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Raymond Kurzweil

Life, inventions, and business career

Early life

Ray Kurzweil grew up in the New York City borough of Queens. He was born to secular Jewish parents who had escaped Austria just before the onset of World War II, and he was exposed via Unitarian Universalism to a diversity of religious faiths during his upbringing. His father was a musician and composer and his mother was a visual artist. His uncle, an engineer at Bell Labs, taught young Ray the basics of computer science. In his youth, he was an avid reader of science fiction literature. In 1963, at age fifteen, he wrote his first computer program. Designed to process statistical data, the program was used by researchers at IBM. Later in high school he created a sophisticated pattern-recognition software program that analyzed the works of classical composers, and then synthesized its own songs in similar styles. The capabilities of this invention were so impressive that, in 1965, he was invited to appear on the CBS television program I’ve Got a Secret, where he performed a piano piece that was composed by a computer he also had built. Later that year, he won first prize in the International Science Fair for the invention, and he was also recognized by the Westinghouse Talent Search and was personally congratulated by President Lyndon B. Johnson during a White House ceremony.

Mid-life

In 1968, during his sophomore year at MIT, Kurzweil started a company that used a computer program to match high school students with colleges. The program, called the Select College Consulting Program, was designed by him and compared thousands of different criteria about each college with questionnaire answers submitted by each student applicant. When he was 20, he sold the company to Harcourt, Brace & World for $100,000 (roughly $500,000 in 2006 dollars) plus royalties. He earned a BS in Computer Science and Literature in 1970 from MIT.

In 1974, Kurzweil started the company Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. and led development of the first omni-font optical character recognition system computer program capable of recognizing text written in any normal font. Before that time, scanners had only been able to read text written in a few fonts. He decided that the best application of this technology would be to create a reading machine, which would allow blind people to understand written text by having a computer read it to them aloud. However, this device required the invention of two enabling technologieshe CCD flatbed scanner and the text-to-speech synthesizer. Under his direction, development of these technologies was completed, and on January 13, 1976, the finished product was unveiled during a news conference headed by him and the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind. Called the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the device covered an entire tabletop. It gained him mainstream recognition: on the day of the machine’s unveiling, Walter Cronkite used the machine to give his signature soundoff, “And that’s the way it is, January 13, 1976.” While listening to The Today Show, musician Stevie Wonder heard a demonstration of the device and purchased the first production version of the Kurzweil Reading Machine, beginning a lifelong friendship between himself and Kurzweil.

According to former Kurzweil Computer Products employees, the Kurzweil Reading Machine’s designer was engineer Richard Brown, a KCP employee at the time.

Kurzweil’s next major business venture began in 1978, when Kurzweil Computer Products began selling a commercial version of the optical character recognition computer program. LexisNexis was one of the first customers, and bought the program to upload paper legal and news documents onto its nascent online databases.

Two years later, Kurzweil sold his company to Xerox, which had an interest in further commercializing paper-to-computer text conversion. Kurzweil Computer Products became a subsidiary of Xerox formerly known as Scansoft and now as Nuance Communications, and he functioned as a consultant for the former until 1995.

Kurzweil’s next business venture was in the realm of electronic music technology. After a 1982 meeting with Stevie Wonder, in which the latter lamented the divide in capabilities and qualities between electronic synthesizers and traditional musical instruments, Kurzweil was inspired to create a new generation of music synthesizers capable of accurately duplicating the sounds of real instruments. Kurzweil Music Systems was founded in the same year, and in 1984, the Kurzweil K250 was unveiled. The machine was capable of imitating a number of instruments, and in tests musicians were unable to discern the difference between the Kurzweil K250 on piano mode from a normal grand piano. The recording and mixing abilities of the machine, coupled with its abilities to imitate different instruments made it possible for a single user to compose and play an entire orchestral piece.

Kurzweil Music Systems was sold to Korean musical instrument manufacturer Young Chang in 1990. As with Xerox, Kurzweil remained as a consultant for several years.

Later life

Concurrent with Kurzweil Music Systems, Ray Kurzweil created the company Kurzweil Applied Intelligence (KAI) to develop computer speech recognition systems for commercial use. The first product, which debuted in 1987, was the world’s first large-vocabulary speech recognition program, allowing human users to dictate to their computers via microphone and then have the device transcribe their speech into written text. Later, the company combined the speech recognition technology with medical expert systems to create the Kurzweil VoiceMed (today called Clinical Reporter) line of products, which allow doctors to write medical reports by speaking instead of writing. KAI exists today as Nuance Communications.

Kurzweil started Kurzweil Educational Systems in 1996 to develop new pattern-recognition-based computer technologies to help people with disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia and ADD in school. Products include the Kurzweil 1000 text-to-speech converter software program, which enables a computer to read electronic and scanned text aloud to blind or visually-impaired users, and the Kurzweil 3000 program, which is a multifaceted electronic learning system that helps with reading, writing, and study skills.

Raymond Kurzweil at the Singularity Summit at Stanford in 2006

During the 1990s Ray Kurzweil founded the Medical Learning Company. The company’s products included an interactive computer education program for doctors and a computer-simulated patient. Around the same time, Kurzweil started KurzweilCyberArt.com website featuring computer programs to assist the creative art process. The site used to offer free downloads of a program called AARON visual art synthesizer developed by Harold Cohennd of “Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet”, which automatically creates poetry. During this period he also started KurzweilAI.net, a website devoted towards showcasing news of scientific developments, publicizing the ideas of high-tech thinkers and critics alike, and promoting futurist-related discussion among the general population through the Mind-X forum.

