Singularity Hub | Ray Kurzweil interview: the future of man and machine

November 8, 2012

Singularity Hub — Keith Kleiner, 10-29-2012 | I am pleased to announce the release of Singularity Hub’s recent interview with Ray Kurzweil. The interview with Kurzweil focused at first on his new book (to be released November 13) How to Create a Mind, but then in the second half we moved on to broader topics, such as Kurzweil’s more general thoughts on the future of man and machine, and Kurzweil’s personal goals for his work.

The interview features a closeup, raw style: driving in a car at night with the lights of San Francisco behind us, en route to a presentation Kurzweil was to make at Singularity University. I hope you feel as I do that the interview succeeds in moving away from the boring old studio setting. Singularity Hub members are given a special treat, as we have released a member-only version of the interview that features extra footage.

Computers are getting smarter and more capable everyday, while at the same time researchers are making progress in unraveling the mysteries of the human brain. Where is all of this taking us? Will we soon create artificial intelligences that meet or even exceed human intelligence? In the interview Kurzweil reveals not only his belief that machines will match human ability by 2029, but increasingly he feels his prediction to be conservative!

Personally, I felt the second half of the interview was more interesting. This is when we focused less on the book, and more on general thoughts and discussion. Are we the same person we were 6 months ago, given that most of the matter inside our bodies has been changed during that period?  Who are we when parts of our brains are in our heads, but other parts are in the cloud?

As discussed in the interview, questions such as these used to be philosophical conquests for curiosity’s sake, but soon they may become real life dilemmas. As technology continues to advance, these questions will become more pressing, more relevant to us all.