Tag Archives: book review

The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

Kurzweil builds and supports a persuasive vision of the emergence of a human-level engineered intelligence in the early-to-mid twenty-first century. In his own words,

With the reverse engineering of the human brain we will be able to apply the parallel, self-organizing, chaotic algorithms of  human intelligence to enormously powerful computational substrates. This intelligence will then be in a position to improve its own design, both hardware and software,  in a rapidly accelerating iterative process.

In Kurzweil's view, we must and will ensure we evade obsolescence by integrating emerging metabolic and cognitive technologies into our bodies and brains. Through self-augmentation with neurotechnological prostheses, the locus of human cognition and identity will gradually (but faster than we'll expect, due to exponential technological advancements) shift from the evolved substrate (the organic body) to the engineered substrate, ultimately freeing the human mind to develop along technology's exponential curve rather than evolution's much flatter trajectory.

The book is extensively noted and indexed, making the deep-diving reader's work a bit easier.

If you have read it, feel free to post your observations in the comments below. (We've had a problem with the comments section not appearing. It may require more troubleshooting.)

Book review tool now on BMAI site

There’s now a book review tool on this site. To create a book review, login and use one of the following methods:

  1. Hover your cursor over the word New a the top of the page (after logging in) and, from the drop-down menu, select Book Review. Create your book review and save it as you would a usual post.
  2. In the left column of links, hover your cursor over the Book Reviews link and, from the pop-out menu, select New. Create your book review and save it as you would a usual post.
  3. Please notice there are different fields than those presented for a regular post. You can identify yourself as the reviewer, pick a subject, add tags (unfortunately not linked to the set of tags we have for posts — I’ll look for a solution for that), add an ISBN, etc.
  4. If you want to add an image, the options for doing that are accessible from the editing menu (Add Media). Place your cursor where you want the media to appear and click Add Media.

I can demonstrate how to use this feature at a meeting if anyone would like more guidance.