Ray Kurzweil

191 results back to index


pages: 294 words: 81,292

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

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, 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, Thomas Bayes, 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: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Rana has received a number of awards and distinctions, including selection as a Young Global Leader in 2017 by the World Economic Forum. She was also featured on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 and TechCrunch’s 40 Female founders who crushed it in 2016 lists. Chapter 11. RAY KURZWEIL The scenario that I have is that we will send medical nanorobots into our bloodstream. [...] These robots will also go into the brain and provide virtual and augmented reality from within the nervous system rather than from devices attached to the outside of our bodies. DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING AT GOOGLE Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists. He has received 21 honorary doctorates, and honors from three US presidents. He is the recipient of the MIT Lemelson Prize for innovation and in 1999, he received the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton.

And we would probably want to recognize that as an adequate test as well. RAY KURZWEIL: Whales and octopi have large brains and they exhibit intelligent behavior, but they’re obviously not in a position to pass the Turing test. A Chinese person who speaks mandarin and not English would not pass the English Turing test, so there are lots of ways to be intelligent without passing the test. The key statement is the converse: In order to pass the test, you have to be intelligent. MARTIN FORD: Do you believe that deep learning, combined with your hierarchical approach, is really the way forward, or do you think there needs to be some other massive paradigm shift in order to get us to AGI/human-level intelligence? RAY KURZWEIL: No, I think humans use this hierarchical approach. Each of these modules is capable of doing learning, and I actually make the case in my book that in the brain they’re not doing deep learning in each module, they’re doing something equivalent to a Markov process, but it actually is better to use deep learning.

I have an 11-year-old daughter, which really brings it into focus. RAY KURZWEIL: The progress is exponential; look at the startling progress just in the last year. We’ve made dramatic advances in self-driving cars, language understanding, playing Go and many other areas. The pace is very rapid, both in hardware and software. In hardware, the exponential progression is even faster than for computation generally. We have been doubling the available computation for deep learning every three months over the past few years, compared to a doubling time of one year for computation in general. MARTIN FORD: Some very smart people with a deep knowledge of AI are still predicting that it will take over 100 years, though. Do you think that is because they are falling into that trap of thinking linearly? RAY KURZWEIL: A) they are thinking linearly, and B) they are subject to what I call the engineer’s pessimism—that is being so focused on one problem and feeling that it’s really hard because they haven’t solved it yet, and extrapolating that they alone are going to solve the problem at the pace they’re working on.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

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

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, Everything should be made as simple as possible, 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, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, 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: 761 words: 231,902

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

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, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, 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, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, 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, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, 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, Thomas Bayes, 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: 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

23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, disruptive innovation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, 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.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

as Johnson explains: Author interview with Bryan Johnson, 2018. 2017, USC neuroscientist Doug Song: Eileen Toh, “USC Researchers Develop Brain Implant to Improve Memory,” USC Daily Troject, November 19, 2017. See: http://dailytrojan.com/2017/11/19/usc-researchers-develop-brain-implant-improve-memory/. the full cyborg to the middle 2030s: Jillian Eugenios, “Ray Kurzweil: Humans Will Be Hybrids by 2030,” CNN, June 4, 2015. See: http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/03/technology/ray-kurzweil-predictions/. 86 percent success rate: Dominic Basulto, “Why Ray Kurzweil’s Predictions Are Right 86% of the Time,” Big Think, December 13, 2012. See: https://bigthink.com/endless-innovation/why-ray-kurzweils-predictions-are-right-86-of-the-time. Force #5: Communications Abundance as author Matt Ridley: Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist (HarperCollins, 2010), p. 1. Santa Fe Institute physicist Geoffrey West: West wrote a great piece on all this work for Medium.

Vehicles capable of flight: “Vimana” is the name of the mythological flying chariots describe in early Hindu texts. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vimana. Even the more modern incarnations: Steven Kotler, Tomorrowland (New Harvest, 2015), pp. 97–105. Converging Technology Moore’s Law: See: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/silicon-innovations/moores-law-technology.html. as a human brain: Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind (Viking, 2012), pp. 179–198. “Law of Accelerating Returns”: Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” March 7, 2001. See: https://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns. we use the term “disruptive innovation”: Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (HarperBusiness, 2000), pp. 15–19. Enter distributed electric propulsion, or DEP for short: Mark Moore, “Distributed Electric Propulsion Aircraft,” Nasa Langley Research Center.

$13 billion valuation: Lydia Ramsey, “Samumed, a $12 Billion Startup That Wants to Cure Baldness and Smooth Out Your Wrinkles, Just Raised Even More Funding as It Plots an IPO,” Business Insider, August 11, 2018. See: https://www.businessinsider.com/samumed-raises-438-million-at-12-billion-valuation-2018-8. Celularity: See: https://www.celularity.com. placental-derived stem cells can extend life 30 to 40 percent: Hariri, author interview. “longevity escape velocity”: Ray Kurzweil, author interview, 2018. For a video, see: https://singularityhub.com/2017/11/10/3-dangerous-ideas-from-ray-kurzweil/. PART TWO: THE REBIRTH OF EVERYTHING Chapter Five: The Future of Shopping The First Platform Play Richard Warren Sears was born on December 7, 1863: Vicki Howard, “The Rise and Fall of Sears,” Smithsonian Magazine, July 25, 2017. See: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/rise-and-fall-sears-180964181/. See also : “Richard Warren Sears: Biography & Sears, Roebuck, & Company,” https://schoolworkhelper.net/richard-warren-sears-biography-sears-roebuck-company/, and “Richard W.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, social intelligence, 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: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, 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: 321 words: 89,109

The New Gold Rush: The Riches of Space Beckon! by Joseph N. Pelton

3D printing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, global pandemic, Google Earth, gravity well, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, life extension, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, megastructure, new economy, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-industrial society, private space industry, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, Tim Cook: Apple, Tunguska event, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, X Prize

These visionaries are hell-bent on engaging in space mining, solar power satellites, nuclear fusion, artificial intelligence and robotics, and transcendent technologies that can free us from the non-sustainable practices of past industrial practices that exploited resources and the ecology rather than the potential of human intelligence and astral abundance. If one goes to the website of Planetary Resources, Inc., you are met with the following evocative message: “We dare you to change the course of humanity with us.” Peter D. certainly never thinks small. If you should be able to get into the ever more selective Singularity University (founded by Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, and Peter Worden, until recently head of NASA Ames) the challenge you are given is to come up with an idea or project or invention that will have a positive impact on a billion people within a decade’s time. Those that are starting up new companies to engage in space mining today are largely focused on rapid payoffs to fund their larger and longer term ambitions. They hope to realize a significant economic return from exploiting rare earth minerals, platinum-rich asteroids and new energy sources such as helium-3.

They are thus embarked on their various missions in order to allow the tribe of Homo sapiens to survive. They want to spread the seed of humans across the Solar System and eventually beyond. They earnestly see the “mission” as boldly going where no humans have gone before. The short mission statement or goal is to ensure that the best days of humanity are in the future and not in the past. Robert Bigelow, Peter Diamandis, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Eric Anderson, Ray Kurzweil, and Sir Richard Branson are among those that are busy seeking to create a new future of space abundance . They are 100 % sure that new technology, human innovation and the unlimited potential of outer space will allow us to reinvent the global economy. Despite their optimism, it is possible that even these visionaries do not fully grasp the broad scope of change that the New Space economy will bring to the world.

Indeed the New Space cornucopia has enormous range and competitive advantage. Peter Diamandis envisions low-cost space travel and mining the asteroids. Robert Bigelow envisions four-star hotels in space. Paul Allen envisions the world’s largest jet that will serve as a launching station for rockets of the future. Eric Anderson envisions private space launches that can go to the Moon and back. Ray Kurzweil envisions solar power systems, including solar power satellites that make global energy clean, plentiful and pervasive. Elon Musk sees a million people living on a space colony on Mars. Sir Richard Branson named his space transportation company Virgin Galactic because he truly thinks not only outside the box but outside the “circle” that is Earth. If you want to image the full scope of change that all this could bring, let us engage in some time travel.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

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

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, Norman Macrae, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, 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, twin studies, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

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!

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.

—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

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, 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, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), 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.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

.… Nominally it’s for diabetes. I’ve been saying for twenty-five years it’s a calorie-restriction mimetic.” “Uh-huh,” I said. “The reason that people who are taking it don’t have zero cancer cells is that they don’t take it quite right. They take a big dose in the morning. You need to take a five-hundred-milligram extended-release pill every four hours. It’s more than the maximum dose, nominally.” So, this guy Ray, Ray Kurzweil, is the “director of engineering” at Google, which is arguably the most important company on the planet. He leads a team charged with developing artificial intelligence. And the reason he is so careful in his daily life is that he firmly believes that if he can just live to 2030 or so, he will never die, that we’re accelerating with such great speed toward technological power so immense that it will reshape everything about us.

It was time for a “conversation,” she felt, and “given that this scientific development affects all of humankind, it seemed imperative to get as many sectors of society as possible involved. What’s more, I felt the conversation should begin immediately, before further applications of the technology thwarted any attempts to rein it in.”27 That makes sense to me. Clearly, CRISPR is a perfect example of what Ray Kurzweil meant when he said that exponential increases in computing power would change the world. It’s one instance, one of the most striking, of what that new power might produce. It couldn’t be more remarkable: a “word processor” for the DNA that is at our core. So: what could germline engineering do to humans, and to the game we’ve been playing? 15 The advertisement writes itself: As we get better at germline engineering over the years, we could produce improved children.

Lee suggests that high tax rates on the people running AI companies might suffice to make up the difference, although, as he points out, “most of the money being made from artificial intelligence will go to the United States and China,” so orphan mentors in the other 190 countries may be out of luck. Not everyone thinks this will be a problem. “People say everyone will be out of work. No. People will invent new jobs,” Ray Kurzweil told me. “What will they be?” “Oh, I don’t know. We haven’t invented them yet.” Which is fair enough, and in truth, it’s as far as we’re likely to get with this discussion. This new technology will likely make inequality worse—perhaps engrave it in silicon and DNA. That’s worth knowing, but it doesn’t answer the question of whether we should proceed. To figure that out, we need to think through other, even deeper, practical problems that come with change at this scale and at this speed.


pages: 350 words: 98,077

Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dark matter, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, ImageNet competition, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mark Zuckerberg, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

I. J. Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine,” Advances in Computers 6 (1966): 31–88. 22.  V. Vinge, “First Word,” Omni, Jan. 1983. 23.  Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 241, 317, 198–99. 24.  B. Wang, “Ray Kurzweil Responds to the Issue of Accuracy of His Predictions,” Next Big Future, Jan. 19, 2010, www.nextbigfuture.com/2010/01/ray-kurzweil-responds-to-issue-of.html. 25.  D. Hochman, “Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil,” Playboy, April 19, 2016, www.playboy.com/articles/playboy-interview-ray-kurzweil. 26.  Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 136. 27.  A. Kreye, “A John Henry Moment,” in Brockman, What to Think About Machines That Think, 394–96. 28.  Kurzweil, Singularity Is Near, 494. 29.  R. Kurzweil, “A Wager on the Turing Test: Why I Think I Will Win,” Kurzweil AI, April 9, 2002, www.kurzweilai.net/a-wager-on-the-turing-test-why-i-think-i-will-win. 30.  

But while Turing might have overestimated the ability of an “average interrogator” to see through superficial trickery, could the test still be a useful indicator of actual intelligence if the conversation time is extended and the required expertise of the judges is raised? Ray Kurzweil, who is now director of engineering at Google, believes that a properly designed version of the Turing test will indeed reveal machine intelligence; he predicts that a computer will pass this test by 2029, a milestone event on the way to Kurzweil’s forecasted Singularity. The Singularity Ray Kurzweil has long been AI’s leading optimist. A former student of Marvin Minsky’s at MIT, Kurzweil has had a distinguished career as an inventor: he invented the first text-to-speech machine as well as one of the world’s best music synthesizers. In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded Kurzweil the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for these and other inventions.

Over the years, Google has evolved into the world’s most important tech company and now offers a vast array of products and services, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Translate, YouTube, Android, many more that you might use every day, and some that you’ve likely never heard of. Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have long been motivated by the idea of creating artificial intelligence in computers, and this quest has become a major focus at Google. In the last decade, the company has hired a profusion of AI experts, most notably Ray Kurzweil, a well-known inventor and a controversial futurist who promotes the idea of an AI Singularity, a time in the near future when computers will become smarter than humans. Google hired Kurzweil to help realize this vision. In 2011, Google created an internal AI research group called Google Brain; since then, the company has also acquired an impressive array of AI start-up companies with equally optimistic names: Applied Semantics, DeepMind, and Vision Factory, among others.


pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Thomas Davenport, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

So much for that ‘new economy’ it was building,” Slate 2 February 2015, http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/02/02/uber_self_driving_cars_autonomous_taxis_aren_t_so_good_for_contractors_in.html (accessed 21 October 2016). 5. Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, New York: Viking, 2012. 6. Ray Kurzweil, “The law of accelerating returns,” Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence 7 March 2001, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns (accessed 21 October 2016). 7. Dominic Basulto, “Why Ray Kurzweil’s predictions are right 86% of the time,” Big Think 2012, http://bigthink.com/endless-innovation/why-ray-kurzweils-predictions-are-right-86-of-the-time (accessed 21 October 2016). 8. Tom Standage, “Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?” the Economist 27 May 2013, http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/05/economist-explains-18 (accessed 21 October 2016). 9.

