Revealing the Secret of Human Thought

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Futurist Ray Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. In How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, he examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.


Ray Kurzweil

Comments [17]


Lenny, thanks for putting Kurzwell on the air. He is one of the great thinkers of our time. The exact timing of the coming changes are not the point. They are coming, they are more profound than Galileo or the Renaissance or Darwin in their effect on our sense of self.

Nov. 20 2012 08:52 PM
John A. from Core

'I don't recall the author's name, but his book "Too Much Magic" debunks much of Kurzweill's ideas thread by thread.'
How does this happen? There are two:
"Too Much Magic: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech", Jason Benlevi, 2011
"Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, ...", James H Kunstler, 2012
The first seems to have better regard in Silicon Valley.

Nov. 20 2012 02:49 PM
WL from Greater NYC Area

Nice job trying to steal Moore's Law and rebrand it as your own, Ray.

Re: The other stuff. At this rate, Ray will soon be claiming he invented the question mark.

Nov. 20 2012 01:57 PM
John A

Not too bad, but Ray's always a little high in his use of exponential growth. Take his estimates and multiply by 1.5 for time or divide by about 2 for power and maybe that's more on target. I'm glad the Singularity Institute types aren't talking so much about replacing humanity as they have done.

Nov. 20 2012 12:50 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Hugh Sansom, Luddite.

Nov. 20 2012 12:44 PM
Nicholas from Brooklyn

Kurzweil is a dangerous utopian that worships at the altar of technology.

Nov. 20 2012 12:41 PM
Hugh Sansom

Kurzweil is either mistaken or just making his 'facts' up on the history of longevity.

For example, in Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog notes a pattern of handprints inside the cave which, from their height, suggest both the height and age of the individual who made them — over 6 feet and over 30 years old, perhaps older.

Similar points about longevity were made in the 70s before the current cult of endlessly beneficial technology.

Nov. 20 2012 12:40 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I don't recall the author's name, but his book "Too Much Magic" debunks much of Kurzweill's ideas thread by thread.

Nov. 20 2012 12:40 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

How soon will technology be able to grow replacement parts for our bodies?

Nov. 20 2012 12:39 PM
Hugh Sansom

Kurzweil either missed or ignored the thrust of Leonard Lopate's question about buying new plans for longevity. But Lopate's question exactly nails one point.

I have also talked to 100-year-olds. Not many — two or three. But all were quite content to go at any time. One said she did not want to live to 100 (when she was in her 90s). She lived to 105.

What will Mr. Kurzweil say to poorer Americans who are told that they can't retire and collect Social Security until they turn 90 even though, as poorer Americans, they can't afford to buy the life extension plan past 75?

Nov. 20 2012 12:38 PM
Erinj from .y

Ai wont be able to understand why we think eclectic eco utopia isnt possible. Unless it it intentionally programmed, ill be looking for that code.

Nov. 20 2012 12:37 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Vitamin E doesn't help.
Calorie restriction doesn't extend human life as it does in mice.

Not smoking has real benefit.

Nov. 20 2012 12:36 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

It was interesting to hear Mr. Kurzweil say that medicine will/has become Information Technology.

Recently I visited someone in the hospital. I was amazed to see that the staff were all behind computer monitors. The patient is remotely monitored electronically, alarms would sound if some measurement was out of spec.

Sometimes alarms would sound continuously, so a nurse would apply the sensor to themselves to see if the sensor was working properly.

Nov. 20 2012 12:31 PM
Hugh Sansom

Marvin Minsky — AI guru at MIT — was predicting we'd have computers with human intelligence by now (actually be about 10 or so years ago, part of where Arthur C. Clarke got his idea for HAL). Minsky was wrong. Really wrong.

It's extraordinarily hard to predict technological innovations. Moreover, many economists (like Lester Thurow, at MIT) note that the rate of technological innovation has actually slowed in the past 20 years.

Nov. 20 2012 12:30 PM

I've seen reports that were coming up against physical limitations to the acceleration of computing speed. Would love to hear rk comment on this.

Nov. 20 2012 12:27 PM
John A

What sort of home computer does Ray Have? How do you decide, Ray what to store in your brain and what to store on your "outer system"? Have you seen the way you keep personal information change significantly?

Nov. 20 2012 12:15 PM
Hugh Sansom

There's been a little dust-up over a paper in the journal "Trends in Genetics" by Stanford professor Gerald Crabtree. Crabtree contends that, because selective pressures for greater intelligence have declined, Homo sapiens have been getting _less_ intelligent over the last few thousand years. The paper is being criticized on several points.

Would Kurzweil agree with Crabtree?

Nov. 20 2012 12:12 PM

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