Ray Kurzweil

98 results back to index


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Recently Google’s cofounder Larry Page: Feeney, Lauren, “Futurist Ray Kurzweil isn’t worried about climate change,” PBS.ORG Need to Know, February 16, 2011, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/environment/futurist-ray-kurzweil-isnt-worried-about-climate-change/7389/ (accessed September 5, 2011). We now have the actual means: Ibid. Kurzweil writes that the brain has about 100: Dartmouth University computational neuroscientist Rick Granger claims each neuron in the brain is connected to many tens of thousands of other neurons. This would make the brain much faster than Kurzweil estimated in The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near. If it’s much faster, it’s computer equivalent in speed is farther away. But, considering LOAR, not a lot farther. That makes about 100 trillion interneuronal connections: Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (New York: Viking Penguin, 1999), 103.

As Steve Omohundro warns: Omohundro, Stephen, “The Basic AI Drives,” November 11, 2007, http://selfawaresystems.com. it may have other uses for our atoms: Yudkowsky, Eliezer, “Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk,” August 31, 2006, http://intelligence.org/files/AIPosNegFactor.pdf (accessed February 28, 2013). We can’t just say, “we’ll put in this little software code”: Kurzweil, Ray, “Ray Kurzweil: The H+ Interview,” H+ Magazine, December 30, 2009, http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/12/30/ray-kurzweil-h-interview/ (accessed March 1, 2011). our most sensitive systems, including aircraft avionics: Ukman, Jason, and Ellen Nakashima, “24,000 Pentagon files stolen in major cyber breach official says,” Washington Post, sec. national, July 14, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/24000-pentagon-files-stolen-in-major-cyber-breach-official-says/2011/07/14/gIQAsaaVEI_blog.html (accessed September 28, 2011). There’s a lot of talk about existential risk: Kurzweil, Ray, “Ray Kurzweil: The H+ Interview.” exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies: Kiff, Paul, Daniel Stancato, Stephane Cote, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Dacher Keltner, “Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, no. 26 (January 2012), http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/21/1118373109.abstract (accessed February 11, 2012).

It is focused on one hundred “moon-shot” projects such as the Space Elevator, which is essentially a scaffolding that would reach into space and facilitate the exploration of our solar system. Also onboard at the stealth facility is Andrew Ng, former director of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, and a world-class roboticist. Finally, late in 2012, Google hired esteemed inventor and author Ray Kurzweil to be its director of engineering. As we’ll discuss in chapter 9, Kurzweil has a long track record of achievements in AI, and has promoted brain research as the most direct route to achieving AGI. It doesn’t take Google glasses to see that if Google employs at least two of the world’s preeminent AI scientists, and Ray Kurzweil, AGI likely ranks high among its moon-shot pursuits. Seeking a competitive advantage in the marketplace, Google X and other stealth companies may come up with AGI away from public view. * * * Stealth companies may represent a surprise track to AGI.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

You can download a free copy of RKCP at www.kurzweiltech.com. Following is a small sampling of poems written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after it had “read” poems by several famous poets, as well as lesser-known contemporary poets. Poems by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet PAGE A haiku written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Wendy Dennis Sashay down the page through the lioness nestled in my soul. IMAGINE NOW AND SING A poem written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Wendy Dennis and Ray Kurzweil and love poems by various authors Imagine now and sing, creating myths forming jewels from the falling snow. SOUL A haiku written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by John Keats and Wendy Dennis You broke my soul the juice of eternity, the spirit of my lips.

SITES RELEVANT TO THE BOOK Web site for the book The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil: <http://www.penguinputnam.com/kurzweil> To e-mail the author: raymond@kurzweiltech.com To download a copy of Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet: < http://wwwkurzweiltech.com> This book’s publisher, Viking: <http://www.penguinputnam.com> For publications of Ray Kurzweil: Go to <http://www.kurzweiltech.com> or <http://www.kurzweiledu.com> and then select “Publications” WEB SITES FOR COMPANIES FOUNDED BY RAY KURZWEIL Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc. (creator of print-to-speech reading systems for persons with reading disabilities and visual impairment): <http://www.kurzweiledu.com> Kurzweil Technologies, Inc. (creator of Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet and other software projects): <http://www.kurzweiltech.com> The dictation division of Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (formerly Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc.), creator of speech recognition and natural language software systems: <http://www.lhs.com/dictation/> The overall Lernout &: Hauspie web site: <http://www.lhs.com/> Kurzweil Music Systems, Inc., creator of computer-based music synthesizers, sold to Young Chang in 1990: <http:l/www youngchang. com/kurzweil/index.html> TextBridge Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

SOUL A haiku written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by John Keats and Wendy Dennis You broke my soul the juice of eternity, the spirit of my lips. I THINK I’LL CRASH A poem written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Ray Kurzweil, Robert Frost, and Wendy Dennis I think I’ll crash. Just for myself with God peace on a curious sound for myself in my heart? And life is weeping From a bleeding heart of boughs bending such paths of them, of boughs bending such paths of breeze knows we’ve been there THE STIFLING STUFFY A haiku written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Patricia Camarena Rose and Wendy Dennis The stifling stuffy Catholic schoolroom, where I cannot be real. WONDERED A poem written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Dave Gitomer today i wondered if i mused today i saw you i learned in awe and you if i wondered if i mused today i had one wish if i saw you if i saw you if had one wish MOON CHILD A haiku written by Ray Kurzweil’s Cybernetic Poet after reading poems by Kathleen Frances Wheeler Crazy moon child Hide from your coffin To spite your doom.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

I do not consider my involvement with these organizations to be religious, but I have met many people in the movement whose actions fit within Laderman’s definition. 74 E-mail interview with Calvin Mercer, March 22, 2009. 75 Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin, 2005), 374. 76 Ibid., 374–375. 77 Ibid., 371. 78 Ibid., 7. 79 Ibid., 5. 80 Ibid., 372. 81 Ibid., 375. 82 Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (New York: Rodale Books, 2009). 83 Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 390. 84 Memebox, “Ray Kurzweil: The Singularity Is Not a Religion,” October 27, 2008, www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLy0tTfw8i0&feature=player_embedded. 85 Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 370. 86 Ibid., 389. CHAPTER 8 1 Sanjay Gupta, Chasing Life (New York: Warner Wellness, 2007), 236. 2 Ibid. 3 Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (New York: Little, Brown, 2000), 70–86. 4 The Oprah Show, June 30, 2009, www.oprah.com/health/David-Murdocks-Diet-and-Fitness-Routine-Video. 5 Dr.

Martin’s Press, 2007), 10. 11 Aubrey de Grey, The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (Austin, TX: Landes Bioscience, November 2003); Michael Finkel, “Life Begins at 140,” GQ, May 2010. 12 Interview with Aubrey de Grey, November 20, 2010. 13 Finkel, “Life Begins at 140.” 14 Ben Goertzel, “AI Against Aging: Accelerating the Quest for Longevity via Intelligent Software,” Biomind LLC, www.biomind.com/AI_Against_Aging.pdf. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 See Ray Kurzweil’s biography, www.singularity.com/fullbiography.html. 18 Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin, 2005), 323. 19 Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (New York: Plume, 2005). They also published a similar book in 2009 titled Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (New York: Rodale Books, 2009). See also www.rayandterry.com/index.asp. 20 For more information, see http://singularityu.org. I am an associate founder of Singularity University and am currently a member of the Board of Trustees. 21 The tracks policy, law, and ethics; and finance and entrepreneurship are also important to the trajectory of the longevity meme. 22 I know because I have been been in many meetings with him and glimpsed his calendar during a PowerPoint session. 23 See Gladwell, The Tipping Point, 38–58. 24 See http://space.xprize.org/ansari-x-prize. 25 Peter Diamandis, “22nd Century Philanthropy: High Efficiency, High Leverage,” Huffington Post, September 3, 2007, www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-diamandis/22nd-century-philanthropy_b_62006.html. 26 Interview with Peter Diamandis, October 11, 2010. 27 Ibid. 28 See http://genomics.xprize.org/. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 See http://www.mprize.org/. 33 Interview with David Gobel, September 24, 2010. 34 National Cancer Institute, Cancer Trends Progress Report–2009/2010 Update (Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute, April 2010), http://progressreport.cancer.gov. 35 Interview with Gobel. 36 For more information, see www.organovo.com/. 37 Interview with Gobel. 38 See www.foresight.org/about/index.html#Mission. 39 See http://lifeextensionconference.com/.

“The human brain simply was not evolved for the integrative analysis of a massive number of complexly-interrelated, highdimensional biological datasets,” he writes.15 “In the short term, the most feasible path to working around this problem is to supplement human biological scientists with increasingly advanced AI software, gradually moving toward the goal of an AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) bioscientist.”16 Just as Google is a form of artificial intelligence that allows for fast searching of the Internet, a software program that could “read” biological studies and help to sort the data for human scientists would make the task of finding repair mechanisms for the human body that much easier. Another proponent of this idea is maven Ray Kurzweil. In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded Ray Kurzweil the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the president of the United States on America’s leading innovators. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has called Kurzweil “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.” Incredibly prolific, Kurzweil was the principal developer of 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 re-creating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed, large-vocabulary speech recognition technology.17 That is, it’s safe to say that he is good at collecting information and translating it into usable ideas and products.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Bekenstein, "Information in the Holographic Universe: Theoretical Results about Black Holes Suggest That the Universe Could Be Like a Gigantic Hologram," Scientific American 289.2 (August 2003): 58–65, http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000AF072-4891-1F0A-97AE80A84189EEDF. Chapter Seven: Ich bin ein Singularitarian 1. In Jay W. Richards et al., Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. (Seattle: Discovery Institute, 2002), introduction, http://www.KurzweilAI.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0502.html. 2. Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D., Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (New York: Rodale Books, 2004). 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Max More and Ray Kurzweil, "Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity," February 26, 2002, http://www.KurzweilAI.net/articles/art0408.html. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. 8. Arthur Miller, After the Fall (New York: Viking, 1964). 9. From a paper read to the Oxford Philosophical Society in 1959 and then published as "Minds, Machines and Gödel," Philosophy 36 (1961): 112–27.

Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988). 214. Hans Moravec, "When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain?" Journal of Evolution and Technology 1 (1998). 215. Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (New York: Viking, 1999), p. 156. 216. See chapter 2, notes 22 and 23, on the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. 217. "The First Turing Test," http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html. 218. Douglas R. Hofstadter, "A Coffeehouse Conversation on the Turing Test," May 1981, included in Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Intelligent Machines (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), pp. 80–102, http://www.KurzweilAI.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0318.html. 219. Ray Kurzweil, "Why I Think I Will Win," and Mitch Kapor, "Why I Think I Will Win," rules: http://www.KurzweilAI.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0373.html; Kapor: http://www.KurzweilAI.net/meme/frame.html?

An inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and recipient of the National Medal of Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Prize (the world's largest award for innovation), thirteen 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. The Singularity Is Near ALSO BY RAY KURZWEIL The Age of Intelligent Machines The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceeds Human Intelligence Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough To Live Forever (with Terry Grossman, M.D.) RAY KURZWEIL The Singularity Is Near WHEN HUMANS TRANSCEND BIOLOGY VIKING VIKING Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. l Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) l Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England l Penguin Ireland, 25 St.


pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

He’s a big fan of stem cells and long-lived mice (his Methuselah Foundation offers prizes for scientific research teams who extend mouse life spans). De Grey’s line of attack could be called the ‘wet front’ – dealing as it does with the slippery world of cells and their biology. The second front could be called the ‘dry front’ – evolving from our experiences building machines. Here the transhumanists could reasonably propose Ray Kurzweil (a man I add to my list of those I should meet later on my journey) as the commander in chief – one of the world’s key thinkers in the area of artificial, or machine, intelligence as well as being a serial entrepreneur and genius. Kurzweil believes we’re likely to see smarter-than-human machine intelligences well before the end of the twenty-first century. He also believes that the line between humans and machines will blur as we use machine technologies to enhance our abilities, give our brains cognitive boosts and, among other things, upload the human consciousness to a hard disc.

Cynthia may want to build a human-robot team, but what happens when one half of that team (the human) is starting to look like the village idiot? This is what has been called ‘The Singularity’ – the moment where the generation of new knowledge (through a merger of human-like talents of imagination, curiosity and creativity with machine-like computational muscle) starts to look like a rocket leaving a launch pad. According to The Singularity’s prophets (notably Ray Kurzweil), when this happens there is only one strategy open to us: we must merge with our machines. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I think back to something George Church said: that one way of looking at the human being (and therefore the human brain) is ‘simply’ as a collection of unthinking tiny bio-machines computing away – reading genetic code and spewing out ‘computed’ proteins and the rest.

As I write, Intel has released its ‘Core i7 Extreme’ chip, which is over one hundred and forty thousand times faster – or about one seventh of Moravec’s figure. At this rate, your new laptop will achieve the same computational speed as the human brain before the decade is out. Soon after that, if the exponential trend continues, your laptop (or whatever replaces it) will have more hard-processing muscle than all human brains put together. This will happen sometime around the middle of the century, according to Ray Kurzweil. Supercomputers have passed Moravec’s milestone and it’s therefore no surprise to find various projects using them to try to simulate parts of animal and human brains, merging neuroscience and computer science in an attempt to get to the bottom of what’s really going on in that skull of yours. Henry Markram, leader of the Blue Brain project (which works by simulating individual brain cells on different processors and then linking them together) believes ‘It is not impossible to build a brain, and we can do it in ten years.’


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

id=dn10156&feedId=tech_rss20. 91 the research was also used by the Pixar Elizabeth Corcoran, “The Stickybot,” Forbes 178, no. 4 (2006): 106. 91 “Fact of nature” Finkelstein and Albus, “Technology Assessment of Autonomous Intelligent Bipedal and Other Legged Robots,” 158. 91 Designs that find their inspiration David Hambling, “A Breed Apart,” Guardian (UK), February 25, 2005 (cited December 18, 2006); available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/feb/24/onlinesupplement.insideit3. 92 Big Dog will be “unleashed” Preston Lerner, “The Army’s Robot Sherpa from the Backcountry to the Rubble-Strewn Back Alleys of a War-Torn City, This Mechanized Pack Animal Will Follow Soldiers Wherever Duty Calls Them,” Popular Science 268, no. 4 (2006): 72. 92 DARPA’s survey on robotics futures Finkelstein and Albus, “Technology Assessment of Autonomous Intelligent Bipedal and Other Legged Robots.” 92 “I have so many dreams” “Future Dreams,” BBC News.com, December 21, 2006 (cited May 30, 2007); available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/06/technology_robot_menagerie /html/10.stm. 93 researchers are at work on “claytronic” robots Tom Simonite, “Shape-Shifting Robot Forms from Magnetic Swarm,” New Scientist, January 29, 2008. 93 “it may be increasingly difficult to say” Gates, “A Robot in Every Home.” 4. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND: THE POWER OF EXPONENTIAL TRENDS 94 “I decided I would be an inventor” Ray Kurzweil on Discovery Science Channel, Robosapiens: The Secret (R)evolution, broadcast on June 18, 2006. 95 inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame “Ray Kurzweil,” singularity.com (cited May 29, 2007); available at http://singularity.com/aboutray.html. 95 “About thirty years ago” Ray Kurzweil, interview via phone, Peter W. Singer, Washington, DC, December 7, 2006. 95 “We use predictions” Ibid. 95 “I’ve slowed down aging to a crawl” Ibid. 96 this is a guy whom Bill Gates described Brian O’Keefe, “The Smartest (or the Nuttiest) Futurist on Earth,” CNNMoney.com, May 2, 2007 (cited May 2, 2007); available at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05 /14 /100008848/. 96 Kurzweil gets a reported $ 25,000 Ibid. 96 He is also one of five members Ibid. 96 “only an early harbinger” Kurzweil, interview, Peter W.

., 2004 (cited March 22, 2007); available at http://w w w.desertinvasion.us /invasion_pictures / pics_american_border_patrol.html. 40 “broadcasting the invasion live” Noah Shachtman, “‘Vigilantes’ Use Drones on Border Patrol,” Defensetech.org, May 14, 2003 (cited July 21, 2006); available at http://www.defensetech.org/archives/000418.html. 40 Silver Fox UAVs searched for survivors Correspondents in Baton Rouge, “Drones Aid Katrina Rescue,” Australian IT, September 5, 2005 (cited September 9, 2005); available at australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,16494558%5E26199%5E%5Enbv%5 E15306-15319,00.html. 41 “aerial cell tower” Larry Dickerson, “UAV’s on the Rise,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007, 116. 2. SMART BOMBS, NORMA JEANE,AND DEFECATING DUCKS: A SHORT HISTORY OF ROBOTICS 42 “The further backward you look” As quoted in Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005), 35. 42 “Perhaps the most wonderful piece” David Brewster, as quoted in Jay Richards, Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong AI, 1st ed. (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2002). 42 called it “most deplorable” Rony Gelman, “Gallery of Automata,” 1996 (cited November 17, 2006); available at http://www.nyu.edu/pages/linguistics/courses/v610051/gelmanr/ling.html. 42 “the Defecating Duck” Jessika Riskin, “The Defecating Duck, or, the Ambiguous Origins of Artificial Life,” Critical Inquiry 29, no. 4 (2003). 43 “getting assistance by producing some machines” Gelman, “Gallery of Automata.” 43 these punch cards would inspire George Dyson, “The Undead: The Little Secret That Haunts Corporate America . . .

Because the new machines will be so specialized and ubiquitous—and look so little like the two-legged automatons of science fiction—we probably will not even call them robots.” [FOUR] TO INFINITY AND BEYOND: THE POWER OF EXPONENTIAL TRENDS The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. —ISAAC ASIMOV “I decided I would be an inventor when I was five. Other kids were wondering what they would be, but I always had this conceit. And I was very sure of it and I’ve never really deviated from it.” Ray Kurzweil stuck to his dreams. Growing up in Queens, New York, he wrote his first computer program at the age of twelve. When he was seventeen, he appeared on the game show I’ve Got a Secret. His “secret” was a song composed by a computer that he had built. Soon after, Kurzweil created such inventions as an automated college application program, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind (considered the biggest advancement for the visually impaired since the Braille language in 1829), the first computer flatbed scanner, and the first large-vocabulary speech recognition system.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

But the recommendation is so shocking, so seemingly absurd, that if I tell you now without giving you sufficient background, you might stop reading. PART 1 RISE OF THE ROBOTS Exponential growth is deceptive. It starts out almost imperceptibly and then explodes with unexpected fury—unexpected, that is, if one does not take care to follow its trajectory. —Ray Kurzweil29 CHAPTER 1 EXPONENTIALLY IMPROVING HARDWARE If, as the title of the book by Ray Kurzweil proclaims, The Singularity Is Near, then why doesn’t it appear so? An ancient story about the Hindu God Krishna partially illuminates the answer:30 Krishna disguised himself as a mortal and challenged a king to a game of chess. The king agreed, and allowed Krishna to name the prize he would receive if he won the game. Krishna chose a seemingly modest reward requesting that upon victory the chess board be filled with rice so that the first square of the board had one grain, the second two, the third four . . . each square containing twice as much rice as the one before it.

Hawking also told the president of the United States that “unless we have a totalitarian world order, someone will design improved humans somewhere.”5 FIVE UNDISPUTED FACTS THAT SUPPORT THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE SINGULARITY 1.Rocks exist! Strange as it seems, the existence of rocks actually provides us with evidence that it is possible to build computers powerful enough to take us to a Singularity. There are around 10 trillion trillion atoms in a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) rock, and as inventor and leading Singularity scholar Ray Kurzweil writes: Despite the apparent solidity of the object, the atoms are all in motion, sharing electrons back and forth, changing particle spins, and generating rapidly moving electromagnetic fields. All of this activity represents computation, even if not very meaningfully organized.6 Although we don’t yet have the technology to do this, Kurzweil says that if the particles in the rock were organized in a more “purposeful manner,” it would be possible to create a computer trillions of times more computationally powerful than all the human brains on Earth combined.7 Our eventual capacity to accomplish this is established by our second fact. 2.Biological cells exist!

—Luke Muehlhauser51 Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man. . .Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,”. . . . —Irving John Good52 CHAPTER 2 WHERE MIGHT THE SOFTWARE COME FROM? Computing hardware, no matter how powerful, will never suffice to bring us to a Singularity. Creating AIs smart enough to revolutionize civilizations will also require the right software. Let’s consider four possibilities for how this software might arise. 1.Kurzweilian Merger Ray Kurzweil believes that our brains will provide the starter software for a Singularity. Kurzweil predicts that the Singularity will come through a merger of man and machines in which we will gradually transfer our “intelligence, personality, and skills to the non-biological portion of our intelligence.”53 Although we might never reach it, economic, medical, and military incentives push us toward a “Kurzweilian merger.”