Another effect of this shift will be that any discrete analog task that can be converted into a networked digital one will be, including many tasks that we have long assumed a robot or a computer would never be able to tackle. Robots will seem human-like and will do human-like things. A good proportion of experts in artificial intelligence believe that such a degree of intelligent behavior in machines is several decades away. Others refer often to a book by the most sanguine of all the technologists, noted inventor Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil, in his book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, posits: “[F]undamental measures of information technology follow predictable and exponential trajectories.”5 He calls this hypothesis the “law of accelerating returns.”6 We’ve discussed the best-recognized of these trajectories, Moore’s Law. But we are less familiar with the other critical exponential growth curve to emerge in our lifetime: the volume of digital information available on the Internet and, now, through the Internet of Things.

.* It is noteworthy that, Moore’s Law having turned fifty, we are reaching the limits of how much you can shrink a transistor. After all, nothing can be smaller than an atom. But Intel and IBM have both said that they can adhere to the Moore’s Law targets for another five to ten years. So the silicon-based computer chips in our laptops will surely match the power of a human brain in the early 2020s, but Moore’s Law may fizzle out after that. What happens after Moore’s Law? As Ray Kurzweil explains, Moore’s law isn’t the be-all and end-all of computing; the advances will continue regardless of what Intel and IBM can do with silicon. Moore’s Law itself was just one of five paradigms in computing: electromechanical, relay, vacuum tube, discrete transistor, and integrated circuits. Technology has been advancing exponentially since the advent of evolution on Earth, and computing power has been rising exponentially: from the mechanical calculating devices used in the 1890 U.S.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: us.macmillanusa.com/piracy. Vom Affen zum Roboter Acknowledgments If it’s true that suffering builds character, I owe many thanks to Airbnb. In the same spirit, I must thank those who declined to be interviewed, especially Ray Kurzweil, Peter Thiel, and Curtis Yarvin—my three muses. I’m genuinely grateful to everyone who was interviewed, as well as all those pseudonymous people—roommates, conferencegoers, barflies—whose stories were included in this book. Thanks to my shrink, to my wife, Patricia Sauthoff, and to the voters of Oregon, whose wise passage of Measure 91 ensured the timely and relatively painless completion of this book.

The games by their very design had lessons to teach about risk and reward, about life and work as a series of progressive stages, about acquisitiveness and accomplishment and competition. Therefore it was no surprise that Silicon Valley was intent upon “gamifying” all aspects of human behavior. Corporations were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on “funsultants” who provided advice on “enterprise gamification”—filling the most menial wage labor with “fun” Pavlovian rewards and punishments. According to the futurist Ray Kurzweil, there soon “won’t be a clear distinction between work and play.” If that seems far-fetched, consider how successfully Facebook gamified friendship. Sex, too, became a game, as well as a profit opportunity, on sites like Chaturbate. As the name implied, Chaturbate was Twitch for sex shows, some of which appeared to be staged in actual brothels. Viewers could pay approximately $0.10 to receive a virtual token, which they could then tip to performers, who received less than $0.05 after Chaturbate’s anonymous owners took their cut.

The Singularity is the most popular subset of “transhumanist” thinking, an eclectic set of theories that posit that the human species, by converting its brain power into more and more advanced forms of technology, will one day wrest control of the evolutionary process from nature and simply decide how it will thereafter exist in and interact with the universe. Unlike some transhumanist factions that obsess over biology and genetics, the Singularity singles out computers—specifically, the development of advanced artificial intelligence—as the catalyst for an allegedly inevitable and willful transformation of the species. The person most closely associated with this concept is the author, inventor, and tech executive Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil is now known primarily as a purveyor of far-out ideas, of which the Singularity is only one, but his early pronouncements are remarkably restrained in comparison. In a 1984 conference speech, he lamented the overly optimistic predictions of AI researchers, who were forever claiming that the holy grail of the field, “artificial general intelligence”—a computerized mind equivalent to that of a human, in capabilities if not in design—was just a decade or two away, only to be proven wrong time and again.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, 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, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, 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, zero-sum game

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: 362 words: 83,464

The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bob Noyce, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Graeber, deindustrialization, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, energy security, falling living standards, future of work, Gini coefficient, Google bus, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, McJob, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Buchheit, payday loans, Peter Calthorpe, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

Frank Furedi, “Elevating Environmentalism over ‘Less Worthy’ Lifestyles,” Spiked, November 9, 2009, http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/7684#.U4GA7C8TFsE. 83. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin, 2005), p. 10. 84. Ibid., p. 29. 85. Alex Knapp, “Ray Kurzweil’s Predictions For 2009 Were Mostly Inaccurate,” Forbes, March 20, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/03/20/ray-kurzweils-predictions-for-2009-were-mostly-inaccurate; Robert Jonathan, “Google Exec Ray Kurzweil Takes 150 Vitamin Supplements Every Day,” Inquisitr, October 20, 2013, http://www.inquisitr.com/1000017/google-exec-ray-kurzweil-takes-150-vitamin-supplements-every-day; Eric Mack, “Google Launches Calico to Take on Illness and Aging,” CNET, September 18, 2013, http://www.cnet.com/news/google-launches-calico-to-take-on-illness-and-aging; Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., “Will Google’s Ray Kurzweil Live Forever?” Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2013. 86.

John Markoff, “Brainlike Computers, Learning from Experience,” New York Times, December 29, 2013; Nick Bilton, “Computer-Brain Interfaces Making Big Leaps,” Bits (blog), New York Times, August 4, 2013, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/disruptions-rather-than-time-computers-might-become-panacea-to-hurt. 87. David Gelernter, “The Closing of the Scientific Mind,” Commentary, January 1, 2014, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-closing-of-the-scientific-mind. 88. Paul Joseph Watson, “The Dark Side of Ray Kurzweil’s Transhumanist Utopia,” Infowars.com, June 20, 2013, http://www.infowars.com/the-dark-side-of-ray-kurzweils-transhumanist-utopia; Victoria Woollaston, “We’ll Be Uploading Our Entire MINDS to Computers by 2045 and Our Bodies Will Be Replaced by Machines within 90 Years, Google Expert Claims,” Daily Mail (UK), June 19, 2013; Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near, p. 469. 89. Bill Joy, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” Wired, April 2000. Chapter 4: The Proletarianization of the Middle Class 1.

This notion was noted in 1950 by the early computer designer John von Neumann, who saw that “the ever accelerating progress of technology . . . gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”83 In this new formulation, technology essentially supplants divinity, community, and family as the driving force in history. This viewpoint embraces the notion of a relentlessly improved society, powered and shaped by ever more intrusive technology, and, as a result, dominated by those who design or control them. Perhaps the most advanced voice for this new vision is Ray Kurzweil, a longtime entrepreneur and inventor. Now the director of engineering at Google, he predicts the ever more rapid evolution of humanity through technology, with the end being the merging of biological and machine intelligences. Eventually, he predicts, “the entire universe will become saturated by our intelligence.”84 Kurzweil promotes “the singularity” not only as allowing for the perfectibility of mankind—long a goal of theological speculation—but also as a step toward immortality, with our brain patterns imprinted as software and preserved permanently.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

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

AltaVista, 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, Mitch Kapor, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Thomas Bayes, 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: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

Transhumanism’s influence seemed perceptible in the fanatical dedication of many tech entrepreneurs to the ideal of radical life extension—in the PayPal cofounder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s funding of various life extension projects, for instance, and in Google’s establishment of its biotech subsidiary Calico, aimed at generating solutions to the problem of human aging. And the movement’s influence was perceptible, too, in Elon Musk’s and Bill Gates’s and Stephen Hawking’s increasingly vehement warnings about the prospect of our species’ annihilation by an artificial superintelligence, not to mention in Google’s instatement of Ray Kurzweil, the high priest of the Technological Singularity, as its director of engineering. I saw the imprint of transhumanism in claims like that of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who suggested that “Eventually, you’ll have an implant, where if you just think about a fact, it will tell you the answer.” These men—they were men, after all, almost to a man—all spoke of a future in which humans would merge with machines.

I considered asking him whether he thought computers might eventually replace even keynote speakers, whether the thought leaders of the next decade might fit in the palms of our hands, but realized that whatever answer he provided to this question would be cause for smug vindication on his part anyway, and so I resolved instead to include a description in my book of his retrieving a dropped pistachio from inside his expensive shirt—an act of petty and futile vengeance, and the kind of absurd irrelevance that would certainly be beneath the dignity and professional discipline of an automated writing AI. Anders and the attractive Frenchwoman to my right were engaged in what seemed to me an impenetrably technical discussion about the progress of research into mind uploading. The conversation had turned to Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and entrepreneur and director of engineering at Google who had popularized the idea of the Technological Singularity, an eschatological prophecy about how the advent of AI will usher in a new human dispensation, a merger of people and machines, and a final eradication of death. Anders was saying that Kurzweil’s view of brain emulation, among other things, was too crude, that it totally ignored what he called the “subcortical mess of motivations.”

This, more or less, is the scenario outlined by Hans Moravec, a professor of cognitive robotics at Carnegie Mellon, in his book Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence. It is Moravec’s conviction that the future of the human species will involve a mass-scale desertion of our biological bodies, effected by procedures of this kind. It’s a belief shared by many transhumanists. Ray Kurzweil, for one, is a prominent advocate of the idea of mind uploading. “An emulation of the human brain running on an electronic system,” he writes in The Singularity Is Near, “would run much faster than our biological brains. Although human brains benefit from massive parallelism (on the order of one hundred trillion interneuronal connections, all potentially operating simultaneously), the rest time of the connections is extremely slow compared to contemporary electronics.”


pages: 302 words: 74,350

I Hate the Internet: A Novel by Jarett Kobek

Anne Wojcicki, Burning Man, disruptive innovation, East Village, Edward Snowden, Golden Gate Park, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, liberation theology, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, packet switching, PageRank, Peter Thiel, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Whole Earth Catalog

The way that computers would change everything is by emerging into consciousness and telling people like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge that they were fucking awesome. The computers and Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge would hang out and kick back and rule the universe forever. This is not an exaggeration. This is what Ray Kurzweil believed. This bullshit was reported by major American media outlets. This bullshit was taken as gospel by cub reporters who did not understand regular old intelligence, let alone intelligence crafted by man. So Ray Kurzweil was the god of lies. Who would deny the puissance of a man who thought that his computer was going to wake up and hang out with him and tell him he was awesome? Everyone in Silicon Valley loved Ray Kurzweil. He was their High Priest of Intolerable Bullshit. He was the Seer of Pseudoscience. He worked for Google. He was a director of engineering. Like Marissa Mayer, who Christine identified with Elpis, the Greek goddess of hope.

It seemed like Sheryl Sandberg had spent her whole professional life doing nothing but delivering messages. Like Ray Kurzweil, who Christine identified with Dolos, the Greek spirit of trickery and guile. Ray Kurzweil was the king of technological liberation theology. Or, in other words, he was king of the most intolerable of all intolerable bullshit. He believed in a future where computers would reach a moment of technological singularity. The technological singularity was a bullshit phrase invented by the Science Fiction writer Vernor Vinge. The technological singularity was the name for a theoretical moment in the future when computers would achieve a critical mass of artificial intelligence and wake up and change everything. The way that computers would change everything is by emerging into consciousness and telling people like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge that they were fucking awesome.

The narration was about the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and a horse he encountered in the streets of Turin. Christine’s eyes rolled back up into her head. She knew that she was going to be sick. She wasn’t sure how but she knew that she had been poisoned. She ran to her bathroom. She flung open her toilet. She vomited and vomited and vomited. When there was nothing left in her stomach, she felt sober. “Can I blame Béla Tarr’s for this?” she asked the empty air. Then she said a prayer to Ray Kurzweil. But, really, Béla Tarr hadn’t poisoned Christine. Neither had the alcohol. It was the green curry chicken from Haight Street. The meat was bad. Do yourself a favor. Stop eating chicken. The next afternoon, Christine still felt wobbly. She couldn’t go out. She invited Adeline over to her apartment. Adeline was happy to come over. She liked Christine’s apartment and she liked Christine’s cat.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, 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: 144 words: 43,356

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, 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, hedonic treadmill, 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, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

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: 825 words: 228,141

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins

3D printing, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, bitcoin, buy and hold, clean water, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Dean Kamen, declining real wages, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, estate planning, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, fixed income, forensic accounting, high net worth, index fund, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Lao Tzu, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, optical character recognition, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, telerobotics, the rule of 72, thinkpad, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, World Values Survey, X Prize, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

I’m surfing the giant life wave. —WILLIAM SHATNER Nobody understands this idea better than my friend Ray Kurzweil, the inventor, author, and entrepreneur. One of the most brilliant minds on the planet, he’s been called the Thomas Edison of our age. Yet you’ve probably never heard his name unless you’re a TED Talk junkie, or if you study the lineup at Google, where Ray is head of engineering. But Ray Kurzweil has affected your life in more ways than you could ever imagine. If you listen to tunes on your phone, on the internet—anywhere—he’s the guy you can thank. He created the first digital music. If you’ve ever dictated an email to Siri or other voice-to-text systems, that’s because of Ray. I remember meeting Ray Kurzweil nearly 20 years ago and listening with amazement as he described the future. It seemed like magic then, but it’s all real now.

Hill’s message that ordinary people could overcome any obstacle to success gave hope to a generation of readers struggling through the Great Depression. Think and Grow Rich became one of the bestselling books of all time. Napoleon Hill’s quest has been an inspiration to me. Like his classic, this book is modeled on seeking out the best of the best in the world, from Warren Buffett to Sir Richard Branson—and including the man that experts in the field have called the Edison of our day: Ray Kurzweil, who invented the first digital music synthesizers, the first software to translate text into speech; he’s the man behind Siri on your iPhone. He developed a device that allows the blind to walk the streets and read road signs and order from any menu. Today Ray is head of engineering development for Google. But I wanted to write a book that went beyond the psychology and science of achievement to come up with a real plan, with real tools that you could use to build a better future for yourself and your family.

