The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence-Ray Kurzweil



Title: The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

Author(s): Ray Kurzweil (Author)

Publisher: Viking Adult

Year: 1990;1999

Pages: 289

ISBN: 9780670882175; 0670882178

Language: English

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

In his provocative new book The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil, who Forbes Magazine calls “the ultimate thinking machine,” takes readers on an breathtaking tour of the history of computation and artificial intelligence and makes startling predictions for the future of technology, such as: * 2010: A translating telephone will allow you to speak in any language and be heard in the listener’s native tongue, in real time, in your own voice. * 2020: a $1000 computer will match the processing speed of the human brain — about 20 billion calculations per second. * 2030: Most humans will have neural implants to improve their vision, hearing, memory, and thinking skills. It will become increasingly difficult for people without implants to function in human society. The Age of Spiritual Machines is a prophetic blueprint for the future. Kurzweil begins by asking a critical question for understanding the twenty-first century: Can humans create another intelligence more intelligent than ourselves?

Kurzweil answers this question by probing into the intelligent process that created us: evolution. According to him “evolution’s grandest creation — human intelligence — is providing the means for the next stage of evolution, which is technology.” Because his Law of Accelerating Returns holds that technology is exponentially speeding up, Kurzweil predicts that early in this next century, machines will attain human level intelligence through reverse engineering of the brain. Once this critical threshold is achieved, computers will necessarily soar past human limitations. By 2020, we will begin to have relationships with automated personalities and use them as teachers, companions, and lovers. By 2030, the distinction between us and computers will have been so sufficiently blurred that when machines claim to be conscious, we will have no choice but to believe them. Human identity will be called into question as never before, as a billion years of evolution are superseded in a mere hundred by machine technology that we have created. We will become cyborgs, but what will computers become?

About Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, he was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS selected him as one of the “sixteen revolutionaries who made America.”

Ray was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

Among Ray’s many honors, he received a Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty-one honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.

Ray has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near (2005) and How To Create A Mind (2012). He is Co-Founder and Chancellor of Singularity University and a Director of Engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.


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