Ray Kurzweil


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Handelspolitische Gespräche zwischen Trump und Xi: Glück im Unglück?

Sven Kohrs, is digging into its past with an integrity, fearlessness, and interest in the actual evidence that frankly puts most historians to shame. This symposium showcased some of the fruits of that research, of which I hope there will be more to come. Several interesting articles on the developing debate appeared in in Germany from Otto Köhler and Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti — for more see the "Media" tab.

Reichstag Fire Debate Shortly after getting tenure I started working on a project on the Reichstag fire. This is not a coincidence: The question of who set fire to the Reichstag on the night of February 27, , is a controversial subject.

Absurdly so, perhaps; it is hard not to feel that the intensity of the rancor is inversely proportional to its significance. This at any rate is what I thought when I began the project, indeed I began with the question of why there should be such a bitter controversy over this seemingly minor issue. I believe in the course of my work I found the answer: This is part of the case I advance in my book Burning the Reichstag: Oxford University Press, I believe the story also tells us something important about the way German history has been written since the Second World War.

Part two is that it is probable — though I would not claim certain — that the main culprit was the Nazi storm trooper Hans Georg Gewehr, probably assisted by other SA men. Some senior scholars have been, perhaps surprisingly, receptive to this argument which runs counter to the case advanced not only by the rather shady Fritz Tobias, but the eminent German historian Hans Mommsen. No less a figure than Sir Ian Kershaw, for instance, wrote that I had. For me, Hermann Graml hit the nail on the head with his comment, quoted on p.

In my view, therefore, Professor Hett goes too far in claiming on the following page that 'to control the narrative of the fire is to control the narrative of Nazism itself'.

For any who want to trace these issues through the years, the courts, and the way in which some key figures changed their testimony to suit the needs of the moment and fit into the changing context of West German politics, here is the full account. Well-written, most carefully researched, and presented in great detail, here is the real story that skeptics will find difficult to refute. Jonathan Sperber, whose superb work I first encountered in Rhineland Radicals when I was a graduate student, and who most recently of course is the author of Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life , wrote: The Cambridge historian Brendan Simms, a very wide-ranging scholar who has written on contemporary international relations, 19th century German history, and is now at work on a project on Hitler as strategist, delivered a thoughtful and fair-minded critique in the relatively new British magazine Standpoint , April Simms accepted much of what I had to say about the intellectual and historiographical significance of the case, but differed somewhat on the attribution of responsibility, noting the problem of why the Nazis should have involved van der Lubbe.

Simms also thought I should have considered Communist responsibility. You can find his review here: My response to his comments can be quickly stated: As for the Communists: Actually when I had the opportunity to talk to Fritz Tobias, I tried the Communist theory out on him.

Admittedly I was really only curious whether his anti-Communism might possibly trump his attachment to his single culprit theory.

This was the one occasion in our several long conversations that Tobias got really angry with me. Admittedly I had never noticed that agreeing with Hitler was much of a disqualifier for Tobias. At any rate I had the answer to my question. One can see this tendency with Hans Mommsen, for instance. Mommsen has maintained this attitude with respect to my book also. Then he asked me to send him the book Mommsen to the author, November 28, I sent him the book and have, to date, not heard more from him.

Hans Mommsen, it need hardly be said, is a very distinguished historian who for 50 years has had to endure a good deal of unpleasant polemical attack from opponents in this particular debate.

It would be expecting a lot to expect him to change his mind now; few among us are capable of the serene objectivity that Sir Ian Kershaw has demonstrated in this question.

Maybe that day will come, too hint to my graduate students: At any rate, there are other historians who have struggled to uphold the single culprit theory while displaying the same kind of utter disinterest in the evidence, and who have much less excuse than does Mommsen for defending this particular rampart. People who have not spent any time actually working on the archival source base for the Reichstag fire tend to speak well of a book by the German journalist and historian Sven Felix Kellerhoff Der Reichstagsbrand.

Of those document bundles of which Mommsen spoke — more like if you count the full trial transcript which is part of the collection — Kellerhoff found it necessary to consult only 26, at least according to his source notes. Actually the Federal Archives in Berlin seems to be the only such place he visited otherwise, under unpublished sources, he lists only his own collection and that of Klaus Wiegrefe, a Spiegel journalist who could hardly be called neutral in this matter.