I guarantee we’ll blow your mind with some of the breathtaking new technologies that will make even the near future better than you think. This is the opposite of what most people believe. According to an NBC–Wall Street Journal poll, 76% of Americans—an all-time record—think that their children’s lives will be worse off than their own! But you’re going to get an insider’s look at what’s coming from some of the most brilliant minds of our time. We’ll hear from my friends Ray Kurzweil, the Edison of our age, and Peter Diamandis, creator of the X Prize, about new technologies coming online: 3-D printers that will transform your personal computer into a manufacturing plant, self-driving cars, exoskeletons that enable paraplegics to walk, artificial limbs grown from single cells—innovations that will dramatically change our lives for the better in the very near future. I’m hoping this will inspire you, and also show you that even if you somehow screw up and don’t get your financial act together, you’ll still have a better quality of life.


pages: 331 words: 47,993

Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider

artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Elon Musk, Extropian, hive mind, life extension, megastructure, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, Stephen Hawking, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons

According to a recent survey, for instance, the most-cited AI researchers expect AI to “carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human” within a 50 percent probability by 2050, and within a 90 percent probability by 2070.1 I’ve mentioned that many observers have warned of the rise of superintelligent AI: synthetic intelligences that outthink the smartest humans in every domain, including common sense reasoning and social skills. Superintelligence could destroy us, they urge. In contrast, Ray Kurzweil, a futurist who is now a director of engineering at Google, depicts a technological utopia bringing about the end of aging, disease, poverty, and resource scarcity. Kurzweil has even discussed the potential advantages of forming friendships with personalized AI systems, like the Samantha program in the film Her. THE SINGULARITY Kurzweil and other transhumanists contend that we are fast approaching a “technological singularity,” a point at which AI far surpasses human intelligence and is capable of solving problems we weren’t able to solve before, with unpredictable consequences for civilization and human nature.

Despite its science fiction–like flavor, many of the technological developments that transhumanism depicts seem quite possible: Indeed, the beginning stages of this radical alteration may well lie in certain technological developments that either are already here (if not generally available) or are accepted by many observers in the relevant scientific fields as being on their way.6 For instance, Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute—a major transhumanist group—released a report on the technological requirements for uploading a mind to a machine.7 A U.S. Defense Department agency has funded a program, Synapse, that is trying to develop a computer that resembles the brain in form and function.8 Ray Kurzweil has even discussed the potential advantages of forming friendships, Her-style, with personalized AI systems.9 All around us, researchers are striving to turn science fiction into science fact. You may be surprised to learn that I consider myself a transhumanist, but I do. I first learned of transhumanism while an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, when I joined the Extropians, an early transhumanist group.

No matter how impressive AIs of the future turn out to be, if machines cannot be conscious, then they could exhibit superior intelligence, but they would lack inner mental lives. In the context of biological life, intelligence and consciousness seem to go hand-in-hand. Sophisticated biological intelligences tend to have complex and nuanced inner experiences. But would this correlation apply to nonbiological intelligence as well? Many suspect so. For instance, transhumanists, such as Ray Kurzweil, tend to hold that just as human consciousness is richer than that of a mouse, so too, unenhanced human consciousness would pale in comparison to the experiential life of a superintelligent AI.1 But as we shall see, this line of reasoning is premature. There may be no special androids that have the spark of consciousness in their machine minds, like Dolores in Westworld or Rachael in Bladerunner.


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

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, Douglas Engelbart, 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, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, 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, wealth creators, 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: 368 words: 96,825

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, 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, 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, superconnector, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

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?

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.

Instead, the point is that AI has been in a deceptive phase for the past fifty years, ever since 1956, when a bunch of top brains came together for the first time at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project44 and made a “spectacularly wrong prediction” about their ability to crack AI over a single hot New England summer. But today, couple the successes of Deep Learning and IBM’s Watson to the near-term predictions of technology oracles like Ray Kurzweil, and we find a field reaching the knee of the exponential growth curve—that is, a field ready to run wild in disruption. So what does this mean to you, the exponential entrepreneur? This is a multibillion-dollar question. But as you try to find answers, remember that JARVIS is essentially the ultimate user interface, democratizing every exponential technology and giving all of us access to Stark-like capabilities.


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

Computing devices have been consistently multiplying in power (per unit of time), from the mechanical calculating devices used in the 1890 US Census, to Turing’s relay-based Bombe machine that cracked the Nazi enigma code, to the CBS vacuum tube computer that predicted the election of Eisenhower, to the transistor-based machines used in the first space launches, to the integrated-circuit-based personal computer which Kurzweil used to dictate the very essay that described this phenomenon, in 2001. To get an idea of what exponential growth means, look at the following graph, which represents the difference between a linear trend and an exponential one. * * * Figure 4.1: The difference between a Linear and an Exponential curve. Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil. * * * As you can see, the exponential trend starts to really take off where the ‘Knee of the Curve’ begins. Before that, things do not seem to change significantly. It is just like the story of the chess board and the king. In the first few days nothing notable happens, but as soon as the curve kicks in, something dramatic happens and things go out of control. If we were to plot the same graph on a logarithmic scale, the line representing the exponential trend – which soon got out of control in the first graph – would look much more manageable.

What is even more remarkable is that, when Kurzweil plotted the world’s fastest calculator’s on a graph since 1900, he noticed something quite surprising. Remember that a straight line on a logarithmic graph means exponential growth? If you thought exponential growth was fast, you have not seen anything yet. Take a look at this graph. * * * Figure 4.2: The Exponential Growth of computing power over the last 110 years. Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil. * * * The plot is logarithmic, alright. You can see the y-axis having the number 10 growing at five orders of magnitude after each step (that is a 100,000 fold increase every time!), but the curve is not a straight line. Instead, what you see is upward trend. What this means is that there is another exponential curve. In other words, there is exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth.

Technological Singularity refers to the time when the speed of technological change is so fast that we are unable to predict what will happen. At that moment, computer intelligence will exceed that of human’s, and we will not even be able to understand what changes are happening. The term was first coined by science fiction writer Vernon Vinge and subsequently popularised by many authors, predominantly Ray Kurzweil with his books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near. This idea, however, is highly speculative, and it is far beyond the purpose of this book to examine its feasibility. Suffice to say that in order for machines to replace most human jobs, the singularity is not a necessary requirement, as we will see in the next chapters. Whether you buy into the singularity argument or not does not matter.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, 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 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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 Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, 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, zero-sum game

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

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, 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, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, 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, Ross Ulbricht, 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 Future of Employment, 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, Westphalian system, 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: 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

"Robert Solow", Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, creative destruction, 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, intangible asset, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, 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!, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

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: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, 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 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 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. World-renowned 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 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: 484 words: 104,873

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, 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, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, 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: 281 words: 71,242

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

artificial general intelligence, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, Colonization of Mars, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global village, Google Glasses, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, income inequality, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, PageRank, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, yellow journalism

Jack Copeland, ed., The Essential Turing (Oxford University Press, 2004), 463. His parents, Viennese Jews, fled on the eve of the Anschluss: Ray Kurzweil, Ask Ray blog, “My Trip to Brussels, Zurich, Warsaw, and Vienna,” December 14, 2010. he made an appearance on Steve Allen’s game show, I’ve Got a Secret: Ray Kurzweil, “I’ve Got a Secret,” 1965, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Neivqp2K4. “to invent things so that the blind could see”: Steve Rabinowitz quoted in Transcendent Man, directed by Barry Ptolemy, 2011. “profoundly sad, lonely feeling that I really can’t bear it”: Transcendent Man. “strong AI and nanotechnology can create any product”: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (Viking Penguin, 2005), 299. “Each epoch of evolution has progressed more rapidly”: Kurzweil, Singularity, 40.

Ever since, engineers have futilely attempted to build machines capable of passing Turing’s test. For many of those seeking to invent AI, their job is just a heap of mathematics, a thrilling intellectual challenge. But for a significant chunk of others, it’s a theological pursuit. They are at the center of a transformative project that will culminate in the dawning of a new age. The high priest of this religion is a rhetorically gifted, canny popularizer called Ray Kurzweil. His ecstatic vision for the future was born in the greatest catastrophe of the past. The penumbra of the Holocaust hangs over him. His parents, Viennese Jews, fled on the eve of the Anschluss. The accretion of so many difficult years took its toll on his father, a classical conductor and intellectual. He died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-eight, a loss that never seems far from Kurzweil’s mind.

“Each epoch of evolution has progressed more rapidly”: Kurzweil, Singularity, 40. “version 1.0 biological bodies”: Kurzweil, Singularity, 9. “We will be software, not hardware”: Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (Viking Penguin, 1999), 129. “What, after all, is the difference between a human”: Kurzweil, Spiritual Machines, 148. “Virtual sex will provide sensations that are more intense”: Kurzweil, Spiritual Machines, 147. “Anybody who is going to be resisting”: Peter Diamandis, quoted in Transcendent Man. “Our civilization will then expand outward”: Kurzweil, Singularity, 389. “Apocalyptic AI is the legitimate heir”: Robert M. Geraci, “Apocalyptic AI: Religion and the Promise of Artificial Intelligence,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76, no. 1 (March 2008): 158–59. once said that he wanted to live to 102 so that he could laugh: Wendy M.


pages: 360 words: 100,991

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence by Richard Yonck

3D printing, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, friendly AI, ghettoisation, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of writing, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, old age dependency ratio, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing test, twin studies, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, zero day

The corollary of Moore’s law was that this trend saw us packing more and more computer processing power into an ever smaller space, reducing power requirements, heat generation, and most importantly cost per processor cycle. By some measures, this pace has slowed in recent years, leading to many near-perennial predictions that Moore’s law is coming to an end. But this presumes the industry sticks to the same production methods and technologies. As pointed out by inventor, futurist, and author Ray Kurzweil, the integrated circuit referenced by Moore’s law is but the fifth paradigm of a much larger trend that can be traced back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Electromechanical processing, relays, vacuum tubes, and transistors all followed a similar pattern of doubling their processing power relative to cost over time. Will there be a sixth paradigm that takes over from semiconductors?

This accelerating change has been with us all along, but it’s become more evident in recent decades because it has finally advanced to the point when much of it occurs on human-scale time frames. When our hominid ancestors began making tools, this change generally took place so slowly it was impossible to see even across many lifetimes. Today, new technologies transform society on a regular basis. Ray Kurzweil refers to this as the “Law of Accelerating Returns” because technology essentially exists in a positive feedback loop, forcing the apparent rate of change to speed up over time.11 Some aspects of this reinforcement lead to secondary levels of exponential growth; Kurzweil maintains that exponential growth itself grows exponentially. It is this exponential improvement and advancement that will result in artificial intelligence making tremendous strides in the coming decades.

As described earlier, much of the initial research and development in affective computing has led to devices that could eventually aid people on the autism spectrum. Skin conductivity devices, such as iCalm, the Q sensor, and Embrace, and emotional social-intelligence prosthetics like MindReader only hint at the potential. Consider the strides that have been made in interface development as researchers design new ways to help those with different sensory challenges and handicaps. Ray Kurzweil developed a portable reader for the blind. Various methods have sought to use computers to make up for lost sight, hearing, or mobility. There are even brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that seek to give paraplegics and those with locked-in syndrome the ability to communicate and maneuver devices such as wheelchairs using only their thoughts. Because of these very real needs, the work has been proven and funded in ways it probably couldn’t have if it had simply been pursued as pure research.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

Death need no longer be the elephant in the room that we do our best to ignore. We will all be gathered into the cloud to live in bliss and harmony. This line of thinking is often referred to as the rapture of the geeks. Rapture of the geeks Multiple (10) These views are purported by some people in a community that identifies itself with the term Singularity. A leader in this field is the insightful futurologist Ray Kurzweil whose many books are recommended reading. Whilst aware of the dangers, Kurzweil is generally optimistic about the future. He personally has undertaken a strict regime of diet, drugs and lifestyle changes in an attempt to live long enough to experience this future for himself. When asked about the dangers of artificial intelligence, Kurzweil replied that an AGI will reflect our values because it will be us.

However, development of technological sophistication does not require an infinite supply of any particular resource. It seems to be an empirical fact of nature that improvements at each generation of technology are at a roughly fixed proportion to the previous generation, which produces the exponential growth. The chart above shows this trend being very consistent over a period of sixty years. Long term growth Ray Kurzweil has argued that this rise in complexity also happens over geological time-scales. In the following chart various landmarks in evolutionary development have been plotted with a logarithmic scale on both axes. Thus the first step on the x axis from 1010 years to 109 years represents almost ten billion years whereas the last step from 102 to 101 represents just ninety years. Were they shown, the next steps would represent roughly nine years, eleven months, one month and three days.

He used it in the sense of the event horizon of a black hole, a point at which one cannot see beyond. As a science fiction writer, he felt that there was “an opaque wall across the future” through which he could not see. That wall was caused largely by the prospect of hyper-intelligent computers programming themselves. Vinge was very concerned as to the fate of mankind as a result of such an eventuality. The books by Ray Kurzweil redefined the term somewhat to simply refer to the ever accelerating rate of technological progress. If one extrapolates the graphs above several decades into the future they suggest that progress will be unimaginably fast. As previously mentioned, Kurzweil is generally optimistic as to what will result. A third view by Yudkowsky focuses the term to mean specifically the intelligence explosion he foresees occurring within the next few decades.


