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The Singularity Is Near Audiobook

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Startling in scope and bravado." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (973 )
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3.7 (798 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 09-29-13
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 09-29-13
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    "Snoozer"

    Who is George Wilson and why is he reading this book? He enunciates words likes he is explaining to three-year-olds, but back in the 1950s when boredom was considered a just punishment of the young. I listened to an hour and realized that I had paid attention to maybe 20 minutes of it. CANNOT continue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Pete cedar park, TX, United States 08-16-13
    Pete cedar park, TX, United States 08-16-13 Member Since 2015
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    "More than Just Mind Blowing"

    I have read 1000 books. This is my only review. Even if you disagree with all of the massively researched and supported facts about the exponential growth of technology and what it means for the future, this book is worth reading for the shear consciousness expanding descriptions of what we can hope and dream of for humanity. I have yet to find purchase after falling down this rabbit hole 6 months ago. We are desensitized to the incredible, between the B. S. and fiction, it is nearly impossible to believe this could be real. If you do stop to contemplate who this man is, what he has done, and his new job (Google it;), your life may never be the same. He describes a near future that just can't be, but then describes exactly how and when we are going to get there.
    So, yea, I recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher 05-16-13
    Christopher 05-16-13 Member Since 2015

    A Happy-go-lucky Irishman

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    "Are you a Scientist?"
    What would have made The Singularity Is Near better?

    If the author would depart for just a bit from speaking in the vernacular. Not everyone can follow him past the third sentence. If they can, they will probably find this book enlightening


    What was most disappointing about Ray Kurzweil’s story?

    Too long.


    Would you be willing to try another one of George K. Wilson’s performances?

    Perhaps, but not as Ray Kurzweil


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not that I can recall


    Any additional comments?

    Not a novices entry point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-07-13
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Lots of books lots of time. I love all things Star Wars and fantasy. The Bartimaeus trilogy (or quad) maybe the perfect series. Jonathan Stroud and Douglas Adams are my heroes.

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    "Lots of guessing"
    Where does The Singularity Is Near rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a solid double. It is a great futurist book and it doesn't fall into the trap of dystopian predilections, which is the popular zeitgeist, hot, flat, and miserable. Transhumanism rocks!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's nonfiction, kind of...


    Have you listened to any of George K. Wilson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope he is more than a little dry, but nice diction and flow.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Read and study scientific processes kids!


    Any additional comments?

    Fun and scary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-07-13
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-07-13 Listener Since 2009
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    "Cyborg's are near"

    Builds on Kurzweil'€™s ideas of our possible future he painted in ʺ€œThe Age of Spiritual Machines€ʺ. This book focuses on the Singularity when technological advancements merge with human evolution to put us on a whole new level. His thoughts start off with very probable ideas around what he calls GNR (Germs, Nano Technology, and Robots) and builds to a future where humans leave their bodies behind due to lack of need for them and live eternal lives. Very thought provoking ideas

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ScottJ1960 Seattle, WA United States 02-08-13
    ScottJ1960 Seattle, WA United States 02-08-13 Member Since 2006

    Scott Jarol

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    "Unlistenable"

    I'm unable to comment on the content of this book because I've been too distracted byt the performance and engineering to listen beyond the first two hours. George Wilson's reading of the material is dry and detached. It's difficult to focus on such a complex subject when the reader has no relationship to the text. Kurzweil is no dynamo as a public speaker, but I'm sure his own reading would be more expressive than Wilson's. I might have looked past the less than riveting performance if not for the poor audio engineering. Most recordings are processed through a dynamic range compressor to limit volume fluctuation. Modern digital recordings use less compression because uncompressed music is more exciting to the ear, but for readings compressions makes it much easier to listen in noisy environments, such as while driving. I find myself continually adjusting the volume, effectively performing manual compression. It's just too distracting.

    If this were a shorter book, covering lighter subject matter, I might soldier on, but Kurzweil's material is dense, and the recording runs more than 24 hours. Time to give up and read the eBook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee ROSWELL, GA, United States 01-17-13
    Lee ROSWELL, GA, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Ray is optimistic with unflinching continuity."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Singularity Is Near to be better than the print version?

    I found it euphoric to hear Ray's dreams of the future while working out in general.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I feel like the nature of a work like this is in itself a masterful art form. Ray was very diligent to incorporate as many fields of scientific study as he could into an argument that is firmly grounded in what is probably the future.


    Which character – as performed by George K. Wilson – was your favorite?

    no favorite


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The epiphany you have when you're working to master an agility based skill and Ray is describing the way your brain learns muscle memory actions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LavaTux 01-16-13
    LavaTux 01-16-13
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    "Bleak nanobot future"

    The content is ok, somewhat repetitive and written from what the author believes to be a very optimistic point of view. I found his predictions of the near future to be very uncanny but it also makes the book feel a bit dated ( I guess that is what the singularity does to the content as well). The multiperson dialogs are extremely drawn out and boring and the monotone in which they get read make them even more unbearable.
    The book could be almost a third of the length without losing any content.

    Overall decent content, albeit repetitive, presented in a very boring fashion. Can't wait for the book to finish but for some odd reason am not deleting it and moving on either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Ames IN,USA 11-16-12
    S. Ames IN,USA 11-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Ray Kurzweil is always a must read!"
    What did you love best about The Singularity Is Near?

    While I think the timeline is pretty optimistic, the breadth and quality of content was first rate. Love anything by Ray Kurzweil.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Santerre 11-05-12
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    "A cure to insomnia"
    What would have made The Singularity Is Near better?

    Editing. 66% of the content could have been removed and it may have made an interesting book. As it is, I did not get past the first of 3 parts.


    Would you be willing to try another one of George K. Wilson’s performances?

    Maybe


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Hidden, very well hidden pearls of knowledge.


    Any additional comments?

    Kurzweil is extremely intelligent but should have sought advice on editing this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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