Charlie Rose is an American television talk show host and journalist that engages Americas best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions. Recently he had the opportunity to interview Ray Kurzweil, the author, inventor and futurist that is referenced so frequently here on my blog.
The interview is presented below:
I’m interested in this notion of a coming singularity—computers surpassing humans—and your obsession with immortality. What led you there?
I really started with this exploration of where technology is headed and the tremendous power of exponential growth. So where radical life extension comes from is the observation that biology is a set of software processes. We have software running in our bodies. It’s out of date. It evolved thousands of years ago. Our approach so far to health and medicine has been hit-or-miss. We find treatments accidentally. Here’s something that lowers blood pressure. We don’t know why it works. Now we’re actually gaining access to that software, understanding how it works. These technologies will double in power every year. They’ll be 1,000 times more powerful in 10 years, a million times more powerful in 20 years. What I’m looking forward to is the tipping point where we’re adding more time than is going by in terms of life expectancy. The sands of time will start running in rather than running out within a couple decades.
Time magazine covered Ray Kurzweil and the movie Transcendent Man. This may be one of the steps on the way to the Singularity and Immortality becoming mainstream. Congrats to the director, Barry Ptolemy, and his team.
Read the whole story 2045: The year man becomes immortal
Transcendent Man is a documentary film by director and producer Barry Ptolemy about the life of inventor, futurist and transhumanist Ray Kurzweil.
The film introduces the ideas of Kurzweil who journeys the world offering his vision of a future in which we will merge with the super-intelligent machines we have created and can live forever…all within the next thirty years!
Kurzweil predicts that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, humanity is fast approaching an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than today. This will be the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations. In Kurzweil’s post-biological world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. Human aging and illness will be reversed, world hunger and poverty will be solved, and we will ultimately cure death.
Transcendent man is coming soon to theaters but here is the trailer. This will be a great documentary!
Ray Kurzweil, an American author, inventor and futurist has been discussed on my blog in many previous posts. He has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries.
Recently TIME Magazine had an opportunity to interview Ray and asked him for his prediction of what’s to come for humanity. I thought it would be of interest, so here are TIME’s 10 Questions for Ray Kurzweil:
Question: Is it a mistake to use the events of the recent past as a method of predicting the future?
Answer: Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.
Question: You predict we’ll reach a point with artificial intelligence that you call the singularity. How will that affect us?
Answer: By the time we get to the 2040s, we’ll be able to multiply human intelligence a billionfold. That will be a profound change that’s singular in nature. Computers are going to keep getting smaller and smaller. Ultimately, they will go inside our bodies and brains and make us healthier, make us smarter. We’ll be online all the time. Search engines won’t wait to be asked.
Earlier this month, I wrote about Sebastian Seung and his ideas on mapping the connections between the neurons of the human brain. Seung thought that by analyzing brain images and identifying neural pathways through the use of intelligent supercomputers, scientists would be able to analyze trillions of synapses and ultimately create a computing architecture based on how the mind works. According to Ray Kurzweil, an artificial intelligence expert, inventor and futurist, we may be only a decade away from having the technology to map out and reverse engineer the human brain.
The H+ Summit took place in Boston on June 12-13 at the Harward University Science Center. Here are some photos that I took at the meeting. Above pictured are the organizers David Orban and Alex Lightman introducing Andrea Kuszewski, who worked on enhancing the intelligence of the audience.