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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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  •  
    Kirby Q 01-29-16
    Kirby Q 01-29-16 Member Since 2017
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    "The future."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe 10-18-15
    Joe 10-18-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Narrator sucks"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramon 09-16-15
    Ramon 09-16-15 Member Since 2017
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    "A lot of information beyond my grasp."

    I will only suggest this book to other computer sciences who knows and understand the language and terminology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Consumer Scottsdale, AZ 07-03-15
    Consumer Scottsdale, AZ 07-03-15
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    "Good content, boring delivery"

    I really like the subject matter but it's too bad the delivery is so boring. It's hard to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    betsy 06-17-15
    betsy 06-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Wowing every single minute"

    This book simply amazes you through all its insights and thoughts of the future.
    It makes you rethink your own way to approach life.

    Yes it is dense and saturated with concepts. But it is still worth listening no doubt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 05-09-15
    Sarah 05-09-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating, but very slow and repetitive"

    Fine work, makes you think. Would be nicer if it was faster. Not sure I want rays future!! Oh well

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Zimmer 12-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great deal of information and well reasoned."

    I'm not going to start worshipping the singularity anytime soon but the information in this book is well worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 10-18-14
    David 10-18-14
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    "Imagination, Daydreams, Denialism, Poor Judgement"
    Would you try another book from Ray Kurzweil and/or George K. Wilson?

    I will not be buying any more books by this Author. Ray Kurzweil's "Singularitarianism" is an obsession that seems to have driven him past the point of reason. Repeated use of the words "Inevitable" and "exponential", when he's describing the highly speculative and purely imaginary, leave the listener in a stupor of disbelief: that someone this intelligent could be so convinced of an idea and concept that is patently full of Daydreaming and Wishful Thinking, is simply mind-boggling.

    Kurzweil seriously believes our knowledge and technology obey a (fictitious) law of 'accelerating returns' and are approaching the point of Exponential increase. In this he is denying the obvious point that REAL things cannot and do not behave exponentially - whatever curve-fitting analyses one conducts (although if you torture your data long enough it will say anything to make you stop).

    ALL real things have speed and replication limits. Things with inertia (including thought, knowledge and ideas, all of which have a kind of inertia) CANNOT increase exponentially.

    I also did not enjoy George Wilson's narration because his dry-sounding voice and occasional pronunciation quirks make anything but a short piece a little difficult to listen to. One has the tendency to stop listening to the information in order to repeat and make fun with a weird pronunciation or two every now and then: such as the many many times you hear him say "assem-bully" instead of assembly - just one example. However because of him I now can do a pretty good impression of Walter Cronkite, a voice to which his is quite similar.


    Has The Singularity Is Near turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The Singularity Is Near has not turned me away from other books in the genre. Any good, intelligently written but OBJECTIVE book on the topics of technology and future prognostication will still be sought after by me. I will simply be more careful to avoid glassy-eyed, immature, wishful thinkers.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by George K. Wilson?

    George Wilson's narration: I did not enjoy this LONG narration by George Wilson, but something short would not be out of the question.


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

    On the up side, The Singularity Is Near does contain an abundance of news concerning technology and research, and is informative as such. It simply fails in the child-like enthusiasm of the Author for his own unrealistic opinions.


    Any additional comments?

    The single most offensive idea Kurzweil relates (aside from the total obliviousness to the immorality of some of the animal-based research he gushes about) is that Artificially Intelligent beings that will eventually arise, according to his thinking, will "of course" not be a threat to humanity because they will "revere us as their honored forebears".
    The phrase "vacuously obtuse denialism" comes to mind: Kurzweil has, and offers, no proof or logical argument for this statement. He does say we will simply program AIs to be this way, without a single hint of HOW this can be done, and within a few paragraphs he also says AIs will reprogram themselves at will in order to self-improve. (What, then, is to prevent them from over-riding or deleting "reverence for old biology" from their makeup?? The question is never brought to light).
    Even though I do not believe an indpendent, self aware AI will NECESSARILY be a threat, I do not see any reason to believe they will "revere us" either. To adopt childlike innocence based on hopeful/wishful thinking is simply offensive in a grownup, and stupefyingly, gob-smackingly hideous when one sees it in an intelligent man like Kurzweil.
    Poor man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 07-15-14
    David 07-15-14
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    "The drone"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I only got through a few hours of this. I love the idea of the Singularity and I have great respect for Kurzweil, but the assertions he is putting forth in this book just seem overstated.


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

    He sounds like a bored professor in a lecture hall. His voice nearly put me to sleep - and this about a topic I find very interesting.


    Was The Singularity Is Near worth the listening time?

    No, I didn't even finish it though.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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

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