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The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a non-fiction book about artificial intelligence and the future of humanity by inventor and. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology [Ray Kurzweil] on Singularity is closer than even optimists might imagine - hence the book's title. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Renowned inventor Kurzweil (The Or think of singularity, notes the New York Times Book Review, as the "Manhattan Project model of pure science without ethical constraints.

The Singularity Is Near Book

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The Singularity is Near book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the m. The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. The Singularity Is Near is worth reading just for its wealth of information, all lucidly presented [It's] an important book. Not everything that Kurzweil predicts.

The future will be more automated still. In , scientists created a full map of the human genome. For the first time, we actually knew which genes were which and could begin to track their function. Just two years later, in , the US government started compiling the Cancer Genome Atlas , which allows doctors to target cancers based on their genetic makeup rather than the organ in which they originate.

Now, scientists have a new tool at their disposal, called CRISPR, which allows them to actually edit genes, easily and cheaply. It is already opening up avenues to render viruses inactive, regulate cell activity, create disease resistant crops and even engineer yeast to produce ethanol that can fuel our cars. The technology is also creating no small amount of controversy. When you start editing the code of life, where do you stop?

Are we soon going to create designer babies, with predetermined eye color, intelligence and physical traits? Should we alter the genome of mosquitoes in Africa so that they no longer carry the malaria virus?

These types of ethical questions used to be mostly confined to science fiction, but as we hurtle toward the singularity, they are becoming all too real. The idea of approaching a technological singularity is both exciting and scary. While the prospects of technologies that are hundreds of times more powerful than what we have today will open up completely new possibilities, there are also inherent dangers.

How autonomous should we allow robots to become? Which genes are safe to edit and which are not? As the process accelerates, we will begin to face problems technology cannot help us with , such as the social strife created by those left behind as well as others in developing countries who will feel newly empowered and demand a greater political voice.

We will also have to change how we view work. Much like in the industrial revolution when machines replaced physical labor, new technologies are now replacing cognitive tasks. The truth is that the future of technology is all too human. While technologies will continue to become exponentially more powerful, the decisions we make are still our own. Eventually people's bodies will contain so much augmentation they'll be able to alter their "physical manifestation at will".

Kurzweil says the law of accelerating returns suggests that once a civilization develops primitive mechanical technologies, it is only a few centuries before they achieve everything outlined in the book, at which point it will start expanding outward, saturating the universe with intelligence.

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Since people have found no evidence of other civilizations, Kurzweil believes humans are likely alone in the universe. Thus Kurzweil concludes it is humanity's destiny to do the saturating, enlisting all matter and energy in the process.

The Singularity Is Near

As for individual identities during these radical changes, Kurzweil suggests people think of themselves as an evolving pattern rather than a specific collection of molecules. Kurzweil says evolution moves towards "greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love".

That means, he continues, that evolution is moving towards a conception of God and that the transition away from biological roots is in fact a spiritual undertaking.

Kurzweil does not include an actual written timeline of the past and future, as he did in The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines , however he still makes many specific predictions.

Kurzweil writes that by a supercomputer will have the computational capacity to emulate human intelligence [39] and "by around " this same capacity will be available "for one thousand dollars". Kurzweil spells out the date very clearly: A common criticism of the book relates to the "exponential growth fallacy". As an example, in , man landed on the moon.

Extrapolating exponential growth from there one would expect huge lunar bases and manned missions to distant planets. Instead, exploration stalled or even regressed after that.

When Humans Transcend Biology

Paul Davies writes "the key point about exponential growth is that it never lasts" [43] often due to resource constraints.

On the other hand, it has been shown that the global acceleration until recently followed a hyperbolic rather than exponential pattern. Theodore Modis says "nothing in nature follows a pure exponential" and suggests the logistic function is a better fit for "a real growth process".

The logistic function looks like an exponential at first but then tapers off and flattens completely. For example, world population and the United States's oil production both appeared to be rising exponentially, but both have leveled off because they were logistic.

Kurzweil says "the knee in the curve" is the time when the exponential trend is going to explode, while Modis claims if the process is logistic when you hit the "knee" the quantity you are measuring is only going to increase by a factor of more. While some critics complain that the law of accelerating returns is not a law of nature [43] others question the religious motivations or implications of Kurzweil's Singularity.

The buildup towards the Singularity is compared with Judeo-Christian end-of-time scenarios. Beam calls it "a Buck Rogers vision of the hypothetical Christian Rapture".

The radical nature of Kurzweil's predictions is often discussed. Anthony Doerr says that before you "dismiss it as techno-zeal" consider that "every day the line between what is human and what is not quite human blurs a bit more". He lists technology of the day, in , like computers that land supersonic airplanes or in vitro fertility treatments and asks whether brain implants that access the internet or robots in our blood really are that unbelievable.

In regard to reverse engineering the brain, neuroscientist David J. Linden writes that "Kurzweil is conflating biological data collection with biological insight". He feels that data collection might be growing exponentially, but insight is increasing only linearly. For example, the speed and cost of sequencing genomes is also improving exponentially, but our understanding of genetics is growing very slowly. As for nanobots Linden believes the spaces available in the brain for navigation are simply too small.

He acknowledges that someday we will fully understand the brain, just not on Kurzweil's timetable.

Paul Davies wrote in Nature that The Singularity is Near is a "breathless romp across the outer reaches of technological possibility" while warning that the "exhilarating speculation is great fun to read, but needs to be taken with a huge dose of salt. Anthony Doerr in The Boston Globe wrote "Kurzweil's book is surprisingly elaborate, smart, and persuasive. He writes clean methodical sentences, includes humorous dialogues with characters in the future and past, and uses graphs that are almost always accessible.

She observes that he's more focused on optimistic outcomes rather than the risks.

3 Reasons To Believe The Singularity Is Near

Inspired by the book, Ptolemy directed and produced the film Transcendent Man , which went on to bring more attention to the book. Kurzweil has also directed his own adaptation, called The Singularity is Near , which mixes documentary with a science-fiction story involving his robotic avatar Ramona's transformation into an artificial general intelligence.

The movie was released generally on July 20, The film Lucy is roughly based upon the predictions made by Kurzweil about what the year will look like, including the immortality of man. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Singularity Is Near

Dewey Decimal. Main article: Technological singularity.

Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil. Retrieved A re-analysis. Archived from the original on The Boston Globe. The New York Review of Books. A Neruoscientist's View".

Boing Boing. The New York Times.Good in the s. Can this book ever get to the point? Much like in the industrial revolution when machines replaced physical labor, new technologies are now replacing cognitive tasks.

Self driving cars are expected to be on the road by Perhaps if what is discussed herein were not just canards for genocides of the future, I could evaluate Kurzweil's thought from something of a more neutral standpoint. However, having examined his arguments, and having a general sense of the sort of progress being made in Genetics, Nanotech and Robotics, I feel that his prognostications are, on the whole, accurate. This, however, is a study guide for the student of the singularity.

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