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Just as Chanute’s Progress in Flying Machines ushered in the era of aviation over a century ago, this book is the harbinger of the coming revolution in artificial intelligence that will fulfill Kurzweil’s own prophecies about it.” —Dileep George, AI scientist; pioneer of hierarchical models of the neocortex; cofounder of Numenta and Vicarious Systems “Ray Kurzweil’s understanding of the brain and artificial intelligence will dramatically impact every aspect of our lives, every industry on Earth, and how we think about our future. If you care about any of these, read this book!” —Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE; executive chairman, Singularity University; author of the New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think HOW TO CREATE A MIND ALSO BY RAY KURZWEIL Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life The Age of Intelligent Machines HOW TO CREATE A MIND THE SECRET OF HUMAN THOUGHT REVEALED RAY KURZWEIL VIKING VIKING Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St.

Reprinted with permission of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). 85: Photo provided by Yeatesh (Creative Commons Attribution–Share Alike 3.0 License). 134 (two): Images by Marvin Minsky. Used by permission of Marvin Minsky. Some credits appear adjacent to the respective images. Other images designed by Ray Kurzweil, illustrated by Laksman Frank. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kurzweil, Ray. How to create a mind : the secret of human thought revealed / Ray Kurzweil. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN: 978-1-101-60110-5 1. Brain—Localization of functions. 2. Self-consciousness (Awareness) 3. Artificial intelligence. I. Title. QP385.K87 2012 612.8’2—dc23 2012027185 Printed in the United States of America Set in Minion Pro with DIN Designed by Daniel Lagin While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers, Internet addresses, and other contact information at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication.

Diamandis, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE; executive chairman, Singularity University; author of the New York Times bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think HOW TO CREATE A MIND ALSO BY RAY KURZWEIL Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (with Terry Grossman) The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life The Age of Intelligent Machines HOW TO CREATE A MIND THE SECRET OF HUMAN THOUGHT REVEALED RAY KURZWEIL VIKING VIKING Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) • Penguin Books, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa • Penguin China, B7 Jaiming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England First published in 2012 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 Copyright © Ray Kurzweil, 2012 All rights reserved “Red” by Amoo Oluseun.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Malibu: Primal Nutrition. Weiner, Jonathan (2010) Long for this World: The Strange Science of Immortality. New York: HarperCollins. 20 Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler What would it take to achieve successful cryonics reanimation of a fully functioning human brain, with memories intact? A conversation at the Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler sparked an email discussion (November 23, 2002) of this question. They agreed that, despite the challenges, the brain’s functions and memories can be represented surprisingly compactly, suggesting that successful reanimation of the brain may be achievable. Ray Kurzweil. Eric, I greatly enjoyed our brief opportunity to share ideas (difficulty of adding bits to quantum computing, cryonics reanimation, etc.).

Esfandiary, better known as FM-2030); grounded by Max More and Natasha Vita-More’s early work through the Extropy Institute, and reaching a third wave that “began in earnest” with the working draft of the human genome (circa 2000). Greg Klerkx 2006: 63. 7 Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Nick Bostrom, J. Hughes, Aubrey de Grey, Martine Rothblatt, Ben Goertzel, Ray Kurzweil, to name a few, all of whom are contributors to this seminal volume. 8 Through his analysis of technological thresholds for radically transformative intelligent machines, Ray Kurzweil, by far the best-known advocate of “the Singularity,” anticipates a mid-century point at which exponential gains in human-computer capabilities, due in large part to compounding advances in computational technologies, will overtake biological humans in general intelligence. See, for instance, The Singularity is Near (Kurzweil 2005); see also “Technological Singularity?”

Nanotechnology General Computer Principles Additional Constraints for Nanocomputers Entropy Drexler’s Mechanical Logic Registers and Memory Motors Other Logics for Nanocomputers Other Mechanical Logics Electronic Logic Conclusion 19 Immortalist Fictions and Strategies Introduction: Something Like Penicillin for Immortality Immortality in Fiction Science of Biological Immortality Technological Prospects for Near-Term Human Biological Immortality Fictitious Technology vs Actual Technology 20 Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler Part V Engines of Life: Identity and Beyond Death 21 The Curate’s Egg of Anti-Anti-Aging Bioethics 22 Medical Time Travel 23 Transhumanism and Personal Identity Personal Identity and the Enlightenment Enhancement, Transhumanism and Personal Identity 24 Transcendent Engineering I. Cornerstones of Transcendent Engineering II. Two Possibilities of Resurrection III. Conclusion Part VI Enhanced Decision-Making 25 Idea Futures Introduction Concept Scenario Scope Procedures Advantages Criticisms Related Work An Appeal Conclusion 26 The Proactionary Principle The Origin of the Proactionary Principle The Wisdom of Structure The Failure of the Precautionary Principle The Proactionary Principle Preamble to the Proactionary Principle Be Objective and Comprehensive Prioritize Natural and Human Risks Embrace Diverse Input Make Response and Restitution Proportionate Revisit and Revise 27 The Open Society and Its Media Improving Society Media Matter Xanadu Links Hyperlinks Emergent Properties Transclusion Remembering the Past: Historical Trails Preparing for the Future: Detectors The WidgetPerfect Saga Permissions Reputation-Based Filtering Hypertext + Multimedia = Hypermedia External Transclusion Conclusions Part VII Biopolitics and Policy 28 Performance Enhancement and Legal Theory 29 Justifying Human Enhancement Rationalizing Medical Interventions on a Slippery Slope Life as a Commodity The Accumulation of Biocultural Capital Counterpoint: Reducing Human Diversity?


pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

But the me who sent his first story into Asimov's seventeen years ago couldn't answer the question, "Write a story for Asimov's" the same way the me of today could. Does that mean I'm not me anymore? Kurzweil has the answer. "If you follow that logic, then if you were to take me ten years ago, I could not pass for myself in a Ray Kurzweil Turing Test. But once the requisite uploading technology becomes available a few decades hence, you could make a perfect-enough copy of me, and it would pass the Ray Kurzweil Turing Test. The copy doesn't have to match the quantum state of my every neuron, either: if you meet me the next day, I'd pass the Ray Kurzweil Turing Test. Nevertheless, none of the quantum states in my brain would be the same. There are quite a few changes that each of us undergo from day to day, we don't examine the assumption that we are the same person closely. "We gradually change our pattern of atoms and neurons but we very rapidly change the particles the pattern is made up of.

(Originally published as "How Big Media's Copyright Campaigns Threaten Internet Free Expression," InformationWeek, November 5, 2007) Giving it Away (Originally published on Forbes.com, December 2006) Science Fiction is the Only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet (Originally published in Locus Magazine, July 2006) How Copyright Broke (Originally published in Locus Magazine, September, 2006) In Praise of Fanfic (Originally published in Locus Magazine, May 2007) Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia (Self-published, 26 August 2001) Amish for QWERTY (Originally published on the O'Reilly Network, 07/09/2003, http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2003/07/09/amish qwerty.html) Ebooks: Neither E, Nor Books (Paper for the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference, San Diego, February 12, 2004) Free(konomic) E-books (Originally published in Locus Magazine, September 2007) The Progressive Apocalypse and Other Futurismic Delights (Originally published in Locus Magazine, July 2007) When the Singularity is More Than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil (Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 2005) Wikipedia: a genuine Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy — minus the editors (Originally published in The Anthology at the End of the Universe, April 2005) Warhol is Turning in His Grave (Originally published in The Guardian, November 13, 2007) The Future of Ignoring Things (Originally published on InformationWeek's Internet Evolution, October 3, 2007) Facebook's Faceplant (Originally published as "How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook," in InformationWeek, November 26, 2007) The Future of Internet Immune Systems (Originally published on InformationWeek's Internet Evolution, November 19, 2007) All Complex Ecosystems Have Parasites (Paper delivered at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, San Diego, California, 16 March 2005) READ CAREFULLY (Originally published as "Shrinkwrap Licenses: An Epidemic Of Lawsuits Waiting To Happen" in InformationWeek, February 3, 2007) World of Democracycraft (Originally published as "Why Online Games Are Dictatorships," InformationWeek, April 16, 2007) Snitchtown (Originally published in Forbes.com, June 2007) Dedication For the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation: John Perry Barlow, Mitch Kapor and John Gilmore For the staff — past and present — of the Electronic Frontier Foundation For the supporters of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Introduction by John Perry Barlow San Francisco - Seattle - Vancouver - San Francisco Tuesday, April 1, 2008 "Content," huh?

NCC-1701 probably wouldn't send out transporter-equipped drones — instead, it would likely find itself on missions whose ethos, mores, and rationale are largely incomprehensible to us, and so obvious to its crew that they couldn't hope to explain them. Science fiction is the literature of the present, and the present is the only era that we can hope to understand, because it's the only era that lets us check our observations and predictions against reality. When the Singularity is More Than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil (Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 2005) It's not clear to me whether the Singularity is a technical belief system or a spiritual one. The Singularity — a notion that's crept into a lot of skiffy, and whose most articulate in-genre spokesmodel is Vernor Vinge — describes the black hole in history that will be created at the moment when human intelligence can be digitized.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

But if the economic environment is harsher, it’s unlikely that people will spend what little money they have left launching an offensive against death and it’s unlikely that society will support large-scale research into the area either. “Death gives meaning to our lives. It gives importance and value to time. Time would become meaningless if there were too much of it.” Ray Kurzweil, author, inventor and futurist What’s in it for us? More standard versions of transhumism have attracted some serious thinkers over the years, including, most notably, the futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil and the nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler. Drexler, for example, has speculated about the potential of using nanotechnology to repair worn-out or broken body parts to radically change what it means to be human and potentially extend human life indefinitely. This obviously links with branches of artificial intelligence and robotics thinking, all of which in some way challenge what it means to be human or, in the case of transhumanism, argue that human beings will at some point extend beyond biological constraints to become posthuman.

Google’s autonomous car project, started by Sebastian Thrun of Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, uses a Toyota Prius equipped with sensors to follow a GPS route all by itself. A robotics scientist sits in the car, but doesn’t actually drive it. Already, seven cars have traveled 1,600km (1,000 miles) with no driver and 225,000km (140,000 miles) with occasional human intervention. Are these examples realistic? Some experts might say yes. Ray Kurzweil, an American futurist and inventor, has made a public bet with Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus software, that a computer will pass the Turing test by 2029. Other experts say no. Bill Calvin, an American theoretical neurophysiologist, suggests the human brain is so “buggy” that computers will never be able to emulate it or, if they do, machines will inherit our foibles and emotional inadequacies along with our intelligence.

How about totally artificial hearts, livers, kidneys, or blood, plastic bones, human body parts grown in laboratories, contact lenses featuring data displays and augmented reality, artificial skin that can be synchronized with touch screens to transmit data or be used to display data on itself, direct brain-to-machine interfaces (i.e. thought control), orgasm chips and exoskeletons (skeletons you wear on the outside of your body to increase strength or to prolong mobility in older age). Most of these ideas already exist in research and development laboratories, or soon will, thanks to developments in medicine, engineering, computing, nanotechnology and materials science among other fields. “Keep in mind that nonbiological intelligence is doubling each year, whereas our biological intelligence is essentially fixed.” Ray Kurzweil, author, inventor and futurist The challenge is not in building these bits, but whether or not all the bits can be added together. Could we, for example, buy a whole new body if our current one is worn out and just stick our head on top? Or what about a whole new brain? The term “cosmetic neurology”—essentially plastic surgery for the brain, so could we pick a new brain or, more likely, various plug-ins to create or enhance specific brain functions—has already been coined.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

Mangalindan, “A digital maestro for every object in the home,” Fortune, June 7, 2013, http://fortune.com/2013/06/07/a-digital-maestro-for-every-object-in-the-home/. 22 Unless otherwise noted, all Bass quotes and Autodesk information comes from a series of AIs with Carl Bass conducted 2012–2014. 23 Michio Kaku, “The Future of Computing Power [Fast, Cheap, and Invisible],” Big Think, April 24, 2010, http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/the-future-of-computing-power-fast-cheap-and-invisible. 24 AI with Graham Weston, 2013. 25 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1968; Beverly Hills, CA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), DVD release, 2011. 26 Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau (2008; Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios), DVD. 27 AI with Ray Kurzweil, 2013. 28 See: http://www.xprize.org/ted. As of the end of 2014, this prize is only in concept form. A detailed design and a design sponsor is still required. 29 “Ray Kurzweil: The Coming Singularity, Your Brain Year 2029,” Big Think, June 22, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6adugDEmqBk. 30 John Ward, “The Services Sector: How Best To Measure It?,” International Trade Administration, October 2010, http://trade.gov/publications/ita-newsletter/1010/services-sector-how-best-to-measure-it.asp. 31 AI with Jeremy Howard, 2013. 32 For information on the German Traffic Sign Recognition Benchmark see http://benchmark.ini.rub.de. 33 Geoffrey Hinton et al., “ImageNet Classification with Deep Convolutional Neural Networks,” http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~fritz/absps/imagenet.pdf. 34 John Markoff, “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced By Cheaper Software,” New York Times, March 4, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/science/05legal.html?

In this way, the Internet of Things serves as JARVIS’s eyes, ears, arms, and legs. For sure, JARVIS has dethroned HAL, now holding the title for most recognizable AI in the world, but what makes his dominance more spectacular is that unlike the never-actualized HAL, key elements of JARVIS are starting to come into existence in laboratories and companies around the world. AI expert and Singularity University cofounder/chancellor Ray Kurzweil27 explains: “In the 1960s, when Arthur C. Clarke conceived of HAL,” explains Kurzweil, “it was clearly science fiction. Fifty years ago, we knew very little about AI. Today it’s a different story. Many aspects of JARVIS are either already in existence or on the drawing board.” Kurzweil would know. Bill Gates called him “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”

One of this book’s core goals is to point out those pivotal moments when a technology becomes ready for entrepreneurial prime time. Watson in the cloud, tied to an openly available API, is the beginning of one such moment, the potential for a Mosaic-like interface explosion, opening AI to all sorts of new businesses and heralding its transition from deceptive to disruptive growth. Attention, exponential entrepreneurs: What are you waiting for? And everything we’ve just covered is here today. “Soon,” says Ray Kurzweil,40 “we will give an AI permission to listen to every phone conversation you have. Permission to read your emails and blogs, eavesdrop on your meetings, review your genome scan, watch what you eat and how much you exercise, even tap into your Google Glass feed. And by doing all this, your personal AI will be able to provide you with information even before you know you need it.” Imagine, for example, a system that recognizes the faces of people in your visual field and provides you with their names.


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Deloitte Center for the Edge. (2009) “The 2009 Shift Index: Measuring the Forces of Long-Term Change,” p. 29. http://www.edgeperspectives.com/shiftindex.pdf. 165 “operative even when people disbelieved it”: Rob Carlson. (2009) In discussion with the author. 165 more than an industry road map: Ray Kurzweil. (2005) The Singularity Is Near. New York: Viking. 165 Kurzweil’s Law: Data from Ray Kurzweil. (2005) “Moore’s Law: The Fifth Paradigm.” The Singularity Is Near (January 28, 2010). http://singularity.com/charts/page67.html. 167 Doubling Times: Data from Ray Kurzweil. (2005) The Singularity Is Near. New York: Viking; Eric S. Lander, Lauren M. Linton, et al. (2001) “Initial Sequencing and Analysis of the Human Genome.” Nature, 409 (6822). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11237011; Rik Blok. (2009) “Trends in Computing.” http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~rikblok/ComputingTrends/; Lawrence G.

Today, as in the past, most of the mass movement toward cities—the hundreds of millions per decade—is led by settled people willing to pay the price of inconvenience and grime, living in a slum in order to gain opportunities and freedom. The poor move into the city for the same reason the rich move into the technological future—to head toward possibilities and increased freedoms. In The Progress Paradox Gregg Easterbrook writes, “If you sat down with a pencil and graph paper to chart the trends of American and European life since the end of World War II, you’d do a lot of drawing that was pointed up.” Ray Kurzweil has collected an entire gallery of graphs depicting the upward-zooming trend in many, if not most, technological fields. All graphs of technological progress start low, with small change several hundred years ago, then begin to bend upward in the last hundred, and then bolt upright to the sky in the last fifty. These charts capture a feeling we have that change is accelerating even within our own lifetimes.

The exponential growth of magnetic storage began in 1956, almost a whole decade before Moore formulated his law for semiconductors and 50 years before Kryder formulized the existence of its slope. Rob Carlson says, “When I first published the DNA exponential curves, I got reviewers claiming that they were unaware of any evidence that sequencing costs were falling exponentially. In this way the trends were operative even when people disbelieved it.” Inventor and author Ray Kurzweil dug into the archives to show that something like Moore’s Law had its origins as far back as 1900, long before electronic computers existed, and of course long before the path could have been constructed by self-fulfillment. Kurzweil estimated the number of calculations per second per $1,000 performed by turn-of-the-century analog machines, by mechanical calculators, and later by the first vacuum-tube computers and extended the same calculation to modern semiconductor chips.


pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

Among people who work in the field of computer technology, it is fairly routine to speculate about the likelihood that computers will someday approach, or possibly even exceed, human beings in general capability and intelligence. Speaking at an industry conference in 2007, Google co-founder Larry Page said, “We have some people at Google [who] are really trying to build artificial Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL / 2 intelligence and to do it on a large scale. It’s not as far off as people think.”1 Ray Kurzweil, a well-known inventor, author and futurist, states quite categorically that he expects computers to become at least as intelligent as humans by the year 2029.2 While other experts are far more conservative about the prospect for machines that can achieve genuine intelligence, there can be little doubt that computers and robots are going to become dramatically more capable and flexible in the coming years and decades.

Looking at these numbers, we can see that unless technical progress slows significantly, computers are going to get dramatically more powerful by 2031. That date is nearly 60 years before the cutoff date of 2089 that we set at the beginning of this chapter. What would Bill have in 2089? 1.4 quadrillion dollars. This is over one trillion times the 2009 amount of $1,300! These numbers should give you a sense of the incredible degree of technological acceleration we can expect over the coming years and decades. As futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil writes, “Exponential [or geometric] growth is deceptive. It starts out almost imperceptibly and explodes with unexpected fury.”11 How confident can we be that Moore’s Law will continue to be sustainable in the coming years and decades? Evidence suggests that it is likely to hold true for the foreseeable future. At some point, current technologies will Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL / 38 run into a fundamental limit as the transistors on computer chips are reduced in size until they approach the size of individual molecules or atoms.

Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the fact that many extremely well regarded individuals with deep experience in science and technology have a far more ambitious view of what is ultimately possible. Worldrenowned cosmologist and author of the book, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, has said, “Computers are likely to overtake humans in intelligence at some point in the next hundred years.”35 Inventor and author Ray Kurzweil, who received the National Medal of Technology Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Acceleration / 101 from President Clinton in 1999, is far more optimistic and predicts that machines will achieve true intelligence by 2029. Kurzweil is also one of the leading proponents of the technological singularity, which he expects to occur by the year 2045.36 This concept, which was originally introduced by the mathematician and author Vernor Vinge,37 suggests that at some point in the future, technological progress will simply explode incomprehensibly.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

I have no privileged information, but I disagree: my sense is that their enthusiasm for the future is genuine. And the pinnacle of it is that they want to build an artificial brain – an AGI. In May 2002 Larry Page said: “Google will fulfil its mission only when its search engine is AI-complete. You guys know what that means? That’s artificial intelligence.” (9) In December 2012 Google hired the controversial futurist Ray Kurzweil as a director of engineering. Kurzweil, of whom more later, believes that AGI will arrive in 2029, and that the outcome will be very positive. The other tech giants are in hot pursuit Facebook, Amazon, Apple, IBM and Microsoft are determined to keep up with Google in the race to develop better and better AI. Facebook lost out to Google in a competition to buy DeepMind, but in December 2013 it had hired Yann LeCun, a New York-based professor at the forefront of a branch of AI called Deep Learning.

Each of us is composed of around 27 trillion cells, which were created by fission – an exponential process. It required 46 steps of fission to create all of your 27 trillion cells. Moore’s Law, by comparison, has had 33 steps in the 50 years of its existence. People have been claiming for years that Moore’s Law is tailing off – or even that it has stopped. But Moore’s Law has proved surprisingly robust. Ray Kurzweil claims it has been in force since before integrated circuits came along, stretching back into the ancient history of vacuum tubes and beyond. And it looks as though there is life in the old law yet. In February 2015 Intel updated journalists on their chip programme for the next few years, and it maintains the exponential growth. (38) The first chips based on its new 10 nanometre manufacturing process are expected in late 2016 / early 2017, after which it expects to move away from silicon, probably towards a III-V semiconductor such as indium gallium arsenide. (39) Exascale computing Moore’s Law is important to questions about AGI because computer processing power enables many of the processes which in turn could enable AGI.

