Friday, November 7, 2008

Ray Kurzweil

Tonight in our Social Entrepreneurship class one of our speakers gave a ringing endorsement to Ray Kurweil's book The Singularity is Near. While the book has received ringing endorsements from gobs of famous people, it is well over 600 pages and weighs slightly less than a refrigerator. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for not understanding the topic. You might instead try this short piece that appeared in Wired earlier this year. It is a fascinating look at a brilliantly focused mind. A taste:
Kurzweil does not believe in half measures. He takes 180 to 210 vitamin and mineral supplements a day, so many that he doesn't have time to organize them all himself. So he's hired a pill wrangler, who takes them out of their bottles and sorts them into daily doses, which he carries everywhere in plastic bags. Kurzweil also spends one day a week at a medical clinic, receiving intravenous longevity treatments. The reason for his focus on optimal health should be obvious: If the singularity is going to render humans immortal by the middle of this century, it would be a shame to die in the interim. To perish of a heart attack just before the singularity occurred would not only be sad for all the ordinary reasons, it would also be tragically bad luck, like being the last soldier shot down on the Western Front moments before the armistice was proclaimed.

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