The Age of Spiritual Machines
The Age of Spiritual Machines is a non-fiction book by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil about artificial intelligence and the future course of humanity. First published in hardcover on January 1, 1999 by Viking, it has received attention from The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and The Atlantic. In the book Kurzweil outlines his vision for. Kurzweil believes evolution provides evidence that humans will one day create machines more intelligent than they are, he presents his law of accelerating returns to explain why "key events" happen more as time marches on. It explains why the computational capacity of computers is increasing exponentially. Kurzweil writes. Kurzweil predicts machines with human-level intelligence will be available from affordable computing devices within a couple of decades, revolutionizing most aspects of life, he says nanotechnology will augment our bodies and cure cancer as humans connect to computers via direct neural interfaces or live full-time in virtual reality.
Kurzweil predicts the machines "will appear to have their own free will" and "spiritual experiences". He says humans will live forever as humanity and its machinery become one and the same, he predicts that intelligence will expand outward from earth until it grows powerful enough to influence the fate of the universe. Reviewers appreciated Kurzweil's track record with predictions, his ability to extrapolate technology trends, his clear explanations. However, there was disagreement on. Philosophers John Searle and Colin McGinn insist that computation alone cannot create a conscious machine. Searle deploys a variant of his well-known Chinese room argument, this time tailored to computers playing chess, a topic Kurzweil covers. Searle writes that computers can only manipulate symbols which are meaningless to them, an assertion which if true subverts much of the vision of the book. Ray Kurzweil is serial entrepreneur; when The Age of Spiritual Machines was published he had started four companies: Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. which created optical character recognition and image scanning technology to assist the blind, Kurzweil Music Systems, which developed music synthesizers with high quality emulation of real instruments, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, which created speech recognition technology, Kurzweil Educational Systems, which made print-to-speech reading technology.
Critics say predictions from his previous book The Age of Intelligent Machines "have come true" and "anticipated with uncanny accuracy most of the key computer developments" of the 1990s. After this book was published he went on to expand upon its ideas in a follow-on book The Singularity is Near. Today Ray Kurzweil works at Google where he is attempting to "create a useful AI that will make all of us smarter". Kurzweil opens by explaining that the frequency of universe-wide events has been slowing down since the big bang while evolution has been reaching important milestones at an increasing pace; this is not a paradox, he writes, entropy is increasing overall, but local pockets of increasing order are flourishing. Kurzweil explains how biological evolution leads to technology which leads to computation which leads to Moore's law. Kurzweil unveils several laws of his own related to this progression, leading up to his law of accelerating returns which says time speeds up as order increases, he believes Moore's law will end "by the year 2020" but that the law of accelerating returns mandates progress will continue to accelerate, therefore some replacement technology will be discovered or perfected to carry on the exponential growth.
As in The Age of Intelligent Machines Kurzweil argues here that evolution has an intelligence quotient just greater than zero. He says it is not higher than that because evolution operates so and intelligence is a function of time. Kurzweil explains that humans are far more intelligent than evolution, based on what we have created in the last few thousand years, that in turn our creations will soon be more intelligent than us; the law of accelerating returns predicts this will happen within decades, Kurzweil reveals. Kurzweil introduces several thought experiments related to brain implants and brain scanning, he tackles the mystery of how self-awareness and consciousness can arise from mere matter, but without resolution. Based on his Unitarian religious education Kurzweil feels "all of these views are correct when viewed together, but insufficient when viewed one at a time" while at the same time admitting this is "contradictory and makes little sense". Kurzweil defines the spiritual experience as "a feeling of transcending one's everyday physical and mortal bounds to sense a deeper reality".
