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)
A Happy-go-lucky Irishman
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
Perhaps, but not as Ray Kurzweil
Not that I can recall
Not a novices entry point.
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.
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!
It's nonfiction, kind of...
Nope he is more than a little dry, but nice diction and flow.
Read and study scientific processes kids!
Fun and scary.
Builds on Kurzweil's ideas of our possible future he painted in ʺThe Age of Spiritual Machinesʺ. 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
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.
I found it euphoric to hear Ray's dreams of the future while working out in general.
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.
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.
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.
While I think the timeline is pretty optimistic, the breadth and quality of content was first rate. Love anything by Ray Kurzweil.
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.
Hidden, very well hidden pearls of knowledge.
Kurzweil is extremely intelligent but should have sought advice on editing this audiobook.
If this wasn't on audio I would have never finished reading the book
It's not a character book. It's Ray's version of what future information technology will become.
For a long time listening I thought Ray might have used one of his text to speech programs to narrate the book. There was very little tone inflection which made for a dry lecture.
I was fascinated by Ray after watching a documentary and lecture on TED. He is definitely methodical and tries to close all the loops to his argument/thesis, but at the same time ties his audience around the axel.
I believe Ray's information theory is not only possible but inevitable (assuming we biological creatures don't kill ourselves first), but I don't believe Ray will be around to see it. I think he knows it. Therefore he is presenting a powerful argument in an attempt to plant the seed in the minds of humanity hoping it will force exponential growth to occur much sooner.
I would have hated this in printed format as well. The whole premise "technology has been growing extremely fast for 50 years, therefore it will continue to grow fast" is just fatuous. This unsubstantiated statement is fundamental to all the claims to follow, making the claims fatuous as well.
Once in a while, I really regret reading a book; especially regretting that the author got some of my money for nothing in return. If I knew who to ask, I'd ask for a full refund. My fault for not looking at reviews before purchasing.
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