The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

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“Startling in scope and bravado.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Artfully envisions a breathtakingly better world.” —Los Angeles Times

“Elaborate, smart and persuasive.” —The Boston Globe

“A pleasure to read.” —The Wall Street Journal

One of CBS News’s Best Fall Books of 2005 • Among St Louis Post-Dispatch’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2005 • One of Amazon.com’s Best Science Books of 2005

A radical and optimistic view of the future course of human development from t
he bestselling author of How to Create a Mind and The Age of Spiritual Machines who Bill Gates calls “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence”


For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Sep 22, 2005
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Pages
672
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ISBN
9781101218884
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
Science / Biotechnology
Social Science / Future Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Nick Bostrom
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.
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