Reaction to sections of The Age of Spiritual Machines by futurist Ray Kurzweil Essay

The author’s prediction that a supercomputer’s  intelligence would rise to a certain level that   surpasses  the human mind is absurd. For example  Toyota’s humanoid  needs a human being’s assistance to walk where he wants to. Second, the humanoid has no emotions nor consciousness. Only a human being has a soul or subconsciousness. And subconsciousness needs human intelligence. Although some  of the author’s  predictions have come true, there were those that too  futuristic that could be improbable to occur.

As of today, the supercomputer designed to play chess against a human being has been defeated by one of the world’s grandmasters. Although there were instances when the supercomputer  defeated the player ,  at the end of the series the human being came out victorious.

The author’s prediction is absurd because his idea of artificial intelligence is limitless. Of course we have governments that would limit applications of artificial intelligence when ethics would come into play. And  there  never would be  a time when  the machines’ total  artificial intelligence  could equal that of the human being. The author’s prediction that a  laptop’s  memory would equal that of a human  is also another idea not based on fact but on trends. But his idea is nonsense for a human brain is so complex that no amount of artificial intelligence could surpass it.

In his prologue, the author tells of machines rising or improving themselves to surpass that of a man’s. He predicts the production of  machines that don’t need moving devices for  memory discs. Some of his predictions  are now existing, like   MP3s,  USBs  or flash discs  that do not have rotating devices  but only  chips to function.

Although there are computers that would engage a human being into some small talk, which is vital for its operation, it could not produce its own language to communicate with a human being. All the sounds are  preprogrammed by man into the software not by the machine itself.

In short , all the writing of the authors are speculation but not scientifically based on fact but on trends. There is no such thing as law of accumulated returns. It is a trend not a theory. The author’s prediction that all the unused memory of personal computers could be harnessed to produce a supercomputer is now a reality through the Internet. With all the data from personal computers combined into the Internet server, all the knowledge a man needs can be accessed through the Internet. At this point the author is right. But the PCs need the operation a human being not an artificial intelligence.

In short of book is a good entertainment for those who want to see where the computer world is heeded or where progress is going. But machines replacing man? That will not happen.