He elaborates that "just being—experiencing, being conscious—is spiritual, reflects the essence of spirituality". In the future, Kurzweil believes, computers will "claim to be conscious, thus to be spiritual" and concludes "twenty-first-century machines" will go to church and pray to connect with this spirituality. Kurzweil says Alan Turing's 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence launched the field of artificial intelligence, he admits that early progress in the field led to wild predictions of future successes which did not materialize. Kurzweil feels intelligence is the "ability to
Amy Webb is an American futurist and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute. She is professor of strategic foresight at New York University's Stern School of Business, was a 2014-15 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Webb was raised in East Chicago, Indiana, she earned a bachelor's degree in political science and game theory from Indiana University in 1997. She moved to rural Japan, where she worked as an English teacher, she went on to earn a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2001. Webb started her career as a journalist covering technology and economics, she was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, relocated to Hong Kong to work as a staff reporter with Newsweek, covering emerging technologies. In 2006, Webb founded the a management consulting firm. Since 2007, Webb has authored the Future Today Institute's annual Tech Trend Report, an account of the future of technologies and their impact on society. In 2011, she co-founded Spark Camp, an invite-only leadership conference focused on the future of business and society.
Webb is a 2017-18 delegate in the US-Japan Leadership Program and was a delegate on the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology and international diplomacy. She was a futurist consultant for the 2018 Hulu television series The First, about a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. Forbes named her one of the Women Changing the World. In 2012, she was named one of Columbia Journalism Review's 20 women to watch, she was named to the 2017 Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 people most to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led, won the 2017 Thinkers50 RADAR Award. She was on the expert panel at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival in 2018, where she spoke about the growing role of artificial intelligence in daily lives, she was on a panel of AI experts moderated by Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson at the World Economic Forum's 2019 conference in Davos, where she argued that there is "misplaced optimism" about AI technology, resulting from ignoring the fact that humans are in charge of its development and use.
She has recommended the formation of a Global Alliance on Intelligence Augmentation, a central organization that would develop standards for what should be automated when it comes to data collection and sharing, to visualize a future with more intelligent systems. Webb's memoir Data, A Love Story was published by Dutton in 2013; the book chronicles Webb's attempts at online dating. Meeting with failure, Webb collected and analyzed data to game online dating. Booklist called the book "clever and inventive", Publishers Weekly deemed it an "insightful, funny journey through online dating." Webb's 2013 TED Talk about Data, A Love Story has been translated into 32 languages and has been viewed more than 6.7 million times. In 2015, Harvard University published How To Make J-School Matter, Webb's research on the challenges facing journalism educators and the future of journalism. Webb's book The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream was published by PublicAffairs on December 6, 2016.
In the book she describes her methodology for strategic foresight and examines how weak signals become accepted. It was selected as one of Fast Company's Best Business Books of 2016 and as one of Amazon's Best Books of December 2016, it was a Washington Post bestseller, has been translated into Japanese and Chinese. Webb's book The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity was published by PublicAffairs on March 5, 2019. In the book, she predicts best- and worst-case scenarios about artificial intelligence over the next 50 years, she uses the term G-MAFIA, which she coined, to refer to the large American publicly traded technology companies Google, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Apple. She says that the G-MAFIA and the Chinese companies Baidu and Tencent have the most control over the future of AI, explains the importance of considering the best interests of humanity when it comes to AI. Excerpts of The Big Nine were published in Fast Company, Inc. and Business Insider.
VentureBeat called the book "an accessible and constructive imagining of what could come next." Webb is Jewish. She lives in Baltimore, with her husband and their daughter. Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match, Dutton, 2013, ISBN 0-142-18045-9. How To Make J-School Matter, Nieman, 2015; the Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream, New York City, PublicAffairs, 2016, ISBN 1-541-78823-0. The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, New York City, PublicAffairs, 2019, ISBN 978-1541773752. Official website Future Today Institute website
Strategic foresight is a planning-oriented discipline related to futures studies, the study of the future. In a business context, a more action-oriented approach has become well known as corporate foresight. Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. Strategic foresight happens when any planner uses scanned inputs, alternative futures exploration and feedback to produce or alter plans and actions of the organization. Scenario planning plays a prominent role in strategic foresight; the flowchart to the right provides a process for classifying a phenomena as a scenario in the intuitive logics tradition and differentiates it from many other techniques and approaches to planning. Strategic planning always includes analysis, but it may or may not involve serious foresight on the way to developing a plan, or taking an action. A consideration of possible futures and of probable futures is important to developing a preferred future the simple mental plans made prior to taking an action.
