For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.
That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today - the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.
©2008 Ray Kurzweil (P)2011 Tantor
"Startling in scope and bravado." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
I have found the theories to be brilliant although I did not fully understand all of the support material. Well worth the effort for someone who wants to think "outside the box".
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
The Singularity is Near bodes the impertinence of Svengali or the prescience of Leonardo da Vinci. Ask a sixty-six year old if he/she would like to be thirty-five again. Ray Kurzweil predicts it will be possible by 2048. However, there is a Faustian bargain to be struck if Kurzweil’s prediction comes true.
Ray Kurzweil’s prediction is based on three beliefs; i.e. one, continued geometric improvement in computer processing power; two, expanded use of nanotechnology with infinite improvement in artificial intelligence; and three, melding of human biology and A. I.’ technology.
The Singularity is Near is well written and a fascinating vision with an optimistic view of the future. Faust declares at the end of Act V: “He who strives on and lives to strive/ Can earn redemption still”. That is the best one can say about Kurzweil’s predictions.
Audio was very long (24hr) , he seemed overly optimistic about his predictions and there were parts where this dragged on.
That said I gave this a 5 because of the many new ideas he exposed me to.
Ideas that change the way I will look at life.
I also liked the way he backed up his ideas.
I was nervous of the narration due to the reviews, but found it was not an issue for me.
I am a "Life is Awesome! Strive to be Worthy of it." student of life kind of guy. Feeding on Chaos and Empowering the Good. Group Hug!
I have been a subscriber of Popular Science for over 10 years, and listening to this book continued to remind me of articles I had read, the difference being Pop Sci has Pictures and a lot of reference material. I felt like a lot of the material was repeated over again. There was enough material and a few really well done examples and breakdowns of some complicated area's that I enjoyed and may even listen to it again just to find those parts. I don't feel bad about purchasing it, however I was expecting a little more information about singularity, to me it was more about the history of events leading up to the ideas of singularity and a few hypothesizes on the future with possible dates. There is just something missing.
This book comes in three parts, the middle part had more of what I was looking for. The end of the book. It kept my interest.
For this type of book, I think George did great. He has the same way of speaking that you would find a lot of professors do in University. His voice doesn't put me to sleep and it was not annoying like a few other books I have purchased from Audible.
I enjoyed the formulas on how SETI depicts the possibility of ample life in the galaxy and universe.
I paid over 20 bucks for this book, I am not sure that it was worth that. Half that price would have made me feel a little better about the deal. :)
I saw quite a few reviews that were saying the content of this book is great but the narrator is so bad he's impossible to listen to. However, Audible and most other software we use to listen to audiobooks comes with a feature that allows you to change the speed of the playback. Simply change it to 1.25 or 1.5 X and you'll have a wonderful experience listening to this amazing and deeply insightful book
It's a bit information specific, though, most who listen will follow along with ease. This is the future. Ray gives a great mental map of what's to come. I've thought about the information in this book, almost daily, for 4 years.
But this book is crazy, far fetched, but possible, given today's current technological advancements, it completely change my perspective on many of things I used to say was impossible.
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