I could go on. Nonetheless Kellerhoff has read Tobias and is quite certain that Tobias was correct. His book runs to pages, including source notes. This would be an impressive and skillful act of writing with compression, if the book actually contained any information. Perhaps because you think you know the answer already? There is clearly something here I have failed to understand. Which brings us to Richard J. Evans of course is one of the most prominent historians of Nazi Germany, and of modern Germany altogether we might be in danger of forgetting these days that he started out as a historian of the Bismarckian and Wilhelmine Reich.

In this trial, in the book Evans wrote about it Lying About Hitler , and in his earlier In Defense of History , Evans has been a fierce advocate of the old-fashioned virtues of scrupulously evidence-based history which, pace the postmodernists, may aspire to uncover truths about past events in the world beyond mutually referential texts.

I admire his stance and his books, have been strongly influenced by them not least in this particular project , and use them regularly in my teaching. I reviewed his third volume on the Third Reich very favorably for the Washington Post. But in this case he has sided with the pocket David Irving indeed, the friend of David Irving Fritz Tobias, another falsifier of the historical record with a dubious political agenda. I contend that to do this Evans, much more than any of my other critics, has to completely ignore or misstate the evidence as I set it out in the book.

See what you think. Since this is my web page, and since the LRB would not allow me any further ink, even just to include a link to this discussion, there is quite a bit more that could be said about Evans.

The basic problem is that Evans has a lot of trouble getting the facts and the arguments straight. Admittedly this is an old problem. His accounts of the Reichstag fire in his books Rituals of Retribution and the Coming of the Third Reich are filled with minor inaccuracies.

As I was careful to point out in my book — one of the many qualifications that Evans does not acknowledge — we all make minor mistakes, and most of them do not matter much. But that article actually made no mention of the connection between the Reichstag fire decree and earlier emergency decrees. In my footnote I suggested that Evans might have confused it with a later and much longer article by Bahar, Kugel and Jürgen Schmädeke — which, however, devoted only one of its fifty or so pages to the emergency decree.

Or perhaps he was thinking of the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte article by Thomas Raithel and Irene Streng, which did stress the relationship between the Reichstag Fire Decree and Weimar precedents, but which was careful not to take a position on the Reichstag fire itself. Why does this point matter? This is exactly the problem with his approach to my book as well.

Fritz Tobias was the author of the most important and influential book on the Reichstag fire, published in as Der Reichstagsbrand: Legende und Wirklichkeit , subsequently in English — but shortened by half and considerably sanitized — as The Reichstag Fire. Tobias was not a professional historian. Just about anything that a historian might do wrong in researching and writing a book, and in trying to push his conclusions on the wider world — including some things you have probably not even thought of — Tobias did.

Maybe for an eventuelle future edition, if Evans is game. Anyway, there are a number of problems with this. This was not the view of the Party itself. Kopf, it turns out, profited mightily from taking over a confiscated Jewish business in the late s. After he expanded to taking over confiscated assets in Poland. In he sold gravestones from a Jewish cemetery for use as paving stones. Might one expect that an administration led by such a man would be fearless in its confrontation with the Nazi past?

Bennemann was the minister for whom Tobias directly worked. As just one small example among many: This is one of the many key points Evans does not want to see. Krausnick had to make a pragmatic choice for his Institute given the politics of the time; I spend a lot of time pointing out his contributions to the literature on Nazism and the risks and costs to him of his courage in pursuing public enlightenment see pp. I am not sure if Evans simply skipped or forgot these passages, or else deliberately does not want to record the point.

I am having difficulty thinking of any other possible explanation for what he wrote. I do know from my visits to him, and from our correspondence up to his death, that Tobias remained mentally perfectly sharp until the end. Kurzweil has joined the Alcor Life Extension Foundation , a cryonics company. In the event of his declared death, Kurzweil plans to 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.