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

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

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.


pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

It’s why, as consumers, we have come to expect major new features to be incorporated into every new iPhone.3 The graph on the following page shows what accelerated technology growth has looked like over the last 600 years. Statisticians call this sort of graph a “hockey stick curve” as it indicates evidence of an exponential growth scenario. In the 20th century, graphs like this appeared with increasing regularity, especially where technology was involved. This led to the hypothesis of what mathematician John von Neumann and futurist Ray Kurzweil dubbed the singularity (sometimes called the technological singularity)—a time when technological advancement reaches escape velocity. In theory, the singularity means that we could solve any problem mankind faces through the application of increasingly powerful computing. Figure 1.2: Major technology improvements are accelerating. (Image credit: Asgard Venture Capital) Figure 1.3: Moore’s Law over the last 50 years (Image credit: Elektor Magazine) The single most fundamental metric of these accelerated advancements in technology is embodied in a law known as “Moore’s Law”.

It’s Happened Before, It Will Happen Again Not wanting to borrow too much from the Matrix or Battlestar Galactica, the reality is that this cycle of new technologies that act as the catalyst for entirely new industries, but at the same time dramatically impact employment patterns and social conditions, has been happening repeatedly over the last 200 to 250 years. Commentators I admire like Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis have previously classified this change as part of the coming “singularity”. Diamandis called it the “Age of Abundance,”1 but a factory worker at Ford Motor Company in Detroit or at Foxconn in China might have very different views today. Textile artisans in the early 1800s, chimney sweeps, farm tillers in the 1920s, video rental store clerks, 1-hour photo processing machine operators, newspaper reporters and taxi drivers are all examples of jobs that have been significantly impacted by technological change.

Imagine an AI that listens to your phone calls and meetings so that it knows what to put on your calendar, and a smart home and a smart car that coordinate with that AI to organise your meals, transport and other integrated experiences. “It took $10 billion to sequence the first human genome, today we can do the same for 1 millionth of that cost. It took 5 years to sequence the AIDS virus … today that would take less than a day, but in 10 years’ time the computers that do these tasks will be a million times more powerful than they are today.” Ray Kurzweil, Exponential Finance Keynote, New York City, June 2015 The possibilities are mind-blowing. If you think of the Augmented Age, AI and technology as a threat to humanity, then perhaps the biggest problem you might have is that your choice to participate in this new world may be taken away from you by a generation that is extremely comfortable with tech. For them it’s not new—it’s just the way they live their lives.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

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

"Robert Solow", 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, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, 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, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, 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: 232 words: 67,934

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

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, dematerialisation, George Santayana, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Nikolai Kondratiev, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, scientific worldview, 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: 392 words: 108,745

Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think by James Vlahos

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer age, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, Loebner Prize, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

“When you talk to him, it would be like me talking to you now.” He wants it to pass what he calls the “Fredric Kurzweil Turing test,” meaning that the avatar would be indistinguishable from Ray’s real father were he alive today. Kurzweil is known for making outlandish predictions about the future. His dadbot ambitions should be taken with a grain of salt if not a whole spoonful. But Ray Kurzweil is, well, Ray Kurzweil—honored by three presidents for his innovations, the author of a book called How to Create a Mind, and a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. His research team at Google is the one that developed the core technology for Smart Reply, the automated email-answering feature discussed in chapter 5. This is all to say that Kurzweil, even if he pulls off only a fraction of what he describes, could wind up with an impressively capable Dadbot.

Fritzshall, too, will die before long, and she says she is glad that her digital double will continue to share her narrative. “I have passed it on to my twin, so to speak,” Fritzshall told a journalist. “When I’m no longer here, she can answer for what’s asked of me. She will carry on the story forever.” The prospect of replicas far more advanced than the Dadbot looms large in an imagination-stirring meeting that I have in fall 2017 at Google. It’s with Ray Kurzweil, the author and futurist best known for predicting the “singularity,” an age when humans and machines will supposedly merge. As a head of engineering, Kurzweil leads a team working on machine learning and natural-language processing. But he and I are not talking about anything officially connected to Google. Instead, Ray is telling me about his dad. Ray is full of memories from growing up: of his father, Fredric Kurzweil, spending all day in the kitchen baking knödel, a delicious potato-dough-and-apricot pastry.

Should PullString, the company whose computer servers he lives on, go out of business, the Dadbot would be done. That would be deeply upsetting, but I think I could eventually come to grips with it. Unlike Kurzweil, I don’t believe that we can beat death. But people can, amazingly enough, synthesize life. That we exist is a miracle, and that we can create things that exist—biological, mechanical, or a curious mix of the two—is a miracle, too. At the end of my meeting with Ray Kurzweil, he had extended an invitation. If I wanted, he and his colleagues could help me to create a next-generation Dadbot. “Sometime in the future when we get it set up, we could take the compilation of your father’s writings and create a chatbot using our technology,” Kurzweil says. “I would love that,” I say. Afterword: The Last Computer Back in the 1990s, the internet was a cloistered place.


pages: 345 words: 104,404

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace

AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, lateral thinking, mega-rich, 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: 193 words: 51,445

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

Venter aims to analyse the genomes of the thousands of species of ‘bugs’ in our gut. It is believed (very plausibly) that this internal ‘ecosystem’ is crucial to our health. The ‘push’ from Silicon Valley towards achieving ‘eternal youth’ stems not only from the immense surplus wealth that’s been accumulated there, but also because it’s a place with a youth-based culture. Those older than thirty are thought to be ‘over the hill’. The futurist Ray Kurzweil speaks zealously of attaining a metaphorical ‘escape velocity’—when medicine advances so fast that life expectancy rises by more than a year in each year, offering potential immortality. He ingests more than one hundred supplements a day—some routine, some more exotic. But he’s worried that ‘escape velocity’ may not be achieved within his ‘natural’ lifetime. So, he wants his body frozen until this nirvana is reached.

A sufficiently versatile superintelligent robot could be the last invention that humans need to make. Once machines surpass human intelligence, they could design and assemble a new generation of even more intelligent machines. Some of the ‘staples’ of speculative science that flummox physicists today—time travel, space warps, and the ultracomplex—may be harnessed by the new machines, transforming the world physically. Ray Kurzweil (mentioned in section 2.1 in connection with cryonics) argues that this could lead to a runaway intelligence explosion: the ‘singularity’.13 Few people doubt that machines will one day surpass most distinctively human capabilities; the disagreements are about the rate of travel, not the direction. If the AI enthusiasts are vindicated, it may take just decades before flesh-and-blood humans are transcended—or it may take centuries.

A more speculative ‘take’ is offered by Max Tegmark, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (New York: Penguin Random House 2017).   9.  David Silver et al., ‘Mastering the Game of Go without Human Knowledge’, Nature 550 (2017): 354–59. 10.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reported_Road_Casualties_Great_Britain. 11.  The letter was organised by the Future of Life Institute, based at MIT. 12.  Stuart Russell is quoted from the Financial Times, January 6, 2018. 13.  See Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005). 14.  P. Hut and M. Rees, “How Stable Is Our Vacuum?” Nature 302 (1983): 508–9. 15.  Derek Parfit’s arguments are presented in part 4 of his Reasons and Persons (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984). 16.  Good surveys of these extreme risks are given in Nick Bostrom and Milan Ćirković, eds., Global Catastrophic Risks (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); and Phil Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks (Durham, NC: Pitchstone, 2018).


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, 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, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

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: 396 words: 117,149

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

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, 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 Markoff, 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, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, scientific worldview, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game

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: 315 words: 89,861

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox

I was reminded of the famous line from The Matrix, when Neo was wondering how a person inside the simulation could modify a physical object like a spoon. The truth was that the spoon was just part of the simulation, a collection of pixels. Neo is told: “There is no spoon.” In my case, there was no table or paddle! The advance of computer science, which makes the idea of a very sophisticated simulation more likely, also raises interesting (and perhaps troubling) questions about ourselves. For example, futurists like Ray Kurzweil of Google have suggested that someday we might be able to download our consciousness into a silicon-based device, extending our lives indefinitely. At some level, this would mean that we are just digital information after all. The idea that consciousness can be digital reveals perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of the simulation hypothesis. If we are in a simulation which was created by real beings in some “base reality,” then it’s possible there are many such simulations.

Although the term has picked up steam because of the development of AI to the point of becoming super-intelligent, this is only one of the several possibilities that Vinge puts forth in his original paper: Science may achieve this breakthrough by several means (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur): Computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent may be developed. Large computer networks and their associated users may "wake up" as superhumanly intelligent entities. Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent. Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect. 18 Kurzweil and Downloading Consciousness Google futurist Ray Kurzweil picked up on the term in his 2005 book, The Singularity is Near, and uses it as a catchall for superintelligence and human/computer interaction. Kurzweil is optimistic that we will be able to map out “all of the information” in the relatively inefficient chemical processes of the human brain and reproduce it in the more efficient electronic/silicon world (and thus achieve the Turing Test) in the next few decades.

Recently, a group of researchers in Switzerland believe that they have created a scaled computer model that reproduces and acts like the brain by modeling and reproducing an individual’s neurons: They believe by modeling a rat’s brain, which might consist of “only” 10,000 neurons (with an associated 30 million neural connections), they had a scale model that could model an entire brain within a few years. The human brain, on the other hand, is composed of networks connecting 1012 neurons through 1015 synapses.22 As of the writing of this book, no one has been able to successfully model that many neural connections, but it doesn’t mean that it’s as far off as we might think. Ray Kurzweil also makes the point, as many others have, that it’s not just consciousness that is information. The cells in your body have been replaced many times—you are literally not the physical person that you were many years ago. There must be some “information” (which Kurzweil refers to as “patterns”) that defines who you are and tells the cells how to grow. This applies not just to healthy but also to diseased cells; theoretically if all the cells are replaced, any diseased cells should just disappear on their own.


pages: 294 words: 96,661

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cognitive bias, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, estate planning, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, full employment, Hans Rosling, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mary Lou Jepsen, Moravec's paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

Our discovery of this profound and mysterious property of technology began modestly just half a century ago when Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, noticed something interesting: the number of transistors in an integrated circuit was doubling about every two years. He noticed that this phenomenon had been going on for a while, and he speculated that the trend could continue for another decade. This observation became known as Moore’s law. Doubling the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles the power of the computer. If that were the entire story, it would be of minor interest. But along came Ray Kurzweil, who made an amazing observation: computers have been doubling in power from way before transistors were even invented. Kurzweil found that if you graph the processing power of computers since 1890, when simple electromechanical devices were used to help with the US census, computers doubled in processing power every other year, regardless of the underlying technology. Think about that: the underlying technology of the computer went from being mechanical to using relays, then to vacuum tubes, then to transistors, and then to integrated circuits, and all along the way, Moore’s law never hiccupped.

If you don’t think you are a machine, then this argument falls apart before it even gets going. The proposition that we are machines is absolutely critical here. Many people find the idea that we are machines to be unsettling and even a bit offensive. Others, however, fully embrace it. Marvin Minsky, who was an AI researcher for over half a century and truly one of the giants in the field, often referred to humans as “meat machines.” He meant it literally. Ray Kurzweil longs for the day he can back up his “mind file” onto a computer, to be restored if he has an untimely death. Stephen Hawking said it plainly: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” The list goes on and on. To many, this is the inescapable conclusion of a reductionist view of the world.

However, while we don’t know how consciousness comes about, there are a great many theories. We can sort all of them into eight groups, each of which is itself a broad theory. We can then examine each of these eight theories to see whether, according to that theory, machines could become conscious and we could upload our consciousness to them. Let’s examine the eight theories. Theory 1: Weak Emergence In his book How to Create a Mind, Ray Kurzweil envisions the brain as a collection of about 100,000 different processes arranged hierarchically. Each process knows how to do one small thing. One of the 100,000 might just be to recognize the letter A, and one beneath it might exist only to recognize the crossbar in that letter. When you read a book, a gazillion things happen in your brain as all these processes fire, at an unimaginable speed, enabling you to piece together and make sense of the world around you.


pages: 382 words: 120,064

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbus A320, 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, fixed income, 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, Kickstarter, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Pingit, platform as a service, QR code, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, US Airways Flight 1549, 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: 370 words: 94,968

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

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, commoditize, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, 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, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, starchitect, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Thales of Miletus, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

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: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, 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: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

Russian billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner, for one, told world leaders and influential thinkers gathered at an elite annual conference in the Ukraine that “the emergence of the global brain, which consists of all the humans connected to each other and to the machine and interacting in a very unique and profound way [is] creating an intelligence that does not belong to any single human being or computer.”24 No doubt Yuri Milner is aware of the increasing popularity of futurist Ray Kurzweil’s ideas put forward in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near. According to Kurzweil, “as we gradually learn to harness the optimal computing capacity of matter, our intelligence will spread through the universe at (or exceeding) the speed of light, eventually leading to a sublime, universe wide awakening.”25 Or as the description on the back of his book puts it, “our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today.”26 For Kurzweil and like-minded spin-off thinkers and followers, the future is going to be comprised of unlimited lifespan lived out in virtual realms where we will be liberated from all physical and mental constraints.

