain to perform therapeutic functions. But what happens when we have billions of nanobots inside the capillaries of our brains, non-invasively, widely distributed, expanding human intelligence, or providing full-immersion virtual reality?… read more

Reprogramming your Biochemistry for Immortality: An Interview with Ray Kurzweil by David Jay Brown

Scientists are now talking about people staying young and not aging. Ray Kurzweil is taking it a step further: “In addition to radical life extension, we’ll also have radical life expansion. The nanobots will be able to go inside the brain and extend our mental functioning by interacting with our biological neurons.”… read more

Sander Olson Interviews Ray Kurzweil

Nonbiological intelligence is multiplying by over 1,000 per decade. Once we can achieve the software of intelligence, which we will achieve through reverse-engineering the human brain, non-biological intelligence will soar past biological intelligence. By the 2040s, nonbiological intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than the 10^26 computations per second that all biological humanity represents.… read more

Ray Kurzweil Responds to Richard Eckersley

“Eckersley bases his romanticized idea of ancient life on communication and the relationships fostered by communication. But much of modern technology is directed at just this basic human need.”… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Dangerous Idea: The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion

“What is your dangerous idea?” Over one hundred big thinkers answered this question, as part of The Edge’s Annual Question for 2006. Ray Kurzweil’s dangerous idea? We can achieve immortality in our lifetime.… read more

Online Chat with Ray Kurzweil and European Schoolnet

Ray Kurzweil introduced 300 secondary-school students across Europe to robotics and AI in an interactive Internet chat set up by Xplora, the European gateway to science education.… read more

What the Future Will Bring

“Follow your passion,” Ray Kurzweil advised graduates in a commencement address on May 21 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, one of the nation’s earliest technological universities. “Creating knowledge is what will be most exciting in life. To create knowledge you have to have passion, so find a challenge that you can be passionate about and you can find the ideas to overcome that challenge.” Kurzweil also described the three great coming revolutions-genetics, nanotechnology and robotics-and their implications for our lives ahead.… read more

Lunch with Mikhail Gorbachev

With only 53,000 engineering graduates a year compared to Russia’s 200,000, the U.S. needs to “communicate the importance of science in today’s world,” Mikhail Gorbachev told Ray Kurzweil in a luncheon discussion that ranged from blogs to nuclear disarmament and longevity.… read more

The Future of Intelligent Technology and Its Impact on Disabilities

Future technologies for sensory impairments will include automatic subtitles on the fly for the hearing-impaired, pocket-sized reading machines, automatic language translators, and intelligent devices sent through the bloodstream. These devices will also augment the senses for the general population.… read more

Statement for Extropy Institute Vital Progress Summit

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

Kurzweil’s Law (aka “the law of accelerating returns”)

In an evolutionary process, positive feedback increases order exponentially. A correlate is that the “returns” of an evolutionary process (such as the speed, cost-effectiveness, or overall “power” of a process) increase exponentially over time — both for biology and technology. Ray Kurzweil submitted on essay based on that premise to Edge.org in response to John Brockman’s question: “What’s your law?”… read more

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