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The Singularity Is Near

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The Singularity Is Near

When Humans Transcend Biology


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The singularity is that moment in technological evolution when you're not a body, you are a pattern of information.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


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.


The "Singularity"

Most people observe the changes in the world today and assume that change will continue at a steady pace into the future. They imagine that the future will be a somewhat more advanced version of the present, and that things will continue to change in the same way they're changing now. However, technology advances exponentially. Developments in one area allow developments in others. The changes accelerate and become more dramatic. In the not-so-distant future, technology will permanently and fundamentally transform human nature.

By 2025, humans will create machines that are smarter than they are – a moment called the "singularity." Machine intelligence will augment that of humans in all areas. Machines will actually be able to invent and improve themselves, speeding up the rate of change even more.

Along the way, certain sciences and technologies, which are already under development – including genetics, brain scanning, nanotechnology, virtual reality and robotics – will enable people to store and replicate their consciousnesses. They will operate in virtual realms that are as vivid and valid as physical reality. Doctors will be able to make...

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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    R. A. 6 years ago
    The Singularity's comming up.
    Some yaers ago, it was scifi to think about Holograms or Cloud Computing.

    No doubt this is the Age of Super Information.
    AI, Q Computing, Genomics....

    This book is my firsr systematiced glymp to imagine how will be tomorro's SUPER HUMANS
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    V. M. 7 years ago
    Mind blowing, especially when you consider past predictions, which turned out to be true.