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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Albert Myles Charlotte, North Carolina, United States 06-09-14
    Albert Myles Charlotte, North Carolina, United States 06-09-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Tough listen, but worth the effort."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this book to a friend who is into futurist type literature. Its a solid read and Kurzweil has a pretty good track record.Its not for everyone - and its so dry, in places, that I would even venture further to say its not for most folks.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect of this book is the complete unabashed pursuit of his theories. I mean, this guy is unrelenting. He almost has me buying in. Its still too > for me to wrap my head around, but all of the science is there (for the most part anyway)

    The least interesting is the long draw-out lambasting of his critics. Really, I stopped caring after the first 5 minutes. Why do you have to do ON and ON showing how much these folks are wrong. A Simple shout out to your haters would suffice. :) We already bought your book and many of us consider you an expert. No reason to waste our time with 2nd grade antics. but maybe that is just me. I dunno.


    What didn’t you like about George K. Wilson’s performance?

    At first I hated it. Then I was OK with it. Then I found it endearing. but by the end I was SO ready for the book to be over. I am not sure if it was the narrator or the lambasting of critics(see above)


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

    No extreme reactions. but I don't believe that to be the intent.


    Any additional comments?

    I almost don't think I recommend this is an Audible book. Not sure yet, though. there were tons of places where seeing the numbers on paper would help. but then again, the way my time goes, I never would have read this book any other way. So there you have it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aimee 06-03-14
    Aimee 06-03-14
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    "Amazing Book, Dry reader but woth it in my opinion"

    This is a fascinating book. It seems so fantastical, but also very plausible, which sounds contradictory but that is what makes the book amazing. No matter what you come away with, Kurzweil is undeniably brilliant.

    The reader is unfortunate as he reminds me of a 1960's grammar school film narrator. Very dry. But I do believe it is worth the listen as the material is so good. Some of Kurzweil's humor manages to slip through, which helps.

    In my opinion they should redo the reading with someone with more charisma, as the book is an important one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David West Jordan, UT, United States 02-11-14
    David West Jordan, UT, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting concepts explained in too much detail"

    The book was well researched but crammed full of too many examples. One example or maybe two is fine for the average technical person. The many many additional samples seemed gratuitous. I get bored easily and this one had it's brilliance dimmed by the desire to fill many pages with a fairly simple concept.

    Some interesting concepts were overlooked in the space that was used up by the extensive examples.

    If man will become god at some point then why is it assumed another species could not already be a god or God? Will there not be a parallel to racism that will inevitably emerge? What other social aspects for good or ill will play out during the years building up to the singularity? What social and political movements will attempt to control mankind's future using that very technology? How many will die from those attempts?

    I wish there was more on the dark side of the singularity. It makes sense there are millions more ways to fall off the happy-path than to stay on it.

    Even with the things that bugged me it did catch my imagination somewhat. Being a professional hacker I see things from the perspective of the "dark side" of the singularity- I'd love to be wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    greg Newburgh, NY, United States 12-03-13
    greg Newburgh, NY, United States 12-03-13 Member Since 2015
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    "painfully slow performance of an amazing book"
    Where does The Singularity Is Near rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    its a very interesting book with great insight, just needs a better narrator, or crank the speed up if u can


    How could the performance have been better?

    much better, dont get a dry reader to read a technical book


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

    not until i turned the speed up


    Any additional comments?

    i listened to this book at 1x speed on my Android app for the first 5 chapters. it was slow and my mind would wander constantly. i amped it up to 3x and it immediately kept me glued to it. i highly recommend everyone do the same

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 10-28-13
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2014

    I am a young-executive with a voracious appetite for great stories. I read and listen constantly, and am very proud of my book collection.

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    "Wanted to Hang Myself:"

    Could have been more effective in a 5 hour book. Way too repetitive.

    Sorry, as I have giving a negative review but this was not good.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
  •  
    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

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