The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

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Ray Kurzweil is the inventor of the most innovative and compelling technology of our era, an international authority on artificial intelligence, and one of our greatest living visionaries. Now he offers a framework for envisioning the twenty-first century--an age in which the marriage of human sensitivity and artificial intelligence fundamentally alters and improves the way we live. Kurzweil's prophetic blueprint for the future takes us through the advances that inexorably result in computers exceeding the memory capacity and computational ability of the human brain by the year 2020 (with human-level capabilities not far behind); in relationships with automated personalities who will be our teachers, companions, and lovers; and in information fed straight into our brains along direct neural pathways. Optimistic and challenging, thought-provoking and engaging, The Age of Spiritual Machines is the ultimate guide on our road into the next century.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 1, 2000
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781101077887
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
Computers / Social Aspects / Human-Computer Interaction
Technology & Engineering / Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
One of the most respected scientists and futurists in America teams up with an expert on human longevity, to show how we can tap today's revolution in biotechnology and nanotechnology to virtually live forever.

Startling discoveries in the areas of genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology are occurring every day. The rewards of this research, some of it as spectacular as what was once thought of as science fiction, are practically in our grasp. Already it is possible to analyze our individual genetic makeups and evaluate our predisposition for breast cancer or other deadly diseases on a case-by-case basis. And once we've isolated these genes, the ability to repress or enhance them through biotechnology is just around the corner. Soon, for example, it will be feasible for 10% of our red blood cells to be replaced by artificial cells, radically extending our life expectancy and enhancing our physical and even mental abilities beyond what is humanly possible today. In Fantastic Voyage, Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman will show us how amazingly advanced we are in our medical technology, and how incredibly far each of us can go toward living as long as we dare imagine.

With today's mind-bending array of scientific knowledge, it is possible to prevent nearly 90% of the maladies that kill us, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman start the reader on a fantastic journey to undreamed-of vitality with a comprehensive investigation into the cutting-edge science on diet, metabolism, genetics, toxins and detoxification, the hormones involved with aging and youth, exercise, stress reduction, and more. By following their program, which includes such simple recommendations as drinking alkaline water and taking specific nutritional supplements to enhance your immune system and slow the aging process on a cellular level, anyone will be able to immediately add years of healthy, active living to his life.
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