Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ray Kurzweil's "The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine"

After I completed our assigned reading for the "The Freudian Robot", I decided to relax and find a good documentary to watch on netflix. I came across Transcendent Man which is a title I had noticed before, but never bothered to look into.

Coincidentally, the themes and ideas that are brought up in this documentary are highly relevant to the ideas that we have been discussing in class. (In regards to the evolving relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.)

I have never heard of Ray Kurzweil before. And I apologize if someone has already made a post about him and I somehow overlooked it. I highly doubt it though since I have been keeping up with the blog throughout the semester.

Apparently, he is an inventor and a futurist who is known for his eerily accurate predictions about the future, in regards to technology. For instance, Kurzweil's book, The Age of Intelligent Machines was written during the late 1980s and published in 1990. In it, Kurzweil foretells the explosive growth of global Internet use that began in the 1990s:

"At the time of the publication of The Age of Intelligent Machines, there were only 2.6 million Internet users in the world, and the medium was unreliable, difficult to use, and deficient in content, making Kurzweil's realization of its future potential especially prescient given the technology's limitations at that time. He also stated that the Internet would explode not only in the number of users but in content as well, eventually granting users access "to international networks of libraries, data bases, and information services". Additionally, Kurzweil correctly foresaw that the preferred mode of Internet access would inevitably be through wireless systems, and he was also correct to estimate that the latter would become practical for widespread use in the early 21st century." (Wikipedia)

In Transcendent Man, Ray Kurzweil discusses his most recent predictions which claim that the distinction between humans and artificial intelligence will eventually disappear. It's a very fascinating documentary and I highly recommend it.

Furthermore, here is an article written by Ray Kurzeil on The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine which was originally published in the Scientific American back in 1999. Go ahead and click on the link below to read the article.

The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine

If you would like to check out some more scholarly articles written by Kurzweil, go ahead and use the Google Scholar search engine and knock yourself out:

Ray Kurzweil Google Scholar search

Even if you find it difficult to take Kurzweil's predictions seriously, he does bring up some ideas and questions that are worth considering. Enjoy!

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