Ray Kurzweil

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Good morning everyone. My name is Gerard Baker and I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Wall Street Journal. I’d like to thank you all for congregating here in San Diego for the Wall Street Journal CIO Network conference, where our first special guest will be Ray Kurzweil, one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and futurists.

A pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, he holds a 30-year track record of accurate predictions (1).

Kurzweil was the principal investor of many innovative technologies including the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind and the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano (1).

He has 20 honourary doctorates, honours from three United States presidents and is the author of seven books including New York Times and Amazon bestsellers.

His books cover diverse topics within the techno-scientific sphere, a number of which are focused around the potential for computers to exceed human intelligence, which in The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (1992), he predicts will occur around 2020.

Kurzweil has also explored the possibilities of biotechnology and nanotechnology, suggesting immortality may indeed become a future reality.

His book The Singularity Is Near (2006) presents the evolution of a single entity, emerging as a product of the integration of humans and machines.

I quote, “The singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post-singularity, between human and machine nor between physical and virtual reality. If you wonder what will remain unequivocally human in such a world, it’s simply this quality: ours is the species that inherently seeks to extend its physical and mental reach beyond current limitations.” (2)

Kurzweil’s concept of artificial intelligence emerged from the question, ‘How does the human brain…give rise to thought?’ (3) Kurzweil says everyday tasks such as making a phone call, sending a text message or an email, all use intelligent algorithms ‘to route the information’ and that nearly ‘every product we touch is originally designed in a collaboration between human and artificial intelligence’ (4).

Since 2012, Kurzweil has been Director of Engineering at Google.

Recently, Kurzweil voiced his most recent development of the integration of human and artificial intelligence, or Singularity.

Kurzweil predicted that within five to eight years, search engines will be able to respond to long and complex questions, comprehend documents and seek out information they think might be of use to people (5).

On the future of search engines, Kurzweil said they would have the capacity to ‘engage in a dialogue with you to find out what you need’ and that a human ‘might be able to assign the search engine research projects’ which it would continue to pursue over time (5).

So, to expand on these ideas and more of what awaits us in the digital future, without further ado, please welcome to the stage Mr Ray Kurzweil.



(1) Kurzweil, R 2014, Ray Kurzweil Bio, viewed 8 February 2014, http://www.kurzweilai.net/ray-kurzweil-bio.

(2) Kurzweil, R 2014, The Singularity Is Near, viewed 8 February 2014, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-singularity-is-near.

(3) Kurzweil, R 2014, The Age of Intelligent Machines, viewed 8 February 2014, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-age-of-intelligent-machines.

(4) Kurzweil, R 2013, ‘How to make a mind: can nonbiological brains have real minds of their own?’, The Futurist, vol. 47, no. 2, p. 14, viewed 8 February 2014, http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE%7CA320435550&v=2.1&u=rmit&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&authCount=1.

(5) Rosenbush, S 2014, Google’s Ray Kurzweil Envisions New Era of Search, viewed 8 February 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2014/02/04/googles-ray-kurzweil-envisions-new-era-of-search/.







The year is 2029 and in collaboration with Google, technician Ray Kurzweil and his team have created the worlds first intuitive search engine. The new and improved Google search engine, nicknamed Sera (for search engine result amplifier) is capable of understanding questions and content at a capacity on par, and greater than humans which, she can then arrange results according to their relevancy. Furthermore, due to her understanding of the topic at hand, Sera is also able to engage in insightful dialogue with her user, further amplifying the specific nature of her results. If no results are drawn, users have the option to have their questions stored in to the server, to be retrieved if answers arise at a later date.  


 Q. Hey Sera, can you find me what is the most suitable pet for my apartment? I’m looking for something that is not too much responsibility, but still has a bit more personality than a fish.

 S. Sure, here are four pets suitable to an apartment setting. I have searched for reviews containing the word “personality.” Here are the results:


Q. I like the idea of a gerbil, but I was hoping I could get a hamster. Can I get a hamster? Where do they sell them?

S. Based on your current location in Melbourne, Victoria, Hamsters are considered an illegal form of wild life. Would you like to change your location?


 Q. I didn’t know they were illegal; do you know if the law will change?

 S. Hamsters were ruled out as pests in the 1975 wildlife protection act. Here is the legislation:
"And the hamster shall henceforth be banned from trade in the state of Victoria under the hamster prevention act, preserving wildlife in the Cacapoopi aboriginal nature reserve – Bill Swanson, 1975, Victorian Parliament."
 There were zero results on “do you know if this law will change?” Would you like to save this question to be answered at a later date?
 [x] Yes [ ] No
 Your question has been stored.


Q.Can I get some more sources on parrots? Where can I get one?

Here are some websites on the four most popular pets in your local area and their availabilities. The last site also has a quiz on which parrot will be the most suitable for you: 
There are five different avian specialists nearby to your current location.Here is a map to the one closest to you:



Four months later


 Pending Notification > Answer Alert > Do you know if the law will change?

Article Excerpt
The Australian government has repealed the wildlife status of the Cacapoopi nature reserve in order to accommodate a new oilreserve. As a result the Hamster Prevention act of 1975 is ineffective, and they are now legal in the state of Victoria. 
Hamsters will be available for ownership on the 23rd of November 2030. This is the legislations official repeal date.

Q. When will I be able to get one? My parrot just died.

S. I’m sorry to hear that. Here is a list of local pet cemeteries you can access:
  • Goodbye Pet Cemetery, 24 Dead Lane, 3042, Melbourne, Victoria 
  • I’ll Miss You Pet Cemetery, 32 Happy Street, 3043, Melbourne, Victoria
  • So Long Pet Cemetery, 10 Neutral Avenue, 3054, Melbourne, Victoria




Article Resource: http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2014/02/04/googles-ray-kurzweil-envisions-new-era-of-search/





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