Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-singularity-is-near-summary/
When Humans Transcend BiologyTechnology is advancing rapidly, and there will come a time in the near future when it helps humans transcend their nature.
The point of technological advancement when humans move from being a body to being a pattern of information is called “singularity.”
In our summary of “Singularity is Near” we let you in in the world that Ray Kurzweil has imagined for our society.
Many of the things you will read may sound like science fiction to you, but stay patient and continue reading to realize how technology will soon transform humanity forever.
Who Should Read “The Singularity is Near”? and Why?“The Singularity is Near” is a strange but compelling book.
In the book, inventor Ray Kurzweil presents his bold and specific predictions of the future. It is possible (and even probable) that many readers will think that his predictions sound more like science fiction than actual science.
Kurzweil explains artificial intelligence and the probabilities of its future development, redesigning the human body and the utilization of nanotechnology, downloading consciousness and many other futuristic developments.
Furthermore, he predicts that all of these technological advances will lead the humanity to the point of “singularity.” It is the point when, if people use technology the right way, they will accomplish becoming godlike and solve all the world’s problems.
We recommend this book to futurists and curious readers around the world.
About Ray KurzweilRay Kurzweil is an author, an inventor, and a receiver of the National Medal of Technology in 1999.
"The Singularity is Near Summary"Many people notice the evolution of the world today and accept that change will proceed at a relentless pace into the future. They envision that the future will be some more developed version of the present and that things will keep on changing similarly as they are evolving now.
However, technological developments progress exponentially. Advancements in a single area permit and push advancements in other areas. The progressions quicken and become more sensational.
As a result, not long from now, technology will fundamentally and permanently transform humankind.
By 2025, people will make machines that are smarter than they are. This point is called the “singularity.”
Intelligent machines will enlarge the intelligence of people in all areas of society. Machines will have the capacity to think and improve themselves, accelerating the rate of progress significantly.
On the way to such changes, certain sciences and advancements, which humans are currently developing, will allow humans to replicate their consciousness. Think of genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, brain scanning and virtual reality.
They will work in virtual domains that are as vivid and substantial as physical reality.
Doctors will have the ability to make enhancements and repairs to the human body, of which right now, we can only dream of (for instance reversing a predisposition toward cancer). Furthermore, nanotechnology will eventually make it possible for people to upgrade and change their bodies completely.
Immortality will be possible.
At the point of singularity, the limit amongst people and machines, organic and nonbiological, will break down. "Nonbiological” intelligence will soak everything in our area of the universe. This intelligence, established in the human reality, yet duplicated, enlarged and accelerated, will spread through the whole world.
The time they need to do that will rely on whether these self-multiplying intelligence can defeat the points of confinement of the speed of light.
Right now, you might feel that these thoughts are insane or screwball, and to be fair, that is a reasonable reaction.
You are seeing the singularity from your present viewpoint. Since the singularity will have a significant impact on humankind as the whole course of evolution, you are like a bacterium attempting to envision a human.
However, you have two advantageous differences with the bacterium: a significantly evolved intelligence and an experiential awareness of development.
So, don’t just throw it away.
Think about it. Try to grasp it. And use your intellect to get ready and exploit the coming changes.
Key Lessons from “The Singularity is Near”:1. Reverse Engineering the Brain 2. Nanotechnology – The Next Little Thing 3. The Turing Test
Reverse Engineering the BrainAround the year 2025 humanity will reach a significant point on the path to the singularity, which is the creation of computers that match the "computational capacity of the human brain." In only a few decades, computers will have the ability "to recreate human powers of pattern recognition, intellect and emotional intelligence."
All of this would not mean a lot if scientists were not also “reverse engineering the brain.” Brain modeling is improving, and the prediction is that soon scientists will use “nanobots” to map the brain, and then to improve it, repair it, and scan and store its contents.
Nanotechnology – The Next Little ThingHumankind will use nanotechnology to redesign the body on an atomic level. It will make healing and reconstruction possible. However, before that level of advancement can happen, scientists will have to design some other tools: computers that can operate on a minuscule scale, "nanobots," an "instruction architecture" to guide them, energy to power them, and a way to prevent external factors from interfering with them.
The Turing TestHumans will use robots for most physical tasks and work, but the most important advancement in robotics will be the development of artificial intelligence.
You already use some form of AI, but in the future strong AI will be developed. By strong AI we mean an artificial intelligence that passes the Turing test and exceeds the intelligence of humans. You can expect that strong AI will cause even more significant changes than those that nanotechnology will.
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“The Singularity is Near” Quotes[bctt tweet="We have the ability to understand our own intelligence – to access our own source code if you will – and then revise and expand it. " username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“What is the Singularity? It’s a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet="Ultimately, the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence. This is the destiny of the universe. " username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet="The advent of strong AI is the most important transformation this century will see. Indeed, it’s comparable to the advent of biology itself. " username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet="Evolution moves toward greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love. " username=“get12min”]
Our Critical ReviewKurzweil’s book is indeed close to science fiction and seems unreal. However, even if you do not believe in most of his ideas, you can still benefit from reading it. Its contents are based on a substantial research and are conceptually compelling and challenging. Kurzweil tries to make it accessible for everyone, providing graphs, sidebars, theoretical debates and around 100 pages of notes and research.
The end product is an overwhelming, but also a profoundly thought-provoking piece of writing.