If you work there you don’t have to believe that technological progress is leading us towards a world of radical abundance which will be a much better place than the world today – but it certainly helps. Probably nowhere else in the world takes the ideas of the singularity as seriously as Silicon Valley. And after all, Silicon Valley is a leading contender to be the location where the first AGI is created. The controversial inventor and author Ray Kurzweil is the leading proponent of the claim that a positive singularity is almost inevitable, and it is no coincidence that he is now a director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil is also one of the co-founders of the Singularity University (SU), also located (of course) in Silicon Valley – although SU focuses on the technological developments which can be foreseen over the next five to ten years, and is careful to avoid talking about the Singularity itself, which Kurzweil predicts will arrive in 2045.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

,” The Atlantic, May 9, 2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/05/but-what-does-the-end-of-humanity-mean-for-me/361931/. 12. Gary Marcus, “Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence,” New Yorker (Elements blog), October 24, 2013, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/10/why-we-should-think-about-the-threat-of-artificial-intelligence.html. 13. P. Z. Myers, “Ray Kurzweil Does Not Understand the Brain,” Pharyngula Science Blog, August 17, 2010, http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/17/ray-kurzweil-does-not-understa/. 14. Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, pp. 7–21. 15. Richard Feynman, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” lecture at CalTech, December 29, 1959, full text available at http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html. 16. On federal research funding for nanotechnology, see John F.

., http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/. 3. Stephen Lacey, “Chart: 2/3rds of Global Solar PV Has Been Installed in the Last 2.5 Years,” GreenTechMedia.com, August 13, 2013, http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/chart-2–3rds-of-global-solar-pv-has-been-connected-in-the-last-2.5-years. 4. Lauren Feeney, “Climate Change No Problem, Says Futurist Ray Kurzweil,” The Guardian, February 21, 2011, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/21/ray-kurzweill-climate-change. 5. “Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in April 2013,” Yale Project on Climate Change Communication/George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/Climate-Beliefs-April-2013.pdf. 6. Rebecca Riffkin, “Climate Change Not a Top Worry in U.S.,” Gallup Politics, March 12, 2014, http://www.gallup.com/poll/167843/climate-change-not-top-worry.aspx.

They tend to view information technology as universally empowering. It is perhaps not coincidental that they also tend to have been very successful in the new economy. The most prominent digital optimists typically live at the extreme left of the long tail—or, even better, they’ve perhaps founded a company that owns the entire distribution. In a PBS television special that aired in 2012, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil was asked about the possibility of a “digital divide”—meaning that only a small percentage of the population will be able to thrive in the new information economy. Kurzweil dismissed the idea of such a divide and instead pointed to empowering technologies like mobile phones. Anybody with a smart phone, he said, “is carrying around billions of dollars of capability circa 20 or 30 years ago.”12 Left unsaid was how the average person is supposed to leverage that technology into a livable income.


pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy

He documented a 43 millionfold improvement, which he broke down into two factors: faster processors and better algorithms embedded in software. Processor speeds improved by a factor of 1,000, but these gains were dwarfed by the algorithms, which got 43,000 times better over the same period. The second concept relevant for understanding recent computing advances is closely related to Moore’s Law. It comes from an ancient story about math made relevant to the present age by the innovator and futurist Ray Kurzweil. In one version of the story, the inventor of the game of chess shows his creation to his country’s ruler. The emperor is so delighted by the game that he allows the inventor to name his own reward. The clever man asks for a quantity of rice to be determined as follows: one grain of rice is placed on the first square of the chessboard, two grains on the second, four on the third, and so on, with each square receiving twice as many grains as the previous.

The difficulty of automating their work reminds us of a quote attributed to a 1965 NASA report advocating manned space flight: “Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.” Even in the domain of pure knowledge work—jobs that don’t have a physical component—there’s a lot of important territory that computers haven’t yet started to cover. In his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Ray Kurzweil predicts that future computers will “encompass … the pattern-recognition powers, problem-solving skills, and emotional and moral intelligence of the human brain itself,” but so far only the first of these abilities has been demonstrated. Computers so far have proved to be great pattern recognizers but lousy general problem solvers; IBM’s supercomputers, for example, couldn’t take what they’d learned about chess and apply it to Jeopardy!

We are grateful for conversations on technology and employment with our MIT colleagues, including Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, Frank Levy, Tod Loofbourrow, Thomas Malone, Stuart Madnick, Wanda Orlikowski, Michael Schrage, Peter Weill, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger. In addition, Rob Atkinson, Yannis Bakos, Susanto Basu, Menzie Chinn, Robert Gordon, Lorin Hitt, Rob Huckman, Michael Mandel, Dan Snow, Zeynep Ton and Marshall van Alstyne were very generous with their insights. We also benefited greatly from talking with people in industry who are making and using incredible technologies, including Rod Brooks, Paul Hofmann Ray Kurzweil, Ike Nassi, and Hal Varian. We presented some of the ideas contained here to seminar audiences at MIT, Harvard Business School, Northwestern, NYU, UC/Irvine, USC’s Annenberg School, SAP, McKinsey, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. We also presented related work at conferences including WISE, ICIS, Techonomy, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. We received invaluable feedback at each of these sessions.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

If the equation is framed in terms of artificial intelligence–oriented technologies versus those oriented toward augmenting humans, there is hope that humans still retain an unbounded ability to both entertain and employ themselves doing something marketable and useful. If the humans are wrong, however, 2045 could be a tough year for the human race. Or it could mark the arrival of a technological paradise. Or both. The year 2045 is when Ray Kurzweil predicts humans will transcend biology, and implicitly, one would presume, destiny.37 Kurzweil, the serial artificial intelligence entrepreneur and author who joined Google as a director of engineering in 2012 to develop some of his ideas for building an artificial “mind,” represents a community of many of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest technologists. They have been inspired by the ideas of computer scientist and science-fiction author Vernor Vinge about the inevitability of a “technological singularity” that would mark the point in time at which machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence.

Geraci, a religious studies professor at Manhattan College and author of Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality (2010), came to Pittsburgh to conduct his research several years ago, Moravec politely declined to see him, citing his work on a recent start-up. Geraci is one of a number of authors who have painted Moravec as the intellectual cofounder, with Ray Kurzweil, of a techno-religious movement that argues that humanity will inevitably be subsumed as a species by the AIs and robots we are now creating. In 2014 this movement gained generous exposure as high-profile technological and scientific luminaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking issued tersely worded warnings about the potential threat that futuristic AI systems hold for the human species.

But after writing two best-selling books over a decade arguing for a technological promised land, he decided it was really time to settle down and do something about it. The idea that the exponential increase of computing power would inevitably lead to artificially intelligent machines was becoming more deeply ingrained in Silicon Valley, and a slick packaging of the underlying argument was delivered in 2005 by Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near. “It was becoming a spectacle and it was interfering with real work,” he decided. By now he had taken to heart Alan Kay’s dictum that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” His computer cave is miles from the offices of Seegrid, the robotic forklift company he founded in 2003, but within walking distance of his Pittsburgh home. For the past decade he has given up his role as futurist and became a hermit.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

Chapter 3: Moore’s Outlaws 1 According to the International Telecommunication Union: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Users in the World,” Internet World Stats, Dec. 31, 2013, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 2 Though it took nearly forty years: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Growth Statistics,” Internet World Stats, Feb. 6, 2013, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 3 The greatest growth: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Users in the World, Distribution by World Regions,” Internet World Stats, Feb. 5, 2014, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 4 And while half the world: Doug Gross, “Google Boss: Entire World Will Be Online by 2020,” CNN, April 15, 2013. 5 The concept was named: Marc Goodman and Parag Khanna, “Power of Moore’s Law in a World of Geotechnology,” National Interest, Jan./Feb. 2013. 6 Incredibly, it literally: Cliff Saran, “Apollo 11: The Computers That Put Man on the Moon,” Computer Weekly, July 13, 2009. 7 The modern smart phone: Peter Diamandis, “Abundance Is Our Future.” TED Talk, Feb. 2012. 8 As a result of mathematical repercussions: Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence, March 7, 2001. 9 “law of accelerating returns”: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin, 2006). 10 Early criminal entrepreneurs: Evan Andrews, “6 Daring Train Robberies,” History.​com, Oct. 21, 2013. 11 Their carefully planned heist: Brett Leppard, “The Great Train Robbery: How It Happened,” Mirror, Feb. 28, 2013. 12 The incident kept the PlayStation: Keith Stuart and Charles Arthur, “PlayStation Network Hack: Why It Took Sony Seven Days to Tell the World,” Guardian, Feb. 5, 2014; “Credit Card Alert as Hackers Target 77 Million PlayStation Users,” Mail Online, Feb. 5, 2014. 13 In the end, financial analysts: J.

FBI Issues Warrant for $100M Cybercrime Mastermind,” Mail Online, June 2, 2014. 10 The unparalleled levels: McAfee, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime, June 2014. 11 There is another way: Jenny Awford, “Student Accused of Murder ‘Asked Siri Where to Hide Body,’ Say Police,” Mail Online, Aug. 13, 2014. 12 Just three years: “IBM Watson,” IBM Web site, http://​www-​03.​ibm.​com/​press/​us/​en/​presskit/​27297.​wss. 13 The M. D. Anderson Cancer Center: “IBM Watson Hard at Work,” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Feb. 8, 2013; Larry Greenemeier, “Will IBM’s Watson Usher in a New Era of Cognitive Computing,” Scientific American, Nov. 13, 2013. 14 Ray Kurzweil has popularized: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin Books, 2006), 7. 15 In 2014, Google purchased: Catherine Shu, “Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind,” TechCrunch, Jan. 26, 2014. 16 “Whereas the short-term impact”: Stephen Hawking et al., “Stephen Hawking: ‘Transcendence Looks at the Implications of Artificial Intelligence—but Are We Taking AI Seriously Enough?

The twenty-ninth day can often seem just like any other day, but given the nature of exponentials, the pond is already half-choked to death. The lessons of the pond are that the magical nature of exponential growth can sneak up on us very, very quickly and that our continued linear thinking may come at our own peril. The World of Exponentials In his book The Singularity Is Near, the futurist Ray Kurzweil describes the exponential nature of the technological world around us and introduces the concept of what he calls the “knee of an exponential curve.” The knee of the curve is an inflection point in time at which an exponential trend becomes truly noticeable. Shortly thereafter, however, the trend line becomes explosive and appears essentially vertical as the mathematical impact of an exponential growth curve is felt.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

They show up as straight lines and their speed is easier to evaluate; the bigger the exponent, the faster they grow, and the steeper the line. Impoverished Emperors, Headless Inventors, and the Second Half of the Chessboard Our brains are not well equipped to understand sustained exponential growth. In particular, we severely underestimate how big the numbers can get. Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil retells an old story to drive this point home. The game of chess originated in present-day India during the sixth century CE, the time of the Gupta Empire.7 As the story goes, it was invented by a very clever man who traveled to Pataliputra, the capital city, and presented his brainchild to the emperor. The ruler was so impressed by the difficult, beautiful game that he invited the inventor to name his reward.

When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”6 Progress toward such a singularity, Vinge and others have argued, is driven by Moore’s Law. Its accumulated doubling will eventually yield a computer with more processing and storage capacity than the human brain. Once this happens, things become highly unpredictable. Machines could become self-aware, humans and computers could merge seamlessly, or other fundamental transitions could occur. Ray Kurzweil, who has done more than anyone else to explain the power of exponential improvement, wrote in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near that at current rates of progress these transitions will occur by about 2045.7 How plausible is singularity or the Terminator? We honestly don’t know. As with all things digital it’s wise never to say never, but we still have a long way to go. The science-fiction capabilities of Jeopardy!

In the former group Susan Athey, David Autor, Zoe Baird, Nick Bloom, Tyler Cowen, Charles Fadel, Chrystia Freeland, Robert Gordon, Tom Kalil, Larry Katz, Tom Kochan, Frank Levy, James Manyika, Richard Murnane, Robert Putnam, Paul Romer, Scott Stern, Larry Summers, and Hal Varian have helped our thinking enormously. In the latter category are Chris Anderson, Rod Brooks, Peter Diamandis, Ephraim Heller, Reid Hoffman, Jeremy Howard, Kevin Kelly, Ray Kurzweil, John Leonard, Tod Loofbourrow, Hilary Mason, Tim O’Reilly, Sandy Pentland, Brad Templeton, and Vivek Wadhwa. All of them were incredibly generous with their time and tolerant of our questions. We did our best to understand the insights they shared with us, and apologize for whatever mistakes we made in trying to convey them in this book. Some members of both groups came together at an extraordinary series of lunches at MIT organized by John Leonard, Frank Levy, Daniela Rus, and Seth Teller that assembled people from the Economics Department, the Sloan School of Management, and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab to talk about exactly the topics in which we were most interested.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

In today’s corporate world there is a new breed of institutional organism—the Exponential Organization—loose on Earth, and if you don’t understand it, prepare for it and, ultimately, become it, you will be disrupted. The concept of the Exponential Organization (ExO) first arose at Singularity University, which I co-founded in 2008 with noted futurist, author, entrepreneur-turned-AI director at Google, Ray Kurzweil. The goal was to create a new kind of university, one whose curriculum was constantly being updated. For that reason SU was never accredited—not because we didn’t care, but because the curriculum was changing too fast. SU would focus only on the exponentially growing (or accelerating technologies) that were riding on the back of Moore’s Law. Areas like infinite computing, sensors, networks, artificial intelligence, robotics, digital manufacturing, synthetic biology, digital medicine and nanomaterials.

The sixty-year history of Moore’s Law—basically, that the price/performance of computation will double about every eighteen months—has been well documented. And we’ve come a long way since 1971, when the original circuit board held just two hundred chips; today we have teraflops of computing operating within the same physical space. That steady, extraordinary, and seemingly impossible pace led futurist Ray Kurzweil, who has studied this phenomenon for thirty years, to make four signature observations: First, the doubling pattern identified by Gordon Moore in integrated circuits applies to any information technology. Kurzweil calls this the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR) and shows that doubling patterns in computation extend all the way back to 1900, far earlier than Moore’s original pronouncement.

In 1997, however, halfway through the estimated time frame, just 1 percent of the human genome had been sequenced. Every expert labeled the project a failure, pointing out that at seven years for just 1 percent, it would take seven hundred years to finish the sequencing. Craig Venter, one of the principal researchers, received calls from friends and colleagues imploring him to stop the project and not embarrass himself further. “Save your career,” he recalls them saying. “Return the money.” When Ray Kurzweil was asked his perspective, however, his view of the “impending disaster” was quite different. “1 percent,” he said. “That means we’re halfway done.” What Kurzweil got that no one else did was that the amount sequenced was doubling every year. 1 percent doubling seven times is 100 percent. Kurzweil’s math was correct, and in fact the project was completed in 2001, early and under budget. The so-called experts had missed the end point by 696 years.

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing test, Wall-E

‘You didn’t have as much time together as you should have. He was always busy, and he died so young.’ He looked away, turning back to his rucksack to avoid making Matt more self-conscious. Uncomfortable, Matt changed the subject. ‘So have you read any transhumanist literature?’ ‘Not really: as I say, just the odd article here and there. If you are curious about their ideas, perhaps you should read one of Ray Kurzweil’s books: he seems to be the best-known proponent. He’s an interesting chap, actually. He was a successful software developer – made a lot of money out of speech recognition software, if I remember right. He’s also written several books about an event called a Singularity, when the rate of technological progress becomes so fast that mere humans are unable to keep up, and we will have to upload our minds into computers.

Sophie looked at him and smiled sadly. ‘You’re right, darling. It’s a perfectly good idea. It’s just . . . you know . . . memories.’ She took a deep breath and brightened her face. ‘I tell you what. I’ll call your uncle Leo after dinner and see if he has any ideas. Better still, if he has any connections.’ After dinner, ensconced in his bedroom, Matt followed Simon Jones’ suggestion and looked up Ray Kurzweil on Amazon, and downloaded his book ‘The Singularity is Near.’ Before starting to read it, he browsed the book’s reviews. The majority saw Kurzweil as a man with intriguing ideas about the future of humanity, and some even hailed him as an inspirational prophet of a utopian future. A minority were alienated by this utopian outlook, accusing Kurzweil of championing a cult of technology. These critics pointed out that Kurzweil had been writing about his ideas long enough for some of his predictions to have become testable.

Thus AI can effectively be defined as the set of tasks which computers cannot perform today. ‘AI still has many critics, who claim that artificial minds will not be created for thousands of years, if ever. But impressed by the continued progress of Moore’s Law, which observes that computer processing power is doubling every 18 months, more and more scientists now believe that humans may create an artificial intelligence sometime this century. One of the more optimistic, Ray Kurzweil, puts the date as close as 2029.’ As the lights came back up, Ross was standing again, poised in front of the seated guests. ‘So, Professor Montaubon. Since David and Matt’s dramatic adventure the media has been full of talk about artificial intelligence. Are we just seeing the hype again? Will we shortly be heading to into another AI winter?’ ‘I don’t think so,’ replied Montaubon, cheerfully.


pages: 232 words: 67,934

The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death by John Gray

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, dematerialisation, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Nikolai Kondratiev, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, the scientific method

p. 209 Our survival without the God we once knew …our rightful inheritance: Alan Harrington, The Immortalist: An Approach to the Engineering of Man’s Divinity, St Albans: Panther, 1973, 11, 15, 29, 229. p. 213 Drunk on the emptied wine-cup of the earth …and seconds passed in heavy honeyed drops: George Faludy, Selected Poems of George Faludy 1933–80, ed. and trans. Robin Skelton, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985, 98. p. 214 Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever: Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, MD, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, New York: Rodale Books, 2009. p. 215 The law of accelerating returns …This is the destiny of the universe: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, New York: Viking, 2005, 24–9. p. 217 the universe will become sublimely intelligent: Ibid., 390. p. 217 A common view is that science has consistently been correcting …until the entire universe is at our finger-tips: Ibid., 487. p. 217 Computers may turn out to be less important …self-replicating filaments of code: Dyson, Darwin among the Machines, 32.

Wells arrives in Russia and falls in love – Moura, Maxim Gorky’s confidante and Wells’ ‘Lover-Shadow’ – Robert Bruce Lockhart, Moura and the ‘Lockhart plot’ – Wells discovers Moura’s secret life – Moura’s laughter – The smell of honey – Wells, Darwin and Dr Moreau: ‘beasts that perish’ – ‘There is no “pattern of things to come”’ – Maxim Gorky, God-builder – Anatoly Lunacharsky, occultist and Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment – Vladimir Bekhterev, neurologist and parapsychologist, pays a visit to Stalin – Lamarck and Lysenko – The humanism of the White Sea Canal – Gorky on the extermination of rodents – Immortality and rocket science: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – Stalin, an enormous flea – Gorky’s travelling suitcase – Gorky’s last word – Leonid Krasin, Soviet minister, money-launderer and cryogenics pioneer – Nikolai Federov, Orthodox mystic and techno-immortalist – The Immortalization Commission – Kazimir Malevich, Cubo-Futurist and inspirer of Lenin’s tomb – Victory over the Sun – Two Chekist supermen – Stalin’s coffee machine – The death machine – Eau de Cologne, ashes and freshly baked bread – Walter Duranty, disciple of Aleister Crowley and apologist for Stalin – Method acting and the show trials – Moura’s bonfire 3 Sweet Mortality From automatic writing to cryonic suspension – Freezing and starving yourself to everlasting life – Global warming and the mortal Earth – Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity – Artificial intelligence and virtual evolution – Immortalism, a programme for human extinction – Science as a machine for generating insoluble problems – Natural laws or primordial chaos – Rain – The sweet scent of death in Casablanca – The fall of a leaf Acknowledgements Permissions Notes Illustrations 1. Henry Sidgwick (Getty) 2. F. W. H. Myers 3.

At bottom it is an attempt to escape contingency and mystery. Contingency means humans will always be subject to fate and chance, mystery that they will always be surrounded by the unknowable. For many this state of affairs is intolerable, even unthinkable. Using advancing knowledge, they insist, the human animal can transcend the human condition. A contemporary example is the American visionary Ray Kurzweil. In The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Kurzweil suggests that a world-transforming increase in the growth of knowledge is imminent. Human ingenuity has created machines with exponentially increasing capacity to process information. Given the law of accelerating returns it cannot be long before artificial intelligence overtakes its human inventors. At that point the Singularity will be such that: technology appears to be expanding at infinite speed.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Quoted in Bill Joy, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” Wired, April 2000. 43.Matt Richtel, “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute,” New York Times, October 23, 2011. Interlude, with Grave Robber 1.Peter Merholz, “ ‘Frictionless’ as an Alternative to ‘Simplicity’ in Design,” Adaptive Path (blog), July 21, 2010, adaptivepath.com/ideas/friction-as-an-alternative-to-simplicity-in-design. 2.David J. Hill, “Exclusive Interview with Ray Kurzweil on Future AI Project at Google,” SingularityHUB, January 10, 2013, singularityhub.com/2013/01/10/exclusive-interview-with-ray-kurzweil-on-future-ai-project-at-google/. Chapter Eight: YOUR INNER DRONE 1.Asimov’s Rules of Robotics—“the three rules that are built most deeply into a robot’s positronic brain”—first appeared in his 1942 short story “Runaround,” which can be found in the collection I, Robot (New York: Bantam, 2004), 37. 2.Gary Marcus, “Moral Machines,” News Desk (blog), New Yorker, November 27, 2012, newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/11/google-driverless-car-morality.html. 3.Charles T.

