The first two questions face anyone who cares to distinguish the real from the unreal and the true from the false. The third question faces anyone who makes any decisions at all, and even not deciding is itself a decision. Thus all persons practice philosophy whether they know it or not. Autocosmic Answers What is existing?
Background[ edit ] Ray Kurzweil in Ray Kurzweil is an Age of computers the rise of the machines and serial entrepreneur. When The Age of Spiritual Machines was published he had already started four companies: Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc.
After this book was published he went on to expand upon its ideas in a follow-on book The Singularity is Near. Today Ray Kurzweil works at Google where he is attempting to "create a truly useful AI [artificial intelligence] that will make all of us smarter".
This is not a paradox, he writes, entropy disorder is increasing overall, but local pockets of increasing order are flourishing. Kurzweil explains how biological evolution leads to technology which leads to computation which leads to Moore's law.
As in The Age of Intelligent Machines Kurzweil argues here that evolution has an intelligence quotient just slightly greater than zero. He says it is not higher than that because evolution operates so slowly, and intelligence is a function of time.
Kurzweil explains that humans are far more intelligent than evolution, based on what we have created in the last few thousand years, and that in turn our creations will soon be more intelligent than us.
The law of accelerating returns predicts this will happen within decades, Kurzweil reveals. He tackles the mystery of how self-awareness and consciousness can arise from mere matter, but without resolution.
Based partly on his Unitarian religious education Kurzweil feels "all of these views are correct when viewed together, but insufficient when viewed one at a time" while at the same time admitting this is "contradictory and makes little sense".
In the future, Kurzweil believes, computers will "claim to be conscious, and thus to be spiritual" and concludes "twenty-first-century machines" will go to church, meditate, and pray to connect with this spirituality.
Kurzweil says Alan Turing 's paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence launched the field of artificial intelligence.
He admits that early progress in the field led to wild predictions of future successes which did not materialize. Kurzweil feels intelligence is the "ability to use optimally limited resources" to achieve goals.
A neuron either fires or not "reducing the babble of its inputs to a single bit". Recursion, neural nets and genetic algorithms are all components of intelligent machines, Kurzweil explains.
Beyond algorithms Kurzweil says the machines will also need knowledge. The emergent techniques, neural nets and genetic algorithms, require significant training effort above and beyond creating the initial machinery. To build an artificial brain requires formulas, knowledge and sufficient computational power, explains Kurzweil.
Kurzweil differentiates between scanning the brain to understand it, in a generic fashion, and scanning a particular person's brain in order to preserve it in exact detail, for "uploading" into a computer for example. The latter is much harder to do, he notes, because it requires capturing much more detail, but it will eventually happen as well.
When it does "we will be software, not hardware" and our mortality will become a function of our ability to "make frequent backups". He reviews all the various body implants that existed when the book was published, explaining that our bodies are already becoming more synthetic over time.
Kurzweil says this trend will continue and that the technology will advance from macroscopic implants, to cellular sized insertions, and finally to nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has the potential to reshape the entire world, Kurzweil exclaims. Assembling materials molecule by molecule could solve energy problems, cure cancer and other diseases, strengthen our bodies, and produce self-assembling food, clothing, and buildings.
Kurzweil admits that nanotechnology carries a big risk; a self-replicating substance, without the constraints of a living organism, might grow out of control and consume everything. However he points out that today there are already technologies which pose grave risks, for example nuclear power or weaponsand we have managed to keep them relatively safe, so he feels we can probably do the same with nanotechnology.
Although he quickly brings things back to nanotechnology by pointing out that sufficiently advanced nanotechnology will be like having a virtual world, since " utility fog " will appear to be entirely absent and then instantly morph into functional physical shapes.
Kurzweil broaches the topic of sex in futuristic times, reminding us that every new technology "adopts sexual themes". Kurzweil explains that in computers are essential to most facets of life, yet he predicts no major disruption related to the then-pending Y2K problem.
He says computers are narrow-minded and brittle so far, but suggests in specific domains they are showing signs of intelligence. As examples Kurzweil cites computer generated or assisted music, and tools for the automatic or semi-automatic production of literature or poetry. Kurzweil reviews some of his predictions from The Age of Intelligent Machines and various past presentations, and is very pleased with his record.
Finally he predicts a new Luddite movement as intelligent machines take away jobs, although he predicts a net gain of new and better jobs.
Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil Kurzweil has a dense chapter of predictions for each of these years: For example, when discussing the year he makes many separate predictions related to computer hardware, education, people with disabilities, communication, business and economics, politics and society, the arts, warfare, health and medicine, and philosophy.
Similarly in he says there is interest and speculation about the Turing testby there are "prevalent reports" of computers passing the test, but not rigorously, while by machines "routinely" pass the test, although there is still controversy about how machine and human intelligence compare.
Dollar figures are in dollars. Kurzweil predicts life expectancy will rise to "over one hundred" byto byand will be indefinitely long by as humans and computers will have merged.
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