A new Ray Kurzweil book is always a major event. And his latest work, How To Create A Mind: The Secret Of Human Thought Revealed, is classic Kurzweil – both infuriatingly brilliant and brilliantly infuriating. Given Kurzweil’s remarkable intelligence, it might not be a coincidence that How To Create A Mind is a book about intelligence – focusing, in classic Kurzweilian territory, on the growing intelligence of machines. As Kurzweil told me, with products like IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri and Google’s self-driving cars, we are already on the road to a world in which computers will operate at the level and with the speed of the human mind.
This singularity of the mind and the machine will be reached by 2029, Kurzweil explained to me. In the meantime, he told me, there are many opportunities – from biotech, electronics, and neuroscience to natural language – for entrepreneurs to help build this brave new world.
So is Kurzweil right? Are we really on the brink of reverse engineering the brain so that technology will know how to create a mind? And if so, as I asked Kurzweil, how will the arrival of truly intelligent machines affect the human mind itself.
Ray Kurzweil is a noted futurist, author, inventor, and executive. He has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. Ray was the principal developer of the first CCD flatbed scanner,...