Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An interview with the master (Kurzweil)

H+ - 12.30.09

Photo credit: Guru Khalsa.

A 3-way conversation with the brilliant and controversial inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil needs little or no introduction to most h+ readers. Principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition, Ray has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. The magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States and called him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” His Kurzweil Technologies, Inc. is an umbrella company for at least eight separate enterprises.

Ray‘s writing career rivals his inventions and entrepreneurship. His seminal book, The Singularity is Near, presents the Singularity as an overall exponential (doubling) growth trend in technological development, “a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.” With his upcoming films, Transcendent Man and The Singularity is Near: A True Story about the Future, he is becoming an actor, screenplay writer, and director as well.

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