In 1999, Kurzweil created a hedge fund called “FatKat” (Financial Accelerating Transactions from Kurzweil Adaptive Technologies) http://www.fatkat.com, which began trading in 2006. He has stated that the ultimate aim is to improve the performance of FatKat’s A.I. investment software program, enhancing its ability to recognize patterns in “currency fluctuations and stock-ownership trends.” He predicted in his 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, that computers will one day prove superior to the best human financial minds at making profitable investment decisions. In 2001, Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace released an album, titled Spiritual Machines, based on Kurzweil’s book. Kurzweil’s voice was featured in the album, reading excerpts from his book.

In June 2005, Ray Kurzweil introduced the “Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader” (K-NFB Reader) pocket-sized device consisting of a digital camera and computer unit. Like the Kurzweil Reading Machine of almost 30 years before, the K-NFB Reader is designed to aid blind people by reading written text aloud. The newer machine is portable and scans text through digital camera images, while the older machine is large and scans text through flatbed scanning.

Ray Kurzweil is currently making a movie due for release in 2010 called The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future based, in part, on his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near. Part fiction, part non-fiction, he interviews 20 big thinkers like Marvin Minsky, plus there is a B-line narrative story that illustrates some of the ideas, where a computer avatar (Ramona) saves the world from self-replicating microscopic robots.

In addition to Kurzweil’s movie, an independent, feature-length documentary was made about Kurzweil, his life, and his ideas called Transcendent Man. Filmmakers Barry and Felicia Ptolemy followed Kurzweil, documenting his global speaking tour. Premiered in 2009 at the Tribeca Film Festival, Transcendent Man documents Ray’s quest to reveal mankind’s ultimate destiny and explores many of the ideas found in his New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity is Near, including his concept of exponential growth, radical life expansion, and how we will transcend our biology. The Ptolemys documented Ray’s stated goal of bringing back his late father using AI. The film also features critics who argue against Kurzweil’s predictions.

Kurzweil said during a 2006 C-SPAN2 interview that he was working on a new book that focused on the inner workings of the human brain and how this could be applied to building AI.

While being interviewed for a February 2009 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Kurzweil expressed a desire to construct a genetic copy of his late father, Fredric Kurzweil, from DNA within his grave site. This feat would be achieved by deploying various nanorobots to send samples of DNA back from the grave, constructing a clone of Fredric and retrieving memories and recollectionsrom Ray’s mindf his father.

Books

Kurzweil’s first book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, was published in 1990. The nonfiction work discusses the history of computer AI and also makes forecasts regarding likely future developments. Other experts in the field of AI contribute heavily to the work in the form of essays. The Association of American Publishers’ awarded it the status of Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990.

Next, Kurzweil published a book on nutrition in 1993 called The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life. The book’s main idea is that high levels of fat intake are the cause of many health disorders common in the U.S., and thus that cutting fat consumption down to 10% of the total calories consumed would be optimal for most people.

In 1998, Ray Kurzweil published The Age of Spiritual Machines, which focuses heavily on further elucidating his theories regarding the future of technology, which themselves stem from his analysis of long-term trends in biological and technological evolution. Much focus goes into examining the likely course of AI development, along with the future of computer architecture.

Kurzweil’s next book published in 2004, returned to the subject of human health and nutrition. Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever was co-authored by Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, a medical doctor and specialist in alternative medicine.

The Singularity Is Near was published in 2005. The book is currently being made into a movie starring Pauley Perrette (NCIS), and scheduled for 2010 release.

In February 2007, Ptolemaic Productions acquired the rights to The Singularity is Near, The Age of Spiritual Machines and Fantastic Voyage including the rights to Kurzweil’s life and ideas for the film Transcendent Man. The feature length documentary was directed by Barry Ptolemy.

Kurzweil’s newest book, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, a follow-up on Fantastic Voyage, was released on April 28, 2009.

The book he’s currently working on is called “How The Mind Works and How To Build One”.

Recognition and awards

Kurzweil has been called the successor and “rightful heir to Thomas Edison”, and was also referred to by Forbes as “the ultimate thinking machine.”

Kurzweil has received these awards, among others:

First place in the 1965 International Science Fair for inventing the classical music synthesizing computer.

The 1978 Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. The award is given annually to one “outstanding young computer professional” and is accompanied by a $35,000 prize. Ray Kurzweil won it for his invention of the Kurzweil Reading Machine.

The 1990 “Engineer of the Year” award from Design News.

The 1994 Dickson Prize in Science. One is awarded every year by Carnegie Mellon University to individuals who have “notably advanced the field of science.” Both a medal and a $50,000 prize are presented to winners.

The 1998 “Inventor of the Year” award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The 1999 National Medal of Technology. This is the highest award the President of the United States can bestow upon individuals and groups for pioneering new technologies, and the President dispenses the award at his discretion. Bill Clinton presented Ray Kurzweil with the National Medal of Technology during a White House ceremony in recognition of Kurzweil’s development of computer-based technologies to help the disabled.