And so with the singularity—as with the general ideology of the future-first techno tomorrow—we live in complete comfort, doing as we please, and never ever having to change. Is it any wonder that in the future era there are an expanding number of real-world entities actively pursuing scenarios in which the quest for future ends in a kind of timeless stasis, an eternal sunshine for the spotless, digitally transformed consciousness? Ray Kurzweil and others perpetuating various iterations of the singularity have the avid support of corporations and institutions that matter. In 2013, Kurzweil went to work for the world’s biggest and most profitable tech company. He’s now full time at Google, working flat out on his quest to build an “artificial brain.” This isn’t surprising since, as an article puts it, “Google’s founders are involved in Singularity University, part of the belief system that humans and machines will at some point merge, making old age and death meaningless.”29 In fact, Google is more than just “involved” in the notion that innovation will eventually lead us down the path of immortality.

asks foundational Stoic Epictetus, former slave turned philosopher. “One who can be disconcerted by nothing that lies outside the sphere of choice.”25 And what about those things that do lie within our “sphere of choice”? Viktor Frankl talks about those who believe that the goal of life is to achieve some kind of harmony, “equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, homeostasis.” This reminds me of Ray Kurzweil’s singularity and other similar quests to advance technology to a point where human beings can transform into immortal beings presumably in perfect equilibrium with their host machines. It also reminds me of the prepper fantasy: the return to our “natural” state, liberated human beings eking out a living through harmonious interaction with the benevolent, abundant Earth. But what meaning does such an equilibrium provide?


pages: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Murray Shanahan, the Professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College, London, encapsulated the views of many AI experts when he wrote: “By analogy, a singularity in human history would occur if exponential technological progress brought about such dramatic change that human affairs as we understand them today came to an end. The institutions we take for granted – the economy, the government, the law, the state – these would not survive in their present form. The most basic human values – the sanctity of life, the pursuit of happiness the freedom to choose – these would be superseded.”7 But the world of the Singularity is far from being entirely negative for humanity. Indeed, for Ray Kurzweil, the high priest of AI enthusiasts, it is just the opposite. He sees a fusion between humans and AI that effectively enables us to “upload” ourselves into a nonmaterial form and thereby secure eternal life.8 (I suppose this is a more positive vision for us all, isn’t it? I don’t know about you but, personally, being “uploaded” into some form of AI for eternity does not exactly appeal to me.) To someone of my ilk, even without the “uploading” and the prospect of eternal life, to read about the capability of AI and the fate of humanity after the Singularity is to plunge into a world that seems like science fiction.

The first use of the term “singularity” to refer to a future technology driven event seems to have been by the legendary computer pioneer John von Neumann, in the 1950s. But it doesn’t seem to have caught on until, in 1983, the mathematician Vernor Vinge wrote about an approaching “technological singularity.”3 More recently, the “Singularity,” notably now sporting a capital “S,” has become closely associated with the name of Ray Kurzweil, who published his book The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology in 2005. He is currently Google’s Director of Engineering. He has predicted that computers will surpass the processing power of a single human brain by 2025. More strikingly, he has claimed that a single computer may match the power of all human brains combined by 2050.4 The Singularity is now generally taken to mean the point at which AI acquires “general intelligence” equal to a human being’s.

And the traffic won’t be all one way, that is, artificial into human. According to John Brockman, what he calls designed intelligence “will increasingly rely on synthetic biology and organic fabrication.” 8 Might we also be able to extend our own life spans by overcoming the limitations that our fleshly bodies place upon ourselves? That is to say, might technology provide the way to eternal life? Some IT enthusiasts think so.9 Ray Kurzweil believes that humans will inevitably merge with machines. This leads to the possibility of immortality. Singularians – for Kurzweil is not alone – aim to try to stay alive for long enough to reach the next life-prolonging medical breakthrough until they are ultimately able to merge with some form of AI and escape the restraints of mortality. In order to make sure that he is still around to enjoy escape into immortality, Kurzweil reportedly “takes as many as two hundred pills and supplements each day and receives others through regular intravenous infusions.”10 Kurzweil is quite a character.


pages: 579 words: 183,063

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss

23andMe, A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, dematerialisation, don't be evil, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Google Hangouts, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, helicopter parent, high net worth, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, index fund, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, non-fiction novel, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Turing machine, uber lyft, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

So many of the geek references from the early days of personal computing brought back a Rush 2112 of Proustian 16K memories, from the Trash-80 to cassette-loading games. Most influential books on me: Out of Control by Kevin Kelly. Introduction to the power of evolutionary algorithms and information networks inspired by biology. Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil. What Moore observed in the belly of the early integrated-circuit (IC) industry was a derivative metric, a refracted signal, from a longer-term trend, a trend that begs various philosophical questions and predicts mind-bending futures. Ray Kurzweil’s abstraction of Moore’s law shows computational power on a logarithmic scale, and finds a double exponential curve that holds over 110 years! Through five paradigm shifts—such as electromechanical calculators and vacuum tube computers—the computational power that $1,000 buys has doubled every two years.

You never know what can happen, but this book made me feel that there is a neon futurist hope, a hopeful utopian future where we use technology to better our lives, enhance our creativity, and live longer, happier, and healthier lives that are not plagued with disease, and where we use our resources in a way that doesn’t destroy the planet. I hope for that future. The Singularity Is Near informed my music—I named an album after it, and I wrote a song called “Singularity” in 2012. I even got Ray Kurzweil in the music video. I then decided to create a concept album series called Neon Future. I wanted to not just fuse all my collaborative musical efforts into this concept but to also do songs with a scientist. Ray Kurzweil agreed to join me. I interviewed him in his apartment in San Francisco and also interviewed different people who inspired me. In Neon Future II, I continued that conversation with different people and non-scientists like J. J. Abrams and Kip Thorne. The project is ongoing with Neon Future III, so we still have more to go, and it’s had a huge influence on my life.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? Fast-forward through college, to after my father passed away. I got into studying cancer so I could understand what killed my dad. It was eye-opening. It got me looking into the future at how science is finding cures for other diseases. It all pointed to The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil. It opened me up to the idea of science fiction becoming science fact. I grew up reading comic books, and I loved sci-fi and anime. Ghost in the Shell was my favorite anime. I also really liked Armitage III, which dealt with the issues of self-aware robots. I read Ray’s other books, which feature radical future science concepts, and it showed me how some of these ideas are actually attainable.


pages: 239 words: 45,926

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

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, creative destruction, 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, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, spice trade, stem cell, the new new thing

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: 138 words: 40,525

This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook by Extinction Rebellion

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, feminist movement, full employment, gig economy, global pandemic, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, mass immigration, Peter Thiel, place-making, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, Sam Altman, smart grid, supply-chain management, the scientific method, union organizing, urban sprawl, wealth creators

After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own. They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern. Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, ‘How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?’ The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus or Mr Robot hack that takes everything down.

Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed in time. That’s when it hit me: at least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

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

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, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, 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, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, 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!, WikiLeaks, 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: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

You could debate whether the Web was making us smarter, but that the Web itself might be slouching toward consciousness seemed ludicrous. But as the years passed, I found that the question kept bouncing around in my head, and slowly I started to warm up to it, in a roundabout way. Some critics, such as Robert Wright, talk about a “global brain” uniting all the world’s disparate pools of information, while other visionaries—such as Bill Joy and Ray Kurzweil—believe that the computational powers of digital technology are accelerating at such a rate that large networks of computers may actually become self-aware sometime in the next century. Did Arthur C. Clarke and The Matrix have it right all along? Is the Web itself becoming a giant brain? I still think the answer is no. But now I think it’s worth asking why not. * * * Begin by jettisoning two habitual ways of thinking about what a brain is.

Intelligent software already scans the wires for constellations of book lovers or potential mates. In the future, our networks will be caressed by a million invisible hands, seeking patterns in the digital soup, looking for neighbors in a land where everyone is by definition a stranger. Perhaps this is only fitting. Our brains got to where they are today by bootstrapping out of a primitive form of pattern-matching. As the futurist Ray Kurzweil writes, “Humans are far more skilled at recognizing patterns than in thinking through logical combinations, so we rely on this aptitude for almost all of our mental processes. Indeed, pattern recognition comprises the bulk of our neural circuitry. These faculties make up for the extremely slow speed of human neurons.” The human mind is poorly equipped to deal with problems that need to be solved serially—one calculation after another—given that neurons require a “reset time” of about five milliseconds, meaning that neurons are capable of only two hundred calculations per second.

That is, they answered by considering their own knowledge of what was in the box rather than by referring to their own previous false belief or to someone else’s current false belief. The robustness of this finding suggests that in autism there is a genuine inability to understand other people’s different beliefs.” Baron-Cohen, 70–71. We’re conscious of: Ibid., 130. “An absence of”: Dennett, 1991, 324. Only when we: Ray Kurzweil refers to this as the “Consciousness Is Just a Machine Reflecting on Itself” School. “ . . . consciousness is not exactly an illusion, but just another logical process. It is a process responding and reacting to itself. We can build that in a machine: just build a procedure that has a model of itself, and that examines and responds to its own methods. Allow the process to reflect on itself. There, now you have consciousness.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. Rev. ed. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Future of Life Institute. “Asilomar AI Principles.” Text and signatories available online. https://futureoflife.org/ai-principles/. Gaddis, J. L. The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. . On Grand Strategy. New York: Penguin Press, 2018. Gilder, G. F., and Ray Kurzweil. Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong AI. edited by Jay Wesley Richards. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2001. Goertzel, B., and C. Pennachin, eds. Artificial General Intelligence. Cognitive Technologies Series. Berlin: Springer, 2007. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-68677-4. Gold, E. M. “Language Identification in the Limit.” Information and Control 10, no. 5 (1967): 447–474. Good, I. J.

Abstract, last revised October 24, 2016. https://arxiv.org/abs/1607.00133. Ablon, L., and A. Bogart. Zero Days, Thousands of Nights: The Life and Times of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities and Their Exploits. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2017. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1751.html. Adams, S. S., et al. “Mapping the Landscape of Human-Level Artificial General Intelligence.” AI Magazine 33, no. 1 (2012). Agar, N. “Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say No!” Journal of Evolution and Technology 22 no. 1 (November 2011): 23–26. https://jetpress.org/v22/agar.htm. Allen, C., I. Smit, and W. Wallach. “Artificial Morality: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Hybrid Approaches.” Ethics and Information Technology 7, no. 3 (2005). Allen, C., G. Varner, and J. Zinser. “Prolegomena to Any Future Artificial Moral Agent.” Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 12, no. 3 (2000).


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, 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, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, 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, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, 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: 196 words: 54,339

Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff

1960s counterculture, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, game design, gig economy, Google bus, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, invisible hand, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, patient HM, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Vannevar Bush, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Sandra Wachter, Brent Mittelstadt, and Luciano Floridi, “Why a Right to Explanation of Automated Decision-Making Does Not Exist in the General Data Protection Regulation,” SSRN, January 24, 2017. some computer scientists are already arguing that AIs should be granted the rights of living beings Antonio Regalado, “Q&A with Futurist Martine Rothblatt,” MIT Technology Review, October 20, 2014. 57. In their view, evolution is less the story of life than of data Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (London: Penguin, 2000). Either we enhance ourselves with chips, nanotechnology, or genetic engineering Future of Life Institute, “Beneficial AI 2017,” https://futureoflife.org/bai-2017/. to presume that our reality is itself a computer simulation Clara Moskowitz, “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?” Scientific American, April 7, 2016.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, “Peter Thiel and the Cathedral,” Patheos.com, June 24, 2014, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/inebriateme/2014/06/peter-thiel-and-the-cathedral/ (accessed January 10, 2018). 71. One Bay Area startup harvests the blood of young people Maya Kosoff, “This Anti-aging Start-up Is Charging Thousands of Dollars for Teen Blood,” Vanity Fair, June 2017. Then, say the chief scientists at the world’s biggest internet companies Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (London: Penguin, 2005). Truls Unholt, “Is Singularity Near?” TechCrunch, February 29, 2016. 72. We need a Reason for what we do Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason (Eastford, CT: Martino Fine Books, 2013). 74. But agriculture also reduced the biodiversity of the human diet Robert M. Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (London: Penguin, 2017).


pages: 209 words: 53,236

The Scandal of Money by George Gilder

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, secular stagnation, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, yield curve, zero-sum game

The proliferation of hundreds of thousands of applications for Apple’s iPhones, for example, represented the learning curve of the users as much as the learning curve at Apple. The most famous such curve is that described by Moore’s Law, which predicts a doubling of computer cost-effectiveness every twenty-four months. It has been recycled by the solar industry in the form of Swanson’s Law, showing the decline of the cost of silicon photovoltaic cells from seventy-six dollars per watt in 1977 to fifty cents per watt in 2014. The inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has put all these curves together in an exhaustive catalog that reaches a climax later in this century as a so-called “singularity,” when the capabilities of computers by many measures will surpass the power of human brains.3 All these curves document the essential identity of growth and learning as a central rule of capitalism. This process has marked the history of human beings since the Stone Age, yet it is only rarely addressed by economists, most of whom think prices should go up.

Both Hidalgo and Ridley imagine that there is a conflict between evolution and the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy law. But both complex systems and entropy represent surprising deformations of order. 2.“Costs and the Experience Curve, Why Costs Go Down Forever,” chapter 2 of Bruce D. Henderson, The Logic of Business Strategy (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Publishing, 1984), 47ff. 3.“The Six Epochs” and “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” chapters 1 and 2 of Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York, NY: Viking, 2005), 7–34. 4.William D. Nordhaus, “Do Real-Output and Real-Wage Measures Capture Reality? The History of Lighting Suggests Not,” Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University, 1998. This epochal paper was delivered first to the National Bureau of Economic Research in 1993. I first encountered it in David Warsh’s definitive Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations (New York, NY: W.


