Summary of The Singularity Is Near
Copyright © Ray Kurzweil, 2005
Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
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This is a strange and powerful tome. Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil makes predictions that are sweeping in their implications and bold in their specificity. In fact, some readers may think they sound more like science fiction than science. He discusses developing artificial intelligence, downloading consciousness, redesigning the body using nanotechnology and other seemingly improbable developments. Then, he goes out on a limb to predict how and when these technological advances will all intersect – a historical moment called the "singularity." At that point, he says, if humans have used technology properly, they will become godlike, solving all their problems. Kurzweil devotes nearly 80 pages to articulating and responding to the criticisms of skeptics. However, even if you reject most of Kurzweil's ideas, you can still benefit from reading his book. It is thoroughly researched, with roughly 100 pages of notes and references, and conceptually challenging. Kurzweil works hard to make it lively and accessible, providing graphs, quotations, sidebars and imaginary debates among spokespersons for various points of view. The result can become overwhelming, but it is always thought-provoking. getAbstract recommends this book to executives who are seriously interested in planning for the future, and to curious minds everywhere.
In this summary, you will learn
- How accelerating advances in technology will build on themselves exponentially;
- What new capabilities these advances will offer humanity; and
- How they will all come together in a few decades to transform humanity forever.
About the Author
Ray Kurzweil is the author of The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines, and co-author with Terry Grossman of Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. He is an inventor who received the National Medal of Technology in 1999.
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