With each succeeding letter, a new set of suggestions pops up. Underlying the company’s hyperactive solicitude is a dogged, almost monomaniacal pursuit of efficiency. Taking the misanthropic view of automation, Google has come to see human cognition as creaky and inexact, a cumbersome biological process better handled by a computer. “I envision some years from now that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking,” says Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist who in 2012 was appointed Google’s director of engineering. The company will “just know this is something that you’re going to want to see.”2 The ultimate goal is to fully automate the act of searching, to take human volition out of the picture. Social networks like Facebook seem impelled by a similar aspiration. Through the statistical “discovery” of potential friends, the provision of “Like” buttons and other clickable tokens of affection, and the automated management of many of the time-consuming aspects of personal relations, they seek to streamline the messy process of affiliation.

By putting a computer screen permanently within view, the high-tech eyeglasses would allow Google, through its Google Now service and other tracking and personalization routines, to deliver pertinent information to people whenever the device sensed they required advice or assistance. The company would fulfill the greatest of its ambitions: to automate the flow of information into the mind. Forget the autocomplete functions of Google Suggest. With Glass on your brow, Brin said, echoing his colleague Ray Kurzweil, you would no longer have to search the web at all. You wouldn’t have to formulate queries or sort through results or follow trails of links. “You’d just have information come to you as you needed it.”21 To the computer’s omnipresence would be added omniscience. Brin’s awkward presentation earned him the ridicule of technology bloggers. Still, he had a point. Smartphones enchant, but they also enervate.


pages: 370 words: 94,968

The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, carbon footprint, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, job automation, l'esprit de l'escalier, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

There’s this IOU for a body that we wrote to computers ever since we designed them, and we haven’t really paid it off yet.” I end up wondering if we even set out to owe computers a body. With the Platonic/Cartesian ideal of sensory mistrust, it seems almost as if computers were designed with the intention of our becoming more like them—in other words, computers represent an IOU of disembodiment that we wrote to ourselves. Indeed, certain schools of thought seem to imagine computing as a kind of oncoming rapture. Ray Kurzweil (in 2005’s The Singularity Is Near), among several other computer scientists, speaks of a utopian future where we shed our bodies and upload our minds into computers and live forever, virtual, immortal, disembodied. Heaven for hackers. To Ackley’s point, most work on computation has not traditionally been on dynamic systems, or interactive ones, or ones integrating data from the real world in real time.

While everyone has a unique way to get motivated and stay that way, all athletes thrive on competition, and that means beating someone else, not just setting a personal best … We all work harder, run faster, when we know someone is right on our heels … I too would have been unable to reach my potential without a nemesis like Karpov breathing down my neck and pushing me every step of the way.” Some people imagine the future of computing as a kind of heaven. Rallying behind an idea called the “Singularity,” people like Ray Kurzweil (in The Singularity Is Near) and his cohort of believers envision a moment when we make machines smarter than ourselves, who make machines smarter than themselves, and so on, and the whole thing accelerates exponentially toward a massive ultra-intelligence that we can barely fathom. This time will become, in their view, a kind of techno-rapture, where humans can upload their consciousnesses onto the Internet and get assumed, if not bodily, then at least mentally, into an eternal, imperishable afterlife in the world of electricity.

., July 20–22, 2007, www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kahneman07/kahneman07_index.html. 28 Antoine Bechara, “Choice,” Radiolab, November 14, 2008. 29 Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott (Warner Bros., 1982). 30 Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968). 31 William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium,” in The Tower (New York: Macmillan, 1928). 32 Dave Ackley, personal interview. 33 Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005). 34 Hava Siegelmann, personal interview. 35 See Jessica Riskin, “The Defecating Duck; or, The Ambiguous Origins of Artificial Life,” Critical Inquiry 20, no. 4 (Summer 2003), pp. 599–633. 36 Roger Levy, personal interview. 37 Jim Giles, “Google Tops Translation Ranking,” Nature News, November 7, 2006.


pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight

The most important argument for the brain being the Master Algorithm, however, is that it’s responsible for everything we can perceive and imagine. If something exists but the brain can’t learn it, we don’t know it exists. We may just not see it or think it’s random. Either way, if we implement the brain in a computer, that algorithm can learn everything we can. Thus one route—arguably the most popular one—to inventing the Master Algorithm is to reverse engineer the brain. Jeff Hawkins took a stab at this in his book On Intelligence. Ray Kurzweil pins his hopes for the Singularity—the rise of artificial intelligence that greatly exceeds the human variety—on doing just that and takes a stab at it himself in his book How to Create a Mind. Nevertheless, this is only one of several possible approaches, as we’ll see. It’s not even necessarily the most promising one, because the brain is phenomenally complex, and we’re still in the very early stages of deciphering it.

Inverse deduction has a similar problem, and Newton’s principle is one solution. For example, from All Greek philosophers are human and All Greek philosophers are mortal we can induce that All humans are mortal, or just that All Greeks are mortal. But why settle for the more modest generalization? Instead, we can assume that all humans are mortal until we meet an exception. (Which, according to Ray Kurzweil, will be soon.) In the meantime, one important application of inverse deduction is predicting whether new drugs will have harmful side effects. Failure during animal testing and clinical trials is the main reason new drugs take many years and billions of dollars to develop. By generalizing from known toxic molecular structures, we can form rules that quickly weed out many apparently promising compounds, greatly increasing the chances of successful trials on the remaining ones.

This was a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it made proofs of correctness possible, as in the case of the perceptron, but it also meant that the classifier was strictly limited in what it could learn. Nearest-neighbor was the first algorithm in history that could take advantage of unlimited amounts of data to learn arbitrarily complex concepts. No human being could hope to trace the frontiers it forms in hyperspace from millions of examples, but because of Cover and Hart’s proof, we know that they’re probably not far off the mark. According to Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity begins when we can no longer understand what computers do. By that standard, it’s not entirely fanciful to say that it’s already under way—it began all the way back in 1951, when Fix and Hodges invented nearest-neighbor, the little algorithm that could. The curse of dimensionality There’s a serpent in this Eden, of course. It’s called the curse of dimensionality, and while it affects all learners to a greater or lesser degree, it’s particularly bad for nearest-neighbor.


pages: 382 words: 120,064

Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go but Something You Do by Brett King

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, asset-backed security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, George Gilder, Google Glasses, high net worth, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Infrastructure as a Service, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, performance metric, platform as a service, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, web application

Keywords: Disruptive, Moore’s Law, 3D Printing, Screens, Image Recognition, Exponential Growth, Haptic Touch, Artificial Intelligence, The Singularity Endnotes 1 Excerpts from A Conversation with Gordon Moore: Moore’s Law (Intel Corporation, 2005), p.1 2 IBM: History of Transistors, IBM 1401 3 http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Ferranti/Ferranti.Sirius.1961.102646236.pdf 4 mKomo.org, “A history of storage costs” (http://www.mkomo.com/cost-per-gigabyte) 5 See http://www.netlingo.com/word/gilders-law.php 6 See Wikipedia.org articles on WiMax, 4G, UMTS, and Spectra Efficiency of long-range networks utilizing 802.11, 802.16, and 802.20 standards 7 CNET News, 19 Nov 2008,Q&A: Kurzweil on tech as a double-edged sword, Natasha Lomas, http://news.cnet.com/cutting-edge/?keyword=Ray+Kurzweil 8 http://www.vice.com/read/ray-kurzweil-800-v16n4 9 Source; BusinessWeek.com (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/bioprinting-the-3d-future-of-organ-transplants-01092012.html) 10 http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-11502715 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation 12 SonyInsider.com 13 Wikipedia article on Gyricon 14 Geek.com, “Apple has a mightier mouse that needn’t be moved at all”, 5 Oct 2009 15 USA Today, “Digital Sign Revolution”, 11 April 2012 16 “The Internet?

There are other laws or principles at play here also, such as Gilder’s Law5, which says that improvements in bandwidth will occur at 300 per cent of the rate of Moore’s Law. In the next five years we will be looking at devices capable of 1 Gbit/s downlink speeds.6 To put that in perspective, by 2016 our mobile phones or tablets will be able to download a DVD-quality movie from anywhere in less than a minute. The Singularity concept Ray Kurzweil is credited with extending this principle of computing advances into what is broadly known as the concept of the Singularity. The Singularity, according to Kurzweil and others like him, is a point in time in the not-so-distant future when machines become vastly superior to humans in every way due to the emergence of true artificial intelligence. Computers will be able to improve their own programming, form factor and processing capability in ways we could never conceive.

“The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful and about a hundred thousand times smaller (than the one computer at MIT in 1965) and so that’s a billion-fold increase in capability per dollar or per euro that we’ve actually seen in the last 40 years . . . “The rate is actually speeding up a little bit, so we will see another billion-fold increase in the next 25 years—and another hundred-thousand-fold shrinking. So what used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket, what fits in your pocket now will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years.” —Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist7 Kurzweil’s propositions are based on tracking the exponential growth of technologies on the basis of the various technology and network “laws”. These technology improvement cycles are actually speeding up, so the growth curve of core technologies such as integrated circuits or the rate of Internet adoption trends upwards where they eventually reach exponential growth.


pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

It applies metaphors from certain strains of computer science to people and the rest of reality. Pragmatic objections to this philosophy are presented. What Do You Do When the Techies Are Crazier Than the Luddites? The Singularity is an apocalyptic idea originally proposed by John von Neumann, one of the inventors of digital computation, and elucidated by figures such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. There are many versions of the fantasy of the Singularity. Here’s the one Marvin Minsky used to tell over the dinner table in the early 1980s: One day soon, maybe twenty or thirty years into the twenty-first century, computers and robots will be able to construct copies of themselves, and these copies will be a little better than the originals because of intelligent software. The second generation of robots will then make a third, but it will take less time, because of the improvements over the first generation.

Wikipedia, for instance, works on what I call the Oracle illusion, in which knowledge of the human authorship of a text is suppressed in order to give the text superhuman validity. Traditional holy books work in precisely the same way and present many of the same problems. This is another of the reasons I sometimes think of cybernetic totalist culture as a new religion. The designation is much more than an approximate metaphor, since it includes a new kind of quest for an afterlife. It’s so weird to me that Ray Kurzweil wants the global computing cloud to scoop up the contents of our brains so we can live forever in virtual reality. When my friends and I built the first virtual reality machines, the whole point was to make this world more creative, expressive, empathic, and interesting. It was not to escape it. A parade of supposedly distinct “big ideas” that amount to the worship of the illusions of bits has enthralled Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and other centers of power.

Young people announce every detail of their lives on services like Twitter not to show off, but to avoid the closed door at bedtime, the empty room, the screaming vacuum of an isolated mind. Been Fast So Long, Feels Like Slow to Me Accelerating change has practically become a religious belief in Silicon Valley. It often begins to seem to us as though everything is speeding up along with the chips. This can lead many of us to be optimistic about many things that terrify almost everyone else. Technologists such as Ray Kurzweil will argue that accelerating improvement in technological prowess will inevitably outrun problems like global warming and the end of oil. But not every technology-related process speeds up according to Moore’s law. For instance, as I’ve mentioned earlier, software development doesn’t necessarily speed up in sync with improvements in hardware. It often instead slows down as computers get bigger because there are more opportunities for errors in bigger programs.


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

Rachel Morison, “Renewables Make German Power Market Design Defunct, Utility Says,” Bloomberg, June 26, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-26/renewables-make -german-power-market-design-defunct-utility-says.html (accessed April 29, 2013). 43. Nic Brisbourne, “Solar Power—A Case Study in Exponential Growth,” The Equity Kicker, September 25, 2012, http://www.theequitykicker.com/2012/09/25/solar-powera-case-study-in -exponential-growth/ (accessed May 27, 2013). 44. Max Miller, “Ray Kurzweil: Solar Will Power the World in 16 Years,” Big Think, March 17, 2011, http://bigthink.com/think-tank/ray-kurzweil-solar-will-power-the-world-in-16-years (accessed June 1, 2013). 45. Eric Wesoff, “Mainstream Media Discovers Solar Power and Moore’s Law,” Greentech Media, November 8, 2011, http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles /read/Mainstream-Media-Discov ers-Solar-Power-and-Moores-Law (accessed October 9, 2013). 46. Cristina L. Archer and Mark Z.

A study prepared by the Energy Watch Group predicts four different future market-share scenarios of new wind- and solar-power-plant installations, estimating 50 percent market share by 2033, with a more optimistic estimate of reaching the same goal as early as 2017.48 While solar and wind are on a seemingly irreversible exponential path to near zero marginal costs, geothermal energy, biomass, and wave and tidal power are likely to reach their own exponential takeoff stage within the next decade, bringing the full sweep of renewable energies into an exponential curve in the first half of the twenty-first century. Still, the powers that be continually lowball their projections of renewable energy’s future share of the global energy market, in part because, like the IT and telecommunications industry in the 1970s, they aren’t anticipating the transformative nature of exponential curves, even when faced with the cumulative doubling evidence of several decades. Ray Kurzweil, the MIT inventor and entrepreneur who is now head of engineering at Google and has spent a lifetime watching the powerful disruptive impact of exponential growth on the IT industry, did the math just on solar alone. Based on the past 20 years of doubling, Kurzweil concluded that “after we double eight more times and we’re meeting all of the world’s energy needs through solar, we’ll be using one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on earth.”49 Eight more doublings will take just 16 years, putting us into the solar age by 2028.

Rudolf Rechsteiner, “Wind Power in Context—A Clean Revolution in the Energy Sector,” EnergyWatchGroup, December 2008, http://www.energywatchgroup.org/fileadmin/global/pdf /2009-01_Wind_Power_Report.pdf (accessed November 4, 2013). 48. “Wind Power Experiencing Exponential Growth Globally,” Renewable Energy Worldwide, January 30, 2009, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/01/wind-power -experiencing-exponential-growth-globally-54631 (accessed January 9, 2013). 49. Miller, “Ray Kurzweil.” 50. Greg Price, “How Much Does the Internet Cost to Run?,” Forbes, March, 14, 2012, http:// www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2012/03/14/how-much-does-the-internet-cost-to-run/ (accessed July 18, 2013). 51. “UN Projects 40% of World Will Be Online By Year End, 4.4 Billion Will Remain Unconnected,” UN News Centre, October 7, 2013, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46207& Cr=internet&Cr1# (accessed November 7, 2013). 52.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

As a result, growth can be ‘exponential’, but also take place at different ‘rates’. 16 Gordon E Moore, ‘Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits’, Electronics, 38: 8 (1965), 114–17. 17 Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near (2005), 111–12, and Ralph Cavin, Paolo Lugli, and Viktor Zhirnov, ‘Science and Engineering Beyond Moore’s Law’, Proceedings of the IEEE, 100 (2012), 1720–49. 18 On the assumption that the piece of paper is 0.06 mm thick. See e.g. Adrian Paenza, ‘How folding paper can get you to the moon’, Ted-Ed video, <http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-folding-paper-can-get-you-to-the-moon> (accessed 27 March 2015). 19 Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind (2012), 249. Also see Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, chs. 2 and 3. 20 Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, 7–8. 21 Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, 22–6. 22 Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, 127. 23 Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind, 248–61. 24 The economic impact of this network effect is discussed by Michael Spence in his Nobel Prize lecture of 2001.

While mathematicians call this ‘exponential growth’, professionals might simply think of it as explosive growth. This growth in processing power has already had profound effects. Michael Spence, a Nobel Laureate in economics, notes that Moore’s Law resulted in ‘roughly a 10-billion-times’ reduction in the cost of processing power in the first fifty years of the ‘computer age’ (which, he thinks, began roughly in 1950). Ray Kurzweil, in his books The Singularity is Near and How to Create a Mind, stresses that this will continue. According to Kurzweil, the ‘fundamental measures of information technology follow predictable and exponential trajectories’.19 In explaining exponential growth, he says that: the pace of change for our human-created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace.

John Searle, Minds, Brains and Science (1984) and Hubert Dreyfus and Stuart Dreyfus, Mind Over Machine (1986). 6 See e.g. Donald Waterman, A Guide to Expert Systems (1986), Frederick Hayes-Roth, Donald Waterman, and Douglas Lenat, Building Expert Systems (1983). 7 Phillip Capper and Richard Susskind, Latent Damage Law—The Expert System (1988). 8 See John Searle, ‘Minds, Brains, and Programs’, in The Mind’s I, ed. Hoftstadter and Dennett. See also Searle, Minds, Brains and Science, ch. 2. 9 See e.g. Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind (2012), Michio Kaku, The Future of the Mind (2014), John Brockman (ed.), Thinking (2013). Also relevant is the Human Brain Project at <https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/en_GB> (accessed 23 March 2015). 10 Quoted in Searle, Minds, Brains and Science, 30. 11 For a discussion of relevant science-fiction work, see Jon Bing, ‘The Riddle of the Robots’, Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology, 3: 3 (2008), 197–206. 12 Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence (2014). 13 See Turing, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Hawking controls very few of his muscles, but Diamandis described him as having had “a shit-eating grin” on his face.15 At a press conference for the flight, Hawking said, “I think the human race doesn’t have a future unless it goes into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space.” Diamandis is utopian in his belief that galloping progress in technology will solve human problems. This is best embodied in the Singularity University, an unaccredited educational institution in Silicon Valley that he founded in 2008 with inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. If he didn’t have so much tangible success, it would be easy to pigeonhole Diamandis as a wild-eyed dreamer. He would empathize with what Robert Goddard said after the New York Times had declared his goals unachievable: “Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once achieved, it becomes commonplace.”16 In humanity’s future, Diamandis foresees “nine billion human brains working together to a ‘meta-intelligence,’ where you can know the thoughts, feelings, and knowledge of anyone.”17 The Transport Guru Elon Musk wants to die on Mars.

The philosophical movement that forms an umbrella for cybernetics and cyborgs is called transhumanism. Transhumanism is a worldwide cultural and intellectual movement that seeks to use technology to improve the human condition. Radical life extension is one aspect, as is the enhancement of physical and mental capabilities. Two prominent transhumanists are Nick Bostrom, a University of Oxford philosopher who has assessed various risks to the long-term survival of humanity, and Ray Kurzweil, the engineer and inventor who popularized the idea of the singularity, a time in the not-too-distant future when technology will enable us to transcend our physical limitations. This isn’t a prospect that leaves people apathetic. Author Francis Fukuyama called transhumanism “among the world’s most dangerous ideas,” while author Ronald Bailey said it’s a “movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity.”

The most chilling example of this scenario is seen in Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series of novels, where self-replicating doomsday machines are out there watching, ready to destroy life on a planet just as it begins to acquire advanced technology. Another variant of the singularity takes current efforts to fight disease and projects them into radical life extension, where technology helps us overcome all our mental and physical limitations. Ray Kurzweil has been the most eloquent proponent of this future. He’s a founder of the Singularity University, where the tech world’s movers and shakers pay tens of thousands of dollars for short courses on the cutting edge in AI and nanotechnology. Critics have mocked the idea of the singularity as the “rapture of the nerds,” and they’ve noted that only the wealthy will benefit from radical-life-extension technology.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

They’re programming the web to “remember” stuff that might otherwise have become obscure by becoming harder to find. So if we are programming the web to remember, should we also be programming it to forget—not by expunging information, but by encouraging certain information to drift, so to speak, to the back of the web’s mind? THE MEANS OF CREATIVITY October 14, 2007 I WAS FLIPPING THROUGH the new issue of The Atlantic today when I came across this nugget from Ray Kurzweil: “The means of creativity have now been democratized. For example, anyone with an inexpensive high-definition video camera and a personal computer can create a high-quality, full-length motion picture.” Yep. Just as the invention of the pencil made it possible for anyone to write a high-quality, full-length novel. And just as that saw in my garage makes it possible for me to build a high-quality, full-length chest of drawers.

