Tag Archives: Ray Kurzweil

The serpent’s temptation: Google executive says with robot implants in our brains, we will be like gods

Genesis 3:204

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God….”

And you will be like God.

That’s the same promise Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, recently made at Singularity University when, in a few years, nano and miniature robots are implanted into human brains.

Ray Kurzweil

Chris Matyszczyk writes for CNet Magazine, Oct. 1, 2015:

I suspect a few of you are looking forward to being robots….

What kind of robots will we be? Happily, I can provide an answer. For living inside my head all day have been the words of Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil.

For more than a curt while, he’s been keen on humans going over to the bright side. He’s predicted that humans will be hybrid robots by 2030…. [in 15 years!]

Kurzweil has a truly, madly, deeply optimistic view of who we will be when nanobots are implanted into our brains so we can expand our intelligence by directly tapping into the Internet.

This is such a relief. I had feared that when a robot was implanted into my brain, my head would hurt. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be quite in touch with my feelings, as I wouldn’t be sure if they were real or just the promptings of my inner robot.

Kurzweil, though, has reassured me. Speaking recently at Singularity University, where he is a member of the faculty, he explained that my brain will develop in the same way my smartphone has.

“We’re going to add additional levels of abstraction,” he said, “and create more-profound means of expression.”

More profound than Twitter? Is that possible?

Kurzweil continued: “We’re going to be more musical. We’re going to be funnier. We’re going to be better at expressing loving sentiment.”

Because robots are renowned for their musicality, their sense of humor and their essential loving qualities. Especially in Hollywood movies.

Kurzweil insists, though, that this is the next natural phase of our existence.

Evolution creates structures and patterns that over time are more complicated, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more creative, more capable of expressing higher sentiments like being loving,” he said. “So it’s moving in the direction that God has been described as having — these qualities without limit.

Yes, we are becoming gods.

Evolution is a spiritual process and makes us more godlike,” was Kurzweil’s conclusion.

There’s something so uplifting, yet so splendidly egocentric in suggesting that man will soon be God, thanks to artificial intelligence. The mere fact that this intelligence is artificial might be a clue as to its potential limitations.

Moreover, I rather think of us as a dangerous species: Primitive, yet believing we’re so very clever.

There are so many fundamental things with which we struggle. Here we are, though, believing that we’ll be godlike in a few years’ time.

Lord, help us.

Indeed, with no substantial improvement of our morals and ethics, a more powerful godlike human species is a frightening thought.

We’ll be like the powerful but grievously flawed gods and goddesses of the mythic Greek pantheon — petty, petulant, selfish, jealous, lustful, vengeful, and murderous, unconstrained by notions of morality and the common good.

Just think of George Soros as a human-robot hybrid who can live forever . . . .

Wikipedia describes Ray Kurzweil, 67, as a secular Jew, an agnostic, and “a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements.” Determined to live longer, Kurzweil only recently cut down the number of supplement pills he takes each day from 250 to 150. He says in the future, everyone will live forever. A member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation cryonics company, Kurzweil has instructed that should he die, his body will be perfused with cryoprotectants, vitrified in liquid nitrogen, and stored at an Alcor facility in the hope that future medical technology will be able to repair his tissues and revive him.



As politicians hike up minimum wage, robots threaten to displace fast-food workers

CNBC reports that fast-fooder McDonald’s continues to tank.

The 6-month outlook for McDonald’s franchisees is at an all-time low, according to a survey by restaurant industry analyst Mark Kalinowski. Some 29 franchisees, who collectively own and operate 208 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States, were asked to give their 6-month forecast from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). The average response was 1.69, the lowest in the survey’s 12-year history. 

Previously, the lowest rating was 1.81, which was recorded just 3 months ago.

Those 29 franchisees said their same-store sales fell 2.3% in June—2 full percentage points worse than Wall Street expectations.

One franchisee said, “At least half of the operators in my region are on [the] verge of collapse. With minimum wage for fast food workers potentially increasing to incredibly high levels, we are facing a crisis situation.

Those minimum-wage workers should know that it won’t be long before employers turn to robots, instead of fork over ever higher wages.

Here’s a report by Dylan Love for Business Insider a year ago:

A company called Momentum Machines has built a robot that could radically change the fast-food industry and have some line cooks looking for new jobs.

The company’s robot can “slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediately before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the freshest burger possible.” The robot is “more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce ~360 hamburgers per hour.” That’s one burger every 10 seconds.

The next generation of the device will offer “custom meat grinds for every single customer. Want a patty with 1/3 pork and 2/3 bison ground to order? No problem.”

Momentum Machines cofounder Alexandros Vardakostas told Xconomy his “device isn’t meant to make employees more efficient. It’s meant to completely obviate them.” Indeed, marketing copy on the company’s site reads that their automaton “does everything employees can do, except better.” […]

Here’s a schematic of what the burger-bot looks like and how it works. It occupies 24 square feet, so it’s much smaller than most assembly-line fast-food operations. It boasts “gourmet cooking methods never before used in a fast food restaurant” and will even deposit your completed burger into a bag. It’s a veritable Gutenberg printing press for hamburgers.

fast food robot
Meanwhile, a robot’s been built which shows a glimmer of self-awareness.

Duncan Geere reports for techradar, July 16, 2015, that roboticists at the Ransselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have built a trio of robots that were put through a variation of the classic ‘wise men puzzle’ test of self-awareness – and at least one of them passed.

Two of the three robots were prevented from talking, then all three were asked which one was still able to speak. All attempt to say “I don’t know,” but only one robot succeeds. When that robot hears its own voice, it understands that it was not silenced, and says, “Sorry, I know now.”

It might sound a pretty simple task for a human, but it’s not for a robot. The bot must listen to and understand the question, then hears its own voice saying “I don’t know” and recognize it as distinct from another robot’s voice, then connect that with the original question to conclude that it hadn’t been silenced.

In a new interview in The Observer, futurist and Artificial Intelligence developer Ray Kurzweil predicts that robots/computers will surpass human intelligence in just 14 years. By the year 2029, computers will not only be able to do all the things that humans do, including learning from experience and making jokes, they will also be capable of outsmarting us.

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