The 2000 Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology. Two other individuals also received the same honor that year. The award is presented yearly to people who “exemplify the life, times and standard of contribution of Tesla, Westinghouse and Nunn.”

The 2001 Lemelson-MIT Prize for a lifetime of developing technologies to help the disabled and to enrich the arts. Only one is meted out each year to highly successful, mid-career inventors. A $500,000 award accompanies the prize.

Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002 for inventing the Kurzweil Reading Machine. The organization “honors the women and men responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.” Fifteen other people were inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year.

The Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award on April 20, 2009 for lifetime achievement as an inventor and futurist in computer-based technologies.

In 2008, the Arizona-Based experimental band “The Singularity Is Near” was formed, later changing their name to “Ray Kurzweil’s Face” in 2009. They are now respected as one of the most influential musical groups in Arizona over the past several years, raising awareness about Ray’s world-changing ideas and inventions, more specifically how humans will relate to technology and the universe in the coming 4060 years.

Kurzweil has received sixteen honorary degrees from as many institutions:

Type of degree

College

Year awarded

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Hofstra University

1982

Honorary Doctorate of Music

Berklee College of Music

1987

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Northeastern University

1988

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

1988

Honorary Doctorate of Engineering

Merrimack College

1989

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Misericordia University

1989

Honorary Doctorate of Science

New Jersey Institute of Technology

1990

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Queens College, City University of New York

1991

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Dominican College

1993

Honorary Doctorate in Science and Humanities

Michigan State University

2000

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Landmark College

2002

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2005

Honorary Doctorate of Science

DePaul University

2006

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Bloomfield College

2007

Honorary Doctorate of Science

McGill University

2008

Honorary Doctorate of Science

Clarkson University

2009

Involvement with futurism and transhumanism

This section is written like a personal reflection or essay and may require cleanup. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (June 2009)

After several years of closely tracking trends in the computer and machine industries, Kurzweil came to a realization: the innovation rate of computer technology was increasing not linearly but rather exponentially. With this, Kurzweil formed a method of predicting the course of technological development. As a computer scientist, Kurzweil also understood that there was no technical reason that this type of performance growth could not continue well into the 21st century.

Since growth in so many fields of science and technology depends upon computing power, such improvements translate into improvements to human knowledge and to non-computer sciences like nanotechnology, biotechnology, and materials science. Considering the ongoing exponential growth in computer capabilities, this means many new technologies will become available long before the majority of peopleho intuitively think linearly about technological advancexpect. This core idea is expressed by Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns”.

Kurzweil projects that between now and 2050 medical advances will allow people to radically extend their lifespans while preserving and even improving quality of life as they age. The aging process could at first be slowed, then halted, and then reversed as newer and better medical technologies became available. Kurzweil argues that much of this will be due to advances in medical nanotechnology, which will allow microscopic machines to travel through one’s body and repair all types of damage at the cellular level. But equally consequential developments will occur within the realm of computers as they become increasingly powerful, numerous and cheap between now and 2050. Kurzweil predicts that a computer will pass the Turing test by 2029, by demonstrating to have a mind (intelligence, self awareness, emotional richness) indistinguishable from a human’s. He predicts that the first AI is built around a computer simulation of a human brain, which is made possible by previous, nanotech-guided brainscanning. An AI machine could handle the full range of human intellectual tasks and would be both emotional and self-aware. Kurzweil suggests that AIs will inevitably become far smarter and more powerful than un-enhanced humans. He suggests that AIs will exhibit moral thinking and will respect humans as their ancestors. According to his predictions, the line between humans and machines will blur as a natural part of technological evolution. Cybernetic implants will greatly enhance human cognitive and physical abilities, and allow direct interface between humans and machines.

Kurzweil’s standing as a leading futurist and Transhumanist has gained him positions of prominence within pertinent organizations:

In December 2004, Kurzweil joined the advisory board of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

In October 2005, Kurzweil joined the scientific advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation.

On May 13, 2006, Kurzweil was the first speaker at the Stanford University Singularity Summit.

In February 2009, Kurzweil, in cooperation with Google and the NASA Ames Research Center, announced the creation of Singularity University. The University’s self-described mission is to “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity grand challenges”. Using Kurzweil’s Singularity concept as a foundation, the University, whose initial class of 40 Fellows began their nine-week graduate program in June, 2009, provides students the skills and tools to guide the process of the Singularity “for the benefit of humanity and its environment”. Singularity U encompasses cross-disciplinary studies in ten different scientific and future-oriented tracks, taught by industry experts.

Stand on nanotechnology

Wikinews has related news:

Climate change

Kurzweil is on the Army Science Advisory Board, has testified before Congress on the subject of nanotechnology, and sees considerable potential in the science to solve significant global problems such as poverty, disease, and climate change, viz. Nanotech Could Give Global Warming a Big Chill (July, 2006).

He predicts nanobots will be used to maintain the human body and to extend the human lifespan.

Kurzweil has stressed the extreme potential dangers of nanotechnology, but argues that in practice, progress cannot be stopped, and any attempt to do so will retard the progress of defensive and beneficial technologies more than the malevolent ones, increasing the danger. He says that the proper place of regulation is to make sure progress proceeds safely and quickly. He applies this reasoning to biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and technology in general.[citation needed]

The Law of Accelerating Returns

Main article: Accelerating change

In his controversial 2001 essay, “The Law of Accelerating Returns”, Kurzweil proposes an extension of Moore’s law that forms the basis of the concept of “Technological Singularity”.