Kurzweil is agnostic about the existence of a soul. I would say, 'Not yet. Kurzweil married Sonya Rosenwald Kurzweil in and has two children. Her research interests and publications are in the area of psychotherapy practice. Kurzweil also serves as an active Overseer at Boston Children's Museum. He has a son, Ethan Kurzweil, who is a venture capitalist, [34] and a daughter, Amy Kurzweil, [35] who is a writer and cartoonist. Kurzweil is a cousin of writer Allen Kurzweil. Inventing is a lot like surfing: For the past several decades, Kurzweil's most effective and common approach to doing creative work has been conducted during his lucid dreamlike state which immediately precedes his awakening state.

He claims to have constructed inventions, solved difficult problems, such as algorithmic, business strategy, organizational, and interpersonal problems, and written speeches in this state. Kurzweil's first book, The Age of Intelligent Machines , was published in The nonfiction work discusses the history of computer artificial intelligence AI and forecasts future developments.

Other experts in the field of AI contribute heavily to the work in the form of essays. The book's main idea is that high levels of fat intake are the cause of many health disorders common in the U. In , Kurzweil published The Age of Spiritual Machines , which further elucidates his theories regarding the future of technology, which themselves stem from his analysis of long-term trends in biological and technological evolution.

Much emphasis is on the likely course of AI development, along with the future of computer architecture. Kurzweil's next book, published in , returned to human health and nutrition.

Live Long Enough to Live Forever was co-authored by Terry Grossman , a medical doctor and specialist in alternative medicine. Kurzweil's book, How to Create a Mind: Kurzweil's latest book and first fiction novel, Danielle: Chronicles of a Superheroine , follows a young girl who uses her intelligence and the help of her friends to tackle real-world problems.

The book is set to release in January Part fiction, part non-fiction, he interviews 20 big thinkers like Marvin Minsky , plus there is a B-line narrative story that illustrates some of the ideas, where a computer avatar Ramona saves the world from self-replicating microscopic robots.

In addition to his movie, an independent, feature-length documentary was made about Kurzweil, his life, and his ideas, called Transcendent Man. Premiered in at the Tribeca Film Festival , Transcendent Man documents Kurzweil's quest to reveal mankind's ultimate destiny and explores many of the ideas found in his New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity Is Near , including his concept exponential growth, radical life expansion, and how we will transcend our biology.

The Ptolemys documented Kurzweil's stated goal of bringing back his late father using AI. The film also features critics who argue against Kurzweil's predictions. Kurzweil frequently comments on the application of cell-size nanotechnology to the workings of the human brain and how this could be applied to building AI. While being interviewed for a February issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Kurzweil expressed a desire to construct a genetic copy of his late father, Fredric Kurzweil, from DNA within his grave site.

This feat would be achieved by exhumation and extraction of DNA, constructing a clone of Fredric and retrieving memories and recollections—from Ray's mind—of his father. Kurzweil kept all of his father's records, notes, and pictures in order to maintain as much of his father as he could. Ray is known for taking over pills a day, meant to reprogram his biochemistry.

This, according to Ray, is only a precursor to the devices at the nano scale that will eventually replace a blood-cell, self updating of specific pathogens to improve the immune system. In his book The Age of Spiritual Machines , Kurzweil proposed "The Law of Accelerating Returns", according to which the rate of change in a wide variety of evolutionary systems including the growth of technologies tends to increase exponentially.

Kurzweil was working with the Army Science Board in to develop a rapid response system to deal with the possible abuse of biotechnology. He suggested that the same technologies that are empowering us to reprogram biology away from cancer and heart disease could be used by a bioterrorist to reprogram a biological virus to be more deadly, communicable, and stealthy. However, he suggests that we have the scientific tools to successfully defend against these attacks, similar to the way we defend against computer software viruses.

He has testified before Congress on the subject of nanotechnology , advocating that nanotechnology has the potential to solve serious global problems such as poverty, disease, and climate change. In media appearances, Kurzweil has stressed the extreme potential dangers of nanotechnology [16] but argues that in practice, progress cannot be stopped because that would require a totalitarian system, and any attempt to do so would drive dangerous technologies underground and deprive responsible scientists of the tools needed for defense.

