21st December 2003 - The Age of Spiritual Machines

It is rare to come across a book which inspires as much as "The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence" by Ray Kurzweil. In this book Kurzweil takes the reader through a journey from the beginning of times to the future 100 years from now; and through establishing trends as well as chaos he makes a convincing case that machines in the future will be able to behave in ways humans would consider spiritual.

Kurzweil states the law of time and chaos which is a combination of the law of increasing chaos and the law of accelerating returns; essentially that: in a process, the time interval between salient events expands or contracts along with the amount of chaos. Justifying these laws though exemplification and applying them to the exponential growth in computing, Kurzweil makes the case that artificial intelligence will be able to leap the traditional Turing test in convincing new ways. In other words, the evolution of computing power will generate more order in chaos, thus facilitate more salient events at an increasing pace; a new intelligence would emerge from these events.

Kurzweil’s walk through history is a great recap of significant events both in the universe and in technology; however his application of anticipated technologies in my mind is the most interesting. Kurzweil envisions intelligent systems influencing education, disabilities, communication, business and economics, politics and society –and not unimportantly art and philosophy. Obviously one would intuitively anticipate systems we know today to be more efficient, but consider having intelligent systems participate in the discussion about whether they posses a soul or not….!

Having worked with AI myself, I must say that this book sparked my old quest for creating an intelligent program; I will of course look into the specific examples provided by Kurzweil in the book, but reading the book in general also gave me some new inspiration on a less concrete yet powerful level.

- this book is a must read book if you like tampering with artificial intelligence ;-)

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Updated 2003-12-22

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The official homepage of Morten Middelfart and CALM. Computer Aided Leadership and Management (CALM) is an inspirational speculation on where mankind may be heading in the quest to leverage computer potentials for helping individuals and organizations to self-actualize their symbiotic potentials.

The time frame for this well-informed and provocative speculation on relatively near-term and more distant potentials is clearly within mankind's grasp. Dr. Middelfart argues persuasively that within the next one or two decades, symbiotic links with "intelligent machines" will surely leverage people's potentials, far beyond all human progress to date!

Altogether, a tour de force of well-informed contemporary insights and maturely reasoned speculation; affording possible stepping stones and a creative springboard for what may lie ahead. As has been said: "Man's reach should exceed his grasp; else what's a heaven for?”


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