Predictions

Main article: Predictions made by Raymond Kurzweil

This section may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. More details may be available on the talk page. (December 2007)

The Age of Intelligent Machines

Arguably, Kurzweil gained a large amount of credibility as a futurist from his first book The Age of Intelligent Machines. It was written from 1986 to 1989 and published in 1990. Building on Ithiel de Sola Pool’s “Technologies of Freedom” (1983), Kurzweil forecast the demise of the Soviet Union due to new technologies such as cellular phones and fax machines disempowering authoritarian governments by removing state control over the flow of information. In the book Kurzweil also extrapolated preexisting trends in the improvement of computer chess software performance to predict correctly that computers would beat the best human players by 1998, and most likely in that year. In fact, the event occurred in May 1997 when chess World Champion Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue computer in a well-publicized chess tournament. Perhaps most significantly, Kurzweil foresaw the explosive growth in worldwide 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 limits 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.

Kurzweil also accurately forecast that, by the end of the 1990s, many documents would exist solely in computers and on the Internet, and that they would commonly be embedded with sounds, animations, and videos that would inhibit their transfer to paper format. Moreover, he foresaw that cellular phones would grow in popularity while shrinking in size for the foreseeable future.

The Age of Spiritual Machines

In 1999, Kurzweil published a second book titled The Age of Spiritual Machines, which goes into more depth explaining his futurist ideas. The third and final section of the book is devoted to elucidating the specific course of technological advancements Kurzweil predicts the world will experience over the next century. Titled “To Face the Future”, the section is divided into four chapters respectively named “2009”, “2019”, “2029”, and “2099”. In each chapter, Kurzweil makes predictions about what life and technology will be like in that year.

While the veracity of Kurzweil’s predictions beyond 2009 cannot yet be determined, many of the ideas of the “2009” chapter have been scrutinized. To begin, Kurzweil’s claims that 2009 would be a year of continued transition as purely electronic computer memory continued to replace older rotating memory seems to be disproved by continued rapid growth in hard-disk capacity and unit sales, while high-capacity flash drives have yet to catch on in high-volume applications. Nonetheless, solid state storage is the preferred means of storage in low-volume applications such as MP3 players, handheld gaming systems, cellular phones and digital cameras. Many companies produce a 256 GB solid state drive for use in laptops and desktops, but these drives will cost over $600, making storage on them cost roughly five times the price of comparable hard-disk storage. On the other hand, Kurzweil correctly foresaw the growing ubiquity of wireless Internet access and cordless computer peripherals. Perhaps of more importance, Kurzweil presaged the explosive growth in peer-to-peer filesharing and the emergence of the Internet as a major medium for commerce and for accessing media such as movies, television programs, newspaper and magazine text, and music. He also claimed that three-dimensional computer chips would be in common use by 2009 (though older, “2-D” chips would still predominate). But although IBM has recently developed the necessary chip-stacking technology and announced plans to begin using three-dimensional chips in its supercomputers and for wireless communication applications, chip stacking remains a low-volume technology in 2009.

The Singularity is Near

While this book focuses on the future of technology and the human race as did The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines, Kurzweil makes very few concrete, short-term predictions in The Singularity is Near, though longer-term visions are present in abundance. He recently discussed the singularity with Vice Magazine and was filmed for a documentary on the magazine online network VBS.tv.

Work on nutrition, health and lifestyle

Ray Kurzweil admits that he cared little for his health until age 35, when he was diagnosed with a glucose intolerance, an early form of type II diabetes (a major risk factor for heart disease). Kurzweil then found a doctor that shares his non-conventional beliefs to develop an extreme regimen involving hundreds of pills, chemical i.v. treatments, red wine and various other methods to attempt to live longer.

Kurzweil believes that the radical technological advances made throughout the 21st century will ultimately culminate with the discovery of means to reverse the aging process, cure any disease, and repair presently unrepairable injuries. Kurzweil has thus focused himself towards following a lifestyle intended to heighten his odds of living to see the day when science can make him immortal. Kurzweil calls this the “Bridge to a Bridge to a Bridge” strategy: The first bridge to longer life is Kurzweil’s regimen, whereas the second- and third bridges are based on advanced biotechnologies and nanotechnologies, respectively, that have not yet been invented. Kurzweil believes they will allow for progressively longer human lifespans to the point of immortality and that successfully implementing the first “bridge” now allows one to reach the second in the future, which then allows one to reach the third.

Some elements of Kurzweil’s lifestyle are conventional. He exercises frequently, does not eat to excess, and does not abuse recreational drugs. Many others, however, are controversial and may be explained by his obsession with living as long as possible. Kurzweil ingests “250 supplements, eight to 10 glasses of alkaline water and 10 cups of green tea” every day and drinks several glasses of red wine a week in an effort to “reprogram” his biochemistry. Lately, he has cut down the number of supplement pills to 150.

