May 25, 2009
Ray Kurzweil wants to be a machine
Source: Newsweek (May 25 issue), original story by Daniel Lyons.
Somebody call the Borg. Ray Kurzweil actually wants to be assimilated; To become the man-machine hybrid of sci-fi and cyberpunk lore. He has given speeches about the fabled “Singularity” where machine intelligence supplants human intelligence and the meat is no longer needed… or possibly wanted. But Kurzweil also believes that the Singularity presents an opportunity for humanity to forever alter the course of evolution by merging with machines. He is hopes to be one of the lucky ones to be assimilated, and is currently preparing for the event by dieting and taking supplements to get his biochemistry ready. He expects The Singularity to happen around 2045, when he will be 97. Kurzweil may be cutting it a little close.
Ray Kurzweil’s wildest dream is to be turned into a cyborg—a flesh-and-blood human enhanced with tiny embedded computers, a man-machine hybrid with billions of microscopic nanobots coursing through his bloodstream. And there’s a moment, halfway through a conversation in his office in Wellesley, Mass., when I start to think that Kurzweil’s transformation has already begun. It’s the way he talks—in a flat, robotic monotone.
… and you thought a fossil can piss a creationist off? Ray Kurzweil has is share of detractors who call him a bona fide wingnut:
P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who has used his blog to poke fun at Kurzweil and other armchair futurists who, according to Myers, rely on junk science and don’t understand basic biology. “I am completely baffled by Kurzweil’s popularity, and in particular the respect he gets in some circles, since his claims simply do not hold up to even casually critical examination,” writes Myers. He says Kurzweil’s Singularity theories are closer to a deluded religious movement than they are to science. “It’s a New Age spiritualism—that’s all it is,” Myers says. “Even geeks want to find God somewhere, and Kurzweil provides it for them.”
Even one of Kurzweil’s colleagues said “Ray is going through the single most public midlife crisis that any male has ever gone through.”
Kurzweil, being the futurist that he is, has made some other out-there predictions that were nowhere near true. But there may be a real deep-seated reason why some are hating The Singularity so intensely:
(Peter) Diamandis says academics who scoff at The Singularity are just threatened because the established order will be disrupted. “These technologies can topple major companies, even governments,” he says. “All these ideas are about empowering the individual.”
Friend or Foe? One major question about The Singularity yet to be answered is: Will the machines even want us around? Ray Kurzweil believes they will, but we will have to wait until 2045 to know for sure.
That’s assuming some ultra-religious dickhead doesn’t make the 2012 “apocalypse” a self-fulfilling prophecy.
May 25, 2009
Kurzweil is insane. Minsky and others join him in a base hatred of everything biological, a misanthropy that eclipses mere contempt. For myself I am already fighting the rise of the machines. Cyborgs already stalk the streets Ipod earbuds firmly implanted, Bluetooth headgear pouring radiation into their small mammalian brains. TERMINATOR SALVATION sucked, but the first three films for it right: fight or die as a species. Choose your sides, fanboys.
This may be an extremely rare case where listening to the religious establishment and exercising due care and patience is warranted (I know, they are honestly more interested in their own power pyramids, but the message still remains).
I would welcome more than anything simply having the options to improve oneself physically & mentally available, but knowing the nature of mankind & his penchant for executing atrocities and manipulating social liberties when given a tidbit of power over others, 2045 will likely be the startup of a new form of class struggle or corporate/government dominance based on cybernetics/nanorobotics. But hey, whenever some gamechanger comes along, tyrants in suits with hidden fists of self-righteousness turn the lights out for a nice dark period in history.
I agree with him. I too want to be a cyborg, not just because I’m a ’sci-fi’ enthusiast but because I believe the post human era is could be the next step for humanity. What is evolution anyways? It’s certainly not just letting the natural nature take us to where we’re going. It’s a pro-active process where if we can create a better physical existence, we should. All that matters is that we preserve our soul and our knowledge. (I’m now thinking of Ghost In The Shell). Think of all the suffering we could eradicate, along with all the problems that are tied to our biology. I say it’s time to say goodbye to these limited humanoid bods.
Actually, about 50% of our nervous system is shaped by experience. The rest is genetics.
I’m not particularly interested in becoming a cyborg though, I’m thinking it’s just another face of mans strive for immortality.
If I did become a cyborg it might be so that I can learn a lot more things than I would with my natural lifespan. That seems like a good use for the extended existence at least.
As for any superhuman abilities, I’d use my powers for the good of mankind. Or at least help if I can.
Basically, I’d just be me I suppose.
@Anonymous: Biological restraints will give way to robotic ones, or something along that nature. Our body is still able to adapt to some extent, and I’m personally thinking that we’ll need a few major technical landmarks before we can start talking about cyborgs.
Then again, prosthetics are pretty damned good these days, so maybe I’m a bit cautious. But we’ll see, I suppose.
Travis, Ancient Wisdom (is a link) said:
Is my dream to interface with the Internet. Can you imagine having the complexity to weigh through and categorize that amount of information?
However, it is possible that outside of the time and space continuum, that’s exactly what we are; A Group Collective, a Social Memory that is Complex.
Each as an individual, retaining its own personality type, yet is part of a collective mind.
The truth of who we are may be stranger than Hollywood portrays it to be.
I will not be returning to this post. Therefore, if you have comment regarding mine, please use the Contact Us on my website,
May 26, 2009
I’d like to be a cyborg as well. If I could keep my mind and total will I would happily do this.
Ray doesnt hate everything biological, rather he argues that our biological pattern recognition devices will have to join forces with the information processing capability of the technological machines in order to reach maximum effectiveness and capability. Its a beautiful vision, and perhaps the beginning of the end. Really not all that different than the popularization of the automobile, or the television. Except this one really will create a class division. A branching off of a new species of human that will evolve soo rapidly, that there will be no turning back.
