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"The Age of Spiritual Machines" by Ray Kurzweil

A book released in 2000 whose predictions to this day has been lining up quite well, technology-wise. Find out what he thinks will happen in 2029 and 2099.

Written in 1999, released in 2000, this book reads like it was just published today (2018). While the reflective cover is a nice eye-catching design, the book itself is enough to terrify folks unwilling to know the Fate of how far computers will be injected into our already tech-dependent society. I say "terrified" for a reason, so let's put it this way: What was the first thing that came to mind when the android robot named 'Sophia' became a citizen in a human-governed society? Reactions synonymous to "freaked out" is one of the reasons.

Author Kurzweil did a fantastic job writing, what brewed to be, humans entering an era totally implementing computers made to serve nearly every purpose—to make things easier for us to work, and produce things that we couldn't organically do. While the first and second parts reads like a newspaper and a reference book, Kurzweil often mentions his personal points on what could and may be in the coming future, and what consumers are expected to have access to in their everyday lives. Along with it, Kurzweil talks about a bot and some software he wrote and built showcasing the intelligence and the fast learning of Artificial Intelligence. This includes writing poems, painting, video editing (!) and even reading comprehension. You think robots taking our [retail] jobs is scary, wait until they take over producing art, like music, editing films, reviewing books....holy crap.

In with the discussions of computers, and the rate of "intelligent" machines becoming smarter, Kurzweil talks a lot about virtual reality. Makes sense since virtual reality pornography and video gaming has been in rapid development already, and continues to improve. Very soon, you can change the area in your room with the touch of a button without leaving your room. Also, when making love to your partner, you can change their looks and body type without them knowing. Freaked out yet? Yeah, it's coming.

While all that information was enough to give the reader some basic knowledge, I was truly excited when I read Part 3 of the book which features titles of specific years in the future. In this case, the title of those chapters are 1999, 2009, 2019, 2029 and 2099. Since two of those years have passed, and we happily lived through, we still have 2019 and on. What are Kurzweil's predictions? Let me mention this first: at the rate intelligent machines are going, we have until 2020 to pull the plug and say all that we have is enough, but that would be a ridiculous decision. Why? Our research, our demand and our search for a simpler, easier life will never stop, and because we're so in tuned with technology, it makes sense to keep going and going with such development. Unfortunately, the year 2020 is when the average machine has reached the same level, if not higher, intelligence of the average human being.

Alright, so what about the future? Here you go: Around 2029, robots will be protesting for their rights. They will claim they're as conscious and intelligent as we humans are....and we'll believe them. By the year 2040, nano-produced food will completely create and even replace our everyday food, eliminating the chaos and shortage of food production. By 2099, humans an robots are melded as one. Why? How? Snatch this book to find out. It's best you know about it now than to be surprised when the time comes.

While this book is chocked full of information easily understandable to the average reader, it's enough to make your bone marrows tingle. Robots demanding equal rights as we humans have? The subjects of politics and philosophy will be incredibly crucial to future lawmakers and politicians. Oh, and you know how some astronomers/astrophysicists claim the Universe is a computer simulation? Our lives may just be that way as well. In the virtual reality world, you can travel and visit any destination without paying for airline tickets.

This is one of those books people shrugged off when it was released. However, now that we've gotten this far, and standards have drastically changed, watch this book come back into the spotlight.

For that I say, this book is here. You all have no excuses whatsoever when the time comes. Author Kurzweil has already told us; It's up to you to read about it.

Besides that, amazing book! You better take time to read it....the robots are coming!





  • An optimistic view on the rise of Artificial Intelligence.
  • A LOT of information packed in.
  • Released in 2000, but Kurzweil's predictions have stuck around.
  • Reads like a science newspaper, a textbook and a blog.
  • None.
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Title The Age of Spiritual Machines

When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence
Author(s) Ray Kurzweil
Description IN FLAP

Imagine a world where the difference betweenman and machine blur, where the line between humanity and technology fades, and where the soul and the silicon chip unite. This is not science fiction. This is the twenty-first century according to Ray Kurzweil, the "restless genius" (Wall Street Journal) and inventor of the most innovative and compelling technology of our era. In The Age of Spiritual Machines, the brains behind the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the Kurzweil synthesizer, advanced speech recognition, and other technologies devises a framework for envisioning the next century. In his inspired hands, life in the new millenium no longer seems daunting. Instead, Kurzweil's twenty-first century promises to be an age in which the marriage of human sensitivity and artificial intelligence fundamentally alters and improve the way we live.

The Age of Spiritual Machines is no mere list of predictions but a prophetic blueprint for the future. Kurzweil guides us through the inexorable advances that will result in computers exceeding the memory capacity and computational ability of the human brain. According to Kurzweil, machines will achieve all this by 2020, with human attributes not far behind. We will begin to have relationships with automated personalities and use them as teachers, companions, and lovers. A mere ten years later, information will be fed straight into our brains along direct neural pathways; computers, for their part, will have read all the world's literature. The distinction between us and computers will have become sufficiently blurred that when when the machines claim to be conscious, we will believe them.