Although not supported by science, Kurzweil and many others believe that consuming large amounts of water is necessary for flushing toxins out of the body, and that alkaline water allows the body to preserve important enzymes used for neutralizing acidic metabolic wastes. For this reason, Kurzweil abhors soft drinks and coffee, which are both acidic. Kurzweil believes that acidic drinks drain detoxifying enzyme reserves. Kurzweil has taken criticism from nutritionists and scientists for his advocacy of alkaline water’s alleged health benefits and other unconventional beliefs, and he responded to this over the Internet. Green tea and red wine contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Kurzweil also consumes red wine because it contains the compound resveratrol, which may help to fight heart disease according to some evidence, but it is also a potentiator of breast carcinomas which may prove to out-weigh any suggested benefit. Kurzweil also takes pills containing high concentrations of the chemical because the amount in red wine is extremely inconsistent.

On weekends, Kurzweil also undergoes intravenous transfusions of chemical cocktails at a clinic which he believes will reprogram his biochemistry. He routinely measures the chemical composition of his own bodily fluids, undergoes preemptive medical tests for many diseases and disorders, and keeps detailed records about the content of all the meals he eats. On that last note, Kurzweil only eats organic foods with low glycemic loads and claims it has been years since he last consumed anything containing sugar. Kurzweil considers foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates to be unhealthy since they spike the levels of glucose and insulin in the bloodstream, leading to health problems in the long term. He instead eats mainly vegetables, lean meats, tofu, and low glycemic load carbohydrates, and only uses extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Kurzweil also diligently eats foods rich with Omega-3 fatty acids (including small, wild salmon).

Moreover, Kurzweil makes it a priority to get sufficient sleep for physical and psychological health, and he maintains low stress levels in part by meditating and getting massages weekly. He exercises daily with walking, bike-riding and using workout machines, but advises against high-impact forms of exercise. Kurzweil claims that his rigorous efforts have yielded positive results, pointing to his vitamin-selling business partner who claims his “biological age” is more than a decade younger than his chronological age. In fact, Kurzweil claims that his personal health regimen has actually slowed down his rate of aging. He also advocates maintaining a slightly below-average body weight on the grounds that it imparts some of the life-extension benefits of full caloric restriction.

Kurzweil joined the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics company. In the event of his death, Kurzweil’s body will be chemically preserved, frozen in liquid nitrogen, and stored at an Alcor facility in the hope that future medical technology will be able to revive him.

Kurzweil has authored three books on the subjects of nutrition, health and immortality: The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and TRANSCEND: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever. In all, he recommends that other people emulate his health practices to the best of their abilities.

Kurzweil and his current “anti-aging” doctor, Terry Grossman, MD., now have two websites promoting their first and second book, and sells their “longevity products”, many of which can be found on medical scam warning sites.

Stance on religion

Though Kurzweil’s parents were Jewish, they raised him as a Unitarian and exposed him to many different faiths during his youth. Kurzweil gave a 2007 keynote speech to the United Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut, alongside Barack Obama, who was then a Presidential candidate. In The Singularity is Near he expresses a need for a new religion based on the principle of mutual respect between sentient life forms, and on the principle of respecting knowledge. This religion would not have a leader, instead being purely personal to adherents.

According to Kurzweil he primary role of traditional religion is deathist rationalizationhat is, rationalizing the tragedy of death as a good thing. In order to benefit from what the Singularity can bring, we need to overcome our deathist rationalization. We need to sweep traditional religion out of our road.59]

“Religious tradition might attempt to slow down technological innovation, transhumanists accuse religious representatives of holding a vested interest in provenance over matters of death and immortality. One of the impediments to the advance toward cybernetic immortality is religion, they say. Religion stands in the way. Religion threatens to block progress. This is because religion has traditionally sought to provide a palliative for people faced with death. Religion brings acceptance of death, and comfort with that acceptance. Ready to engage in combat with traditional religion, in Promethean style Kurzweil wants to defy death and use nanotechnology as a weapon to defeat death.”

Criticism

Even beyond philosophical arguments over whether a machine can “think” (see Philosophy of artificial intelligence), Kurzweil’s ideas have generated much criticism within the scientific community and in the media. Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation, has called the notion of a technological singularity “intelligent design for the IQ 140 people…This proposition that we’re heading to this point at which everything is going to be just unimaginably differentt’s fundamentally, in my view, driven by a religious impulse. And all of the frantic arm-waving can’t obscure that fact for me.”

VR pioneer Jaron Lanier has been one of the strongest critics of Kurzweil ideas, describing them as ybernetic totalism (totalitarianism), and has outlined his views on the culture surrounding Kurzweil predictions in an essay for Edge.org entitled One Half of a Manifesto.

Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gdel, Escher, Bach, has said of Kurzweil’s and Hans Moravec’s books: “It as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can’t possibly figure out what’s good or bad. It’s an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it’s very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they’re not stupid.”

Although the idea of a technological singularity is a popular concept in science fiction, some authors such as Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling have voiced scepticism about its real-world plausibility. Sterling expressed his views on the singularity scenario in a talk at the Long Now Foundation entitled The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole. Other prominent AI thinkers and computer scientists such as Daniel Dennett, Rodney Brooks, and David Gelernter have also criticized Kurzweil projections.

Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, agrees with Kurzweil’s timeline of future progress, but thinks that technologies such as AI, nanotechnology and advanced biotechnology will create a dystopian world.

