A Fireside Chat with Ray Kurzweil

On June 4th, I had the opportunity to host a ‘Fireside Chat’ with Ray Kurzweil at Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View (see the video recording here). The Chat focused on Ray’s predictions for the Singularity, his view on the current state of AI, and the potential economic and societal impact of accelerating technologies.

As a brief background, Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS selected him as one of the “sixteen revolutionaries who made America.”

Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, 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.

Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he recently received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in the field of music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.

Ray has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near (2005) and How To Create A Mind (2012). He is a Director of Engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.

This Talk was presented for Google’s Singularity Network.

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