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The Singularity Is Near
http://singularity.com ^ | September 22, 2005 | Ray Kurzweil

Posted on 11/19/2005 11:34:03 AM PST by Momaw Nadon

At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.

For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he presented the daring argument that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, computers would rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now, in The Singularity Is Near, he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.

While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: ai; borg; computer; cyborg; evolution; evolutionary; exponentialgrowth; fiction; future; futurist; genetics; gnr; humanity; intelligence; knowledge; kurzweil; longevity; look4god; lostandconfused; luddite; machine; mind; nanotechnology; nonbiological; raykurzweil; reaching; robot; robotics; science; singularity; singularityisnear; spike; technology; thesingularityisnear; transhuman; transhumanism; trend; virtualreality; wearetheborg; wrongway
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Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a twenty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS selected him as one of “sixteen revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. An inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and recipient of the National Medal of Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Prize (the world’s largest for innovation), and twelve honorary doctorates and awards from three U.S. presidents, he is the author of four previous books: Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (coauthored with Terry Grossman, M.D.), The Age of Spiritual Machines, The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life, and The Age of Intelligent Machines.
1 posted on 11/19/2005 11:34:05 AM PST by Momaw Nadon
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To: All

IMHO, this is the most important book of the new century.


2 posted on 11/19/2005 11:35:16 AM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon

3 posted on 11/19/2005 11:36:07 AM PST by Tench_Coxe
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To: Momaw Nadon

Hmm... I thought when I read the title that it was about a black hole swallowing us up.


4 posted on 11/19/2005 11:36:26 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Momaw Nadon
Singularity. Now there's a rallying cry.
5 posted on 11/19/2005 11:37:06 AM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: AntiGuv; PatrickHenry; KevinDavis

Ping!


6 posted on 11/19/2005 11:38:14 AM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon

Welcome to the Matrix.


7 posted on 11/19/2005 11:39:18 AM PST by Captain Rhino (If you will just abandon logic, these things will make a lot more sense!)
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To: Brilliant

I was thinking about a singularity bomb that would make all the worlds nukes look like firecrackers. That would suck.


8 posted on 11/19/2005 11:39:27 AM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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9 posted on 11/19/2005 11:39:28 AM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: Momaw Nadon

It all began with the TV remote control ...


10 posted on 11/19/2005 11:40:33 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, retard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: Captain Rhino
That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today

No one ever went broke underestimating the (gullibility) of the American Public.

11 posted on 11/19/2005 11:41:00 AM PST by i.l.e. (Tagline - this space for sale....)
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To: Momaw Nadon

Hopefully this does not extend to animals. For example, if cats were to get smarter and learn to read, we would all be in big trouble.


12 posted on 11/19/2005 11:41:57 AM PST by SamAdams76 (What Would Howard Roarke Do?)
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Brilliant

I've been enjoying Singularity for 6 years now... the ex doesn't even know where I live.


14 posted on 11/19/2005 11:42:33 AM PST by johnny7 (“What now? Let me tell you what now.”)
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To: Momaw Nadon

It's called "Let's Play God". Result: hell on earth. Let God be God.


15 posted on 11/19/2005 11:47:03 AM PST by little jeremiah
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To: Momaw Nadon

Sounds like a bit of a nutbar to me.


16 posted on 11/19/2005 11:49:31 AM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Momaw Nadon

Do we have a pic of Michael Jackson dismantled...


17 posted on 11/19/2005 11:49:35 AM PST by Fruitbat
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To: SamAdams76

Nah, smart dogs would keep them in line. LOL...


18 posted on 11/19/2005 11:50:27 AM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: little jeremiah
So what do we do about it?
19 posted on 11/19/2005 11:51:03 AM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: martin_fierro

LOL bttt


20 posted on 11/19/2005 11:53:41 AM PST by Matchett-PI ( "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." -- Dwight Eisenhower)
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To: little jeremiah
It's called "Let's Play God". Result: hell on earth. Let God be God.

People used those same arguments whenever something new was invented. For example, people would say to the Wright Brothers "If God intended for us to fly, he would have given us wings."

21 posted on 11/19/2005 11:57:36 AM PST by SamAdams76 (What Would Howard Roarke Do?)
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To: SamAdams76
Playing God, and doing what God allegedly "never intended us to do", are two very different things.
22 posted on 11/19/2005 12:00:51 PM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: i.l.e.; Petronski; little jeremiah; PatrickHenry
No one ever went broke underestimating the (gullibility) of the American Public.


23 posted on 11/19/2005 12:01:13 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon

"... and you will be like God," the serpent said.

Be VERY careful.


24 posted on 11/19/2005 12:02:55 PM PST by TruthConquers (Delenda est publius schola)
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To: Tench_Coxe

Science Fiction, meet Reality. (Or vice versa)


25 posted on 11/19/2005 12:04:05 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon
>IMHO, this is the most important book of the new century [?!]


26 posted on 11/19/2005 12:04:44 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: inquest
So what do we do about it?

There is nothing that can be done. Technology is developing at ever-increasing rates. Accept it.

27 posted on 11/19/2005 12:08:26 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Tench_Coxe

You notice the borg never took on any lardasses.

Every one of them is in pretty good physical shape. Are the rotund borgs busy watching TV and not able to take part in the assimilation of everything?


28 posted on 11/19/2005 12:08:36 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
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To: TruthConquers
"... and you will be like God," the serpent said.

Be VERY careful.


If I put a bandaid on a cut, am I playing God?

Was the first caveman to discover fire, or invent the wheel, playing God?