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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, 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 Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, 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, zero-sum game, 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: 688 words: 147,571

Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner

Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

The judges have to decide whether or not the entity with which they are corresponding is a human; if the computer can fool a sufficient proportion of them (a popular competition sets this at just 30%), then it has won.35 A major problem with Turing’s Imitation Game is that it tests only the ability to mimic a human in typed conversation, and that skilful impersonation does not equate to intelligence.36 Indeed, in some of the more “successful” tests of programmes designed to succeed in the Imitation Game, the programmers prevailed by creating a computer which exhibited frailties which we tend to associate with humans, such as spelling errors.37 Another tactic favoured by programmers in modern Turing tests is to use stock humorous responses so as to deflect attention away from their program’s lack of substantive answers to the judges’ questions.38 To avoid the deficiencies in Turing’s test, others have suggested definitions of intelligence which do not rely on the replication of one aspect of human behaviour or thought and are instead parasitic on society’s vague and shifting notion of what makes humans intelligent. Definitions of this type are often variants of the following: “AI is technology with the ability to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence”.39 The inventor of the term AI, John McCarthy, has said that there is not yet “a solid definition of intelligence that doesn’t depend on relating it to human intelligence”.40 Similarly, futurist Ray Kurzweil wrote in 1992 that the most durable definition of AI is “[t]he art of creating machines that perform functions that require intelligence when performed by people”.41 The main problem with parasitic tests is that they are circular. Kurzweil admitted that his own definition, “… does not say a great deal beyond the words ‘artificial intelligence’”.42 In 2011, Nevada adopted the following human-centric definition for the purpose of legislation regulating self-driving cars: “the use of computers and related equipment to enable a machine to duplicate or mimic the behavior of human beings”.43 The definition was repealed in 2013 and replaced with a more detailed definition of “autonomous vehicle”, which was not tied to human actions at all.44 Although it is no longer on the statute books, Nevada’s 2011 law remains an instructive example of why human-centric definitions of intelligence are flawed.

In January 2017, Google Brain announced that technicians had created AI software which could itself develop further AI software.114 Similar announcements were made around this time by the research group OpenAI,115 MIT,116 the University of California, Berkeley and DeepMind.117 And these are only the ones we know about—companies, governments and even some independent individual AI engineers are likely to be working on processes which go far beyond what those have yet made public. 6 Optimists, Pessimists and Pragmatists Commentators on the future of AI can be grouped into three camps: the optimists, the pessimists and the pragmatists.118 The optimists emphasise the benefits of AI and downplay any dangers. Ray Kurzweil has argued “… we have encountered comparable specters, like the possibility of a bioterrorist creating a new virus for which humankind has no defence. Technology has always been a double edged sword, since fire kept us warm but also burned down our villages”.119 Similarly, engineer and roboethicist Alan Winfield said in a 2014 article: “If we succeed in building human equivalent AI and if that AI acquires a full understanding of how it works, and if it then succeeds in improving itself to produce super-intelligent AI, and if that super-AI, accidentally or maliciously, starts to consume resources, and if we fail to pull the plug, then, yes, we may well have a problem.

, Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology Working Paper, September 2013, http://​www.​oxfordmartin.​ox.​ac.​uk/​downloads/​academic/​future-of-employment.​pdf, accessed 1 June 2018. See also Daniel Susskind and Richard Susskind, The Future of the Professions : How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). 5See Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 6See Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking Press, 2005). 7Several nineteenth-century thinkers including Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace arguably predicted the advent of AI and even prepared designs for machines capable of carrying out intelligent tasks. There is some debate as to whether Babbage actually believed that such a machine was capable of cognition.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, 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, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, 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: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

Clearly, a team will be unsuccessful if the objectives of the team members are not aligned, so the emphasis on human–AI teams highlights the need to solve the core problem of value alignment. Of course, highlighting the problem is not the same as solving it. . . . merge with the machines? Human–machine teaming, taken to its extreme, becomes a human–machine merger in which electronic hardware is attached directly to the brain and forms part of a single, extended, conscious entity. The futurist Ray Kurzweil describes the possibility as follows:24 We are going to directly merge with it, we are going to become the AIs. . . . As you get to the late 2030s or 2040s, our thinking will be predominately non-biological and the non-biological part will ultimately be so intelligent and have such vast capacity it’ll be able to model, simulate and understand fully the biological part. Kurzweil views these developments in a positive light.

John McCarthy’s forecast of the arrival of human-level AI within “five to 500 years”: Ian Shenker, “Brainy robots in our future, experts think,” Detroit Free Press, September 30, 1977. 31. For a summary of surveys of AI researchers on their estimates for the arrival of human-level AI, see aiimpacts.org. An extended discussion of survey results on human-level AI is given by Katja Grace et al., “When will AI exceed human performance? Evidence from AI experts,” arXiv:1705.08807v3 (2018). 32. For a chart mapping raw computer power against brain power, see Ray Kurzweil, “The law of accelerating returns,” Kurzweilai.net, March 7, 2001. 33. The Allen Institute’s Project Aristo: allenai.org/aristo. 34. For an analysis of the knowledge required to perform well on fourth-grade tests of comprehension and common sense, see Peter Clark et al., “Automatic construction of inference-supporting knowledge bases,” in Proceedings of the Workshop on Automated Knowledge Base Construction (2014), akbc.ws/2014. 35.

John Brockman (Penguin Press, 2019). 22. For an interesting analysis of Oracle AI, see Stuart Armstrong, Anders Sandberg, and Nick Bostrom, “Thinking inside the box: Controlling and using an Oracle AI,” Minds and Machines 22 (2012): 299–324. 23. Views on why AI is not going to take away jobs: Kenny, “IBM’s open letter.” 24. An example of Kurzweil’s positive views of merging human brains with AI: Ray Kurzweil, interview by Bob Pisani, June 5, 2015, Exponential Finance Summit, New York, NY. 25. Article quoting Elon Musk on neural lace: Tim Urban, “Neuralink and the brain’s magical future,” Wait But Why, April 20, 2017. 26. For the most recent developments in Berkeley’s neural dust project, see David Piech et al., “StimDust: A 1.7 mm3, implantable wireless precision neural stimulator with ultrasonic power and communication,” arXiv: 1807.07590 (2018). 27.


pages: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

For the last fifty years or so, computing power—the ability of computer chips to process data—has grown at an exponential rate, doubling roughly every two years. This progress is generally expected to continue. On current trends a computer in 2029 will be sixty-four times faster than it was in 2017. If the technology continued to improve at the same rate, then in 2041 it would be 4,096 times faster. After thirty years, the computer would have grown millions of times more powerful. Ray Kurzweil and others predict that within the next decade or so, a normal desktop machine (costing $1,000 or thereabouts) will rival and surpass the processing power of the human brain. By 2050, ‘one thousand dollars of computing will exceed the processing power of all human brains on earth’.42 If this sounds unlikely, look back to where we have come from. Just thirty years ago, it would have needed 5,000 desktop computers to rival the processing power of today’s iPad Air.43 Sixty years ago, 2010’s iPad2 (now hopelessly out of date) would have cost $100 trillion, roughly twenty-five times the United States federal budget for 2015.44 The average smartphone has more processing power than the Apollo Guidance Computer that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon.45 Our brains are not wired to think exponentially.

Bostrom cheerfully suggests it would not be smart in the sense that ‘a scientific OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 26/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS 366 FUTURE POLITICS genius is smart compared with the average human being,’ but rather ‘smart in the sense that an average human being is smart compared with a beetle or a worm.’ 21 He adds, not very reassuringly, that the advent of a superintelligent AI system could lead to a ‘wide range of outcomes’ including ‘extremely good’ ones but also ‘outcomes that are as bad as human extinction’.22 In such a world, politics would revert to its primordial purpose: to ensure survival in a harsh world. Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil contend that in the long run, we’re heading toward a technological singularity, that is, a point at which machine intelligence comes to saturate the universe, absorbing all matter and life in its path.23 There would be no place for homo s­ apiens in such a world, let alone for politics. I’ve deliberately avoided devoting many pages in this book to how all-powerful AI systems might come to destroy the world—not because such a scenario is impossible, but because it’s already a popular topic of writing and one which can (unhelpfully) obscure the more immediate problems that we’ll have to face in the digital lifeworld.

Cade Metz,‘Google’s Dueling Neural Networks Spar to Get Smarter, No Humans Required’, Wired, 11 April 2017 <https://www.wired. com/2017/04/googles-dueling-neural-networks-spar-get-smarterno-humans-required/> (accessed 28 November 2017). 39. Silver et al., ‘Mastering’. 40. Domingos, Master Algorithm, 7. 41. Neil Lawrence, quoted in Alex Hern, ‘Why Data is the New Coal’, The Guardian, 27 September 2016 <https://www.theguardian.com/ technology/2016/sep/27/data-efficiency-deep-learning> (accessed 28 November 2017). 42. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near (New York:Viking, 2005), 127, cited in Susskind and Susskind, Future of the Professions, 157; Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance:The Future is Better Than You Think (New York: Free Press, 2014), 55. 43. Paul Mason, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (London: Allen Lane, 2015), 121. 44. Luciano Floridi, The 4th Revolution: How the Infosphere is Reshaping Human Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 7. 45.


pages: 405 words: 117,219

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

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, 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, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, 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, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, 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.


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

airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, different worldview, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, source of truth, 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: 247 words: 71,698

Avogadro Corp by William Hertling

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, Ruby on Rails, standardized shipping container, technological singularity, Turing test, web application, WikiLeaks

“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

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, 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, George Santayana, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, 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, Paul Samuelson, 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 Future of Employment, 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.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, 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, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, 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, zero-sum game

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: 525 words: 116,295

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

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, drone strike, 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, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Robert Bork, 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: 492 words: 118,882

The Blockchain Alternative: Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Theory by Kariappa Bheemaiah

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, cellular automata, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, constrained optimization, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, deskilling, Diane Coyle, discrete time, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, precariat, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, QR code, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Real Time Gross Settlement, rent control, rent-seeking, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satyajit Das, savings glut, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, supply-chain management, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Washington Consensus

It would seem that the task of rethinking economics is analogous to a macabre quandary - not only does technology force us to change our capitalistic mindsets, but we are also required to be very expedient in our efforts if we are to keep up with the speed of technological change. Thus, to begin the final chapter on the redefinition of capitalism, we need to understand the galloping tendencies of technological changes in the context of static economic theories. Technology and Invention: A Combinatorial Process Ray Kurzweil, the noted inventor and futurist, once said that the exponential growth curves exhibited by current technological trends is based on the tendency of technology to ‘feed off’ technology. In light of the pace of change that we currently witness, this can be accepted as a fair statement if we are to accept that every technology that has been invented, is being invented and will be invented follows the very same formula - they are combinations of technologies that already existed and do not come out of sheer inspiration alone.

If technology creates complexity, why is that the theories of In this paper, the model is driven by technological change that arises from intentional investment decisions made by profit-maximizing agents. 7 160 Chapter 4 ■ Complexity Economics: A New Way to Witness Capitalism economics are based on states of equilibrium in spite of the fact that changing nature of technology is highly endogenous to economics and capitalism? A primary reason for this mode of thinking is based on how we cognitively interpret the world and why we are constantly trying to predict the future. Sidebar 4-1 offers some neuroscience insights. SIDEBAR 4-1: A RATIONALE FOR RATIONAL EXPECTATIONS: Sources: ‘How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed’, Ray Kurzweil (2014); ‘Neuroscience for Organizational Change’, Hilary Scarlett, (2016); ‘Social Cognitive Neuroscience of Leading Organizational Change’, Robert A. Snyder, (2016). Rational Expectations is based on the innate working methodology of the human brain. We must remember that the human brain did not evolve in the current cosmopolitan and urban environment. It was designed in the treacherous environment of the Savannah thousands of years ago, and evolved to achieve two primary objectives: How to survive and how to predict.

To be able to survive in the face of constant risk, the brain had to be able to predict. In fact, the brain can be seen as a constant prediction machine that is continuously trying to find safety and avoid risk. Our brain’s neocortex constantly predicts what it expects to encounter. It is an ingenious tool that recognises, remembers and predicts patterns sans arrêt and develops hypothesises of what we will experience. As Ray Kurzweil puts it, predicting the future is actually the primary reason that we have a brain. The statement below exemplifies how the brain is constantly predicting, even when there is no sign of apparent danger: “I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

Eliezer Yudkowsky, “Lonely Dissent,” Less Wrong, Dec. 28, 2007, http://lesswrong.com/lw/mb/lonely_dissent (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 15. David Gilbert, “From Deep Mind to Watson: Why You Should Stop Worrying and Love AI,” International Business Times, Mar. 18, 2016, www.ibtimes.com/deepmind-watson-why-you-should-learn-stop-worrying-love-ai-2339231 (accessed Oct. 8, 2016), quoting Harriet Green, general manager of Watson’s Internet of Things Unit. 16. Ray Kurzweil, “Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence,” www.kurzweilai.net/dont-fear-artificial-intelligence-by-ray-kurzweil (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 17. Vincent C. Müller and Nick Bostrom, “Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion,” in Vincent C. Müller, ed., Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence (Berlin: Springer, Synthese Library, 2014), available online at www.nickbostrom.com/papers/survey.pdf (accessed Oct. 8, 2016). 18.

Another IBM executive discounts the idea that Watson could become a threat, because “the only data [Watson] has access to is the data we provide it with. It is not capable of going out on its own and creating—in some iRobot-type of form—its own data construct.”15 IBM also has good reason for touting the safety and promise of its technology: Watson is anticipated to generate $10 billion in revenue for IBM by 2023. Noted futurist and AI cheerleader Ray Kurzweil welcomes the advance of superintelligence and believes man and machine will become one in a happy marriage he calls “the singularity.” He envisions an increasingly intertwined symbiosis between technology and human thought and perception. But even Kurzweil agrees with Yudkowsky’s goals for friendly AI and the perils of uncontrolled machine intelligence. “We have the opportunity in the decades ahead to make major strides in addressing the grand challenges of humanity.


pages: 274 words: 73,344

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

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: 278 words: 70,416

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

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, 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, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, superconnector

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: 252 words: 74,167

Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Nor do we know what format the brain uses to encode, in the way that we understand that computers use file formats such as JPEG and GIF to encode images, or DOC and TXT for text documents. Understanding the brain means not simply understanding how individual neurons work, but also how they interact with other neurons in parallel as part of a network. There are different ideas about how this is best achieved. Futurist Ray Kurzweil, currently employed at Google as one of its directors of engineering, has suggested using tiny microscopic nanobots to scan the brain. A bit like the injectable smart devices described in chapter three, Kurzweil’s vision calls for billions of these scanner nanobots, the size of human blood cells or even tinier, to enter the brain and capture ‘every salient neural detail’ by scanning from inside.