What Chris Anderson famously described as the long tail of content still exists online, but far from wagging the web-dog, the tail has taken on the look of a vestigial organ. Chop it off, and most people would hardly notice. On the net as off, things gravitate toward large objects. The center holds. RESURRECTION February 16, 2009 THE SINGULARITY—THAT much-anticipated moment when artificial intelligence leaps ahead of human intelligence, rendering man immortal at the instant of his obsolescence—has been called “the rapture of the geeks.” But to Ray Kurzweil, the most famous of the Singularitarians, it’s no joke. In an interview in Rolling Stone, Kurzweil describes how, in the wake of the Singularity, it will be possible not only to preserve the living for eternity (by uploading their minds into computers) but to resurrect the dead (by reassembling the information that formed their vital essence). Life is data, and data never die. Kurzweil seems pretty certain about what the future holds.

It pushed us outward, away from ourselves. It was a means of and a spur to exploration. People would often talk about how they could spend hours lost in a reverie of seemingly aimless Googling. That’s much less the case now. Google’s conception of searching has changed since those early days, and that means our own idea of what it means to search is changing as well. Google’s goal is no longer to read the web. It’s to read us. Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and AI speculator, recently joined the company as a director of engineering. His general focus will be on machine learning and natural language processing. But his particular concern will entail reconfiguring the company’s search engine to focus not outwardly on the world but inwardly on the user. “I envision some years from now that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking,” he recently explained.


pages: 239 words: 45,926

As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Work, Health & Wealth by Juan Enriquez

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, double helix, global village, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, personalized medicine, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, spice trade, stem cell

The ramp-up in computer power implies that … By 2010, a computer should have the same processing capacity as a human brain. And, if you are a teenager, by the time you have a few grandchildren (say 2048) … These kids may carry around the equivalent of $1,000 PCs … With a processing capacity equal to all the human brains in the United States. (These trends have led to a very public debate between two great minds, MIT’s Ray Kurzweil, author of The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, and the chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Bill Joy, who wrote a very pessimistic essay for Wired titled “Why the Future Does Not Need Us.” If these trends interest you, these are great pieces).2 Just as the Industrial Revolution allowed some people to multiply their physical capacity a hundred- or a thousandfold … (And created large gaps between those who had machines and the education to use them and those who did not.)

See www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/genbankstats.html. Chapter VIII: The Most Powerful Information System 1. Ironically, one of the drivers of Blue Gene was losing Celera’s business. When Celera asked for bids on its computer system, it provided the raw H. influenzae gene sequence and timed assembly on different machines. It took Compaq seven hours vs. IBM’s eighty-seven … 2. One of the best thinkers on these issues is Ray Kurzweil; see The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking, 1999). His views upset many, including the chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Bill Joy, who wrote an extraordinary rebuttal in the April 2000 Wired titled “Why the Future Does Not Need Us.” www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html. 3. Take a look at what Church is working on:http://arep.med.harvard.edu/. 4.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

What is happening is an increase in the ability of machines to substitute for intelligent human labor, whether we wish to call those machines “AI,” “software,” “smart phones,” “superior hardware and storage,” “better integrated systems,” or any combination of the above. This is the wave that will lift you or that will dump you. The fascination with technology and the future of work has inspired some important writings, including Martin Ford’s classic The Lights in the Tunnel, the more recent and excellent eBook Race Against the Machine by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and Ray Kurzweil’s futuristic work on how humans will meld with technology. Debates about mechanization periodically resurface, most prominently in the 1930s and in the 1960s but now once again in our new millennium. Average Is Over builds upon these influential works and attempts to go beyond them in terms of detail and breadth. In these pages I paint a vision of a future which at first appears truly strange, but at least to me is also discomfortingly familiar and indeed intuitive.

But for the next fifty years or longer, the Freestyle model is more applicable. Most AI applications still require human support, and those applications, even if they spread considerably, will not come close to displacing all human jobs. Instead, intelligent machines will replace some laborers and augment the value of others in a slow and halting manner. The most radical hypothesis about future technology is Ray Kurzweil’s vision of a machine intelligence “Singularity.” Kurzweil argues that mankind will obtain the capacity to scan brains and upload them into computers. There will be many copies of each “person” and presumably these entities will exist for a long time, with the multiple copies making the “person” hard to wipe out, even in the event of a system crash. I’ve heard some of Kurzweil’s followers claim this scenario will happen within the next fifty years, and Kurzweil’s writings seem to encourage such speculations.


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

It doesn’t matter what the vessel is, according to Anders, because it would experience consciousness in exactly the same way as we do. As he describes why he thinks this is a fantastic idea, I begin to choke on my noodles, much to Anders’ delight. ‘Ha! You see?’ he laughs, as I struggle for air. ‘You need a back-up. Everyone needs a back-up. What a waste of human life and potential, to die choking on noodles! Ha ha!’ (For a brief moment, I agree.) Ray Kurzweil – a director of engineering at Google, and probably the world’s most famous transhumanist – thinks that mind uploading will be possible in 2045, as Zoltan predicted. Most mainstream scientists are less convinced by Kurzweil’s estimates. (Anders is a little more conservative, which is one reason he’ll be putting himself in the nitrogen tank.) Anders explains that he now spends much of his time working through the social implications of mind uploading, rather than the technology itself.

When he learned that I’d been communicating with Zoltan, he sent him the following, unsolicited message: I understand that you are in contact with Jamie Bartlett regarding his book project, dealing with the internet and technology more generally. JB had been in touch with Anders Sandberg, who at first agreed to do a dialog with me for the end of Jamie’s book. He disappeared after the “first round” of our exchange. A few years ago (2008?), producers at the Daily Show, American television, asked me to tape a brief debate with Ray Kurzweil and I agreed. After quite a bit of discussion of details of how and when, etc., the idea was cancelled with no explanation. It is my assumption that Kurzweil changed his mind. My question is, are you up for a public discussion or just another coward who can’t back up the techno-worship you advocate? I would like a serious and widely publicised debate, of your choice of venue, etc. I’d also like a bit of funding so as to be able to come to California, which I’d think would be a good place, somewhere there(?)


pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

And in the late 2000s, Groupon’s Andrew Mason did it in two. Sure, there’s been inflation since Rockefeller, but there’s no disputing that we’ve decreased the time it takes innovative people to achieve dreams, get rich, and make an impact on the world—and this has largely been due to technology and communication. “A serious assessment of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential,” writes the futurist and author Ray Kurzweil in his famous essay The Law of Accelerating Returns. “So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Here we come, Star Trek! At the same time, many industries remain decidedly stuck in the past. Most large businesses stop growing after a few years. Formal education, in many cases, is so slow or out-of-date that venture capitalists pay bright people to skip school and start Internet companies.

“Pierre Omidyar,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/profile/pierre-omidyar/. 4 in the late 2000s: Andrew Mason was a billionaire on paper as of Groupon’s January 2011 venture financing, according to the $15 billion company valuation that was reported by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Evelyn M. Rusli, “Groupon Advances on I.P.O. That Could Value It at $15 Billion,” New York Times, January 13, 2011, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/groupon-readies-for-an-i-p-o/. Groupon was two years old as of November 2010. (The song I listened to while preparing the previous seven citations: shanesnow.com/song1.) 4 “A serious assessment of the history of technology”: Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” March 7, 2001, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns (accessed February 15, 2014). A $1.7 million computer in 1990 could do 17 million “computations” per second. By 2003 a standard Dell could do 4 billion calculations per second and cost $1,600. Ritchie King, “The Rise of the Machines,” Popular Science, http://www.popsci.com/content/computing (accessed February 15, 2014). 5 Most large businesses stop growing: Eighty-seven percent of large businesses stop growing, according to researchers Matthew S.


pages: 247 words: 71,698

Avogadro Corp by William Hertling

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, invisible hand, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, technological singularity, Turing test, web application

“I hadn’t heard of it either until a few days ago.” He stared off into space. Gene let out a low whistle at the acknowledgement of what they had only suspected. Sean looked sideways at him. “I’m not surprised that you took this story to marketing managers and procurement and they didn’t believe it. A.I. must be a bit beyond their day to day concerns.” He stared off into the distance. “Are you familiar with Ray Kurzweil? Of course, you must be. He, among others, predicted that artificial intelligence would inevitably arise through the simple exponential increase in computing power. When you combine that increase in computing power with the vast computing resources at Avogadro, it’s naturally evident that artificial intelligence would arise first at Avogadro. I suppose that I, like him, assumed that there would be a more intentional, deliberate action that would spawn an A.I.”

This is the so-called brute force approach to artificial intelligence. It will be trivial for every computer programmer out there to play around with creating artificial intelligences in their spare time. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a genie that won’t stay in its bottle for much longer. For more information on what happens when computers become smarter than humans, read The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil. For a fictional account, I recommend Accelerando by Charles Stross. William Hertling Acknowledgements This book could not have been written without the help, inspiration, feedback and support of many people including but not limited to: Mike Whitmarsh, Maddie Whitmarsh, Gene Kim, Grace Ribaudo, Erin Gately, Eileen Gately, Maureen Gately, Bob Gately, Brooke Gilbert, Gifford Pinchot, Barbara Koneval, Merridawn Duckler, Mary Elizabeth Summer, Debbie Steere, Jill Ahlstrand, Jonathan Stone, Pete Hwang, Nathaniel Rutman, Jean MacDonald, Leona Grieve, Garen Thatcher, John Wilger, Maja Carrel, Rachel Reynolds, and the fine folks at Extracto Coffee in Portland, Oregon.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

When People Still Mattered A hundred years ago, computers were still folks like you and me. I’m not kidding: Back then, the word “computer” was just a job title. Computers were workers – mostly women – who did simple sums all day. It didn’t take long though before their task could be performed by calculators, the first in a long line of jobs swallowed up by computers of the automated variety. In 1990 the techno-prophet Ray Kurzweil predicted that a computer would even be able to outplay a chess master by 1998. He was wrong, of course. It was in 1997 that Deep Blue defeated chess legend Garry Kasparov. The world’s fastest computer at that time was the ASCI Red, developed by the American military and offering a peak performance speed of one teraflop. It was the size of a tennis court and cost $55 million. Fifteen years later, in 2013, a new supercomputer came on the market that easily clocked two teraflops and at just a fraction of the price: the PlayStation 4.

Or compare it to electricity: All the major technological innovations happened in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until around 1920 that most factories actually switched to electric power.25 Fast forward to today, and chips are doing things that even ten years ago were still deemed impossible. In 2004 two prominent scientists authored a chapter suggestively titled “Why People Still Matter.”26 Their argument? Driving a car is something that could never be automated. Six years later, Google’s robo-cars had already covered a million miles without a mishap. Okay, one mishap – when a human decided to take the wheel. Futurologist Ray Kurzweil is convinced that by 2029 computers will be just as intelligent as people. In 2045 they might even be a billion times smarter than all human brains put together. According to the techno-prophets, there simply is no limit to the exponential growth of machine computing power. Of course, Kurzweil is equal parts genius and mad. And it’s worth bearing in mind that computing power is not the same thing as intelligence.

The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

National Science Foundation writes, "advances in genetic engineering, information systems, and robotics will allow archived human beings to live again, even in transformed bodies suitable for life on other planets and moons of the solar system.,,6 This remarkable statement exemplifies the tendency among transhumanists to extrapolate from observations about current technology states to breathtaking visions of immortality, spatial transcendence, and social transformation. Among the better-known examples of this tendency are the predictions by technical experts such as Hans Moravec and Ray Kurzweil that, given current accelerating rates of evolution in information and communication technologies, we will be downloading our consciousness into information networks within decades. 7 And yet what calls attention to transhumanism is less the specifics of the agenda and its promiscuous predictions than the legitimacy that the agenda has garnered. Scientists, engineers, journalists, philosophers, and political theorists, among others, are discussing the prospects for "redesigning the human condition."

The Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition held at MIT in November of 2005 attracted 17 teams, whose designs included "bacterial Etch-a-Sketches," photosensitive T shirts, and bacterial photography systems, thermometers, and sensors. A number of viruses have been assembled from scratch, including the polio virus and the influenza virus that caused the 1918 pandemic. (Scientists trumpeted and defended the latter achievement/ while two leading techno-visionaries, Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy, pronounced the feat "extremely foolish" on the op-ed page of the New York Times. 6 ) In 2010, Craig Venter, another techno-visionary, built a synthetic genome that was able to support reproduction when implanted in a cell. Other researchers Level III Technology 69 have engineered the genes of Escherichia coli to incorporate a t\,venty-first amino acid, opening up an option space for design of organisms that has been unavailable to evolved biological systems for billions of years, since evolved biology is locked into the usual twenty amino acids (or at least was until human intelligence evolved to the point where new chemical bases for life could be created).


pages: 274 words: 73,344

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World by Nataly Kelly, Jost Zetzsche

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, Berlin Wall, Celtic Tiger, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, glass ceiling, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Skype, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the market place

“I’m bringing a translator and a security officer. Why would I need an engineer?” These were the words of the character named Archer in an episode of Star Trek that aired in 2001 (but took place in 2151). Truth be told, all computerized translation gadgets rely heavily on humans—both those with linguistic expertise and engineering know-how. The Futurist Has Faith Inventor and technologist Ray Kurzweil is probably best known throughout the world for his predictions about technology and how it will shape the future. At age fifteen, he wrote his first computer program. Before graduating from high school, he was invited to the White House and congratulated by President Lyndon B. Johnson for winning first prize in the International Science Fair for a computer he had built. In his books, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near, he talks about how machines will replace humans in a variety of areas.

For more details on the treaty and its translation, see “Making the Treaty of Waitangi” at www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/read-the-treaty/drafting-the-treaty. 19. Quotes and other details provided by Carla Hurd in an interview the authors conducted in January 2012. 20. Quotes and other details provided by Franz Och in an interview the authors conducted in August 2011. 21. To see the full video interview with Kurzweil at the Huffington Post, visit www.huffingtonpost.com/nataly-kelly/ray-kurzweil-on-translati_b_875745.html. RESOURCES There are many associations for interpreters, translators, and language service providers throughout the world. Here are some of the largest and most important groups in the United States and Europe: American Literary Translators Association (www.utdallas.edu/alta) American Translators Association (www.atanet.org) Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence (http://aiic.net) The Association of Language Companies (www.alcus.org) European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (www.ceatl.eu) European Language Industry Association (www.elia-association.org) European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (www.eulita.eu) European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (www.euatc.org) Globalization and Localization Association (www.gala-global.org) International Federation of Translators (www.fit-ift.org) International Medical Interpreters Association (www.imiaweb.org) InterpretAmerica (www.interpretamerica.net) National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (www.najit.org) National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (www.ncihc.org) Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (www.rid.org) INDEX Aariak, Eva, 32 Academy Awards, 169 “actionable intelligence,” 49–50 active language, 196 Afghanistan War, 40, 41 Africa, 105, 193 Afrikaans, 75, 192, 217 Age of Spiritual Machines, The (Kurzweil), 230 Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud, 47 Ahmed, Nazeer, 117–18 AIDS, 11 airline industry, 76–81 Al Bawaba, 10 Algic languages, 16 Algonquian, 29 Allen, Woody, 176 alliteration, 114 Al-Qaeda, 44 Alter, Robert, 114 America, 16–18, 19–20 American cuisine, 154 American Pie (movie), 177 American Sign Language (ASL), 167, 168 American University of Beirut, 117 America’s linguistic preparedness, 44–47 Amharic, 86, 104 anagrams, 95–96 Anderson, Kirk, 158–60 Animal Crossing: Wild World (video game), 183 animation, 178–80 Annie Hall (movie), 176 Apple, 63–64, 65, 223–24 appreciation of literary translators, 98–99 Apter, Ronnie, 173–74, 175 Arabic and translation pleasures, 130, 138 saving lives, 10, 18 storytelling and religion, 98–99, 117, 118 technology, 205, 208–10, 215, 217, 226–27 war and peace, 38, 42, 43, 45, 48, 59 Arawakan, 154 Argentina, 154, 163 Armenian, 161 Asher, Aaron, 98 Asher, Linda, 93 Asia, 73, 86, 95, 105, 115, 156, 215 Assad, Bashar al-, 49 Assamese, 105 astronauts, 81–84 Athabascan, 16 Athar, Shohaib, 199, 201 Atwood, Margaret, 33 Auden, W.


pages: 103 words: 24,033

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent by Vivek Wadhwa

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, labour mobility, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, Y2K

I would also like to thank my many bosses, colleagues, and students at all the different universities that have supported me and my research, including Tom Katsouleas, Barry Myers, Peter Lange, Kristina Johnson, Gary Gereffi, Ben Rissing, Jeff Glass, and Brad Fox of Duke University; Richard Freeman, Elaine Bernardt, and John Trumpbour of Harvard University; AnnaLee Saxenian of the University of California, Berkeley; Larry Kramer, Dan Siciliano, and Joe Grundfest of Stanford University; Holli Semetko and Benn Konsynski of Emory University; and Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, Naveen Jain, and Rob Nail of Singularity University. The students are too numerous to name. You will find them on the covers of my research papers. For the latest research that led to this book, I want to thank Neesha Bapat for cracking the whip and getting the data ready on time. Thanks to the Kauffman Foundation for enabling me to do such extensive research into entrepreneurship and immigration.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Jacobowitz, PC magazine Jay Jaroslav, former scientist at MIT AI Lab Donald Johanson, paleoanthropologist, discoverer of Lucy George Johnson, science journalist, New York Times Tom Jones, former NASA astronaut Steve Kates, astronomer and radio host Jack Kessler, professor of neurology, director of Feinberg Neuroscience Institute, Northwestern University Robert Kirshner, astronomer, Harvard University Kris Koenig, filmmaker and astronomer Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University, author of The Physics of Star Trek Robert Lawrence Kuhn, filmmaker and philosopher, PBS TV series Closer to Truth Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author of The Age of Spiritual Machines Robert Lanza, biotechnology, Advanced Cell Technology Roger Launius, coauthor of Robots in Space Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics and Spider-Man Michael Lemonick, former senior science editor, Time magazine, Climate Central Arthur Lerner-Lam, geologist, volcanist, Columbia University Simon LeVay, author of When Science Goes Wrong John Lewis, astronomer, University of Arizona Alan Lightman, MIT, author of Einstein’s Dreams George Linehan, author of SpaceShipOne Seth Lloyd, MIT, author of Programming the Universe Joseph Lykken, physicist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Pattie Maes, MIT Media Laboratory Robert Mann, author of Forensic Detective Michael Paul Mason, author of Head Cases W.

But it was then amplified and popularized by science fiction writer and mathematician Vernor Vinge in his novels and essays. But this leaves the crucial question unanswered: When will the singularity take place? Within our lifetimes? Perhaps in the next century? Or never? We recall that the participants at the 2009 Asilomar conference put the date at any time between 20 to 1,000 years into the future. One man who has become the spokesperson for the singularity is inventor and best-selling author Ray Kurzweil, who has a penchant for making predictions based on the exponential growth of technology. Kurzweil once told me that when he gazes at the distant stars at night, perhaps one should be able to see some cosmic evidence of the singularity happening in some distant galaxy. With the ability to devour or rearrange whole star systems, there should be some footprint left behind by this rapidly expanding singularity.

A slightly changed version appeared in Whole Earth Review, Winter 1993, http:­/­/­mindstalk.­net/­vinge/­vinge-­sing.­html. 17 “I’d be very surprised if anything remotely like this happened”: Tom Abate, “Smarter Than Thou? Stanford Conference Ponders a Brave New World with Machines More Powerful Than Their Creators,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2006, http:­/­/­articles.­sfgate.­com/­2006–­05–­12/­business/­17293318_­1_­ray-­kurzweil-­machines-­artificial-­intelligence. 18 “If you could blow the brain up”: Kurzweil, p. 376. 19 Philosopher David Chalmers has even catalogued: http:­/­/­consc.­net/­mindpapers.­com. 20 “life may seem pointless if we are fated”: Sheffield, p. 38. 21 “One conversation centered”: Kurzweil, p. 10. 22 “It’s not going to be an invasion”: Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2006. 23 “intelligent design for the IQ 140 people”: Brian O’Keefe, “The Smartest (or the Nuttiest) Futurist on Earth,” Fortune, May 2, 2007, http:­/­/­money.­cnn.­com/­magazines/­fortune/­fortune_­archive/­2007/­05/­14/­100008848/­. 24 “It’s as if you took a lot of good food”: Greg Ross, “An Interview with Douglas R.


pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

The Haitian government believes 316,000 people were killed, while a leaked memo from the U.S. government put the figure somewhere between 46,190 and 84,961. Conclusion As we look into the future—its promises and its challenges—we are facing a brave new world, the most fast-paced and exciting period in human history. We’ll experience more change at a quicker rate than any previous generation, and this change, driven in part by the devices in our own hands, will be more personal and participatory than we can even imagine. In 1999, the futurist Ray Kurzweil proposed a new “Law of Accelerating Returns” in his seminal book The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. “Technology,” he wrote, “is the continuation of evolution by other means, and is itself an evolutionary process.” Evolution builds on its own increasing order, leading to exponential growth and accelerated returns over time. Computation, the backbone of every technology we see today, behaves in much the same way.

