Re: FW: Immortality at last Ray Kurzweil's new book is a real stunner

Hal Finney (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 18:01:00 -0800

Kris Ganjam, <>, forwards a review of Ray Kurzweil's new book, The Age of Spiritual Machines:
> [An interview with Kurzweil by Forbes magazine:]
> Your book gets pretty weird: People scan their brains into a computer and
> create self-replicas.
> By 2040 it will be routine. If you build a computer based on the design of
> the human brain and instantiate information from a human being onto that
> computer, it will emerge in the machine and claim to be that person. The
> machine will say, "I grew up in Brooklyn, I went to MIT, then I walked
> into a scanner and woke up here in the machine."
> [...]
> These are going to be very smart entities--much smarter than humans. And
> that's really where power lies. Ultimately these entities will have
> political power. They will have all the political power.
> This is good news?
> Some people who've read the book have come away feeling depressed. They
> get the idea that human beings are ending, that civilization is ending.
> Actually we will continue, but in a much more profound way. The human race
> is going to evolve. We are going to become smarter by merging with our
> machines.

This sounds very similar to Hans Moravec. It's amazing to see these ideas beginning to enter the mainstream.

Moravec's new book arrived from Amazon yesterday, but my son grabbed it as soon as he got home from school so I haven't started it yet. I'll take a look at it this weekend.