At 2.13 a.m. that day, computer users were presumably marvelling at the better-than-ever accuracy of their search engine results or the superior strategies employed by the AI-controlled enemies in Command and Conquer: Red Alert (hey, this was 1997!). At 2.15 a.m. – KA-BOOM! Life as they knew it was over. In a world of Moore’s Law, where advances in computing power are as predictable as clockwork, it is difficult to break free of this view of superintelligence. As though it’s Apple’s next iPhone launch, everyone wants to know the date on which they can expect it to take place. Last chapter’s Ray Kurzweil, for instance, predicts that it will take place in exactly 2045. Kurzweil is to the Singularity what Steve Jobs was to the smartphone: not the person to first come up with the idea, but certainly the one to popularise it. The founder of eleven companies (including Nuance, the AI company that provides the speech for Siri), he has been hailed as ‘the best person I know at predicting the future of Artificial Intelligence’ by no less an authority than Bill Gates.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

Andrews, and Rosario Isasi, “Protecting the Endangered Human: Toward an International Treaty Prohibiting Cloning and Inheritable Alterations,” American Journal of Law and Medicine 28 (2002): 151–78. 44. Nick Bostrom, “Transhumanist Values,” Review of Contemporary Philosophy 4, nos. 1–2 (2005): 87–101. 45. Bostrom, “Transhumanist Values”; Vernor Vinge, “What Is the Singularity?” (presentation, Vision 21 Symposium, Westlake, OH, March 30, 1993). 46. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin Books, 2005); Singularity University, http://singularityu.org (accessed February 5, 2017); Wikipedia, s.v. “Ray Kurzweil,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil (accessed September 2, 2016). 47. “Machine-to-Machine Communications: Connecting Billions of Devices,” OECD Digital Economy Papers, no. 192 (2012). 48. Igor Aleksander, “The Self ‘Out There,’” Nature 413 (2001): 23; Michael Chorost, World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet (New York: Free Press, 2011), iBook edition, chap. 11. 49.

Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 64. 45. Ibid., 85–86, 151–52. Chapter 20. Consuming the Earth in the Modern Era 1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “The Sorcerer's Apprentice,” trans. Brigitte Dubiel (1797). I am indebted to Steve Hagen for pointing out this work as a parable for the power of technology. See Steve Hagen, Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom beyond Beliefs (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2004), 28–29. 2. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 56–72; Bill McKibben, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age (New York: Owl Books, 2003), 70. 3. Jeremy Lent, “Louis C. K. and the Democracy of Consciousness,” Liology, November 20, 2013, http://liology.net/2013/11/20/louis-c-k-and-the-democracy-of-consciousness/ (accessed February 5, 2017). Original video clip: “Louis C.K. Hates Cell Phones,” YouTube video, 4:50, from the September 20, 2013, episode of Conan on TBS, posted by “Team Coco” on September 20, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?


pages: 291 words: 81,703

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

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, 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, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, 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: 290 words: 87,084

Branded Beauty by Mark Tungate

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, liberal capitalism, 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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, 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, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, 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 Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, 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: 345 words: 84,847

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman, Anthony Brandt

active measures, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, haute couture, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, lone genius, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, microbiome, Netflix Prize, new economy, New Journalism, pets.com, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, X Prize

And although your smartphone doesn’t contain a fifteen-inch woofer, it transmits your endless library of music to any speaker system you’d like. 5 Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (New York: Penguin Press, 2012). 6 Andrew Hargadon, How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate (Boston: Harvard Business School Publications, 2003). 7 John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu; a Study in the Ways of the Imagination (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927). 8 John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu. 9 Michel de Montaigne, Complete Essays, trans. Donald Frame (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1958). 10 Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (New York: Riverhead Books, 2010). 11 Michael D. Lemonick, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Love, Amnesia, and Memory (New York: Doubleday, 2017). 12 Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (New York: Viking, 1999). An initial rough draft of the human genome was announced in 2000, and an updated version was published in 2003. We’ve chosen 2000 as the year of completion, although note that “finishing” this project took more than another decade, and further analysis is ongoing. 13 The proposition that all creativity is cognitively unified was first advanced by Arthur Koestler and subsequently developed by cognitive scientists Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier.

And although your smartphone doesn’t contain a fifteen-inch woofer, it transmits your endless library of music to any speaker system you’d like. 5 Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (New York: Penguin Press, 2012). 6 Andrew Hargadon, How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate (Boston: Harvard Business School Publications, 2003). 7 John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu; a Study in the Ways of the Imagination (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927). 8 John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu. 9 Michel de Montaigne, Complete Essays, trans. Donald Frame (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1958). 10 Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (New York: Riverhead Books, 2010). 11 Michael D. Lemonick, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Love, Amnesia, and Memory (New York: Doubleday, 2017). 12 Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (New York: Viking, 1999). An initial rough draft of the human genome was announced in 2000, and an updated version was published in 2003. We’ve chosen 2000 as the year of completion, although note that “finishing” this project took more than another decade, and further analysis is ongoing. 13 The proposition that all creativity is cognitively unified was first advanced by Arthur Koestler and subsequently developed by cognitive scientists Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier.


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, 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, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, 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: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

However, computer scientists know that machine “learning” is more akin to a metaphor in this case: it means that the machine can improve at its programmed, routine, automated tasks. It doesn’t mean that the machine acquires knowledge or wisdom or agency, despite what the term learning might imply. This type of linguistic confusion is at the root of many misconceptions about computers.3 Imagination also complicates things. How you define AI depends on what you want to believe about the future. One of Marvin Minsky’s students, Ray Kurzweil, is a proponent of the singularity theory, a hypothetical future merging of man and machine that he thinks will be achieved by 2045. (Kurzweil is famous for inventing a musical synthesizer that sounds like a grand piano.) Singularity is a major preoccupation of science fiction. I was once interviewed for a futurists’ summit, and the interviewer asked me about the paperclip theory: What if you invented a machine that made paperclips, and then you taught the machine to want to make paperclips, and then you taught the machine to want to make other things, and then the machine made lots of other machines and all the machines took over?

Look at domed cities, jet-pack commuting, underwater cities, mile-high buildings, and nuclear-powered automobiles—all staples of futuristic fantasies when I was a child that have never arrived. Sheer processing power is not a pixie dust that magically solves all your problems.”4 Facebook’s Yann LeCun is also a singularity skeptic. He told IEEE Spectrum: “There are people that you’d expect to hype the Singularity, like Ray Kurzweil. He’s a futurist. He likes to have this positivist view of the future. He sells a lot of books this way. But he has not contributed anything to the science of AI, as far as I can tell. He’s sold products based on technology, some of which were somewhat innovative, but nothing conceptually new. And certainly he has never written papers that taught the world anything on how to make progress in AI.”5 Reasonable, smart people disagree about what will happen in the future—in part because nobody can see the future.


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

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, 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: 669 words: 210,153

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

Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, post-work, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, 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, zero-sum game

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: 103 words: 24,033

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

card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, Marc Andreessen, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, the new new thing, 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: 313 words: 91,098

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, attribution theory, bitcoin, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, combinatorial explosion, computer age, crowdsourcing, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Flynn Effect, Hernando de Soto, hindsight bias, hive mind, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

Some of our greatest entrepreneurs and scientific minds see even darker clouds on the horizon. People like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates have cautioned that technology could become so sophisticated that it decides to pursue its own goals rather than the goals of the humans who created it. The reason to worry has been articulated by Vernor Vinge in a 1993 essay entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity,” as well as by Ray Kurzweil in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, and most recently by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who works at the University of Oxford. In Bostrom’s language, the fear is that technology is advancing so fast that the development of a superintelligence is imminent. A superintelligence is a machine or collection of machines whose mental powers are far beyond that of human beings.

few people today read Alice in Wonderland: A fact bemoaned by Anthony Lane in “Go Ask Alice,” The New Yorker, June 8 and 15, 2015. SEVEN. THINKING WITH TECHNOLOGY commuting a little less: www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/how-america-stopped-commuting.html. attendance at movie theaters: www.slashfilm.com/box-office-attendance-hits-lowest-level-five-years. Vernor Vinge: V. Vinge (1993). “The Coming Technological Singularity.” Whole Earth Review, Winter. Ray Kurzweil: R. Kurzweil (2005). The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Books. Nick Bostrom: N. Bostrom (2014). Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Ian Tattersall: As told to Dan Falk in the online magazine eon: http://eon.co/magazine/science/was-human-evolution-inevitable-or-a-matter-of-luck. extensions of our bodies: A.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, 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, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, 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 Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, 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: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, 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, creative destruction, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global pandemic, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, 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, zero-sum game

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: 347 words: 97,721

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

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, 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, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, 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.


Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age by Alex Wright

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, barriers to entry, British Empire, business climate, business intelligence, Cape to Cairo, card file, centralized clearinghouse, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Law of Accelerating Returns, linked data, Livingstone, I presume, lone genius, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norman Mailer, out of africa, packet switching, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

And while he might well have been flummoxed by the anything-goes ethos of present-day social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, he also imagined a system that allowed groups of individuals to take part in collaborative experiences like lectures, opera performances, or scholarly meetings, where they might “applaud” or “give ovations.” It seems a short conceptual hop from here to Facebook’s ubiquitous “Like” button.26 The notion of a “world brain” once evoked by H. G. Wells and Otlet has found plenty of adherents in the modern era. Contemporary 292 E ntering the S trea m p­ undits like Ray Kurzweil, Howard Bloom, Kevin Kelly, and others have all advocated the possibility of a global planetary awakening, as the Web takes us to the next step in the evolution of human consciousness. In the end, what distinguishes Otlet’s vision from these cyber-utopians is his belief in the positive role of institutions. More than simply individuals were enlightened; institutions too could be enlightened.

In this case, local pride may have played at least as much of a role as corporate self-interest.1 Whatever the case, the Mundaneum project fit well with Google’s organizational rhetoric, which often seems to project a positivist, even utopian, ethos in its public proclamations. Otlet himself would surely have embraced their stated mission: “to gather the world’s information.” In 2008, Google founder Larry Page helped launch the Singularity University, a gathering of technologists dedicated to preparing for a Wellsian moment of technological transcendence predicted by, among others, Ray Kurzweil. It would take shape as a new form of collective intellect over the network as human minds became increasingly fused with so-called thinking machines within a vast global network. Google has often laid claim to a higher social purpose. In 2004, technology historian George Dyson reflected on his visit to the Googleplex in a muchdiscussed essay entitled “Turing’s Cathedral”: “I felt,” wrote Dyson, “I was entering a 14th-century cathedral—not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built.


pages: 299 words: 98,943

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, back-to-the-land, clean water, double helix, George Santayana, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, life extension, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, stem cell, technoutopianism, the scientific method

If the accumulation of damage to our various bodily systems is an inevitable by-product of their normal functioning, then aging will have no easy fix—there will be no molecular switch that can be flicked without turning ourselves off altogether. As our understanding of our bodies grows, the immortality engineers’ to-do list is therefore getting longer rather than shorter. The prescription for their elixir of life becomes ever more complex: cut back on fats, except omega-3; on alcohol, but not red wine; on bad cholesterol, but not good. One leading transhumanist, the respected inventor Ray Kurzweil, describes taking 250 supplements per day, a diet that would have made even the elixir-obsessed First Emperor balk. All of this might succeed in distracting us from the brute fact of our mortality, but it will not cure us of it. For centuries, many talented researchers have pursued the secret of aging—and believed they had found it. When Linus Pauling was a boy, sex hormones were considered the thing: one Paris-based medical professor had claimed to have turned back his biological clock by injecting himself with crushed dogs’ testicles; another became rich and famous by grafting slices of monkeys’ balls onto the private parts of aging millionaires with the claim it would make them twenty years younger.

The Zygmunt Bauman quotes are from his aforementioned Mortality, Immortality, and Other Life Strategies. The seekers of medical immortality are well represented by the gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, whose book Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008, written with his assistant Michael Rae) details his Engineering Approach to defeating aging. Another enthusiastic and readable immortalist is Ray Kurzweil, as reflected in his many books and articles on the subject, most notably Fantastic Voyage: Living Long Enough to Live Forever (with Terry Grossman, Rodale, 2004), Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (also with Terry Grossman, Rodale, 2009) and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (Viking, 2005). The Immortality Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting radical life extension, has also published a collection of articles on the science and philosophy of the immortalists (including by Kurzweil and de Grey) called The Scientific Conquest of Death: Essays on Infinite Lifespans (Libros en Red, 2004).


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, 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 pandemic, 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, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, 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, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), 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, zero-sum game

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.


Free Money for All: A Basic Income Guarantee Solution for the Twenty-First Century by Mark Walker

3D printing, 8-hour work day, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, commoditize, financial independence, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, market clearing, means of production, new economy, obamacare, off grid, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, working poor

The molecular blue prints for both are provided for the nanobots, which quickly assemble the meal and drink. I am not suggesting that the nanobot revolution will happen tomorrow—so please do not quit your job just yet. However, it is something like this future we are headed to (assuming we do not blow ourselves up in the meantime, discussed later). How soon until we have technology of this sophistication? Optimists like Ray Kurzweil think it could be somewhere in the order of 2030 to 2040.26 Whether this is accurate or whether Kurzweil is off by half a century or more is not something we can investigate here. Rather, I would like to make a few points to show that it is not pure fantasy. The first point is that a precursor technology, 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, is already in use and rapidly expanding. For those not familiar with the technology, the analogy with a regular printer for printing documents is perhaps most helpful.

