Ray Kurzweil is a prize-winning author and scientist. Recipient of the MIT-Lemelson Prize (the world's largest for innovation), and inducted into the Inventor's Hall of Fame, he received the 1999 National Medal of Technology. His books include The Age of SpiritualMachines and The Age of Intelligent Machines.
Visit Ray Kurzweil on the web: http: //www.kurzweiltech.comhttp: //www.kurzweilai.net/
Kurzweil's reasoned scenarios of a "post-biological future" are as harrowing as any science fiction. That's the appeal of listening on tape to the inventor and MIT professor's provocative speculations on what could occur once computers reach or surpass human-level intelligenceÄthen start to self-replicate. Computers, with their integrated circuit chip complexity, are sneaking up on us on an accelerated curve, he argues, citing the example of chess master Gary Kasparov's shocking loss to IBM's machine Deep Blue in 1997. Do computers represent "the next stage of evolution"? Will technology create its own next generations? Kurzweil suggests a timeline inhabited by "neural-nets," "nanobot" robots and scenarios of virtual reality where sexuality and spirituality become completely simulated. It's bracing and compelling stuff, propelled by the author's own strong egotistical will to prove his version of the future. Reader Sklar is thoughtful, if at times overly heavy on the ironies. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover. (Feb.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
With the coming of the millennium, there is no shortage of predictions about what the next century will hold. Inventor, computer scientist, and futurist Kurzweil (The Age of Intelligent Machines, LJ 6/1/91) has produced a vision of the 21st century in which he predicts that a $1000 personal computer will match the computing speed and capacity of the human brain by around the year 2020. But Kurzweil does more than simply prognosticate about the future‘he provides a blueprint for the next stage of human evolution, in which we will begin to develop computers more intelligent than ourselves. Then we must ask ourselves whether these new thinking machines are indeed conscious entities. This superb work is a thoughtful melding of technology, philosophy, ethics, and humanism. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/98; for several years, Kurzweil wrote a column for LJ called "The Futurecast."‘Ed.]‘Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
"This is a book for anyone who wonders where human technology is going next".
-- The New York Times Book Review