Ray: I’m finishing up two books. One’s called The Singularity is Near, which is a follow on to The Age of Spiritual Machines, and that deals with all the things we’ve been talking about in this interview–the nature of technology in the 21st Century and how it will impact human civilization. Singularity refers to a point at which technology is moving so rapidly that it appears to be a rupture in the fabric oh human history. This is like a singularity in physics–as you approach it, it seems to stretch out in front of you, but it will reach a point of very rapid technological change, and it will have an impact on virtually every human institution and concept.
Another book I’m working on is called A Short Guide to a Long Life, which I’m co-authoring with physician and longevity expert Terry Grossman. That actually deals with this issue we were just talking about of a bridge to a bridge to a bridge. It is a guide to incorporating our most advanced contemporary knowledge–taking the best from both alternative medicine and cutting-edge conventional medicine–to stay, not only alive, but healthy and vital, as a bridge to full flowering of these future health revolutions. The Singularity is Near will be published by Viking, who also published The Age of Spiritual Machines. A Short Guide to a Long Life will be published by Rodale.
Then I have a few businesses, such as a medical learning company which does medical simulations to help train doctors and other health professionals. FATKAT–which stands for Financial Accelerating Transactions from Kurzweil Adaptive Technologies–is applying my area of interest and expertise (which is pattern recognition) to the stock market. We’re developing a fully automated hedge fund that looks for subtle patterns in the stock market, and develops a trading strategy based on those patterns.
We also run kurzweilai.net, which is a popular Web site about the future technologies we’ve been talking about. We have about 500 articles on the site by a hundred big thinkers on all of these different issues. The site has a lot of different resources, and on the home page people can sign up for a free daily newsletter on the latest developments in science and technology, in the types of areas we’ve been talking about. We have about a hundred thousand readers, and we don’t share these email addresses with anyone.
David: What gives you hope?
Ray: I find these profound transformations that lie ahead, through all of these different technological revolutions, very hopeful–because we will have the means to overcome disease, death, suffering, poverty, pollution, and really transform the world in profound ways. There’s also some profound dangers along the way. I think we have to face up to them, and not try to stick our heads in the sand by trying to relinquish our way out of them, because that’s not going to work. But I do find the ability to amplify human potential and creativity very hopeful.