The Singularity is Near Paperback – 9 Mar 2006
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'Ray Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations - transforming our lives in ways we can't yet imagine' --Bill Gates
About the Author
Ray Kurzweil is one of the world's leading inventors, thinkers and futurists. A recipient of the National Medal of Technology and 12 honorary doctorates, he is the author of four previous books: 'Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever', 'The Age of Spiritual Machines', 'The 10 per cent Solution for a Healthy Life' and 'The Age of Intelligent Machines'.
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Top customer reviews
In this book the author expands on his vision of the future as he sees it in the next 50 years. The main thrust of the book is that Moore's law is continuing and as such computing power is increasing exponentially (exponentials are a large part of this book). The premise that as computing power increases dramatically we will be able to create even more technology, with the aim to "uploading" ourselves into our computers. This at first seems like science fiction but be assured that the author looks at every detail and examines the feasibility of each stage of his premise. The results are startling, and I must admit give me a strange feeling in the gut of my stomach when I realised the full breadth of his suggestions.
This book could be considered a sequel to the author's previous books, the Age of Intelligent Machines, and the Age of Spiritual Machines. However you don't need to have read these previous books to understand the concepts involved. A basic understanding of genetics and nanotechnology would help, but are not required.
I don't know if the authors predictions will come to pass (And I honestly hope they do!) but I would recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in the future and who wants to prepare themselves in advance.
I must also point out, that seems that he got the wrong information on a type of genetic modified rice, and he overrated its nutritional value by many folds, and he should know better.
All in all it is a very important book and should be read and reflected upon.
He wrote the book in 2004 and it seems he was over optimistic with all his predictions, still nothing forbids us to speculate that all this research is already at place out of the public sphere and some of its developments been deployed discretely.
I have nothing but good things to say about Ray Kurzweil, and this book in particular. The ideas that he puts forward may seem very optimistic, sometimes verging on techno-fanaticism, but nothing he is saying is negative. If he's right, the human race only has to survive until the 2040s and things will markedly improve.
However excellent I found the technological predictions made in this book, there are two points that brought it down to four stars. First, and a matter I admit is one of personal preference, there were far too many graphs to do with economy and business. This is an American book, so capitalism has to figure somewhere, and he is forgiven. The other point is that some of the speculations he is making are sociological ones and these are far more spurious than any technological speculations. However, they are not fundamental to what he is arguing.
All in all, an excellent, if at times overwhelming, read. I heartily recommend it as an introduction to transhumanism and futurism.
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