of Spiritual Machines
by Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil, renowned
inventor and thinker, peered into the future in 1998 and made
predictions for the 21st century.
Fundamentally, he predicts the continuing rapid increase in the
availability of computing power per dollar.
This increase will help increase the rate of advances in neuroscience,
cognition, artificial intelligence, medical science, nanotechnology and other
areas of knowledge. These increases
will result first in augmented human health, life spans, senses, and
intelligence, and, ultimately, in the merger of organic intelligence with
machine computing abilities and intelligences in an continuum without clear
demarcation between “human” and “machine.”
He notes the twin historic fallacies of prognosticators: predicting too
much in the short term and too little in the long. I
enjoyed considering his prognostications, especially because they come from
someone whose ability to see the emergent possibilities in technology has been
so clearly demonstrated. And, I
believe we should periodically peer into the future, or at least listen to those
who have, just to cope with the increasing rate of change we are experiencing.
This particular vision, however, may be in that interval when it is too
old to be fresh, and too new to be tested for its overall accuracy.
As for education, Mr.
For a science-fiction
presentation of education much like what Mr. Kurzweil suggests, read The
Note written: June, 2003.