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The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology | [Ray Kurzweil]

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

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.
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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

3.8 (624 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Barnaby Dallas, TX, United States 12-30-11
    Barnaby Dallas, TX, United States 12-30-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Catalysts for a deity"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Singularity Is Near to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The writer. He comes to ontological conclusions bordering on serious mysticism.


    What three words best describe George K. Wilson’s performance?

    Automaton, steady, even


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

    Exponential exponentiality


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful book

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. M. Hernandez 11-27-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Amazing look at the (probable) future."

    This book is one amazing look at the thoughts and predictions of one of the most brilliant visionaries of the 21st century. This book is Kurzweil's tour de force, he has spared no expense (as you can see from the 24 hour length of the recording). The narration can be dry at times, but it is understandable given the technical nature of the material. That said, it is still a great listen, and very informative (even if it feels like he's repeating himself at times).

    To give a quick overview of what the book is about (without giving away too much), basically Kurzweil tracks trends in technology, going back hundreds of years (or more), and then predicts what he believes will happen in the near future. And he does not just pull things out of his pants, he does the math and makes very strong cases for all his conjecture. Some of the things discussed include robotics, nano-machines, bio-technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the merging of all these things with humans.

    It is a very entertaining read for anyone interested in knowing what the future may hold.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russ Post Falls, ID, United States 09-03-12
    Russ Post Falls, ID, United States 09-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ray is a brilliant nut"

    Yes, we will use technology to make life better - as much as we can but I see that as part of evolution. The thing that Ray ignores in history are the little hiccups (like the dark ages, ice ages, etc...). He thinks that everything will continue accelerating but in history there are these little speed bumps to consider.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Eagan, MN, United States 06-19-13
    Amazon Customer Eagan, MN, United States 06-19-13 Member Since 2011

    JimBobBillyJoeJackJasonTom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Redundant"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'm torn on this book. The ideas are interesting. Unfortunately, the author spends way too much time repeating himself and bashing the people that have dared disagree with him.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William A. Polinsky Cicero, NY 03-23-13
    William A. Polinsky Cicero, NY 03-23-13 Member Since 2009

    Rooster

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    303
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Painful, nothing new"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Painfully slow; forced myself to listen to 3 hours ... the story is nothing but a rehash of common business and technology concepts. In 3 hours didn't learn anything I hadn't already been exposed to.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Need to switch to a good science fiction book to put this one out of my mind.


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

    No


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Littleton, MA, United States 07-26-12
    Stephanie Littleton, MA, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2002

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "don't bother"
    Would you try another book from Ray Kurzweil and/or George K. Wilson?

    This is all speculation not taking economics, politics, current sociology or true logics into account.The book violates dozens of fallacies and merrily proceeds to its conclusion.If you believe in the paranormal, then sure, enjoy the fantasy ride.But be aware that the monotone reader and real lack of true evidence will attempt to sway you to a fantasy world similar to those of spiritualism, belief in spectors and mystism.Just total crap.Save your credit or donate it to a worthy cause.Did i also mention boring? *yawn*


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trial dgs, NJ, United States 03-12-12
    Trial dgs, NJ, United States 03-12-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    Story
    "wonderfully narrated Story. good point.very nice."
    What made the experience of listening to The Singularity Is Near the most enjoyable?

    Nice Story. good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Singularity Is Near?

    Nice Story. good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.


    What three words best describe George K. Wilson’s performance?

    Nice Story. good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Nice Story. good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.


    Any additional comments?

    Nice Story. good good good good good good good good good good good good good good good.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Albuquerque, NM, United States 11-22-11
    Chris Albuquerque, NM, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2011

    cleith

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    "Very boring read."

    This is a very boring read. He recites histories of a very long list of inventory of technology advancements, for example the transitor, microprocessor, dramm, fiber, biotech, blaw blaw blaw blaw blaw......

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Garden Grove, CA, United States 07-24-12
    Kevin Garden Grove, CA, United States 07-24-12
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    "Audible is a waste of money"
    Any additional comments?

    Be careful with this website, you will be charged without any notice. Even if you download their audio files, it will not be mp3 and it is highly NOT reusable once you are no longer a member. Stay out of this website for good!

    I hope this comment gets to any novice readers looking to join the membership. I will try my best to prevent this type of business from developing.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank HOUSTON, TX, United States 07-08-11
    Frank HOUSTON, TX, United States 07-08-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    10
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    Overall
    "Science Preaching"

    If you want a sermon on an optimistic scientific future, read this book. If you want a sermon on an optimistic scientific future, read this book.

    4 of 42 people found this review helpful
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