Daniel Lyons, writing in Newsweek, criticized Kurzweil for some of his predictions which turned out to be wrong; such as the economy continuing to boom from the 1998 dot-com through 2009, a US company having a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion, a supercomputer achieving 20 petaflops, speech recognition being in widespread use and cars that would drive themselves using sensors installed in highways; all by 2009. To the charge that 20 petaflop supercomputer was not produced in the time he predicted, Kurzweil responded that he considers Google a giant supercomputer, and that it is capable of 20 petaflops.

Biologist P.Z. Myers has criticized Kurzweil’s predictions as being based on “New Age spiritualism” rather than science and says that Kurzweil does not understand basic biology. Myers also says that Kurzweil picks and chooses events that appear to demonstrate his claim of exponential technological increase leading up to a singularity, and ignores events that do not.

See also

Accelerating change

Paradigm shift

Simulated reality

Singularity University

Technological singularity

Transhumanism

Transcendent Man (film)

Predictive medicine

Full Genome Sequencing

References

^ Inventor of the Week

^ KurzweilAI.net

^ Piano performance is seen at the beginning of his C-SPAN interview on CSPAN-2 Book TV, November 5, 2006

^ a b Intel Science Talent Search (STS): STS Alumni & Their Honors

^ http://www.kurzweiltech.com/raybio.html

^ links.jstor.org

^ See details at: http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=542059.

^ The smartest (or the nuttiest) futurist on Earthay 14, 2007

^ a b Raymond Kurzweil at the Internet Movie Database

^ KUSHNER, David (February 19, 2009), “When Man & Machine Merge”, Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/25939914/when_man__machine_merge 

^ Era of smart people is dawning

^ “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: The Singularity”. http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/news/2007/11/kurzweil_qa. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 

^ Singularity The Movie release date

^ “Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever”. http://www.rayandterry.com/transcend/. 

^ “Interview H+ Magazine Winter 2009”. http://www.hplusmagazine.com/articles/ai/ray-kurzweil-h-interview. 

^ http://www.kurzweiltech.com/rayspeakerbio.html

^ Survival of the Machines

^ http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS106533+03-Jan-2008+PRN20080103

^ ACM Awards: Grace Murray Hopper Award

^ ACM: Fellows Award / Raymond Kurzweil

^ Engineer of the Year Hall of Fame, 6/12/2007

^ Dickson Prize

^ Corporation names new members

^ National Medal of Technology Recipients, Technology Administration

^ The National Medal of Technology

^ Telluride Tech Festival

^ Winners’ Circle: Raymond Kurzweil

^ Lemelson-MIT Prize

^ Ray Kurzweil Inventor Profile

^ Hall of Fame Overview

^ Hall of Fame 2002

^ http://www.kurzweilai.net/news/frame.html?main=/news/news_single.html?id=10468

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n http://www.kurzweiltech.com/raycv.html

^ http://www.planetpatent.com/Articles/RayKurzweilLandmarkInventions.htm

^ http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=100220

^ http://www.clarkson.edu/news/view.php?id=2249

^ singinst.org

^ lifeboat.com

^ sfgate.com

^ http://singularityu.org/about/faq/

^ Nanotech Could Give Global Warming a Big Chill (July, 2006)

^ “Machines ‘to match man by 2029′”. BBC News. 2008-02-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7248875.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 

^ a b “In Depth: Ray Kurzweil”. CSPAN-2. Book TV. 2006-11-05. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20070220014203/http://www.booktv.org/feature/index.asp?segid=7515&schedID=457. Retrieved 2008-02-17.  at 85, 147, 167 and 173 minutes into 3 hour interview

^ “In Depth: Ray Kurzweil” (RealAudio). Book TV. http://www.booktv.org/ram/feature/1106/arc_btv110506_4.ram. Retrieved 2008-02-17.  direct link to 3 hour Kurzweil interview

^ “The Law of Accelerating Returns”

^ Fleeing the dot.com era: decline in Internet usage

^

^ IBM Extends Moore’s Law to the Third Dimension

^ RAY KURZWEIL- That Singularity Guy Vice magazine. April 2009

^ Youtube video :The Singularity of Ray Kurzweil

^ Wired News: ” Never Say Die: Live Forever”

^ Glenn Beck Interview with Ray Kurzweil

^ Five Myths About Water

^ Ray Kurweil Discusses Alkaline and Ionized Water

^ Quackwatch.org article about resveratrol

^ Fantasic Voyage

^ Ray and Terry’s

^ Quackwatch.org’s list of supplements, etc.

^ a b Simon Young and Robert A. Freitas (2005). Designer Evolution, p. 372, Prometheus Books, ISBN 13-9781591022909.

^ O’Keefe, Brian (2007-05-02). “The smartest (or the nuttiest) futurist on Earth”. Fortune. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/14/100008848/. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 

^ Lanier, Jaron. “One Half of a Manifesto”. Edge.org. http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier/lanier_p1.html. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 

^ Ross, Greg. “An interview with Douglas R. Hofstadter”. American Scientist. http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/douglas-r-hofstadter. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 

^ Miller, Robin (2004-10-20). “Neal Stephenson Responds With Wit and Humor”. Slashdot. http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/20/1518217. Retrieved 2008-08-28. “My thoughts are more in line with those of Jaron Lanier, who points out that while hardware might be getting faster all the time, software is shit (I am paraphrasing his argument). And without software to do something useful with all that hardware, the hardware’s nothing more than a really complicated space heater.” 

