Death by Technology


Ray Kurzweil might be the most interesting man of all-time.  He also might be from the future.  One thing is for certain; give this man twenty minutes of your time and he is guaranteed to blow your mind.  The Wall Street Journal has described him as “the restless genius.”  Forbes magazine called him “the ultimate thinking machine” and ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States.  PBS named him one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America.”  Not to mention honors from three US Presidents, five national best-selling books, nineteen honorary Doctorates, and an induction into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.  How can one mind possess so much knowledge and unrelenting idea creation?  Ray Kurzweil’s mind is truly too big and too powerful for me to fully understand, kind of like Google.  It is truly fitting then that Google recently hired Ray as Director of Engineering, and he is undertaking the ultimate project.

I’ll let Ray summarize the main idea behind it – “I envision in some years that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking,”  Google must believe he is close and capable to reach this goal, as they brought him in as part of Google rather than let Ray build this project independently.  Ray intends on creating a search engine that would “act like a ‘cybernetic friend,’ who knows users better than they know themselves.”  It is quite ironic that Ray is behind this project; much of his work has been devoted to how the acceleration of technology will overcome the biological capability of humans and have severe implications for the future of the human species (or something like that).

While many of his ideas are wild and hard to completely understand, his high level of thinking is unmatched.  He almost makes statements that I did not think human minds would be capable of developing, like he knows more than the rest of us.  Who knows?  Maybe Ray is actually just one of those robots from the future that he claims will be inevitably realistic in the next 10-20 years.  Many of his talks are long, but I attached a few clips below.  There is a lot more information on Ray on the web, so feel free to search other videos if you are interested.

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4 thoughts on “Death by Technology

  1. Sounds to me like he is trying to solve artificial intelligence. I have heard his name mentioned before, and I would be extremely interested in hearing his thoughts on humans approaching the singularity as we call it.

  2. You did a great job of talking up Ray Kurzweil in your post. After reading it he seems like the type of person that would be perfect to come to Bucknell and discuss technology and the future. After looking him up I was surprised to see how many things he has had his hand in inventing.

  3. I had no idea who Ray Kurzwell was before this post but I absolutely want to meet him. Without knowing him, it really seemed like Google was the most appropriate person/thing to compare him too. The fact that he is working on a search engine that will act as someone who knows you sounds like an unreal idea right now. After reading this post, I would definitely advance Kurzwell to my top 5 without even knowing him.

  4. Ray’s mention about these advanced search engines reminded me of an idea I’ve had for about a year now. I won’t get into details, but it’s like Mike mentioned — a search engine that acts like someone who knows you. Basically, it’s a personalized homepage where you put all of your preferences, characteristics, favorite activities, etc. but it’s completely private and no one else can see it. From here, you will be presented with everything the Internet has to offer based on the information you gave. There’s a lot more to it, but I think it’s cool that he mentions something kind of similar. So we should get him to come to Bucknell and then maybe I could explain my idea to him!

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