Our gratitude to all our friends and colleagues whose ideas and thoughts we’ve benefited from: Elliott Abrams, Ruzwana Bashir, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Chris Brose, Jordan Brown, James Bryer, Mike Cline, Steve Coll, Peter Diamandis, Larry Diamond, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, James Fallows, Summer Felix, Richard Fontaine, Dov Fox, Tom Freston, Malcolm Gladwell, James Glassman, Jack Goldsmith, David Gordon, Sheena Greitens, Craig Hatkoff, Michael Hayden, Chris Hughes, Walter Isaacson, Dean Kamen, David Kennedy, Erik Kerr, Parag Khanna, Joseph Konzelmann, Stephen Krasner, Ray Kurzweil, Eric Lander, Jason Liebman, Claudia Mendoza, Evgeny Morozov, Dambisa Moyo, Elon Musk, Meghan O’Sullivan, Farah Pandith, Barry Pavel, Steven Pinker, Joe Polish, Alex Pollen, Jason Rakowski, Lisa Randall, Condoleezza Rice, Jane Rosenthal, Nouriel Roubini, Kori Schake, Vance Serchuk, Michael Spence, Stephen Stedman, Dan Twining, Decker Walker, Matthew Waxman, Tim Wu, Jillian York, Juan Zarate, Jonathan Zittrain and Ethan Zuckerman.

the country’s new government: Reconciliation After Violent Conflict: A Hand-book, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), 2003. See section by Peter Uvin, “The Gacaca Tribunals in Rwanda,” 116–117, accessed October 19, 2012, http://www.idea.int/publications/reconciliation/upload/reconciliation_full.pdf. the gacaca tribunal: Ibid. Conclusion “Technology”: Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking, 1999), 32. Every two days: M. G. Siegler, “Eric Schmidt: Every 2 Days We Create as Much Information as We Did up to 2003,” TechCrunch, August 4, 2010. only two billion people: “The World in 2010: ICT Facts and Figures,” ITU News, December 2010, http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2010/10/04.aspx. seven billion online: “U.S. & World Population Clocks,” U.S.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Only technology will exist when it gets good enough, which means it will become supernatural. Not long after Hiroshima, Alan Turing hatched the idea that people are creating a successor reality in information. Obviously Turing’s humor inspired a great deal of science fiction, but I’ll argue it’s distinct because it poses the possibility of a new metaphysics. People might turn into information rather than be replaced by it. This is why Ray Kurzweil can await being uploaded into a virtual heaven. Turing brought metaphysics into the modern conversation about the natural future. Turing’s humor also provides a destination, or an eschatology that the Invisible Hand’s humor lacks. Turing’s algorithms could inherit the world in a way that the Hand could not. This is because we can imagine software, improperly, I’ll argue, operating without the need for human operators, and even in an era of Abundance depopulated of people.

We ordinary humans are supposedly staying the same (a claim I reject), while our technology is an autonomous, self-transforming supercreature, and its self-improvement is accelerating. That means it will one day pass us in a great whoosh. In the blink of an eye we will become obsolete. We might then be instantly dead, because the new artificial superintelligence will need our molecules for a much higher purpose. Or maybe we’ll be kept as pets. Ray Kurzweil, who helped found the university, awaits a Virtual Reality heaven that all our brains will be sucked up into as the Singularity occurs, which will be “soon.” There we will experience “any” scenario, any joy. Others simply expect that medical knowledge will deterministically be accelerated as well, granting people physical immortality. To the old question about where everyone will live if people live forever but still want to have children, there are answers.

Edison on the surface was more the straight man, but actually he played a similar game. Electricity was, aside from being a physical phenomenon, a folk tale with Grand Guignol undertones from its earliest days. The physician Giovanni Aldini had made a spectacle of using electrodes to make freshly dead corpses twitch at public demonstrations around the beginning of the 19th century. He created a public career a little like Ray Kurzweil’s today, claiming to have highly technical knowledge that would end the old cycle of life and death. He might have inspired Mary Shelley’s character Dr. Frankenstein. The audacious race to bring the force of life and death into sockets in every home tempted every theatrical impulse. So, Edison made a public spectacle of electrocuting an elephant. Ostensibly, this demonstrated the demon in Tesla’s design of electricity (alternating current, AC), but Edison would certainly have understood that his own offering, direct current, DC, could also kill the beast.


pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, millennium bug, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

In 1922, he introduced the term ‘noosphere’ to denote an ever-expanding sphere of human thought. Many regard the noosphere as a prophetic foretelling of the Internet. Teilhard’s ideas also inform the concept of ‘AI Singularity’– the quasi-religious, teleological belief that Artificial Intelligence will overrun human intelligence by mid-twenty-first century.19 The main proponent of AI Singularity is the futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil. He claims that, by 2045, AI will have progressed so rapidly that it will outstrip humans’ ability to comprehend it. Once the Singularity has been reached, intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe. The AI Singularity futuristic narrative seems like a retelling of Teilhard’s Omega Point – or Judgement Day if you prefer – when the sum of intelligence in the universe accelerates exponentially thanks to self-improving Artificial Intelligence.

In a follow-up public letter printed in the British newspaper the Independent, co-signed by Stephen Hawking, computer scientist Stuart Russell and physics Nobel-winner Frank Wilczek,22 Tegmark and his peers raised the alarm about what might happen if AI takes over. Taking its lead from the film Transcendence (2014), these prominent scientists argued that the threat of human extinction is very real, very serious and closing in upon us. They are not the only ones worried about AI taking over the world. Ray Kurzweil – inventor, entrepreneur and currently the head of AI research for Google – thinks that this will happen by 2030. But how did all this talk about the AI Singularity start? The answer, not surprisingly perhaps, is to be found not in science but in science fiction. Vernor Vinge is a computer scientist, science fiction writer and winner of the prestigious Hugo Award for science fiction. In his novels, particularly in The Peace War (1984) and in Marooned in Realtime (1986), Vinge was the first to explore a fictitious time in the future that he called ‘the technological singularity’.

He expressed these narrative ideas more explicitly in a 1993 essay, arguing that the creation of superhuman Artificial Intelligence will mark a point in history where ‘the human era will be ended’.23 The main argument for the inevitability of the AI Singularity in Vinge’s essay is Moore’s Law. He writes: ‘progress in computer hardware has followed an amazingly steady curve in the last few decades. Based largely on this trend, I believe that the creation of greater than human intelligence will occur during the next thirty years.’24 Ray Kurzweil adopted Vinge’s argument in a series of popular science books that explore the technological drivers, and potentially devastating impact, of superhuman Artificial Intelligence. Kurzweil marks the year 2030 as a watershed by extrapolating, like Vinge, from today’s exponential improvement of computers according to Moore’s Law:25 2030 thus becomes the year that computer complexity will surpass the complexity of information processing in the human brain.


pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

He is also the co-founder (along with J. Craig Venter and Bob Hariri) and vice chairman of Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI); and the co-founder and executive chairman of Planetary Resources, a company designing spacecraft to prospect near-Earth asteroids for precious materials (seriously). He is the author of books including Bold and Abundance, which have endorsements from Bill Clinton, Eric Schmidt, and Ray Kurzweil, among others. Behind the Scenes I’ve heard more power players describe Peter as a “force of nature” than any other person, except for Tony Robbins, a friend of Peter’s. Peter is one of those guys who, every time you meet them, leave you shaking your head and (productively) asking, “What the fuck am I doing with my life?!” He recently asked me, “What’s your moonshot?” leading me to re-explore many of the questions and concepts in this profile.

Peter expands: “I think of problems as gold mines. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.” “When 99% of people doubt you, you’re either gravely wrong or about to make history.” “I saw this the other day, and this comes from Scott Belsky [page 359], who was a founder of Behance.” “The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.” Peter co-founded Singularity University with Ray Kurzweil. In 2008, at their founding conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, Google co-founder Larry Page spoke. Among other things, he underscored how he assesses projects: “I now have a very simple metric I use: Are you working on something that can change the world? Yes or no? The answer for 99.99999% of people is ‘no.’ I think we need to be training people on how to change the world.”

Lewis), Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer (Thomas Seyfried), Ketogenic Diabetes Diet: Type 2 Diabetes (Ellen Davis, MS, and Keith Runyan, MD), Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet (Ellen Davis, MS) de Botton, Alain: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), The Complete Essays (Michel de Montaigne), In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust) De Sena, Joe: A Message to Garcia (Elbert Hubbard), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), Shōgun (James Clavell), The One Minute Manager (Kenneth H. Blanchard) Diamandis, Peter: The Spirit of St. Louis (Charles Lindbergh), The Man Who Sold the Moon (Robert A. Heinlein), The Singularity Is Near (Ray Kurzweil), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), Stone Soup story DiNunzio, Tracy: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t (Jim Collins), The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Brad Stone) Dubner, Stephen: For adults: Levels of the Game (John McPhee); for kids: The Empty Pot (Demi) Eisen, Jonathan: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Jon L.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

For a brief description of the costly dynamic tension between anarchy and oligarchy in the digital world, see Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Anarchist in the 219 220 NOTES TO PAGES xiii–3 Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System (New York: Basic Books, 2004). 5. For examples of simplistic, naive visions of how technology works in the world, see Kevin Kelly, Out of Control: The Rise Of Neo-biological Civilization (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994); Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (New York: Viking, 1998); Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital (New York: Knopf, 1995); Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking, 1999). 6. For elaborations of unfounded “generational” thinking, see Jeff Gomez, Print Is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age (London: Macmillan, 2008); Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (New York: Vintage, 2000). 7. See Harriet Rubin, “Google Offers a Map for Its Philanthropy,” New York Times, January 18, 2008. 8.

See Joseph Nye, The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Joseph Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: PublicAffairs, 2004). CH APTER 2. GO O GLE’S WAYS A ND M EA NS 1. Louis C.K. and Conan O’Brien, “Everything’s Amazing, Nobody’s Happy,” Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NBC TV, February 19, 2009, available at www.youtube.com. 2. Arthur C. Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey, quoted in Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005), 4. NOT ES TO PAGES 5 4–59 229 3. Marissa Mayer, Google I/O ’08 Keynote Address, June 5, 2008, available at www.youtube.com. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. John Battelle, The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (New York: Portfolio, 2005). 7. Otis Port and Neil Gross, “A Search Engine Gets a Search Engine,” Business Week, September 28, 1998. 8.


pages: 290 words: 87,084

Branded Beauty by Mark Tungate

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

augmented reality, Berlin Wall, call centre, corporate social responsibility, double helix, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, haute couture, invention of the printing press, joint-stock company, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, stem cell

As he puts it, ‘Most scientists will get serious media exposure about twice in their entire career. And they’ll get that because they’ve actually done an experiment that was interesting. Well, I don’t even do experiments, right?… And I’m in the media all the bloody time.’ It almost seems as though – exactly as with anti-wrinkle creams – we want to believe. A different and somehow spookier take on immortality is offered by Ray Kurzweil, a brilliant inventor – when he was 13, he turned telephone parts into a machine that could calculate square roots; later he taught computers to recognize and read text aloud – who essentially believes that technology will enable us to live forever. The downside is that we will all be computers. Kurzweil’s theory is based on a notion called ‘the singularity’. The phrase was originally used to describe places beyond which the accepted rules of nature ceased to apply – such as the event horizon of a black hole.

Kurzweil predicts that by the early 2030s, most of our fallible internal organs will have been replaced by tiny robots. We’ll have ‘eliminated the heart, lungs, red and white blood cells, platelets, pancreas, thyroid and all the hormone-producing organs, kidneys, bladder, liver, lower esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, and bowel. What we have left at this point is the skeleton, skin, sex organs, sensory organs, mouth and upper esophagus, and brain.’ (‘Futurist Ray Kurzweil pulls out all the stops – and pills – to live to witness the singularity’, Wired, 24 March 2008) Immortality, then, is to be found in the overlap of the theories proposed by de Grey and Kurzweil. Regenerative medicine will allow each and every one of us to reach the ripe old age of Jeanne Calment, by which time we’ll be able to radically improve our bodies using technology. Or at least some of us will.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

The infrastructure orchestrates the instantaneous data exchanges that make fleets of self-driving cars and armies of killer robots possible. It provides the raw materials for the predictive algorithms that inform the decisions of individuals and groups. It underpins the automation of classrooms, libraries, hospitals, shops, churches, and homes.”24 With its massive investment in the development of intelligent labor-saving technologies like self-driving cars and killer robots, Google—which has imported Ray Kurzweil, the controversial evangelist of “singularity,” to direct its artificial intelligence engineering strategy25—is already invested in the building and management of the glass cage. Not content with the acquisition of Boston Dynamics and seven other robotics companies in the second half of 2013,26 Google also made two important purchases at the beginning of 2014 to consolidate its lead in this market.

In particular, I’d like to thank Kurt Andersen, John Borthwick, Stewart Brand, Po Bronson, Erik Brynjolfsson, Nicholas Carr, Clayton Christensen, Ron Conway, Tyler Cowen, Kenneth Cukier, Larry Downes, Tim Draper, Esther Dyson, George Dyson, Walter Isaacson, Tim Ferriss, Michael Fertik, Ze Frank, David Frigstad, James Gleick, Seth Godin, Peter Hirshberg, Reid Hoffman, Ryan Holiday, Brad Horowitz, Jeff Jarvis, Kevin Kelly, David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil, Jaron Lanier, Robert Levine, Steven Levy, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Andrew McAfee, Gavin Newsom, George Packer, Eli Pariser, Andrew Rasiej, Douglas Rushkoff, Chris Schroeder, Tiffany Shlain, Robert Scoble, Dov Seidman, Gary Shapiro, Clay Shirky, Micah Sifry, Martin Sorrell, Tom Standage, Bruce Sterling, Brad Stone, Clive Thompson, Sherry Turkle, Fred Turner, Yossi Vardi, Hans Vestberg, Vivek Wadhwa, and Steve Wozniak for appearing on Keen On . . . and sharing their valuable ideas with me.


pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

In the 1966 science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, a tiny human-crewed submarine could sail through a patient’s turbulent bloodstream, careening down the rapids of an artery, dodging red blood cells, drifting through flesh lagoons, until they found the diseased or torn parts needing repair. With the advent of nanotechnology, this adventure leaves the realm of fiction. Researchers are perfecting microscopic devices known as nanobots and beebots (equipped with tiny stingers) that can swim through the bloodstream and directly target the site of a tumor or disease, providing radical new treatments. The futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that “by the 2030s we’ll be putting millions of nanobots inside our bodies to augment our immune system, to basically wipe out disease. One scientist cured Type I diabetes in rats with a blood-cell-size device already.” There are nanobots invisible to the immune system, which shed their camouflage when they reach their work site. Tiny and agile enough to navigate a labyrinth of fragile blood vessels, some are thinner than a human hair.

We might enjoy it, too, especially if it’s evocative of work by human artists, if it appeals to our senses. Would we judge it differently? For one of its gallery shows, Yale’s art museum accepted paintings inspired by Robert Motherwell, only to change its mind when it learned they’d been painted by a robot in Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab. It would be fun to discover robots’ talents and sensibility. Futurologists like Ray Kurzweil believe, as Lipson does, that a race of conscious robots, far smarter than we, will inhabit Earth’s near-future days, taking over everything from industry, education, and transportation to engineering, medicine, and sales. They already have a foot in the door. At the 2013 Living Machines Conference, in London, the European RobotCub Consortium introduced their iCub, a robot that has naturally evolved a theory of mind, an important milestone that develops in children at around the age of three or four.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

That’s why the latest breed of apocalyptans—an increasingly influential branch of the digerati who see technology as the true harbinger of the singularity—mean to help us accept our imminent obsolescence. Echoing the sentiments of the ancient ascetic, they tend to regard the human physical form with disregard or even disdain. At best, the human body is a space suit for something that could be stored quite differently. The notion of a technologically precipitated singularity was popularized by futurist and electronic music engineer Ray Kurzweil. In his book The Age of Spiritual Machines, Kurzweil argues that human beings are just one stage in the evolution of matter toward higher levels of complexity. Yes, cells and organisms are more complex than mere atoms and molecules, but the human capacity for continuing development pales in the face of that of our machines. The very best thing we have to offer, in fact, is to continue to service and develop computers until the point—very soon—when they are better at improving themselves than we are.

You can see Jerry’s Brain at http://jerrysbrain.com. 24. April Rinne and Jerry Michalski, “Polymaths, Bumblebees and the ‘Expert’ Myth,” Washington Post, March 28, 2011. 25. Gordon Bell, Gordon Bell home page, http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/gbell/ (accessed August 11, 2011). CHAPTER 5: APOCALYPTO 1. Mathew Barrett Gross and Mel Gilles, The Last Myth (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2012). 2. Rocco Castoro, “Ray Kurzweil: That Singularity Guy,” Vice, April 1, 2009, www.vice.com. 3. John Brockman, “The Technium and the 7th Kingdom of Life: A Talk with Kevin Kelly,” Edge, July 19, 2007, www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kelly07/kelly07_index.html. 4. Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants (New York: Viking, 2010), 187. 5. Ibid., 188. 6. Ibid., 189. 7. Ibid., 356. 8. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (New York: W.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

The observation that artificial intelligence has its seasons of enthusiasm and also (in AI winter) of despair has become commonplace; by most accounts, the term “AI winter” was first coined as an allusion to nuclear winter, a level of devastation that seemed analogous when a slew of AI-related companies that had been founded in the 1970s all went bust in the early 1980s. By later in that same decade, a thaw was beginning. (In 1988, for example, Time magazine had AI back on its cover with an in-depth story called “Putting Knowledge to Work.”) Since then, the seasons of hype have come and gone. But the reality is that there has never been an actual regression in the technology. As Ray Kurzweil writes in his mind-bending book The Singularity Is Near: “I still run into people who claim that artificial intelligence withered in the 1980s, an argument that is comparable to insisting that the Internet died in the dot-com bust of the early 2000s. The bandwidth and price-performance of Internet technologies, the number of nodes (servers), and the dollar volume of e-commerce all accelerated smoothly through the boom as well as the bust and the period since.

Go to College, and Don’t Major in Architecture,” New York Times Economix blog, January 5, 2012, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/want-a-job-go-to-college-and-dont-major-in-architecture. 6. Frank Levy, “How College Changes Demands for Human Skills,” OECD Working Paper, March 2010, http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/45052661.pdf. Chapter 2: Just How Smart Are Smart Machines? 1. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Viking, 2005), 206. 2. Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris, “Automated Decision-Making Comes of Age,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2005, http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/automated-decision-making-comes-of-age/. 3. Patrick May, “Q&A: Surgeon, Inventor Catherine Mohr Pushes Robotic Surgery to New Heights,” San Jose Mercury News, June 13, 2014, http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_25959851/q-surgeon-inventor-catherine-mohr-pushes-robotic-surgery. 4.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population

On the contrary, a long period of modest progress is precisely what we would expect to see from a technology improving in exponential fashion from a very modest starting point. In an influential 2012 book, Race Against the Machine, two MIT scholars of technology and business, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, argue that people aren’t very good at assessing the pace of exponential technological progress (for example, the repeated doubling in microchip power described by Moore’s law).11 They borrow a parable popularized by the futurist Ray Kurzweil.12 In the legend, a wise man invents the game of chess and presents it to his king. Pleased, the king allows the man to name his reward. The wise man responds that he wishes only modest compensation, following a simple rule. He would have one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, and so on, doubling each time for each of the sixty-four squares.

Cowen, Tyler, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better (New York, NY: E. P. Dutton & Co Inc., 2011).   9. Solow, Robert, ‘Manufacturing Matters’, The New York Times, 12 July 1987. 10. Basu, Susanto, and Fernald, John, ‘Information and Communications Technology as a General-Purpose Technology: Evidence from U.S. Industry Data’, German Economic Review, Vol. 8, Issue 2, 2007. 11. Brynjolfsson and McAfee Race Against the Machine. 12. Raymond ‘Ray’ Kurzweil (1948–) is a serial inventor and entrepreneur whose past innovations include programmes which allow computers to recognize text and convert it to speech. More recently he has become known for his writing on transhumanism, and the prospect that powerful technology will allow humanity to achieve near-immortality. 13. BLS, Current Employment Statistics. 2. Managing the Labour Glut   1. 


pages: 374 words: 89,725

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, clean water, fear of failure, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thomas L Friedman, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Zipcar

It was also twenty-six thousand times less expensive than current tests . . . and 100 percent accurate. Andraka’s innovation earned him an international science fair award and an invitation to be a special guest at President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address. Hearing Andraka describe his thought process—including closing his eyes and allowing all those various bits of information he’d absorbed to coalesce—reminded me of something Google’s scientist-in-residence Ray Kurzweil47 revealed in an interview. He said that when he is working on a difficult problem, he sets aside time, right before going to bed, to review all the pertinent issues and challenges. Then he goes to sleep and allows his unconscious mind to go to work. A growing body of research describes what happens when we allow the unconscious mind to work on a problem. Writing recently on the site Big Think, Sam McNerney pulled together a number48 of recent studies showing that sleeping can help people to perform better at solving difficult problems requiring a creative solution.