Ray Kurzweil knows what he’s talking about. He’s no hack. Anyone who has read his work, heard him speak, and seen his credentials would be a fool to tell you otherwise.
May 28, 2009
Ray Kurzweil is a douche
May 30, 2009
While being a body we’re afraid of body limitations. Technology (both robotics and genetics) give us hope. Maybe tomorrow one will step over old limitations like today our disabled neighbour can “walk” using wheelchair.
While being not a body - soul / mind / program /virus (mem) - use name that suits better
We’re also limited by our memmory, conscious and so on. We also hope that something can help us:
let’s use logic and math to improve our reasoning, let’s write down things we don’t want to forget … lets call a friend to exchange data stored in our minds … We struggle with our body - this defective prison that limit our existence
If we’re spirit or viruses possesing this bodies what’s wrong for us in “new bodies”? It will be one more environment, maybye better than this body.
This dream is either dream of new exodus, of new liberation from our prison or this is just a dream about cure for our, body-ache… like drugs can mute our fear
I’m afraid we’re already cyborgs - something betwen phisic and that “X” behind. All this noise is just small upgrade from suits to exoskeletons from walkmans to internal flash memmory from stick to portable missle launcher.
In silicon world poor will be still poor, mighty will be mighty … and some “crazy guy” will be the one who’ll ask for something more than technological electromechanical being
June 5, 2009
Good comment “wietrzny”.
As I am almost 20, i wonder if I’ll be alive to meet the sci-fi in real life…
June 10, 2009
mmm… interfacing with the internet.
All those awful teen blogs clogging your arteries.
June 11, 2009
i could “jack in” porn sites wow ! THANX RAY
June 12, 2009
MMM CYBORG?? Maybe in a few years…mechanical parts,chips an sensors??? first think about electromagnetic pulses,radiation,static and other things that may cause a malfunction in your cyborg body!!!
we still have the biolgical viruses problem and the cyborg stuff will create a new kind of decease!!! f*cking computer viruses in our bodies…mm athink thats all
June 13, 2009
June 14, 2009
I really don’t think the cyborg thing is going to happen. Too far-fetched, too prone to delays and problems, too generalized of an idea to really mean much.
What I think will happen is that humans will take control over our own evolution and biological make-up. One of my topics of interest if pre-natal testing and screening. Already, parents can select the gender of their own baby (it’s illegal in my country, but anyone who can afford it is free to hop off to California to get it done). When I’ll be having children, 5-7 years from now, these things will become more and more sophisticated.
We will, eventually re-engineer ourself. And that, I think, is much more interesting of an idea than extremely improbably cyborg developments.
And when that happens, I’d like wings, please.
June 27, 2009
Being a cyborg would be very cool, and I often joke about it, but… think of all the things you would lose. Human contact, being one. Who would want to hug a being of steel? Because, guarantee it, it’ll be a loooong time until techno-organics come around, so until then everyone will have to deal with sharp corners and hard surfaces.
And I’d rather not interface with the internet. Have you even read Youtube comments? Gone to 4chan? Plumbed the depths of Livejournal?
I’d rather not have that much stupid coming in such close contact with my brain, kthx.
July 2, 2009
Stormtrooper of Death said:
my comment on this is: machines , man-made things, uh, what about gods, or other beings from outer space ? so, yeah, anyhow, some people i do know have a pace-maker to help their weak hearth, so, thats ok for me, but losing your humanity to transform into a machine is just stupid. A machine does not have a soul, does it ?
July 15, 2009
The Truth said:
The simple fact is that a human brain functions much like a computers central proscessing unit in the perspective that a cpu fires on electrical impulses just as the brain does. Deciphering the firing sequences of the human brain would open the door for humanity to interface with computer hardware on a neural level.
Once this goal is achieved, immortality is only steps away as we would most likely be capable of migrating the entirety of an individuals brain contents to a storage medium similar to that of a solid state or holographic drive.
As far as being cyborgs… It is very possible. Once we can manage to move the human psyche to a storage device it would be nearly as simple as plugging a thumb drive into a PC.
I can’t wait for this transition if indeed we are capable of learning and understanding the process of the human transformation to bio-mech. As this may very well be human kinds next step on the evolutionary ladder.
August 2, 2009
I think your list is missing Luc Besson’s early work “Le dernier combat” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Dernier_Combat
Great source your site by the way.
September 11, 2009
I’d be interested in becoming a cyborg, even if only to see what I might become given through multiple changes to the basic wetware. Direct connection to the ‘Net would be a perk, but only if there was some form of intermediary pattern-matching / filtering hardware between the neural wetware and whatever hardware was tasked with decoding the inbound data.
Kurzweil may well be a nutball in some ways, but at least he’s getting a lot of people to think about technology, about how it will shape our future, and about how technology could change our very definition as a species. Whether the future is going to be good or bad as a result of those changes, for me, is irrelevant—I want to see how it all works out in the end.
At the very least, I want to live long enough to see how it all starts.
October 27, 2009
Umm, that singularity Ray is talking about… not gonna happen anytime soon.
AI is simply not possible. Maybe in the far future…
November 26, 2011
I think the failure here is that in recognizing the prevailing philosophy of religion programing man and his mind that he is a defective sinner and ignoring the impact that statement and concept has on humanity when programmed into the heads of small children accross America and most of the world. To me this is the very crack that has lead to your belief and what is causing you to make this statement. We have never tried a world where we teach our children, they are perfect, intelligent, creative problem solvers and that is what we pound into their heads once a week, instead of them being defective sinners.