I agree that Kurzweil is a business man, but as I watch how deeply we are mapping out all the various networks in cells, and how are beginning to simulate cells in silico, and slices on of brain in silico as well, and how we are beginning to exploit DNA and billion year old molecular motors and so on...I think Singularity is somewhat near.
Aren't you missing the point? The whole point of a "futurist" is to spell out future scenarios. The ones that seem obvious or everyday are unsurprising and -- you're right -- wouldn't sell books. More to the point, it wouldn't be worth *writing* a book about unsurprising trends. The ones that are surprising are the ones worth talking about. They might even seem "wild."
Kurzweil's book picks up on one trend from "Spiritual Machines" -- the exponential increase in computer power -- and extends it, and then also adds other, concurrent exponential trends; e.g. in health/medicine/genetics, nanotechnology, etc. It turns out that when Kurzweil looks at these relatively straightforward trends, where they're going, and how they interact, he comes up with some pretty significant and surprising consequences, not so far in the future. This may seem "wild," but only in the very best sense of what a "futurist" does.
sounds to me like you were simply unable to grasp all the details. Predicting the future is an art not a science. Kurzweil is a genius in his ability to paint a realistic picture of one possible outcome. You not agreeing with the outcome is like saying Picasso was a terrible artist because you don't like his work.
I wonder why Kurzweil didn't also publish graphs in his book showing the depletion of the world's fossil fuels supplies. We have plenty of data from various sources which extrapolate to the conclusion that we have reached Peak Oil.
BTW, Kurzweil on page 498 credits me with coining the word "singularitarian."
He's a fruitcake who has been co-opted by the Council on Foreign Relations to support the optimistic goal of pretending humans aren't animals and can be perfected into making world government possible. People who think someone is intelligent because he stammers and picks the scabs off his forehead when he talks will like this book.
The only western institution standing between today and Kurzweil's outcomes (recognizing they are all speculative) is the R. C. Church. It will be interesting to read Pope Benedict's forthcoming first encyclical with Kurzweil/world government as background. One time modernity clashed with the Church we got the Reformation; in other words, a fragmentation of belief systems with lots of warfare.
Of course, Islam, an eastern belief system, is standing athwart Kurzweil's speculative future as well.
Maybe he means world government for the English-speaking world? I cannot see it extending much beyond what Thomas P.M. Barnett would term the "core," and even then I would be skeptical about the extent of it within the "core." Universal, no, unless brain transplants become mandated by The Man.
God help us that there are still people as stupid as this. This 'fruitcake' invented a reading machine for the blind, and the most accurate sampling keyboard in existence. What have you done besides "stammers and picks the scabs". Talk about the need for INTELLIGENT MACHINES - I would be happy to see an intelligent human.
"He's a fruitcake who has been co-opted by the Council on Foreign Relations to support the optimistic goal of pretending humans aren't animals and can be perfected into making world government possible."
Can you back up your statement with proof? Photos, mp3 recordings, witnesses who saw him with CFR people?
" People who think someone is intelligent because he stammers and picks the scabs off his forehead when he talks will like this book."
No, because the person can think abstractly and put together concepts and make prognostications about probablities of future technologies and where they might take us.
Your statement means nothing, and is a good example of someone whose thinking and imagination are both trunctated.
I bought this book used for 2$ used, and now I am glad I didnt spend more. Kurtwiel is NUTS!! he doesnt seem to know anything about the current research in the neurosciences, pulls dates out of thin air w/o explaination, and makes predictions on thechnologies which are still in their infancy and we dont even know if they will work. I was taken in by the book too, but found he was connecting things together that confused me, so I did some research and found out that a large portion of the scientific community has debunked it. Look up "the singularity - kurzweil" on Wikipedea, and also check out what PZ Meyers has been saying on his web site.
If any of this is even possible, it's not going to happen in your lifetime, and probably not your childrens lifetime either!