From my interview with Kounios. 45 Chen-Bo Zhong, a professor at the . . . From my interview with Zhong, November 2012; from more on his research, see Chen-Bo Zhong, “The Role of Unconscious Thought in the Creative Process,” Rotman magazine, Winter 2010. 46 What if dots and dashes could sort the world? . . . Margalit Fox, “N. Joseph Woodland, Inventor of the Bar Code, Dies at 91,” New York Times, December 12, 2012. 47 Google’s scientist-in-residence Ray Kurzweil . . . Kurzweil told this to Thea Singer, “6 Beautiful Minds,” O, the Oprah Magazine, June 2007, http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Modern-Day-Geniuses-The-Worlds-Brightest-Minds. 48 Sam McNerney pulled together a number . . . Sam McNerney, “Unconscious Creativity: Step Back to Step Forward,” Big Think blog, May 24, 2012; also, Sam McNerney, “Relaxation & Creativity—the Science of ‘Sleeping on It,’” Big Think blog, May 8, 2012; and Annie Murphy Paul, “Why Daydreaming Isn’t a Waste of Time,” Mind/Shift blog, from KQED Public Media for Northern California, June 1, 2012. 49 “Museums are the custodians of epiphanies” . . .


pages: 350 words: 96,803

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test

The well-known Turing test asserts that if a machine can perform a cognitive task such as carrying on a conversation in a way that from the outside is indistinguishable from similar activities carried out by a human being, then it is indistinguishable on the inside as well. Why this should be an adequate test of human mentality is a mystery, for the machine will obviously not have any subjective awareness of what it is doing, or feelings about its activities.p This doesn’t prevent such authors as Hans Moravec40 and Ray Kurzweil41 from predicting that machines, once they reach a requisite level of complexity, will possess human attributes like consciousness as well.42 If they are right, this will have important consequences for our notions of human dignity, because it will have been conclusively proven that human beings are essentially nothing more than complicated machines that can be made out of silicon and transistors as easily as carbon and neurons.

Lewontin, “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptionist Programme,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 205 (1979): 81–98. 37 John R. Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness (New York: New York Review Books, 1997). 38 Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (Boston: Little, Brown, 1991), p. 210. 39 John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992), p. 3. 40 Hans P. Moravec, Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). 41 Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (London: Penguin Books, 2000). 42 For a critique, see Colin McGinn, “Hello HAL,” The New York Times Book Review, January 3, 1999. 43 On this point, see Wright (2000), pp. 306–308. 44 Ibid., pp. 321–322. 45 Robert J. McShea, Morality and Human Nature: A New Route to Ethical Theory (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), p. 77. 46 Daniel Dennett makes the following bizarre statement in Consciousness Explained: “But why should it matter, you may want to ask, that a creature’s desires are thwarted if they aren’t conscious desires?


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Khan Academy, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra

To attribute their success purely to chance strains credulity. Intr oduction xxxvii Markets are not instantaneously and perfectly efficient. Insights, and the ability to execute them rapidly in ever-faster electronic markets, will continue to be rewarded. Today, these insights come from people, using machines as tools. Some believe the machines will be able to play the game themselves.19 One is Ray Kurzweil,20 who started out making reading machines for the blind, met Stevie Wonder and branched out into electronic keyboard instruments for all, and accumulated a great deal of investable capital in the process. The arc of Kurzweil’s view of machine intelligence is traced in the titles of books he has written on the subject: The Age of Intelligent Machines (1992), The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Transcend Human Intelligence (2001), and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005).

Computer programs increasingly take over tasks from people, and allow people to amplify their abilities using machines. The “digerati” (a hybrid of digital and literati ) would call this artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence amplification (IA). * Moore’s Law is the well-known doubling of computational power every 18 months. Metcalfe’s Law is the less well-known maxim that the utility of a network grows as the square of the number of users. An Illustrated History of Wir ed Markets 27 Ray Kurzweil, one of the great inventors of our age, built a reading machine for the blind in 1976 and then started a musical instrument company with help from one of his customers, Stevie Wonder. Kurzweil created the market for modern electronic keyboards, and has continued to innovate and articulate the growing capabilities of computing. The titles of his books trace an arc of future progress—The Age of Intelligent Machines (1992), The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (2000), and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005).


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

As the project’s first big-splash Long Bet, Kapor wagered $20,000 (all winnings earmarked for worthy nonprofit institutions) that by 2029 no computer or “machine intelligence” will have passed the Turing Test. (To pass a Turing Test, typically conducted via the equivalent of instant messaging, a computer program must essentially fool human beings into believing that they are conversing with a person rather than a machine.) Taking the other side of the bet was Ray Kurzweil, a prolific inventor responsible for breakthroughs in electronic musical instruments and speech recognition who had more recently become a vigorous promoter of an aggressive species of futurism. Kurzweil’s belief in a machine that could ace the Turing Test was one part of his larger creed—that human history was about to be kicked into overdrive by the exponential acceleration of Moore’s Law and a host of other similar skyward-climbing curves.

“Ultimately, information systems only give”: Jaron Lanier at OOPSLA 2004 Conference. Bill Gates in Singapore: Rohan Sullivan, “Gates Says Technology Will One Day Allow Computer Implants—but Hardwiring’s Not for Him,” Associated Press, July 5, 2005. Archived at http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200507/msg00029.htm. “relief from the confusions of the world”: Ellen Ullman, The Bug (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2003), p. 9. Kapor’s Long Bet with Ray Kurzweil is chronicled at http://www.longbets.org/1. “radical transformation of the reality”: Kurzweil described his vision of the Singularity in a talk hosted by the Long Now Foundation, San Francisco, September 23, 2005. Video of the event is at http://video.google.com/video play?docid=610691660251309257. “in the short term we always underestimate”: Kurzweil, Long Now Foundation talk. “As humans: We are embodied.”: Kapor’s essay accompanying the Long Bet is at http://www.longbets.org/1.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

Observers in earlier epochs might have found it equally preposterous to suppose that the world economy would one day be doubling several times within a single lifespan. Yet that is the extraordinary condition we now take to be ordinary. The idea of a coming technological singularity has by now been widely popularized, starting with Vernor Vinge’s seminal essay and continuing with the writings of Ray Kurzweil and others.4 The term “singularity,” however, has been used confusedly in many disparate senses and has accreted an unholy (yet almost millenarian) aura of techno-utopian connotations.5 Since most of these meanings and connotations are irrelevant to our argument, we can gain clarity by dispensing with the “singularity” word in favor of more precise terminology. The singularity-related idea that interests us here is the possibility of an intelligence explosion, particularly the prospect of machine superintelligence.

See also Bostrom and Ord (2006) and Sandberg and Savulescu (2011). 64. E.g. Warwick (2002). Stephen Hawking even suggested that taking this step might be necessary in order to keep up with advances in machine intelligence: “We must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it” (reported in Walsh [2001]). Ray Kurzweil concurs: “As far as Hawking’s … recommendation is concerned, namely direct connection between the brain and computers, I agree that this is both reasonable, desirable and inevitable. [sic] It’s been my recommendation for years” (Kurzweil 2001). 65. See Lebedev and Nicolelis (2006); Birbaumer et al. (2008); Mak and Wolpaw (2009); and Nicolelis and Lebedev (2009). A more personal outlook on the problem of enhancement through implants can be found in Chorost (2005, Chap. 11). 66.


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Instead of subverting the power of the entertainment industry—as Thiel’s belief in technoescapism would suggest—PayPal has become a useful tool in perpetuating that power. Geeks’ power myopia is scandalous. Another recent manifestation of technoescapism can be found in Abundance, a new book cowritten by Peter Diamandis, a wealthy entrepreneur and cofounder of the Singularity University. The latter is an outlet that promotes Ray Kurzweil’s idea that computers will one day be as smart as people, who in turn will live forever, and presents it, along with some other key ideas of technogospel, in an easy-to-absorb manner, suitable for busy executives eager to foot the university’s $25,000-for-ten-weeks tuition bill. (Thiel is an avid supporter of singularity as well, having given money to Kurzweil; it’s not very likely that he pays anyone to drop out of the Singularity University.)

By this logic, societies should not restrict the use of biological weapons or asbestos because we don’t know what good might come of them. To support the idea that technologies—and now “the Internet”—develop in accordance with their own rules, Kelly and other pundits usually invoke Moore’s law. For Kelly, “the curve [behind Moore’s law] is one way the technium speaks to us.” The idea that Moore’s law is akin to a natural law is widespread in Silicon Valley—it’s one of the original myths of Ray Kurzweil’s singularity movement—and it has long spread beyond the technology industry, frequently invoked to justify some course of action. There are few empirically rigorous studies of Moore’s law, but Finnish innovation scholar Ilkka Tuomi has done perhaps the most impressive work, digging up industry data, calculating actual growth rates, and tracking various expressions and references to Moore’s law in the media.


pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Kevin Kelly, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not say that humans have ‘the right to life until the age of ninety’. It says that every human has a right to life, period. That right isn’t limited by any expiry date. An increasing minority of scientists and thinkers consequently speak more openly these days, and state that the flagship enterprise of modern science is to defeat death and grant humans eternal youth. Notable examples are the gerontologist Aubrey de Grey and the polymath and inventor Ray Kurzweil (winner of the 1999 US National Medal of Technology and Innovation). In 2012 Kurzweil was appointed a director of engineering at Google, and a year later Google launched a sub-company called Calico whose stated mission is ‘to solve death’.26 Google has recently appointed another immortality true-believer, Bill Maris, to preside over the Google Ventures investment fund. In a January 2015 interview, Maris said, ‘If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500, the answer is yes.’

This vision is reminiscent of some traditional religious visions. Thus Hindus believe that humans can and should merge into the universal soul of the cosmos – the atman. Christians believe that after death saints are filled by the infinite grace of God, whereas sinners cut themselves off from His presence. Indeed, in Silicon Valley the Dataist prophets consciously use traditional messianic language. For example, Ray Kurzweil’s book of prophecies is called The Singularity is Near, echoing John the Baptist’s cry: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’ (Matthew 3:2). Dataists explain to those who still worship flesh-and-blood mortals that they are overly attached to outdated technology. Homo sapiens is an obsolete algorithm. After all, what’s the advantage of humans over chickens? Only that in humans information flows in much more complex patterns than in chickens.

Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business by Ernie Chan

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

algorithmic trading, asset allocation, automated trading system, backtesting, Black Swan, Brownian motion, business continuity plan, compound rate of return, Elliott wave, endowment effect, fixed income, general-purpose programming language, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, p-value, paper trading, price discovery process, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, systematic trading, transaction costs

But, in general, the more rules the strategy has, and the more parameters the model has, the more likely it is going to suffer data-snooping bias. Simple models are often the ones that will stand the test of time. (See the sidebar on my views on artificial intelligence and stock picking.) ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND STOCK PICKING* There was an article in the New York Times a short while ago about a new hedge fund launched by Mr. Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence. (Thanks to my fellow blogger, Yaser Anwar, who pointed it out to me.) According to Kurzweil, the stock-picking decisions in this fund are supposed to be made by machines that “. . . can observe billions of market transactions to see patterns we could never see” (quoted in Duhigg, 2006). While I am certainly a believer in algorithmic trading, I have become a skeptic when it comes to trading based on “artificial intelligence.”


pages: 138 words: 40,787

The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things by Daniel Kellmereit, Daniel Obodovski

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, connected car, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Freestyle chess, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet of things, Network effects, Paul Graham, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, software as a service, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator, yield management

In any case, we wish you happy reading. Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski San Francisco, June 2013 Chapter 1 HISTORY AND TRENDS The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed. ~ William Gibson How can you tell if something will become so huge and powerful that it’s going to change our lives and the way we do business? Below is a well-known story, popularized by Ray Kurzweil and retold as we know it, that illustrates the power of exponential growth. In ancient China a man came to the emperor and demonstrated to him his invention of the game of chess. The emperor was so impressed by the brilliance of the man’s invention that he told the man to name his reward. The man asked for his reward in an amount of rice — that one grain be placed on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, and so on — doubling the number of grains on each subsequent square.


pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

“suddenly become opaque and bewildering”: Homer-Dixon, The Ingenuity Gap, 186. 100 billion sentences: Actually, to avoid duplicate sentences, it’s really 10,000 nouns × 1,000 verbs × 9,999 nouns. It would still take more than 30,000 years to go through these sentences. from the linguist Steven Pinker: Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (New York: William Morrow, 1994; repr. HarperPerennial, 1995), 205. “This is the cheese”: Quoted in Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Penguin, 1999), 95. Consider Kant Generator: Program via Mark Pilgrim, Dive into Python: Python from Novice to Pro, updated 2004. Available free online: http://www.diveintopython.net/xml_processing/. While this program allows for embedding clauses within others, it seems that Kant Generator is not in fact infinitely recursive, as it will always terminate.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Governing the Commons, Elinor Ostrum (New York: Cambridge Univ., 1990) Untragic common sense. Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling (New York: Bantam, 1996) Long life changes life. Infinite in All Directions, Freeman Dyson (New York: Harper, 1989) Sophisticated hope. The Art of the Long View, Peter Schwartz (New York: Doubleday, 1991) Scenarios engage and free the future. The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil (New York: Viking, 1999) Beyond Moore’s Law. Deep Time, Gregory Benford (New York: Avon, 1999) Signalling through millennia. Future Survey, Michael Marien, ed. (Monthly newsletter, $79/year from: World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA) All the good new books and articles about the future. Encyclopedia Britannica Online (www.eb.com) Quick, deep online research.


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Are they nothing more than human sensors? Where are the amateurs—the Darwins and Mendels—who are influencing science through the sort of contributions that credentialed scientists themselves make? The amateurs’ articles tend not to make it into scientific journals, and they tend not to be invited to give talks at scientific conferences. Yes, there are some exceptions—Jeff Hawkins’s theory of brain function,32 Ray Kurzweil on the biology of aging, Stephen Wolfram’s theory of everything—but they tend to be crossovers from technical or scientific fields in which they’ve been highly trained. It seems that amateurs had a bigger effect on the ideas of science in the nineteenth century than they’re having in the Age of the Net. This is not totally surprising. As our scientific knowledge has grown and as our instruments have let us pursue ever more minute questions, the scope of individual scientists has narrowed.


pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

For most of these people, programming machines to catalogue knowledge and answer questions, whether manually or by machine, was a bit pedestrian. They weren’t looking for advances in technology that already existed. Instead, they were focused on a bolder challenge, the development of deep and broad machine intelligence known as Artificial General Intelligence. This, they believed, would lead to the next step of human evolution. The heart of the Singularity argument, as explained by the technologists Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, the leading evangelists of the concept, lies in the power of exponential growth. As Samuel Butler noted, machines evolve far faster than humans. But information technology, which Butler only glimpsed, races ahead at an even faster rate. Digital tools double in power or capacity every year or two, whether they are storing data, transmitting it, or performing calculations. A single transistor cost $1 in 1968; by 2010 that same buck could buy a billion of them.


pages: 247 words: 81,135

The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market design, Metcalfe's law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, web application

Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of lenses Jesse Schell Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium Carl Sagan Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing Alex Wipperfurth The Cluetrain Manifesto Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed Ray Kurzweil The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel Benjamin Graham One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market Peter Lynch The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing Burton G. Malkiel Rework Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson The Road Ahead Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions Christian Lander Documentaries Connections (series 1-3, 1978-1997) Series presented by James Burke.


pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Peter Cochrane — who is arguably taking a more limited approach to the problem, believing that the combination of sensory experience and the resulting neurochemistry is enough to recreate memory — thinks the Soul Catcher will be working by 2025. In The Singularity is Near, futurist, author, inventor, and director of engineering at Google — and thus the man in charge of building a conscious computer — Ray Kurzweil almost agrees with this timing, arguing that 2029 is the year man and machine will truly merge. To many, these predictions seem overly optimistic. For certain, there are long and complicated arguments about the true nature of consciousness and our ability to capture it in a computer. There are even more arguments about whether a self stored in silicon would be our actual essence or some sorely diminished version.


pages: 326 words: 74,433

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

augmented reality, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software as a service, Steve Jobs

For example, if you are running an ad-supported media site, a maniacal focus on increasing page views per user session might frustrate loyal users and could drastically reduce ad click-through rates and ultimately harm the business. Remember to think exponentially, especially in the world of technology. A few early data points on a geometric curve might lead you to conclude that you're observing a linear phenomenon, which would lead to some seriously erroneous predictions about what points farther up the curve might look like. To paraphrase Ray Kurzweil, when presented with exponential growth, remember that people tend to drastically overestimate what will happen in the short term, but will profoundly underestimate what happens over longer time spans. It has been said that one measure of intelligence is the ability to hold contradictory thoughts in one's mind simultaneously. Well, consider life as a founder of a startup to be one big intelligence test.

Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War

Around 1915 Henry Adams looked at the history of the increase of human horsepower: the amount of muscle-power, then 153 2990-7 ch14 mead 154 7/23/07 12:16 PM Page 154 discussion measured in horsepower, that human civilization could harness. He derived a parabolic curve going back to the Roman Empire that showed very slow growth at first and then started to steepen as machines came into the nineteenth century. He projected from the machine age into the electric age, and from that he predicted an ethereal age to start in the early decades of this century, precisely around the time Ray Kurzweil and others think the Singularity will come—an acceleration of technological change across the board so acute as to burst the bounds of human control. Henry Adams predicting the Singularity almost a century ago may be just coincidence. But the point that the pace of social, political, and technological change is accelerating is not coincidence—it is destiny. One can make an argument, call it a sort of cultural Malthusianism, that while the rate of change may be geometric or even logarithmic, the ability of societies to cope with change barely lifts off the linear.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

It’s a confidence captured in venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s saying that “software is eating the world.” In its outer reaches it is an ambition manifested in ideas of Seasteading (a movement to build self-governing floating cities, started by PayPal founder Peter Thiel) and the Singularity (a belief in “the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity,” originating with the ideas of inventor and now Google employee Ray Kurzweil). Just as Hollywood is both a physical location and a global industry with a distinctive set of traditions, beliefs, and practices, so Silicon Valley is more than a place—it is shorthand for the world of digital technology, specifically Internet technology. Silicon Valley includes big companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, and it includes a ­never-ending stream of ambitious startups, not all physically located in Silicon Valley proper, but all driven by and products of the broader Internet culture.

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

In his 1962 book “The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States”, the Austrian economist Fritz Machler suggested that with 29% of GDP accounted for by the knowledge industry, it had begun. [iv] The term was first applied to human affairs back in the 1950s by John von Neumann, a key figure in the development of the computer. The physicist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge argued in 1993 that artificial intelligence and other technologies would cause a singularity in human affairs within 30 years. This idea was picked up and popularised by the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who believes that computers will overtake humans in general intelligence in 1929, and a singularity will arrive in 2045. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity [v] The event horizon of a black hole is the point beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer, or in other words, the point of no return. The gravitational pull has become so great as to make escape impossible, even for light.


pages: 281 words: 78,317

But What if We're Wrong? Thinking About the Present as if It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, citizen journalism, cosmological constant, dark matter, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Gerolamo Cardano, ghettoisation, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, non-fiction novel, obamacare, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, the medium is the message, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Y2K

On the other end of this speculatory scale—or on the same end, if you’re an especially gloomy motherfucker—are proponents of the Singularity, a techno-social evolution so unimaginable that attempting to visualize what it would be like is almost a waste of time. The Singularity is a hypothetical super-jump in the field of artificial intelligence, rendering our reliance on “biological intelligence” obsolete, pushing us into a shared technological realm so advanced that it will be unrecognizable from the world of today. The best-known advocate of this proposition, futurist Ray Kurzweil, suggests that this could happen as soon as the year 2045, based on an exponential growth model. But that is hard to accept. Everyone agrees that Kurzweil is a genius and that his model makes mathematical sense, but no man truly believes this is going to happen in his own lifetime (sans a handful of people who are already living their lives very, very, very differently). It must also be noted that Kurzweil initially claimed this event was coming in 2028, so the inception of the Singularity might be a little like the release of Chinese Democracy.


pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mouse model, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

Nietzsche had the Latin pun aut liberi, aut libri—either children or books, both information that carries through the centuries. I was just reading in John Gray’s wonderful The Immortalization Commission about attempts to use science, in a postreligious world, to achieve immortality. I felt some deep disgust—as would any ancient—at the efforts of the “singularity” thinkers (such as Ray Kurzweil) who believe in humans’ potential to live forever. Note that if I had to find the anti-me, the person with diametrically opposite ideas and lifestyle on the planet, it would be that Ray Kurzweil fellow. It is not just neomania. While I propose removing offensive elements from people’s diets (and lives), he works by adding, popping close to two hundred pills daily. Beyond that, these attempts at immortality leave me with deep moral revulsion. It is the same kind of deep internal disgust that takes hold of me when I see a rich eighty-two-year-old man surrounded with “babes,” twentysomething mistresses (often Russian or Ukrainian).


