Dan Lyons on Singularity Man Ray Kurzweil

Dan Lyons (formerly Fake Steve Jobs) has an article about Ray Kurzweil, who is behind the new Singularity University and whose book The Singularity is Near will soon be a movie, in Newsweek. Excerpt:

Ray Kurzweil's wildest dream is to be turned into a cyborg—a
flesh-and-blood human enhanced with tiny embedded computers, a
man-machine hybrid with billions of microscopic nanobots coursing
through his bloodstream. And there's a moment, halfway through a
conversation in his office in Wellesley, Mass., when I start to think
that Kurzweil's transformation has already begun. It's the way he
talks—in a flat, robotic monotone. Maybe it's just because he's been
giving the same spiel, over and over, for years now. He does 70
speeches annually at $30,000 a pop, and draws crowds of adoring fans
who worship him as a kind of prophet. Kurzweil is a legend in the world
of computer geeks, an inventor, author and computer scientist who bills
himself as a futurist. The ideas he's espousing are as radical as
anything you've ever heard. But the strangest thing about Ray Kurzweil
is that when you sit down for a one-on-one chat with him, he's
absolutely boring.

Listen closely, though, and you may
be slightly terrified. Kurzweil believes computer intelligence is
advancing so rapidly that in a couple of decades, machines will be as
intelligent as humans. Soon after that they will surpass humans and
start creating even smarter technology. By the middle of this century,
the only way for us to keep up will be to merge with the machines so
that their superior intelligence can boost our weak little brains and
beef up our pitiful, illness-prone bodies. Some of Kurzweil's fellow
futurists believe these superhuman computers will want nothing to do
with us—that we will become either their pets or, worse yet, their
food. Always an optimist, Kurzweil takes a more upbeat view. He swears
these superhuman computers will love us, and honor us, since we'll be
their ancestors. He also thinks we'll be able to embed our
consciousness into silicon, which means we can live on, inside
machines, forever and ever, amen.

Link: Ray Kurzweil Wants to Be a Robot.

See also this companion article by John Horgan: Ray Kurzweil's Science Cult.

2 thoughts on “Dan Lyons on Singularity Man Ray Kurzweil

  1. $30,000/speech? As though he needs a further padding from reality.
    Whenever I read about any aspect of the GREAT TECHNOLOGY PROPHECY all I hear in my head is “Whitey on the Moon”.

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