Friday, January 8, 2010

Ray Kurzweil

Ray has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. The magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States and called him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.”

Principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition, Ray has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc.

"RAY KURZWEIL: One area I commented on was the question of a possible link between quantum computing and the brain. Do we need quantum computing to create human level AI? My conclusion is no, mainly because we don‘t see any quantum computing in the brain (ed: some don't agree with this. For the record, I don't either). Roger Penrose‘s conjecture that there was quantum computing in tubules does not seem to have been verified by any experimental evidence.

Quantum computing is a specialized form of computing where you examine in parallel every possible combination of qubits. So it‘s very good at certain kinds of problems, the classical one being cracking encryption codes by factoring large numbers. But the types of problems that would be vastly accelerated by quantum computing are not things that the human brain is very good at. When it comes to the kinds of problems I just mentioned, the human brain isn‘t even as good as classical computing. So in terms of what we can do with our brains there‘s no indication that it involves quantum computing. Do we need quantum computing for consciousness? The only justification for that conjecture from Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff is that consciousness is mysterious and quantum mechanics is mysterious, so there must be a link between the two.

I get very excited about discussions about the true nature of consciousness, because I‘ve been thinking about this issue for literally 50 years, going back to junior high school....."

Criticisms of Ray?:

Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, has said of Kurzweil's and Hans Moravec's books: "It’s as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can't possibly figure out what's good or bad. It's an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it's very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they're not stupid."[58] (from Wiki)

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