Björn Nykvist and M\a ans Nilsson, “Rapidly Falling Costs of Battery Packs for Electric Vehicles,” Nature Climate Change, 2015, http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ nclimate2564.html. 23. Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (A. and C. Black, 1863). 24. There are about 7 acres of land per person in the United States, so there is more than enough land for everyone. 25. K. Eric Drexler, Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation (New York: John Wiley, 1992). 26. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin Books, 2005). 27. B. T. Wittbrodt et al., “Life-Cycle Economic Analysis of Distributed Manufacturing with Open-Source 3-D Printers,” Mechatronics 23, 6 (2013): 713–726. 28. Ibid. 29. Kira, “Exclusive: WinSun China Builds World’s First 3D Printed Villa and Tallest 3D Printed Apartment Building,” www.3ders.org, January 18, 2015, http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150118-winsun-builds-world-first-3d-printed-villa-and-tallest-3d-printed-building-in-china.html. 30.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin

Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator

On the whole, it was evolutionary, not revolutionary.17 But for many in the new elite, technology represents far more than efficiency or convenience. It is both the beginning and the end, the material equivalent of a spiritual journey to nirvana. Google’s vision for the future is characterized by “immersive computing,” in which the real and virtual worlds blend together.18 Tech leaders like Ray Kurzweil, longtime head of engineering at Google, speak about creating a “posthuman” future, dominated by artificial intelligence and controlled by computers and those who program them. They look forward to having the capacity to reverse aging and to download their consciousness into computers. This vision rests on a faith in—or an obsession with—technological determinism, in which new technology is our evolutionary successor.19 But is this what most people want the future to be?

“The rise to power of net-based monopolies coincides with a new sort of religion based on becoming immortal,” writes Jaron Lanier.30 Potentially the most radical and far-reaching of the emerging creeds, transhumanism is a distinctly secular approach to achieving the long-cherished religious goal of immortality.31 The new tech religion treats mortality not as something to be transcended through moral actions, but as a “bug” to be corrected by technology.32 Although it sounds a bit like a wacky cult, transhumanism has long exercised a strong fascination for the elites of Silicon Valley. Devotees range from Sergei Brin, Larry Page, and Ray Kurzweil (of Google) to Peter Thiel and Sam Altman (Y Combinator). Kurzweil celebrates new technologies that allow for close monitoring of brain activity.33 Y Combinator is developing a technology for uploading one’s brain and preserving it digitally.34 The aim is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”35 In some ways, transhumanism seems natural for those who hold technology above all other values.


pages: 380 words: 104,841

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

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, mass immigration, 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: 121 words: 36,908

Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase

Airbnb, basic income, bitcoin, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, fixed income, full employment, future of work, high net worth, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, litecoin, mass incarceration, means of production, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-work, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart meter, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

But Stross, and others like Ken MacLeod and China Miéville, have used fictions about future, past, and alternative worlds to give a fuller picture of class and social conflict. Fictional futures are, in my view, preferable to those works of “futurism” that attempt to directly predict the future, obscuring its inherent uncertainty and contingency and thereby stultifying the reader. Within the areas discussed in this book, a paradigmatic futurist would be someone like Ray Kurzweil, who confidently predicts that by 2049, computers will have achieved humanlike intelligence, with all manner of world-changing consequences.24 Such prognostications generally end up unconvincing as prophecy and unsatisfying as fiction. Science fiction is to futurism what social theory is to conspiracy theory: an altogether richer, more honest, and more humble enterprise. Or to put it another way, it is always more interesting to read an account that derives the general from the particular (social theory) or the particular from the general (science fiction), rather than attempting to go from the general to the general (futurism) or the particular to the particular (conspiracism).


pages: 402 words: 110,972

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

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, 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, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, 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, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, 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, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, 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, your tax dollars at work

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: 138 words: 40,787

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

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, commoditize, 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, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects, Paul Graham, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, 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: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

Without new technology to relieve competitive pressures, stagnation is likely to erupt into conflict. In case of conflict on a global scale, stagnation collapses into extinction. That leaves the fourth scenario, in which we create new technology to make a much better future. The most dramatic version of this outcome is called the Singularity, an attempt to name the imagined result of new technologies so powerful as to transcend the current limits of our understanding. Ray Kurzweil, the best-known Singularitarian, starts from Moore’s law and traces exponential growth trends in dozens of fields, confidently projecting a future of superhuman artificial intelligence. According to Kurzweil, “the Singularity is near,” it’s inevitable, and all we have to do is prepare ourselves to accept it. But no matter how many trends can be traced, the future won’t happen on its own. What the Singularity would look like matters less than the stark choice we face today between the two most likely scenarios: nothing or something.


pages: 151 words: 39,757

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

4chan, basic income, cloud computing, corporate governance, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, gig economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Milgram experiment, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, theory of mind, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Google famously funded a project to “solve death.”6 This is such a precisely religious pretension that I’m surprised the religions of the world didn’t serve Google with a copyright infringement take-down notice.7 Google could have framed its work as life extension, or as aging research, but instead it went right for the prize, which is being the master of that which is most sacred within you. BUMMER must own you in order to own anything at all. Facebook also plays the game. The Facebook page of a deceased person becomes a shrine that one can only visit as a member, and to be a member you must implicitly become an adherent. Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, promotes the idea that Google will be able to upload your consciousness into the company’s cloud, like the pictures you take with your smartphone. He famously ingests a whole carton of longevity pills every day in the hope that he won’t die before the service comes online. Note what’s going on here. The assertion is not that consciousness doesn’t exist, but that whatever it is, Google will own it, because otherwise, what could this service even be about?


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

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, 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: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

., “Job Satisfaction.” 4.Blanchflower and Oswald, “Well-Being, Insecurity, and the Decline of American Job Satisfaction.” 5.Crabtree, “Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work.” 6.Dreyer and Hindley, “Trade in Information Technology Goods.” 7.The Economist, “Planet of the Phones.” 8.Bogost, “The Secret History of the Robot Car.” 9.The “second half of the chessboard” is an expression by Ray Kurzweil to explain the power of exponential growth. Legend has it that when the inventor of chess presented the game to the emperor of India and was offered to choose a reward, he asked for one grain of rice on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and so one. The emperor found the request modest but accepted it. It was not until they got to the second half of the chessboard that the emperor realised where it would end.

(i)n17 savings aggregate (i) corporate (cash hoarding) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) retirement (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Schmidt, Eric (i) Schumpeter, Joseph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Schumpeterian innovation (i), (ii) “scientific civilization” thinking, and planning (i) scientific research (i) see also R&D; research Scrooge character (i) “second half of the chessboard” (Ray Kurzweil) (i) Second Machine Age, The (Brynjolfsson and McAfee) (i), (ii) Second World countries, and globalization (i) Seinfeld (TV series) Art Vandelay and “importer-exporter” conversation (i), (ii) “Art Vandelay logistics operation” (i) self-driving vehicles see driverless vehicles self-regulation (i) Sellers, Peter (i) Servan-Schreiber, Jean-Jacques, Le Défi américain (The American Challenge) (i) services and globalization (i) and market contestability (i), (ii) and second unbundling of production (i) see also online services “servicification” (or “servitization”) (i), (ii) SetPoint nerve stimulator (i) shale gas, and regulation in Europe (i) shareholders (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) shares buybacks (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) share/stock structures (i) see also stock markets Shelley, Percy Bysshe, Prometheus Unbound (i) shipping containers (i) short-termism (i) Sidecar (i) SIFIs (systemically important financial institutions) (i) Silicon Valley (i), (ii), (iii) silo curse (i) Silvia, John (i) Simons, Bright (i) Simphal, Thibaud (i) Sinclair, Clive (i) Sinn, Hans-Werner, “bazaar economy” (i) size see corporate size skill deficiencies, and productivity (i) Skype (i), (ii) Slyngstad, Yngve (i) smartphones (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Smith, Adam economy of specialization (i) labor and wealth (i) “man of system” (i) The Wealth of Nations (i), (ii) Smiths, The (rock band), “hang the DJ” lyric (i) social democratic vision (i) social regulation (i), (ii) socialism and bureaucracy (i) and community-generated content (i) corporate socialism (i), (ii) and Cybersyn project (i) and death of capitalism utopia (i) and labor vs. work (i) market socialism (i) and open source technology (i) socialist planning (i) and Swedish hybrid economy (i) Söderberg, Hjalmar (i) software technology, and regulation (i) Sombart, Werner (i) Sony (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) sourdough production, history of (i) South Africa, taxi services and regulation (i) South Korea “Asian Tiger” (i) R&D spending (i) Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (i) sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) (i), (ii), (iii) “Soviet–Harvard illusion” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) (i) space flights, commercial (i) SpaceX (i) Spain biofuels regulation (i) and diffusion of innovations (i) and globalization (i) left-wing populism (i) lesser dependence on larger enterprises (i) pensions (i) public debt (i) taxi services and regulation (i) specialization and corporate control (i) and creative destruction (i) and deregulation (i) and firm boundaries (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) and innovation (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and organization (i) and sunk costs (i), (ii) vertical (i), (ii) speech codes, in universities (i) staff turnover rates, and economic dynamism (i) Stanford University (i), (ii) Star Trek (TV series) (i) start-ups (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) Startup Genome Report (i) statistics see recorded data (national accounts) Statoil (i) Stein, Gertrude, “there is no there there” quote (i) Stern, Ariel Dora (i) stock markets changing role of (i) and corporate politics (i) post-financial crisis growth (i) and sovereign wealth funds (i) see also shareholders; shares stockholding periods (i), (ii), (iii) strategic management (i) strategic planning (i) strategy, and managerialism (i) Stratos pacemaker (i) subprime mortgage crisis (US) (i) see also financial crisis (2007) subsidies domestic companies (i) US firms (i) sunk costs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Sunstein, Cass (i) supply chains fragmentation of (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) German-Central European supply chain (i), (ii) globalization of (i), (ii) and market concentration (i) marketization of (i) and multinationals (i) and Nokia (i) outsourcing of (i) and private standards (i) see also value chains Sweden corporate renewal levels (i) economic situation: 1970s–1980s (i); globalization and post-financial crisis (i) productivity and incomes (i) services and globalization (i) sourdough hotel (Stockholm) (i) state telecommunication monopoly and mobile technology (i) SWFs (sovereign wealth funds) (i), (ii), (iii) SWOT analyses (i) systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) (i) Tabarrok, Alex (i) tablets (i), (ii) Taibbi, Matt, “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

This is the new vision of production espoused by our MIT colleague Neil Gershenfeld and others.§ For many crops, large farms could be replaced by precisely monitored and controlled microcontainers (Chapter 11). Cryptocurrencies and smart contracts could take care of financial services and other information goods (Chapter 12). The web has already greatly democratized access to information and educational resources (Chapter 10). Futurist Ray Kurzweil said in 2012 that “a kid in Africa with a smartphone has access to more information than the president of the United States did 15 years ago,” and this diffusion of knowledge will certainly continue. And Moore’s law will continue to operate, driving prices down and performance up for all manner of digital goods, at rates unheard of in history prior to the computer era. So the technology seems to support decentralizing all the things.

Spode, “The Great Cryptocurrency Heist,” Aeon, February 14, 2017, https://aeon.co/essays/trust-the-inside-story-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ethereum. 305 “In [minority members’] view”: Ibid. 305 “Ethereum Classic”: Ibid. 306 “The Resolution of the Bitcoin Experiment”: Mike Hearn, “The Resolution of the Bitcoin Experiment,” Mike’s blog, January 14, 2016, https://blog.plan99.net/the-resolution-of-the-bitcoin-experiment-dabb30201f7#.rvh0ditgj. 306 “It has failed because the community has failed”: Ibid. 306 the performance of the Bitcoin system suffered: Daniel Palmer, “Scalability Debate Continues as Bitcoin XT Proposal Stalls,” CoinDesk, January 11, 2016, http://www.coindesk.com/scalability-debate-bitcoin-xt-proposal-stalls. 306 Chinese exchanges accounted for 42%: Nathaniel Popper, “How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War,” New York Times, June 29, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/business/dealbook/bitcoin-china.html. 306 an estimated 70% of all Bitcoin-mining gear: Danny Vincent, “We Looked inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine,” BBC News, May 4, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160504-we-looked-inside-a-secret-chinese-bitcoin-mine. 308 “a kid in Africa with a smartphone”: Brandon Griggs, “Futurist: We’ll Someday Accept Computers as Human,” CNN, March 12, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/12/tech/innovation/ray-kurzweil-sxsw. 309 “The Nature of the Firm”: R. H. Coase, “The Nature of the Firm,” Economica 4, no. 16 (1937): 386–405, http://www.richschwinn.com/richschwinn/index/teaching/past%20courses/Econ%20340%20-%20Managerial%20Economics/2013%20Fall%20340%20-%20The%20Nature%20of%20the%20Firm.pdf. 311 “Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies”: Thomas W. Malone, Joanne Yates, and Robert I. Benjamin, “Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies,” Communications of the ACM 30, no. 6 (June 1987): 484–97. 312 893 different US industries: “Corporate Concentration,” Economist, March 24, 2016, http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/03/daily-chart-13. 312 As we wrote in 2008: Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, “Investing in the IT That Makes a Competitive Difference,” Harvard Business Review 86, no. 7/8 (2008): 98. 314 Sandy Grossman and Oliver Hart asked: Sanford J.


pages: 194 words: 49,310