He suggests that the proper place of regulation is to ensure that technological progress proceeds safely and quickly, but does not deprive the world of profound benefits.

He stated, "To avoid dangers such as unrestrained nanobot replication, we need relinquishment at the right level and to place our highest priority on the continuing advance of defensive technologies, staying ahead of destructive technologies.

An overall strategy should include a streamlined regulatory process, a global program of monitoring for unknown or evolving biological pathogens, temporary moratoriums, raising public awareness, international cooperation, software reconnaissance, and fostering values of liberty, tolerance, and respect for knowledge and diversity.

Kurzweil admits that he cared little for his health until age 35, when he was found to suffer from a glucose intolerance , an early form of type II diabetes a major risk factor for heart disease.

Kurzweil then found a doctor Terry Grossman , M. Kurzweil was ingesting " supplements, eight to 10 glasses of alkaline water and 10 cups of green tea " every day and drinking several glasses of red wine a week in an effort to "reprogram" his biochemistry.

Kurzweil has made a number of bold claims for his health regimen. In his book The Singularity Is Near, he claimed that he brought his cholesterol level down from the high s to , raised his HDL high-density lipoprotein from below 30 to 55, and lowered his homocysteine from an unhealthy 11 to a much safer 6.

He also claimed that his C-reactive protein "and all of my other indexes for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions are at ideal levels. The Singularity Is Near, p. He has written three books on the subjects of nutrition, health, and immortality: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever. In all, he recommends that other people emulate his health practices to the best of their abilities.

Kurzweil and his current "anti-aging" doctor, Terry Grossman , now have two websites promoting their first and second book. Kurzweil asserts that in the future, everyone will live forever.

Among other things, he has supported the SENS Research Foundation 's approach to finding a way to repair aging damage, and has encouraged the general public to hasten their research by donating.

According to Kurzweil, technologists will be creating synthetic neocortexes based on the operating principles of the human neocortex with the primary purpose of extending our own neocortexes. He claims to believe that the neocortex of an adult human consists of approximately million pattern recognizers.

He draws on the commonly accepted belief that the primary anatomical difference between humans and other primates that allowed for superior intellectual abilities was the evolution of a larger neocortex. He claims that the six-layered neocortex deals with increasing abstraction from one layer to the next. He says that at the low levels, the neocortex may seem cold and mechanical because it can only make simple decisions, but at the higher levels of the hierarchy, the neocortex is likely to be dealing with concepts like being funny, being sexy, expressing a loving sentiment, creating a poem or understanding a poem, etc.

He claims to believe that these higher levels of the human neocortex were the enabling factors to permit the human development of language, technology, art, and science. He stated, "If the quantitative improvement from primates to humans with the big forehead was the enabling factor to allow for language, technology, art, and science, what kind of qualitative leap can we make with another quantitative increase?

Why not go from million pattern recognizers to a billion? Kurzweil's standing as a futurist and transhumanist has led to his involvement in several singularity-themed organizations.

The University's self-described mission is to "assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity's grand challenges".

Using Vernor Vinge's Singularity concept as a foundation, the university offered its first nine-week graduate program to 40 students in June, Kurzweil's first book, The Age of Intelligent Machines , presented his ideas about the future. It was written from to and published in Building on Ithiel de Sola Pool 's "Technologies of Freedom" , Kurzweil claims to have forecast the dissolution of the Soviet Union due to new technologies such as cellular phones and fax machines disempowering authoritarian governments by removing state control over the flow of information.

Perhaps most significantly, Kurzweil foresaw the explosive growth in worldwide Internet use that began in the s. At the time of the publication of The Age of Intelligent Machines , there were only 2. He also stated that the Internet would explode not only in the number of users but in content as well, eventually granting users access "to international networks of libraries, data bases, and information services".

Additionally, Kurzweil claims to have correctly foreseen that the preferred mode of Internet access would inevitably be through wireless systems, and he was also correct to estimate that the latter would become practical for widespread use in the early 21st century.

Of the total predictions, Kurzweil claims that were "entirely correct", 12 were "essentially correct", and 17 were "partially correct", and only 3 were "wrong".

