12 Conference Report #techonomy12

Humanity Enhanced: A Conversation with Ray Kurzweil

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  • (From left) David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil (all photos by Asa Mathat)

    (From left) David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil (all photos by Asa Mathat)

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  • (From left) David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil

    (From left) David Kirkpatrick, Ray Kurzweil

Speaker

Ray Kurzweil
Founder, Kurzweil Technologies

Interviewer

David Kirkpatrick
Founder and CEO, Techonomy


Read excerpt from the discussion below, or download the full transcript.

Kirkpatrick: How optimistic are you about our ability to start solving problems at scale over the next 5 or 10 years?

Kurzweil: Very optimistic, because there is a lot of evidence now that not only hardware is progressing exponentially, but software.

The big innovation in Homo sapiens is we have this big forehead to allow more neocortex. That was the enabling factor for us to create language and music and art and science and technology. But ultimately, we’ll be able to expand it. We’ll send nanobots. These will be the size of blood cells in 2030. So go inside our brain and basically expand our neocortex into the cloud.

As we get better models for how the brain does things, we’ll do a better job of creating artificial intelligence to augment our own intelligence. It gives us greater insight into ourselves.

We are creating computers in our own image to basically make ourselves more of what we value in human intelligence. And we’re going to be merging with that technology.

We are a human-machine civilization. Artificial intelligence does not exist in a few dark government intelligence laboratories. It’s very widely distributed. A kid in Africa with a smartphone has access to more intelligently searchable information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago.

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