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Mine is not a book about information society, but about the real machines that live within that society. Thus, my study skips direct engagement with the work of Alvin Toffler, Peter Drucker, Daniel Bell, and others who discuss the third phase of capitalist development in social terms. The large mass of literature devoted to artificial intelligence and speculations about the consciousness (or lack thereof ) within man and machine is also largely avoided in this book. Writers like Ray Kurzweil forecast a utopian superfuture dominated by immortal man-machine hybrids. Hans Moravec predicts a similar future, only one less populated by humans who are said to “retire” to the mercy of their ascendant computerized progeny. Marvin Minsky, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Hubert Dreyfus, and others have also wrestled with the topic of artificial intelligence. But they are not addressed here. I draw a critical distinction between this body of work, which is concerned largely with epistemology and cognitive science, and the critical media theory that inspires this book.


pages: 482 words: 106,041

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

British Empire, carbon-based life, conceptual framework, invention of radio, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, out of africa, Ray Kurzweil, the High Line, trade route, uranium enrichment

Via the self-accruing wizardry of computers, an abundance of silicon, and vast opportunities afforded by modular memory and mechanical appendages, human extinction would become merely a jettisoning of the limited and not very durable vessels that our technological minds have finally outgrown. Prominent in the transhumanist (sometimes called posthuman) movement are Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom; heralded inventor Ray Kurzweil, originator of optical character recognition, flat-bed scanners, and print-to-speech reading machines for the blind; and Trinity College bioethicist James Hughes, author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. However Faustian, their discussion is compelling in its lure of immortality and preternatural power—and almost touching in its Utopian faith that a machine could be made so perfect that it would transcend entropy.


pages: 292 words: 88,319

The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless by John D. Barrow

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, cosmological principle, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Fellow of the Royal Society, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, mutually assured destruction, Olbers’ paradox, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, short selling, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine

Barrow, The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega, Jonathan Cape, London, 2002. 34. R. Hanson, ‘How to Live in a Simulation’, Journal of Evolution and Technology 7 (2001), http://www.transhumanist.com 35. David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), in Thomas Hill Green and Thomas Hodge Grose (eds), David Hume: The Philosophical Works, London, 1886, vol. 2, pp. 412–16. 36. These questions are closely connected to the issues discussed in Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines (Viking, New York, 1999), concerning the appearance of spiritual and aesthetic qualities in virtual realities and forms of artificial intelligence. 37. R. Hanson, ‘How to Live in a Simulation’, op. cit. chapter ten Making Infinity Machines 1. J.F. Thomson, ‘Tasks and Super-Tasks’, Analysis 15, 1 (1954). 2. C. Wright, ‘Strict Finitism’, Synthèse 51, 248 (1982). 3.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

How Steve Jobs Will Revolutionize Reading, Watching, Computing, Gaming— and Silicon Valley.” Similarly, Time’s cover story for 175 (April 12, 2010), 6, 36–43, was “Inside Steve’s Pad.” On new visions of artificial intelligence, see John Markoff, “The Coming Superbrain: Computers Keep Getting Smarter, While We Just Stay the Same,” Sunday New York Times, Week in Review, May 24, 2009, 1, 4; and Alex Beam, “Apocalypse Later: Ray Kurzweil Predicts the Not-So-Near Future in ‘Post-Biological’ Visions of Humanity,” Boston Globe, June 29, 2010, G23. On nuclear power, see the references in Chapter 6, notes 31–34 and 37–52. See James Fleming, Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010). See David F. Noble, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention (New York: Knopf, 1997), and Noble, World Without Women: The Christian Clerical Culture of Western Science (New York: Knopf, 1992).


pages: 330 words: 88,445

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Clayton Christensen, data acquisition, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Google Earth, haute couture, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, life extension, Maui Hawaii, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, X Prize

New York Times: Gretchen Reynolds, “How Sports May Focus the Brain,” New York Times, March 23, 2011. Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee in On Intelligence: Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee, On Intelligence (Times Books, 2004), p. 89. 64 the brain’s pattern-recognition system: A lot of neuroscientists are starting to believe that the basic function of the brain is pattern recognition. For a great book on the subject, see: Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed (Viking, 2012). the feel-good neurochemical dopamine: Lots to choose from here. See: C. R. Clarke Clarke, G. M. Geffen, and L. B. Geffen, “Catecholamines and Attention I: Animal and Clinical Studies,” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 11(4), 341–52 (1987). P. Krummenacher, C. Mohr, H. Haker, and P. Brugger, “Dopamine, Paranormal Belief, and the Detection of Meaningful Stimuli,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(8), pp. 1670–81 (2010).


pages: 356 words: 105,533

Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market by Scott Patterson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Donald Trump, Flash crash, Francisco Pizarro, Gordon Gekko, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, High speed trading, Joseph Schumpeter, latency arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, market microstructure, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, popular electronics, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, South China Sea, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stochastic process, transaction costs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The problem was, the machine wasn’t making money. So the Kinetic team, led by the onetime Acid Phreak, kept pushing the system, feeding it more and more data. Unfortunately, the team’s faith in the machine was misplaced. In August 2011, Ladopoulos and his research associates were fired by Kinetic’s board of directors. WHILE Kinetic had failed, the dream of creating a thinking trading machine lived on. And why not? Futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted that as computer power and artificial intelligence expands to the point that it has the capacity to improve itself—computers effectively designing and creating more computers—the nature of humanity will become irrevocably altered, a fearsome event he calls the Singularity. Ultimately, Kurzweil says, we humans will bend the robots to our will, allowing us to transcend our biological limitations.

Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, linked data, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

However, we may be less than ten years away from seeing Turing’s AI vision become a reality. For instance, a company in Austin, Texas has developed a product called Cyc. It is much like a “chatbot” except that, if it answers Science and Technology 45 a question incorrectly, you can correct it and Cyc will learn from its mistakes. But Cyc still isn’t very intelligent, which is possibly why author, scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil made a public bet with Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus, that a computer would pass the Turing test by 2029. He based this prediction on ideas expressed in his book The Singularity Is Near: in essence, arguing that intelligence will expand in a limitless, exponential manner once we achieve a certain level of advancement in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics and the integration of that technology with human biology.


pages: 344 words: 94,332

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton, Andrew Scott

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, diversification, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, Lyft, Network effects, New Economic Geography, pattern recognition, pension reform, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, women in the workforce, young professional

Historically the combination of public education, the benefits of technology, early diagnosis and more effective treatments have all helped overcome previous barriers to life expectancy. Why wouldn’t they continue to do so going forward? Indeed within this group of optimists are those who take an almost fantastical view, arguing there is no natural limit to human life, and scientific progress and technology will create life expectancies that approach many hundreds of years. That is the view of Ray Kurzweil, who became director of engineering at Google, where he leads a team on Artificial Intelligence. In his book,4 co-authored with his physician Terry Grossman, he describes three crucial bridges to a multi-century lifespan. The first bridge is to follow best practice medical advice so as to extend life sufficiently to benefit from the second bridge, which is created by the coming medical revolution in biotechechology, and then onwards to the third bridge, which enables one to benefit from nanotechnology innovations where Artificial Intelligence and robots rebuild ageing bodies at a molecular level.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

First, they argue that Moore’s law, which holds that the amount of computing power we can fit into a chip will double every two years, shows little sign of slowing down. Moore’s law applies to the transistors and technology that control robots as well as those in computers. Add rapid advances in machine learning, data analytics, and cloud robotics, and it’s clear that computing is going to keep rapidly improving. Those who argue for the singularity differ on when it will occur. Mathematician Vernor Vinge predicts that it will occur by 2023; futurist Ray Kurzweil says 2045. But the question looming over singularity is whether there’s a limit on how far our technology can ultimately go. Those who argue against the possibility of singularity point to several factors. The software advances necessary to reach singularity demand a detailed scientific understanding of the human brain, but our lack of understanding about the basic neural structure of the brain impedes software development.


pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, personalized medicine, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Astronomers are building a new array of radio telescopes that will generate an exabyte of data per day (an exabyte is a quintillion bytes; a byte is a single value, an integer between 0 and 255, often representing a single letter, digit, or punctuation mark). Using satellites, wildlife conservationists track manta rays, considered vulnerable to extinction, as the creatures travel as far as 680 miles in search of food. In biology, as famed futurist Ray Kurzweil portends, given that the price to map a human genome has dropped from $1 billion to a few thousand dollars, information technology will prove to be the domain from which this field’s greatest advances emerge. Overall, data is growing at an incomprehensible speed, an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes (exabytes) of data per day. A quintillion is a 1 with 18 zeros. In 1986, the data stored by computers, printed on double-sided paper, could have covered the Earth’s land masses; by 2011, it could have done so with two layers of books.


pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

The first was that biology, sociology, and geography jointly explain the history of social development, with biology driving development up, sociology shaping how development rises (or doesn’t), and geography deciding where development rises (or falls) fastest; and the second was that while geography determines where social development rises or falls, social development also determines what geography means. I now want to extend these arguments. In the twenty-first century social development promises—or threatens—to rise so high that it will change what biology and sociology mean too. We are approaching the greatest discontinuity in history. The inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil calls this the Singularity—“a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep … that technology appears to be expanding at infinite speed.” One of the foundations of his argument is Moore’s Law, the famous observation made by the engineer (and future chairman of Intel) Gordon Moore in 1965 that with every passing year the miniaturization of computer chips roughly doubled their speed and halved their cost.

Renfrew, Colin, and Katie Boyle, eds. Archaeogenetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Renfrew, Colin, and Iain Morley, eds. Becoming Human: Innovation in Prehistoric Material and Spiritual Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Reynolds, David. One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945. New York: Norton, 2000. Richards, Jay, et al. Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. Seattle: Discovery Institute, 2002. Richards, John. Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Richardson, Lewis Fry. Statistics of Deadly Quarrels. Pacific Grove, CA: Boxwood Press, 1960. Richerson, Peter, Robert Boyd, and Robert Bettinger. “Was Agriculture Impossible During the Pleistocene but Mandatory During the Holocene?”


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

‘Economic growth’ in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (edited by David R Henderson, published by Liberty Fund); and Romer, P. 1994. New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions. Journal of Development Economics 43:5–38. p. 355 ‘the world economy will be doubling in months or even weeks’. Hanson, R. 2008. Economics of the Singularity. IEEE Spectrum (June 2008) 45:45–50. p. 355 ‘a technological “singularity”’. This notion has been explored by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. See Kurzweil, R. 2005. The Singularity Is Near. Penguin. p. 355 ‘says Stephen Levy.’ Levy, S. 2009. Googlenomics. Wired, June 2009. p. 356 ‘says the author Clay Shirky’. Shirky, C. 2008. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin. p. 356 ‘Says Kevin Kelly’. Kelly, K. 2009. The new socialism. Wired, June 2009. p. 358 ‘The wrong kind of chiefs, priests and thieves could yet snuff out future prosperity on earth.’


pages: 443 words: 112,800

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World by Jeremy Rifkin

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, borderless world, carbon footprint, centre right, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, global supply chain, hydrogen economy, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, manufacturing employment, marginal employment, Martin Wolf, Masdar, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

In other words, if smart tech replaces more and more workers, leaving people without income, who is going to buy all of the products being produced and services being offered? Intelligent technology is only just beginning to impact the world economy. In the next several decades, tens of millions of workers across every industry and sector are likely going to be displaced by machine intelligence. Ray Kurzweil at MIT observes that “the pace of change of our human-created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace.”9 Kurzweil calculates that at the current rate of technological change, by the end of the twenty-first century “we will witness on the order of twenty thousand years of progress (again measured by today’s rate of progress), or about one thousand times greater than what we achieved in the twentieth century.”


pages: 303 words: 67,891

Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms: Proceedings of the Agi Workshop 2006 by Ben Goertzel, Pei Wang

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

AI winter, artificial general intelligence, bioinformatics, brain emulation, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, epigenetics, friendly AI, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Occam's razor, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, semantic web, statistical model, strong AI, theory of mind, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

[Eric Baum]: Novamente, in some ways, it seems to me like the systems of the 60’s, which were hard to repeat, and maybe weren’t repeated and that was a criticism that used to be made, but I don’t think that’s true with a lot of the progress that has come about now. [Hugo de Garis]: I’m no expert in brain scanners, but people tell me they are subject to Moore's Law. Talking to a neuroscientist, I asked, what’s state of the art in brain scanner work today? She said millimeters and milliseconds. So you know its true that – well it is true that its subject to Moore's Law. Then you get into the Ray Kurzweil scenario of being able to scan the brain to the point of every synapse. So you can imagine downloading all that information into a kind of future hypercomputer, and they’re coming. I talk about Avogadro machines. If you know any chemistry, you know Avogadro’s number, the number of atoms you hold in your hand, which is effectively a trillion trillion, so you have all the components and hardware needed.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Why haven’t advances of this nature led us straight to machines with the flexibility of human minds? Consider three possibilities: 1.We’ll solve AI (and this will finally produce machines that can think) as soon as our machines get bigger and faster. 2.We’ll solve AI when our learning algorithms get better. Or when we have even Bigger Data. 3.We’ll solve AI when we finally understand what it is that evolution did in the construction of the human brain. Ray Kurzweil and many others seem to put their weight on option (1), sufficient CPU power. But how many doublings in CPU power would be enough? Have all the doublings so far gotten us closer to true intelligence? Or just to narrow agents that can give us movie times? In option (2), Big Data and better learning algorithms have so far got us only to innovations like machine translations, which provide fast but mediocre translations piggybacking onto the prior work of human translators, without any semblance of thinking.


pages: 514 words: 152,903

The Best Business Writing 2013 by Dean Starkman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Asperger Syndrome, bank run, Basel III, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, computer vision, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, jimmy wales, job automation, late fees, London Whale, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, price stability, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, the payments system, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, wage slave, Y2K

As the Dutch philosopher of technology Peter-Paul Verbeek puts it in his fine book Moralizing Technology, “We are as autonomous with regard to technology as we are with regard to language, oxygen, or gravity.” But still the Khannas roll dizzily along. “The Hybrid Age is the transition period between the Information Age and the moment of Singularity (when machines surpass human intelligence) that inventor Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity Is Near, estimates we may reach by 2040 (perhaps sooner). The Hybrid Age is a liminal phase in which we cross the threshold toward a new mode of arranging global society.” These are end times. The Hybrid Age is the preparation for the apotheosis of the Singularity—a Singularity-lite of sorts. (Ayesha Khanna serves as a faculty adviser to Singularity University.) This periodization of history is just a marketing trick.

How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional

To attribute their success purely to chance strains credulity. JWPR007-Lindsey May 7, 2007 16:12 David Leinweber 27 Markets are not instantaneously and perfectly efficient. Insights, and the ability to execute them rapidly in ever-faster electronic markets, will continue to be rewarded. Today, these insights come from people, using machines as tools. Some believe the machines will be able to play the game themselves.16 One is Ray Kurzweil,17 who started out making reading machines for the blind, met Stevie Wonder, and branched out into electronic keyboard instruments for all, and accumulated a great deal of investable capital in the process. The arc of Kurzweil’s view of machine intelligence is traced in the titles of books he’s written on the subject: The Age of Intelligent Machines (1992), The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Transcend Human Intelligence (2001), and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005).


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

They also contend that as our lives flower online, our communities and, indeed, our planet will eventually be brought together in harmony. Misunderstanding will disappear, difference will become superfluous, and peace and freedom will break out. If this sounds a few notches below messianism, that’s because it is. Google, remember, is a company that plans to organize all of the world’s information; its ambitions could not be greater. It also employs Ray Kurzweil, the chief promoter of the Singularity, a belief that machines will soon become self-aware, or that we will somehow combine with them, or upgrade our brains to the cloud—something amazing, we just don’t know what yet. In short, this is an industry in which such far-fetched thinking is de rigueur. Some of these people actually believe they will live forever. Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and major early investor in Facebook (and another Rand disciple), has derided the inevitability of death as an “ideology” while plowing millions into companies that might, as he said, “cure aging.”


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

Anthony Williams, “Platforms for Global Problem Solving,” Global Solution Networks Program, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto 2013. 69. Interview with Brian Forde, June 26, 2015. 70. Interview with Gavin Andresen, June 8, 2015. 71. www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC15_Technological_Tipping_Points_report_2015.pdf, 7. 72. Interview with Constance Choi, April 10, 2015. 73. The digital revolution has moved on to “the second half of the chessboard”—a clever phrase coined by the American inventor and author Ray Kurzweil. He tells a story of the emperor of China being so delighted with the game of chess that he offered the game’s inventor any reward he desired. The inventor asked for rice. “I would like one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, two grains of rice on the second square, four grains of rice on the third square, and so on, all the way to the last square,” he said. Thinking this would add up to a couple bags of rice, the emperor happily agreed.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

In 2008 Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, bet $1 million with Protégé Partners, a New York fund of hedge funds, that even a rigorously selected portfolio of hedge funds would not beat the return on the market over 10 years. Buffett argued that large fees mean that hedge funds have to earn substantially greater returns than the S&P 500 index to match let alone beat its performance.32 The Buffet bet paralleled a $20,000 wager between Lotus founder Mitchell Kapor and futurist Ray Kurzweil that by 2029 no computer or machine intelligence will pass the Turing Test, where a computer successfully impersonates a human being. In 2010, Stanley Druckenmiller, who had been one of the traders at Soros’ Quantum Fund that broke the pound, announced that he was closing his fund Duquesne Capital Management. Druckenmiller confessed that increased volatility following the global financial crisis made it difficult to make money.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

The hope is that increasingly rapid, iterative, and open-access publishing can engage a much greater proportion of the scientific community in the peer-review process. Rather than rely on a handful of anonymous referees, a self-organized community of participants can vet results continuously. This, in turn, will allow new knowledge to flow more quickly into practical uses and enterprises. Binfield even goes so far as to suggest that open access is underpinning the kind of exponential advances that will trigger the singularity, Ray Kurzweil’s theory that human civilization will soon be superseded by advanced forms of artificial intelligence and a new race of cybernetic beings. “Open access will drive exponential leaps in scientific understanding,” he says. Time will tell whether Kurzweil’s singularity plays out as he predicts. But one thing seems certain. When fully assembled, open-access libraries will provide unparalleled access to humanity’s stock of knowledge.


pages: 836 words: 158,284

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, wage slave, William of Occam

American Red Cross (www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation) Bonfils Blood Center (www.fourhourbody.com/bonfils) National Blood Service (For people in England and Wales: www.blood.co.uk) Alcor (www.alcor.org) Perhaps you’d like to store your body in ice-free cryosuspension at the first sign of terminal illness, just in case technology catches up? There’s nowhere better than Alcor in Scottsdale, Arizona, where gems such as Ted Williams’s head are allegedly stored. Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever by Ray Kurzweil (www.fourhourbody.com/transcend) Kurzweil, called the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison” by Inc. magazine, proposes that those interested in “radical life extension” should make it their immediate goal to live through the next 20 or so years, in order to see advances like DNA reprogramming and submicroscopic, cell-repairing robots. This book outlines the nine key areas for extending your life.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra

PART III INNOVATING SEVEN Just Too Damned Fast We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the twenty-first century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace. —Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google My other vehicle is unmanned. —Bumper sticker on a car in Silicon Valley Now that we have defined this age of accelerations, two questions come to mind—one primal, one intellectual. The primal one is this: Are things just getting too damned fast? The intellectual one is: Since the technological forces driving this change in the pace of change are not likely to slow down, how do we adapt?


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

Whether an ill-advised remark was made this morning or 20 years ago, if it comes up in an online search it is still, in some important and novel sense, part of the here and now. Only with the greatest difficulty can stuff be entirely removed, the published unpublished. One further technological possibility demands a mention: that of computers achieving a level of artificial intelligence at which they may be judged themselves to speak. While cyberutopians join Ray Kurzweil in envisaging the glorious moment when artificial and human intelligence merge into one transformative ‘singularity’, cyberdystopians fear machine intelligence first overtaking and then taking over humans—like the mesmerically voiced computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, but this time with HAL coming out on top.30 We are not there yet, even if the hypnotic lady speaking from the GPS in your car adjusts her instructions as you change your route, and your handheld box, using software such as Apple’s Siri, can respond to your spoken requests exploiting all the information she’s got on you.