Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Singularity is Near

The Singularity is Near, A True Story about the Future, based on Ray Kurzweil’s New York Times best selling book, will be a full-length motion picture slated for theatrical release in Spring 2008

As the movie's web site says, "At the Onset of the 21st Century, it will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity."
(Click on the heading above to read the rest.)

If you haven't yet read the book, the movie will be a good chance to get caught up on some of the most mind-bending events that are about to take place (in the next 25 years.) The way the term "Singularity" is being used here is the idea of a self-improving smarter-than-human-intelligence, particularly an Artificial General Intelligence, and the attendant perils and opportunities.

One way to get a crash course in the latest intellectual activity by some of the top minds in the world would be to simply Google each of the names on the list of people featured in the movie and read about what they are doing. These people are among those who are shaping the way we will live and think in the future. Grasping some of their ideas will transport you quickly from a 20th century mind to place you firmly in the 21st century.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read Fantastic Voyage, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near, and they changed my life. I even found some of his lectures on Itunes and I find myself impatiently awaiting his next book.

Recently read another incredible book that I can't recommend highly enough, especially to all of you who also love Ray Kurzweil's work. The book is ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had heard Dr Taylor's talk on the TED dot com site and I have to say, it changed my world. It's spreading virally all over the internet and the book is now a NYTimes Bestseller, so I'm not the only one, but it is the most amazing talk, and the most impactful book I've read in years. (Dr T also was named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and Oprah had her on her Soul Series last month and I hear they're making a movie about her story so you may already have heard of her)
If you haven't heard Dr Taylor's TEDTalk, that's an absolute must. The book is more and deeper and better, but start with the video (it's 18 minutes). Basically, her story is that she was a 37 yr old Harvard brain scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, and thanks to her amazingly loving and kind mother, she eventually fully recovered (and that part of the book detailing how she did it is inspirational).

There's a lot of learning and magic in the book, but the reason I so highly recommend My Stroke of Insight to this discussion, is because we have powerfully intelligent left brains that are rational, logical, sequential and grounded in detail and time, and then we have our kinesthetic right brains, where we experience intuition and peace and euphoria. Now that Kurzweil has got us taking all those vitamins and living our best ""Fantastic Voyage"" , the absolute necessity is that we read My Stroke of Insight and learn from Dr Taylor how to achieve balance between our right and left brains. Enjoy!