Friday, May 22, 2009

B/O/W for May 25

B▫O▫W▫ book of the week
for May 25, 2009

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Ray Kurzweil. Viking. 2005

The singularity is a state in which humans have ceased to be biological beings: Kurzweil writes, "there will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality."

He predicts it will happen by approximately 2030.

The post-Singularity world Kurzweil describes is one in which Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics (GNR) will allow humans to transcend our biological limitations, controlling the length of our lives and everything else about our bodies and our environment.

"Protein-based mechanisms are lacking in strength and speed," notes Kurzweil. "We will be able to reengineer all of the organs and systems in our biological bodies and brains to be vastly more capable."

Further details of the Singularity:

"The rate of technological change will not be limited to human mental speeds. Machine intelligence will improve its own abilities in a feedback cycle that unaided human intelligence will not be able to follow."
"Nanobots will interact with biological neurons to vastly extend human experience by creating virtual reality from within the nervous system."
"Billions of nanobots in the capillaries of the brain will also vastly extend human intelligence."
And somewhere in there, spell-checkers will begin recognizing the word "nanobots."
This is one of the most important books of this decade, to be read by all. One may wish to also read Joel Garreau's Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies, and What It Means to Be Human.

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