^ Brand, Stewart (2004-06-14). “Bruce Sterling – “The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole””. The Long Now Foundation. http://blog.longnow.org/2004/06/14/bruce-sterling-the-singularity-your-future-as-a-black-hole/. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 

^ Sterling, Bruce. “The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole” (MP3). http://media.longnow.org/seminars/salt-0200406-sterling/salt-0200406-sterling.mp3. “It an end-of-history notion, and like most end-of-history notions, it is showing its age.” 

^ Dennett, Daniel. “The Reality Club: One Half Of A Manifesto”. Edge.org. http://www.edge.org/discourse/jaron_manifesto.html#dennett. “”I’m glad that Lanier entertains the hunch that Dawkins and I (and Hofstadter and others) ‘see some flaw in logic that insulates [our] thinking from the eschatalogical implications’ drawn by Kurzweil and Moravec. He right. I, for one, do see such a flaw, and I expect Dawkins and Hofstadter would say the same.”” 

^ Brooks, Rodney. “The Reality Club: One Half Of A Manifesto”. Edge.org. http://www.edge.org/discourse/jaron_manifesto.html#brooks. “I do not at all agree with Moravec and Kurzweil’s predictions for an eschatological cataclysm, just in time for their own memories and thoughts and person hood to be preserved before they might otherwise die.” 

^ Transcript of debate over feasibility of near-term AI (moderated by Rodney Brooks): “Gelernter, Kurzweil debate machine consciousness”. KurzweilAI.net. http://www.edge.org/discourse/jaron_manifesto.html#brooks. 

^ Joy, Bill (April 2000). “Why the future doesn’t need us”. Wired. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy_pr.html. Retrieved 2008-09-21. “…it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil…” 

^ a b Lyons, Daniel (May 2009). “I, Robot”. Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/197812/page/2. Retrieved 2009-05-22. “During the height of the dotcom boom in 1998, Kurzweil predicted that the economy would keep on booming right through 2009 (and on to 2019, for that matter) and that one U.S. company (he didn’t say which) would have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Not even close. Kurzweil also predict-ed that by 2009 a top supercomputer would be capable of performing 20 quadrillion operations per second (20 petaflops in computer jargon), the same as the human brain. In fact, the top supercomputer just broke the one-petaflop markhough Kurzweil says he considers all of Google to be a giant supercomputer and that it is, indeed, capable of performing 20 petaflops. Kurzweil also predicted that by now our cars would be able to drive themselves by communicating with intelligent sensors embedded in highways, and that speech recognition would be in widespread use.” 

^ Lyons, Daniel (May 2009). “I, Robot”. Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/197812. Retrieved 2009-07-24. “Still, a lot of people think Kurzweil is completely bonkers and/or full of a certain messy byproduct of ordinary biological functions. They include P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who has used his blog to poke fun at Kurzweil and other armchair futurists who, according to Myers, rely on junk science and don’t understand basic biology. “I am completely baffled by Kurzweil’s popularity, and in particular the respect he gets in some circles, since his claims simply do not hold up to even casually critical examination,” writes Myers. He says Kurzweil’s Singularity theories are closer to a deluded religious movement than they are to science. “It’s a New Age spiritualismhat’s all it is,” Myers says. “Even geeks want to find God somewhere, and Kurzweil provides it for them.”” 

^ Myers, Paul Zachary (February 2009). “Singularly silly singularity”. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/singularly_silly_singularity.php. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Raymond Kurzweil

Kurzweil Companies web site

KurzweilAI.net – a vast resource, including some of his books for free

Raymond Kurzweil’s IP – all of Raymond Kurzweil’s US patents & patent applications

Ray and Terry’s Longevity Program

Singularity University, Ray Kurzweil, Chancellor

Transcendent Man – Official Site. Movie about Ray Kurzweil

Singularity is Near Movie (2009) – Official Site

The Singularity A comprehensive documentary about the Singularity (2010) – Official Site

Big Think official Ray Kurzweil page

Machine Dreams – CIO Magazine interview, October 15, 2004

Warfighting in the 21st Century – The Remote, Robotic, Robust, Size-Reduced, Virtual Reality Paradigm – Keynote address, 24th Army Science Conference, November 29, 2004

TED Talks: Ray Kurzweil on how technology will transform us at TED in 2005 (audio/video)

Robot Wars – news@nature site interview, February 8, 2005

The future, just around the bend, The Economist, 10 March 2005

The Council on Foreign Relations; An Exponentially Expanding Future From Exponentially Shrinking Technology, November 30 2005

Interview on NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday – December 23, 2005

The Singularity Summit at Stanford, May 2006

Human v 2.0: Ray Kurzweil vs. Hugo de Garis October 24, 2006

25th Annual Army Science Conference November 27, 2006 Web Hosted Presentation, Slides, Video

Debate between Ray Kurzweil and David Gelernter at MIT on November 30 2006

Web 3.0 – How the next version of the Web will prepare us for the Singularity December 11, 2006

– The Edge Annual Question – 2007; What are you Optimistic About? Why?