It is the job of the strategic foresight professional to make sure appropriately diverse and relevant inputs and alternatives are considered in the analysis, decision making and planning processes, that plans are appropriately communicated and that when actions are taken, appropriate feedback occurs and after action reviews take place to improve the foresight process. Strategic foresight is a growing practice in corporate foresight in large companies, its use is growing in government and non-profit organisations. In recent years and managers have elaborated more on the links between foresight and innovation management. Strategic foresight can be practiced at multiple levels, including: Personal – "Personal and professional goal-setting and action planning" Organizational – "Carrying out tomorrows' business better" Social – "Moving toward the next civilisation – the one that lies beyond the current hegemony of techno/industrial/capitalist interests" "Strategic foresight is the ability to create and maintain a high-quality and functional forward view, to use the insights arising in useful organisational ways.
For example to detect adverse conditions, guide policy, shape strategy, to explore new markets and services. It represents a fusion of futures methods with those of strategic management". Chain-linked model Corporate foresight Forecasting Foresight Futurology Optimism bias Reference class forecasting Strategic Foresight Group Technology forecasting Technology scouting GLOGO – Global Governance System for strategic foresight at think tank Gold Mercury International Towards Critical Foresight Blog on corporate foresight and organizational future orientation How to make sense of your environment through strategic analysis Future Screening research project, a practical framework for advancing strategic corporate foresight Group in Xing: Strategic Foresight – Strategische Frühaufklärung The Importance of Strategic Alignment in the Execution Process The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University The Strategic Foresight and Innovation group on LinkedIn The Foresight, Education & Research Network "FERN" is a global community of foresight students, faculty and advocates of graduate foresight education and research.
Global Foresight Org lists communities, degree programs, people, employers and educational materials that help advance our global foresight culture. It can be edited by anyone. Association of Professional Futurists A global organization that advances strategic foresight through its credentialed members. Technological Forecasting and Social Change Futures Futures & Foresight Science Foresight Journal of Futures Studies European Conference on Strategic Foresight
Fast Company is a monthly American business magazine published in print and online that focuses on technology and design. It publishes eight print issues per year. Fast Company was launched in November 1995 by Alan Webber and Bill Taylor, two former Harvard Business Review editors, publisher Mortimer Zuckerman; the publication's early competitors included Business 2.0 and The Industry Standard. In 1997, Fast Company created an online social network, the "Company of Friends" which spawned a number of groups that began meeting in person. At one point the Company of Friends had over 40,000 members in 120 cities, although by 2003 that number had declined to 8,000. In 2000, Zuckerman sold Fast Company to Gruner + Jahr, majority owned by media giant Bertelsmann, for $550 million. Just as the sale was completed, the collapse of the dot-com bubble burst, leading to significant losses and a decline in circulation. Webber and Taylor left the magazine two years in 2002, John A. Byrne a senior writer and former management editor with BusinessWeek, was brought in as the new editor.
Under Byrne, the magazine won its first Gerald Loeb Award, the most prestigious honor in business journalism. But the magazine could not reverse its financial decline in the wake of the dot-com bust. Although the magazine was not about Internet commerce, advertising pages continued to drop until they were one-third the 2000 numbers. In 2005, Gruner + Jahr put the magazine, as well as Inc. magazine, up for sale. Through a contact, Byrne helped guide him through the sale. A bidding war ensued, pitting The Economist against Mansueto's company Mansueto Ventures. Mansueto, the only bidder who promised to keep Fast Company alive won the contest, buying both magazine titles for $35 million. Under former editor-in-chief Robert Safian, Fast Company was named by the American Society of Magazine Editors as the magazine of the year in 2014. Stephanie Mehta was named editor-in-chief in February 2018, having worked at Vanity Fair, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. Fast Company is headquartered in New York, New York.
