Questions for Ray Kurzweil

Futurist (and transhumanist) Ray Kurzweil in Time maganzine (6 Dec 2010) provided answers to the following questions”

Is it a mistake to use the events of the recent past as a method of predicting the future?

Our intuition about the future is linear.  But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference.  If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30.  If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.

What are the dangers of technological innovation?

Technology is a double-edged sword.  New technologies can be used for destructive purposes.  The answer is to develop rapid-response systems for new dangers like bio-terrroris(m). . .  We don’t have to sit back and wait.

How will science affect the religious and ethnic differences in the world?

. . . we are evolving rapidly into a one world culture.  It’s certainly one world economy.  With billions of people online, I think we’ll appreciate the wisdom in many different traditions as we learn more about them.  People were very isolated and didn’t know anything about other religions 100 years ago.

How will our technological progress make us feel about God?

. . . our civilization is going to be vastly more intelligent and more spiritual in the decades ahead.  You can argue how we got here, but we are the species that goes beyond our limitations.  We didn’t stay on the ground.  We didn’t stay on the planet.  Our species always transcends.

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4 Responses to Questions for Ray Kurzweil

  1. I actually like his evasive answer about God.

  2. roger hansen says:

    Yes, for me his evasive answer works very well. But I think he needs to point out that with transcendence comes responsibility. And that is what is seriously missing. With religion not keeping up with the pace of progress, I think it is rapidly becoming irrelevant. What that does to God, I do not know? I know that it will place more responsibility on individuals to decide their beliefs, their opinions on social, environmental, and moral issues. Organized religion just can’t keep up.

    Mormons are obsessed over gay rights, yet that is such a minor issue, and we are on the wrong side. Catholics are only now figuring out what to do with condoms. Mormons, Catholics, and Muslims are all a little late to the population control game. I’m currently in Uganda, a country with a population of 30 million, with at least 90 percent living in abject poverty. The birthrate is terribly high.

    Mormons consider Uganda a preaching hot spot. We need to worry about the social well-being of their members. We need to insure that transcendence applies to everybody.

  3. Cody Westbrook says:

    To ever dismiss this mans’ ideas is nothing short of absurd. Especially one he has shed the public light upon.

    While technology upon many other things is advancing exponentially, the true evil that is egotism seems to also share the same trend. Technological strength in my eyes, seems to be much like the Tesselract in the Avengers’ movie. The inevitable question comes to, can we trust people with this power?

    Kurzweil certainly has his faith in the good of people, or in other words, the consciousness. But what I fear is that humans personalities will not evolve. The legality of conscious building psychedelics, and the stigma associated with them, will be looked back upon as one of man’s biggest mistakes.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I can’t tell if you are arguing for or against psychedelics. Although I spent my youth in the 60s and 70s, I never dropped acid. I currently work with the Navajos, but I haven’t tried Peyote. But I have occasionally wondered about the utility of using drugs to expand the consciousness.

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