((I had a rather troublesome evening posting this stuff about the entry of Ray Kurzweil in Google. I tried to use Storify for this, but that service and WordPress are a difficult combination. In general, I find WordPress to be rather difficult to use, compared to other blogging platforms.))
Anyway, here we go. The author, futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil joins Google as a Director of Engineering. The news is a few days old by now, and I wrote a column for my newspaper about the event. Here’s some of the stuff I used – videos and blog posts, and also some stuff I did not yet use.
Kurzweil and Google already had a good relationship as they work together in the Singularity University. Here is Kurzweil explaining about the Singularity and the academic program:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=HMYVH-hBGWg?version=3&hl=en_US”>< Here you find a trailer for The Singularity is New, featuring Ray Kurzweil: https://youtube.com/watch?v=8XWXJDgbeP0?version=3&hl=en_US">< Kurzweil is known for his bold predictions, like his view that brain uploads are nearer than we think.
So do we have to conclude that Google and all the folks at the Singularity University are sharing these same convictions? I don’t think so. I guess that companies and institutions (not only Google, also NASA is involved with the Singularity University) are interested in the research linked to these visions – realizing that even when artificial intelligence and brain uploads will take more time than expected by Kurzweil or would lead to outright failures, we’ll learn lots of things which could be very useful in other contexts.
And now for something slightly different. What about politics and social issues in all this? I posted about a remarkable analysis by the Nationale Intelligence Council, indicating possible social and political tensions when only the rich would be able to augment themselves.
There are also consequences for national sovereignty as it discussed in this interview at Metahaven with Benjamin Bratton who is about to publish the book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (The MIT Press, 2013).