Launched in 1995, FastCompany.com covers leadership and innovation in business and social issues and marketing, through its Co. Design site, the intersection of business and design, from architecture to electronics, consumer products to fashion. Fast Company previously operated sites called Co. Labs, Co. Exist, Co. Create. Co. Exist and Co. Create were rebranded as Ideas and Entertainment sections in 2017. Co. Labs was shut down in early 2015. Fast Company operates a number of franchises such as "Most Innovative Companies", "World Changing Ideas", "Innovation By Design", "Most Creative People". For their Most Innovative Companies feature, Fast Company assesses thousands of businesses to create a list of 50 companies it considers the most innovative; the Most Creative People in Business is a list of 100 people from different industries. The Fast Company Innovation Festival is an event hosted in New York City each year since 2015. In 2017, 10,000 attendees attended keynotes and Fast Tracks hosted in corporate offices centered on design, social good, leadership and creativity.
Peter Schwartz (futurist)
Peter Schwartz is an American futurist, author, co-founder of the Global Business Network, a corporate strategy firm, specializing in future-think and scenario planning. As of October 2011, he has served as Senior Vice President Strategic Planning for Salesforce.com. Schwartz was born in 1946 to Klara and Benjamin Schwartz, Hungarian Jews, in concentration camps and were living in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany; the family soon moved to Norway. At this point, they emigrated to America as stateless aliens on the S/S Stavangarfjord, arriving at the Port of New York in April 1951 and like nearly all displaced persons were taken to Ellis Island, they found a new home in Camden County, New Jersey, Schwartz graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 1964. He won a National Merit scholarship, was able to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on full scholarship, he served as RPI's May commencement speaker for the class of 2009. According to Stewart Brand, Schwartz was a member of Students for a Democratic Society.
After graduating in 1968 with a B. S. in aeronautical engineering, Schwartz taught high school in Philadelphia and worked in the innovative student housing program at UC Davis. In 1972 he became an employee at the Stanford Research Institute, where he began to develop his unique method of scenario planning, rose to director of the Strategic Environment Center. In 1982, he moved to London to work for Royal Dutch Shell as head of scenario planning. In 1985, while giving a speech at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory of UC Berkeley, he met his future wife, Cathleen Gross, he moved to live with her in Berkeley, California, in 1987. They married and had one child, Benjamin "Books" Schwartz, born in 1990. Schwartz has written several books, on a variety of future-oriented topics, his first book, The Art of the Long View is considered by many to be the seminal publication on scenario planning, was voted the best all time book on the future by the Association of Professional Futurists and is used as a textbook by many business schools.
Inevitable Surprises is a look at the forces at play in today's world, how they will continue to affect the world. He wrote The Long Boom with co-authors Peter Leyden and Joel Hyatt, a book about the future of the global economy, his book When Good Companies Do Bad Things, is an argument for corporate responsibility in an age of corruption. China's Futures, is a vision of several different potential futures for China, he co-authored with Doug Randall the Pentagon's An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security. He has worked as a consultant on several movies, including Minority Report, Deep Impact and WarGames, he serves on the board of directors for the Long Now Foundation. He serves in the boards of the Center for a New American Security and the Asia Internet Coalition In 2007, Schwartz moderated a forum titled "The Impact of Web 2.0 and Emerging Social Network Models" as part of the World Economic Forum in Davos. He serves on the Research Innovation and Enterprise Council of Singapore and in 2014 was appointed an International Distinguished Fellow of the Prime Minister's Office.
He was voted into the Futurists hall of fame by the Association of Professional Futurists in 2012. Additionally, Schwartz is a member of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council. Schwartz founded the Global Business Network in 1988 in his Berkeley basement with several close friends including Napier Collyns, Jay Ogilvy and Stewart Brand. Schwartz called GBN an “information hunting and gathering company”, describes it as a high level networking and corporate research agency. In 2001, it was bought by premier strategy consulting firm the Monitor Group, although it continued to operate as a distinct entity; the Monitor Group was acquired by Deloitte in 2013 which elected to shut down GBN. He left the company in October 2011, to work at Salesforce.com as Senior Vice President Strategic Planning. Peter Schwartz in Global Business Network Peter Schwartz in Monitor Talent Peter Schwartz in the Long Now Peter Schwartz Author Profile
Twitter is an American online news and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Tweets were restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, this limit was doubled for all languages except Chinese and Korean. Registered users can post and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service or its mobile-device application software. Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco and has more than 25 offices around the world. Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and launched in July of that year; the service gained worldwide popularity. In 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day, the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day. In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet"; as of 2018, Twitter had more than 321 million monthly active users.
