Ray Kurzweil speaks at The Singularity Summit at Stanford

These are 3 x 20 minute videos from Ray Kurzweil, author of “The Singularity”.

If you have a very short attention span, then skip these videos, they are 20 minutes each.

Part I –

In Video 1 of 3, he demonstrates one of his pocket size reader that was designed for the blind. He points a portable device at his book, it takes a photo of a page, then begins reading the page. This device handles curved pages, uneven illumination, etc… (not possible five years ago).

He points out that when a computer does something the first time, we no longer consider it “Artificial Intelligence”. For example the Darpa


A few years ago, a computer could not recognize a dog from a cat.

There are now 3.6 million pictures of cats, but only 3 million pictures of dogs on google (this provides a huge testbed of data to train an algorthym).

He points out the exponential growth of information technology doesn’t apply to everything, such as population.

Is there an ultimate limit to information technology? Yes, perhaps limits of physics… but they are not very limiting. 1 cubic inch of nano-tube-circuitry would be millions of times more powerful than the computation power of what will be needed to simulate the human brain (based on the most conservative estimates).

We double the 3-d spacial resolution of brain scanning every year. Only recently we could see inter-nerual connections. Scanning the brain could progress rapidly, as did the Human Genome project.

As of this video, the word “blogs” was not used 3 years ago!

Part II – 14:17

When Kurzweil first came to MIT in 1967, a computer costing $11 million took up the space of the room. That computer is about 1,000 times less powerful than the computer in your cell phone today.

Part III – 17:11

Ray gives a demonstration of a future product that can translate spoken speech from one language to another (and predicts that this could be on your cell phone in 10 years). He also mentions how contestants in a DARPA competition translated English to Arabic using only pattern recognition (i.e. the contestants knew no Arabic) – for details see DARPA Language Competition

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