In The Age of Spiritual Machines, the "ultimate thinking machine" (Forbes) forges the ultimate road to the next century.
Dedication --
ISBN 0-670-88217-8
Book Dimensions Width: 6.5″ (6½″)
Height: 9.5″ (9½″)
Depth: 1.31″ (5/16″)
Page Count 404
Contents A Note To The Reader, Acknowledgements, Prologue: An Inexorable Emergence, PART ONE: PROBING THE PAST - Chapter One: The Law of Time and Chaos, Chapter Two: The Intelligence of Evolution, Chapter Three: Of Mind and Machines, Chapter Four: A New Form of Intelligence on Earth, Chapter Five: Context and Knowledge, PART TWO: PREPARING THE PRESENT - Chapter Six: Building New Brains..., Chapter Seven: ...And Bodies, Chapter Eight: 1999, PART THREE: TO FACE THE FUTURE - Chapter Nine: 2009, Chapter Ten: 2019, Chapter Eleven: 2029, Chapter Twelve: 2099, Epilogue: The Rest of the Universe Revisited, Time Line, How to Build an Intelligent Machine in Three Easy Paradigms, Glossary, Notes, Suggested Readings, Web Links, Index
Book / Cover / Jacket Design David J. High
Author Photograph Jerry Bauer
Published January 1, 2000
Publisher The Penguin Group / Viking Penguin - a member of Penguin Putnam Inc.
Copyright © Ray Kurzweil, 1999
Illustrations Credits Pages 24, 26-27, 104, 156: Concept and text by Ray Kurzweil. Illustration by Rose Russo and Robert Brun.
Page 72: © 1977 by Sidney Harris.
Pages 167-168: Paintings by Aaron, a computerized robot built and programmed by Harold Cohen.
Photographed by Becky Cohen.
Page 188: Roz Chast © 1998. From The Cartoon Bank. All rights reserved.
Page 194: Danny Shanahan © 1994. From The New Yorker Collection. All rights reserved.
Page 219: Peter Steiner © 1997. From The New Yorker Collection. All rights reserved.
Printed in U.S.A.
Set in Berkeley Oldstyle
Book Format Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, Audio/Cassette
Quoted Reviews "With these brilliant descriptions of coming connections of computers with immortality, Kurzweil clearly takes his place as a leading futurist of our time. He links the relentless growth of our future technology to a universe in which artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may combine to bring unimaginable wealth and longevity, not merely to our descendants, but to some of those living today." —MARVIN MINKSY, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, M.I.T.

"Twenty years from now, predicts Ray Kurzweil, $1,000 computers will match the power of the human brain. Kurzweil offers a thought-provoking analysis of human and artificial intelligence and a unique look at a future in which the capabilities of the computer and the species that invented it grow ever closer." —BILL GATES, Chairman of Microsoft

"Ray's technology and ideas have truly been among the sunshines of my life. This book is a wonderful riff on the next century from a keen seer, a great inventor, and a good friend." —STEVIE WONDER

"Ray Kurzweil, peerless inventor of such brain extenders as reading machines, speech recognition, and music synthesis, has now reinvented the book as a luminous synthesis of mind and machine. In a series of witty, ingenious, and profound meditations, he explores the metaphorphic moment when machines will attain and then surpass the capabilities of the human brain. This is a book that makes all other roads to the computer future look like goat path in Patagonia." —GEORGE GILDER, Author of Wealth and Poverty, The Spirit of Enterprise, Microcosm and Telecosm

"A sage, compelling vision of the future from one of our nation's leading innovators. Ray Kurzweil brings serious science, common sense, aesthetic sensibility, and a twinkling sense of humor to the question of where we are head with the machines we call computers. With his pioneering inventions, and his penetrating ideas, Kurzweil convincingly takes us to 'the other side,' in what promises to be the most pivotal of centuries." —MIKE BROWN, Chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, Former Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft
Best Seller's List --
Other This book was printed on acid-free paper.

Ray Kurzweil is the author of The Age of Intelligent Machines, which won the Association of American Publishers' Award for the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990. He was awarded the Dickson Prize, Carnegie Mellon's top science prize, in 1994. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology named him the Inventor of the Year in 1988. He is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and honors from two U.S. presidents. Kurzweil lives in a suburb of Boston.
Library of Congress
Cataloging-in-Publication Data
1. Artificial Intelligence.
2. Computers.
I. Title.
CIP Number 98-38804
LC Control Number ????
LC Call Number Q335.K88  1999
DDC Call Number 006.3—dc21


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