Ray Kurzweil on Singularity 1 on 1





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Published on Oct 12, 2012


Ray Kurzweil's impact on my life in general but especially on what I have been doing for the past 3 or 4 years is hard to exaggerate. It is a simple fact that, if I haven't read his seminal book The Singularity is Near, I would be neither blogging nor podcasting about exponential technologies, not to mention going to Singularity University. And so it was with great excitement and some trepidation that I went to interview Dr. Kurzweil in his office in Boston.

Part of my trepidation came from some technical concerns: I wish I could buy a better camera. I wish I could hire a team of audio and video professionals so that I can focus on the interview itself. I wish I did a better job with the set up. I wish I had noticed that Ray's lavalier mic has slipped out of its holder... The list is exponential. Still, if there is one thing that I've learned since I started podcasting is that we do get better. But it takes time. Meanwhile, my consolation is that eventually I will have to do another interview with Ray Kurweil just so I get it right that time. For now, however, I hope that the content will make up for the technical deficiencies.

During our conversation with Dr. Kurzweil we cover a wide variety of topics such as: how and why at age 5 Ray decided to become an inventor; his unique background of being born to Jewish parents but brought up in a Unitarian Church; his early interest in issues such as religious tolerance, poverty, social inequality and justice; 3D printing, open source, patents, progress and intellectual property rights; Watson, AI, the Turing Test and human rights for AI, the technological singularity and criticism thereof; his upcoming book How To Create A Mind and the Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind; the evolutionary advantages of intelligence; the benefits of reverse-engineering the human brain for the creation of AI and whether the latter would be interested in pondering and solving humanity's greatest problems.

My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Ray Kurzweil is:

"Don't be too concerned about what's practical. Follow your passion and be who you would like to be."


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