29 posted on 11/19/2005 12:11:37 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon

Those huge accomplishments (flight, moon landing, AI chess victory) are small potatoes compared with "humans transcending biology."

I'll believe it when I see it. At that point, the other question that remains will be "why?" Am I really possessed of such boundless megalomania that I want to live forever and know everything? Why would I want to connect my brain to some FutureNet that subsumes my individuality into the singularity of all intelligence and all mankind?


I don't even like my next-door neighbors.




P.S. Kurzweil might just be a major-league stoner.


30 posted on 11/19/2005 12:12:18 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: flashbunny

Good Lord, flashbunny, that's funny! LOL


31 posted on 11/19/2005 12:13:33 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: SamAdams76

If you've ever flown Southwest, you might rightfully conclude that "no, God does NOT want us to fly."


32 posted on 11/19/2005 12:14:47 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Momaw Nadon

Life extension ping!


33 posted on 11/19/2005 12:15:20 PM PST by aynrandfreak (When can we stop pretending that the Left doesn't by and large hate America?)
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To: Momaw Nadon

I don't there is anything to this. I don't see the machines getting up off the sofa to shovel out the snow in the driveway. Nor weeding the garden. Nor fighting a wildfire. Nor, in fact, doing any actual work. Nor even successfully implementing a major long range plan. Of course we don't do that last well at all either.


34 posted on 11/19/2005 12:15:21 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: inquest
Playing God, and doing what God allegedly "never intended us to do", are two very different things.

You are just parsing words here. When we invent a vaccine to cure polio, for example, it can be argued that we are "playing God." After all, can it not be argued that God intended for some of us to contract polio? Why would he create it otherwise? And now, by playing God, we went ahead and upset God's master plan.

Whenever a heart attack patient gets a bypass or a cancer patient gets chemotherapy, we are playing at God. Obviously God had decided that these people were ready to die but us God-playing humans went ahead and circumvented God's plans.

When we invent machines that can fly us through the air or take us to the moon, we are playing at God. When we sentence our criminals to death or incarceration, we are playing at God. And on and on and on.

Now I happen to believe all of that which I just wrote is nonsense. For if God did not intend for us to invent and innovate, he would have given us smaller brains.

35 posted on 11/19/2005 12:15:50 PM PST by SamAdams76 (What Would Howard Roarke Do?)
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To: little jeremiah

You mean what by this exactly? I'm hoping you're not suggesting some luddite jihad against technology.


36 posted on 11/19/2005 12:17:12 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Petronski
Am I really possessed of such boundless megalomania that I want to live forever and know everything?

I am, but I still believe that everyone should live with liberty to fully pursue their happiness, as long as they do not harm others.

Why would I want to connect my brain to some FutureNet that subsumes my individuality into the singularity of all intelligence and all mankind?

I read the entire book. Individuality is very much an option.

37 posted on 11/19/2005 12:18:10 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Melas
First thing we do, round up and kill all the scientists...


38 posted on 11/19/2005 12:18:48 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Petronski
I don't even like my next-door neighbors.

Haha! And what about spam? Will I be forced to think about weenie enlargement potions?

39 posted on 11/19/2005 12:18:55 PM PST by operation clinton cleanup
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To: Momaw Nadon

Individuality is an option? How generous.


40 posted on 11/19/2005 12:20:11 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: theFIRMbss

I read that one a couple years ago. There were several threads on it or that referenced it. The best part of the book is the notes that follow the main presentation. It's worth looking at, but it isn't the big book of the century since it has no philosophy. Although it is a big book and very well printed.


41 posted on 11/19/2005 12:20:12 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: operation clinton cleanup
Will I be forced to think about weenie enlargement potions?

Do you mean 'even more than normal?" LOL

42 posted on 11/19/2005 12:21:29 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Momaw Nadon

Spiritual matters are a whole different arena.

The attempt to pretend that because I am a Christian, I am guaranteed to be anti-science and anti-medicine is specious. Witness the use of this computer and the internet.

Medicine and the creative powers God gave us can be used for good OR evil.

Be VERY careful.


43 posted on 11/19/2005 12:22:26 PM PST by TruthConquers (Delenda est publius schola)
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To: inquest
Playing God, and doing what God allegedly "never intended us to do", are two very different things.

Could you elaborate on this statement?

How do you define "playing God"?

What did God "never intend us [humans] to do"?

44 posted on 11/19/2005 12:23:26 PM PST by Momaw Nadon ("...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.")
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To: Momaw Nadon
There is nothing that can be done.

And I'm sure you've racked your brain thinking of things that could be done, and after exhaustively thinking about the options for such a long time, you finally concluded that there's no way.

No, you wouldn't just be going on presumption or anything.

45 posted on 11/19/2005 12:25:31 PM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: Momaw Nadon

Transhumanist
Tracking
System

(click on radar)

46 posted on 11/19/2005 12:25:52 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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To: RightWhale
>
>>It's worth looking at, but it isn't the big book of the century since it has no philosophy


47 posted on 11/19/2005 12:26:47 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: SamAdams76
After all, can it not be argued that God intended for some of us to contract polio?

You're still not seeing the distinction. This isn't about what God supposedly intended. Playing God is something completely different. Even an atheist would be able to understand the problem with that.

48 posted on 11/19/2005 12:27:29 PM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: Momaw Nadon
New Age Question:

If Resistance is Futile?...Is Futility infinite "Ohms"?

49 posted on 11/19/2005 12:27:51 PM PST by tophat9000 (lose 3000 in an hour and you want to fight, lose 2000 in 2 years and you want to run !???)
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To: Fitzcarraldo

50 posted on 11/19/2005 12:27:54 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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