Kurzweil's predictions for were mostly inaccurate, claims Forbes magazine. For example, Kurzweil predicted, "The majority of text is created using continuous speech recognition. In , Kurzweil published a second book titled The Age of Spiritual Machines , which goes into more depth explaining his futurist ideas.

The third and final part of the book is devoted to predictions over the coming century, from through In The Singularity Is Near he makes fewer concrete short-term predictions, but includes many longer-term visions. He states that with radical life extension will come radical life enhancement. He says he is confident that within 10 years we will have the option to spend some of our time in 3D virtual environments that appear just as real as real reality, but these will not yet be made possible via direct interaction with our nervous system.

Kurzweil says that a machine will pass the Turing test by , and that around , "the pace of change will be so astonishingly quick that we won't be able to keep up, unless we enhance our own intelligence by merging with the intelligent machines we are creating".

Kurzweil states that humans will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological intelligence that becomes increasingly dominated by its non-biological component. He stresses that "AI is not an intelligent invasion from Mars. These are brain extenders that we have created to expand our own mental reach. They are part of our civilization. They are part of who we are.

So over the next few decades our human-machine civilization will become increasingly dominated by its non-biological component. In Transcendent Man [13] Kurzweil states "We humans are going to start linking with each other and become a metaconnection we will all be connected and all be omnipresent, plugged into this global network that is connected to billions of people, and filled with data. In his singularity based documentary he is quoted saying "I think people are fooling themselves when they say they have accepted death".

In , Kurzweil said in an expert panel in the National Academy of Engineering that solar power will scale up to produce all the energy needs of Earth's people in 20 years. According to Kurzweil, we only need to capture 1 part in 10, of the energy from the Sun that hits Earth's surface to meet all of humanity's energy needs. Kurzweil was referred to as "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes [63] and as a "restless genius" [64] by The Wall Street Journal.

Although the idea of a technological singularity is a popular concept in science fiction, some authors such as Neal Stephenson [65] and Bruce Sterling have voiced skepticism about its real-world plausibility. Sterling expressed his views on the singularity scenario in a talk at the Long Now Foundation entitled The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole.

In the cover article of the December issue of IEEE Spectrum , John Rennie criticizes Kurzweil for several predictions that failed to become manifest by the originally predicted date.

On close examination, his clearest and most successful predictions often lack originality or profundity. And most of his predictions come with so many loopholes that they border on the unfalsifiable. Bill Joy , cofounder of Sun Microsystems , agrees with Kurzweil's timeline of future progress, but thinks that technologies such as AI, nanotechnology and advanced biotechnology will create a dystopian world. This proposition that we're heading to this point at which everything is going to be just unimaginably different—it's fundamentally, in my view, driven by a religious impulse.

And all of the frantic arm-waving can't obscure that fact for me. Some critics have argued more strongly against Kurzweil and his ideas. Myers has criticized Kurzweil's predictions as being based on " New Age spiritualism" rather than science and says that Kurzweil does not understand basic biology.

British philosopher John Gray argues that contemporary science is what magic was for ancient civilizations. It gives a sense of hope for those who are willing to do almost anything in order to achieve eternal life.

He quotes Kurzweil's Singularity as another example of a trend which has almost always been present in the history of mankind. The Brain Makers , a history of artificial intelligence written in by HP Newquist , noted that "Born with the same gift for self-promotion that was a character trait of people like P.

Barnum and Ed Feigenbaum , Kurzweil had no problems talking up his technical prowess. Ray Kurzweil was not noted for his understatement. In a paper, William D. Nordhaus of Yale University, takes an economic look at the impacts of an impending technological singularity.

Namely, in order to devote more resources to producing super computers we must decrease our production of non-information technology goods. Using a variety of econometric methods, Nordhaus runs six supply side tests and one demand side test to track the macroeconomic viability of such steep rises in information technology output.

Of the seven tests only two indicated that a Singularity was economically possible and both of those two predicted, at minimum, years before it would occur. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Ray Kurzwell. Queens , New York City , U. Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil. Biography portal Books portal Business and economics portal Film portal Information technology portal Software portal.