Disclaimer: I work in Google's Policy Team, developing multistakeholder cooperations for internet governance & policy themes, hence I want to point out that all the opinions and ruminations on this blog are mine, not Google's.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The bright side of the future

[Note: This post was also published in Spanish @ Creamos el Futuro]

Listening to futurologist, inventor and researcher Ray Kurzweil is highly stimulating in the sense that one recharges the battery labeled "the future might turn out really fantastic after all".

Kurzweil holds around 12 doctor titles and seems to have been participating in or leading virtually all important applied AI and human computer interface projects in the last 30 years. I learned about his work following up on the references of futurologist Tom Lombardo, who in his paper "The Pursuit of Wisdom and the Future of Education" puts forward the very support worthy argument for 'deep learning' and aiming to have students understand the 'big picture' rather than narrow vocational techniques.

But let's return to Kurzweil: In 2005 he has published the book The Singularity Is Near, in which 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 own creations.
That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. " [1]

I just ordered it so i can't review it yet, but what i learned about his take on reality and future creation in the video "The Singularity: A Hard or Soft Takeoff?" taken at the Stanford Singularity Conference, had this very positive forward looking effect I mentioned above.

What's more is that Kurzweil seems to have a distinct entrepreneurial mindset with a stress on knowledge entrepreneurship: One of his latest inventions - a portable camera with integrated text-to-voice making texts and webpages accessible to the blind - illustrate his entrepreneurial motivation: He has is focusing his work around the realization of knowledge/research opportunities, whereby he aims at developing technology meant to give impaired folks more equal opportunities, and he is professionally commercializing the output through a dedicated private enterprise Kurzweil Educational Systems

That's the spirit and the future we want to create!

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