Putting Google’s Hire of Kurzweil in Perspective

Colleen Taylor at TechCrunch reports that legendary futurist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil has joined Google as full time Director of Engineering. Kurzweil will focus on machine learning and language processing.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil

Futurist Ray Kurzweil joins Google as Director of Engineering

In 1999, Kurzweil predicted self-driving cars and intelligent, voice-driven apps like Siri: two areas in which Google is very active now. At the time, many called his predictions “unrealistic.”

That Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are looking at technological singularity as a basis for future innovation makes this appear all the more like an inevitable event whose time has come.

The idea of “technological singularity” envisions a form of intelligence beyond that of humans where humans and technology extend one another’s thinking and processing capabilities.

The literature on singularity speaks of frequent quantum leaps in the pace of change with unpredictable results and human affairs forever changed by it.

Possible accelerators of singularity include artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement and brain-computer interfaces.

In the forward to the John von Neumann book, “The Computer and the Brain,” Kurzweil cites von Neumann’s use of the term, “singularity.”

Announcing his decision on his website, Kurzweil writes:

“’I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.’”

So stay tuned and share your thoughts below…

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