Since 2015 Twitter has been a hotbed of debates and news covering politics of the United States. During the 2016 U. S. presidential election, Twitter was the largest source of breaking news on the day, with 40 million election-related tweets sent by 10:00 p.m. that day. It was a source of information on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and the 2018 United States midterm elections. Twitter's origins lie in a "daylong brainstorming session" held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey an undergraduate student at New York University, introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group; the original project code name for the service was twttr, an idea that Williams ascribed to Noah Glass, inspired by Flickr and the five-character length of American SMS short codes. The decision was partly due to the fact that the domain twitter.com was in use, it was six months after the launch of twttr that the crew purchased the domain and changed the name of the service to Twitter.
The developers considered "10958" as a short code, but changed it to "40404" for "ease of use and memorability". Work on the project started on March 21, 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 9:50 p.m. Pacific Standard Time: "just setting up my twttr". Dorsey has explained the origin of the "Twitter" title:...we came across the word'twitter', it was just perfect. The definition was'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and'chirps from birds', and that's what the product was. The first Twitter prototype, developed by Dorsey and contractor Florian Weber, was used as an internal service for Odeo employees and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15, 2006. In October 2006, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and other members of Odeo formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo, together with its assets — including Odeo.com and Twitter.com — from the investors and shareholders. Williams fired Glass, silent about his part in Twitter's startup until 2011. Twitter spun off into its own company in April 2007.
Williams provided insight into the ambiguity that defined this early period in a 2013 interview: With Twitter, it wasn't clear what it was. They called it a social network, they called it microblogging, but it was hard to define, because it didn't replace anything. There was this path of discovery with something like that, where over time you figure out what it is. Twitter changed from what we thought it was in the beginning, which we described as status updates and a social utility, it is that, in part, but the insight we came to was Twitter was more of an information network than it is a social network. The tipping point for Twitter's popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive conference. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. "The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways streaming Twitter messages," remarked Newsweek's Steven Levy. "Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters.
Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, the bloggers in attendance touted it." Reaction at the conference was positive. Blogger Scott Beale said. Social software researcher danah boyd said. Twitter staff received the festival's Web Award prize with the remark "we'd like to thank you in 140 characters or less, and we just did!"The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010. By late November 2010, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts' communal account, @NASA_Astronauts. NASA has hosted over 25 "tweetups", events that provide guests with VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers with the goal of leveraging participants' social networks to further the outreach goals of NASA. In August 2010, the company appointed Adam Bain from News Corp.'s Fox Audience Network as president of revenue. The company experienced rapid initial growth, it had 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007.
This grew to 100 million tweets posted per quarter in 2008. In February 2010, Twitter users were sending 50 million tweets per day. By March 2010, the company recorded over 70,000 registered applications; as of June 2010, about 65 million tweets were posted each day, equaling about 750 tweets sent each second, according to Twitter. As of March 2011, about 140 million tweets posted daily; as noted on Compete.com, Twitter moved up to the third-highest-ranking social networking site
Thomas Frey is an American futurist and celebrity speaker. Frey is based at the Westminster, Colorado DaVinci Institute, which he founded and served as executive director and senior futurist. Prior to this, he was an engineer with IBM for fifteen years, he is part of the celebrity speaking circuit, having shared billing with the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Tom Peters and Jack Welch. Most of his work is in the United States, speaking to audiences of high-level government officials such as those of NASA, executives of Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and AT&T, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Capital One, Bell Canada, Ford Motor Company and more, he has travelled to India and Mexico to present. Frey has been interviewed in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, Times of India, USA Today, U. S. News & World Report, The Futurist Magazine, Morning Calm, ColoradoBiz Magazine, Rocky Mountain News, more. At the Institute, he works to develop original research studies in areas not addressed by futurists.
He has predicted the end of printed books, but not the library. Frey is the author of the 2011 book Communicating with the Future