Interview with Ray Kurzweil and Sample of Ray Kurzweil keynote from Interwoven’s GearUp Podcast

Ray Kurzweil interview on C-SPAN2 Book TV, 3 hours in length

The smartest futurist on earth – CNN Money article May 2, 2007

Accelerating Change presentation from Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), Third Conference, Queens’ College, Cambridge, England, 9 September 2007

Glenn Beck interview of Ray Kurzweil, May 30, 2008 and transcript of the interview.

Interview on NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday – June 6, 2008

Audio: Ray Kurzweil in conversation on the BBC World Service discussion programme The Forum

Raymond Kurzweil at the Internet Movie Database

Persondata

NAME

Kurzweil, Raymond

ALTERNATIVE NAMES

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Author, Scientist, & Futurist

DATE OF BIRTH

February 12, 1948

PLACE OF BIRTH

Queens, New York, United States

DATE OF DEATH

PLACE OF DEATH

Categories: 1948 births | American health and wellness writers | American science writers | American technology writers | Artificial intelligence researchers | Austrian-American Jews | Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery | Futurologists | Grace Murray Hopper Award laureates | Lemelson-MIT Prize | Life extensionists | Living people | Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni | National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees | National Medal of Technology recipients | Singularitarianism | Transhumanists | ImmortalityHidden categories: Articles with hCards | Wikipedia articles needing style editing from June 2009 | All articles needing style editing | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from January 2008 | Articles that may contain original research from December 2007 | All articles that may contain original research | Articles with obsolete information | Cleanup from section | Wikipedia external links cleanup | Wikipedia spam cleanup
About the Author

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Frbiz.com reports Home appliance policy stimulation sales recycling service dragged back

Their power to old change since the implementation of the new policy, gradually to pull effect. Last week, the ministry of commerce has announced new MDX home appliance with the latest statistics data management system, ending nov. 16, including Beijing, Shanghai, guangdong, nine provinces of pilot five kinds of old appliances 239, five new appliances sales, sales of 80.21 203 million billion yuan. “New MDX to contribute at least five kinds of home appliance product the 30% of sales. Guangzhou gome manager in accepting our correspondent high cluster interview emphasizes saying.

With the new MDX appliances sales sharply form contrast, many consumer also reflects the recycling enterprises in recycling discarded appliances efficient slant generally slow, restrict the home appliance with old change new growth prospects.

Annual sales approximation million

In the latest home appliance with new MDX statistics, nine provinces of pilot five kinds of old appliances, TV 168.7 23.9 million sets, refrigerators, washing machines 30.9 21.7 million units, air conditioning units, computer 14.3 3.4 million, And five new appliances sales of television sets, 93.8 203 324 million sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning 24.1 31.8 million, computer 20.9 million.

“Obviously, during the National Day of this year in the refrigerator, our product year-on-year growth rate in the 30% above.” Hisense kelon guangzhou branch officials told reporters, due to stab at home appliance new MDX policy, even if not in the fridge, freezer peak sales sales of products still presents the obvious rising trend.

Reporter noticed, and the ministry announced last month new MDX home appliance with different data in the past one month, home appliance with new MDX annual sales growth has already close to 100 million,. Public figures showed that in a month before nine provinces, the pilot five kinds of recycling old appliances 138 million for the new home appliance, sales, sales for the 40.49 million RMB 10.23 billion yuan. Single means of guangdong, as of October 28th, guangdong recycling old appliances 10.8 million, sales, sales of new appliance 7.6 million 3 million yuan, and the new appliances sales where 474% year-on-year growth and 764%, 805% sales growth. Guangzhou gome all WangYongHong manager revealed, in home appliance with old change new policies, nearly two, three months, guangzhou gome store electrical appliances product sales growth under, and at last week, only the recovery of guangzhou gome appliances with old change new product has more than 80,000, TV is big.

Recycling service to improve

Obviously, home appliance with old change new policies for each big bid appliances manufacturers selling, is undoubtedly a positive. The benefit from home appliance with new MDX stimulating sales, guangzhou, foshan and zhongshan, dongguan city, even the home appliance sells supply varieties of tension. Yet some of the electrical appliances sale, participate in bidding for recycling enterprises also pressed for time, demands for the second batch of bidding and participate in the bid-winning enterprises become.

However, in the home appliance with old change quickly spread of new policies at the same time, each are big the sales and recycling enterprises in the concrete implementation process also appeared a lot of problems. Reporter in the home appliance with old change new website to see the complaint center, since the mid August, official since the start of the complaint center, so far, has received the complaint to 400, including recycling link has become one of the most concern of the consumers.

“Well, not to collect the recycling, delay time, call my day, service attitude is poor phone”, “a month, how old machine is not recycling” in the complaint center on the boards, many consumers for electrical appliances with old change new old home appliance recycling rate constant questioning.

This, analysts say, the enterprise and the dismantling of recovery, a number of enterprises and often only a pilot enterprise, and the dismantling of the quantity, recycling enterprises than this, causing dissembling enterprise to keep up with the recycling of waste recycling appliance enterprise. In addition, some consumer appliances reflects too low price. Industry insiders point, with the home appliance with new MDX policy execution process forward, how will service, will do in this round about appliance manufacturers in the final share allocation. The cake,

About the Author

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http://www.frbiz.com/ contain a great deal of information about home ice shaver,
smart support backpack,welcome to visit!

The Daily Geek #80 – December 4th, 2008

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