Monday, October 17, 2005


Ray Kurzweil - Singularity is Near / The Day the Universe Changed

Yesterday I had noticed a email message on the [wta-talk] list - world transumanism association - inquiring about Ray Kurzweil's new book - Singularity is Near,which I discovered thanks to Google - first in the form of The Law of Accelerating Returns - that appears to be an early draft of the first chapter of Singularity is Near - and soon discovered that a substantial portion of the book is available online as pdf files.

Ray Kurzweil is one of the greatest geniuses in information technology; I had first heard his name in connection with the Kurzweil reading machine for the blind - during my time as Librarian at the Baltimore City Jail - and in April 1991, had picked up a copy of Byte magazine with a lead article on Kurzweil at JFK Airport on my way to the 2nd UNCED (Earth Summit) PrepCom in Geneva that left me in no doubt as to his genius.

In Singularity is Near, Kurzweil makes a compelling case for a double exponential growth rate in computing power - i.e. an exponentially increasing rate of exponential growth - and the implications for this in terms of the rapid approach of such a profound explosion of intelligence as to transform the foundations of life on earth.

Interestingly, one topic Kurzweil hasn't touched in what I have read is the profound accompanying shift to the economics of information and access to knowledge by virtue of digital information embodying the characteristics of a free good, and the associated cascading transition what might be described as the impending singularity of a radical new Nash equilibrium in an economic environment virtually free from the constraints of the laws of conservation of mass and energy.

Conceivably, by not giving equal attention to the exponential increase in data storage capacity - and associated cost that is asymptotically approaching zero - that he gives to the corresponding changes in computing power, Kurzweil may be failing to notice the much greater immediacy of the economic singularity that can presently be perceived and experienced.

Nor have I yet seen Kurzweil write about the phenomenon described by James Burke in "The Day the Universe Changed" - i.e. the profound implications for human consciousness of the awakening to a new understanding of the natu8re of the universe - e.g. Galileo's realization and proof that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not vice versa. Imho, the implications of Kurzweil's work - and the broader content of the nature and properties of an infinite information universe - are even more profound than that of Galileo.

Friday, October 07, 2005




In the name of Allah,
Supremely Compassionate, Supremely Merciful

All Praise be to Allah,
the Sustainer and Cherisher of the Worlds

Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Lord of the Day of Judgement

Thee alone do we worship;
Thine aid alone do we seek.

Reveal Your direct path
The path of those who surrender
to Your sublime Guidance,

Not of those who stray from the path;
Nor who are subjected to Your Wrath

Al-Fatiha - Opening verse of the Holy Qu'ran