The Singularity Is Near (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Ray Kurzweil is a self-proclaimed superoptimist about technological progress. According to some of his critics, he is unrealistically confident about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), but according to such supporters as Marvin Minsky and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Kurzweil is insightfully extending scientifically observed trends of the twentieth century into the future. In such earlier books as The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990) and The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (1999), Kurzweil develops themes and makes predictions that he develops even more extensively in The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.
Moore’s Law, a central theme of Kurzweil’s earlier books, is also at the center of this new one. Computer engineer Gordon Moore noticed early in his career that the number of transistors on a single integrated circuit (IC) was doubling every year, a trend that has continued and has become known as Moore’s Law. A consequence of this law has been the phenomenal growth of computer power, with a concomitant reduction in costs. Kurzweil believes that not only computers but all information-related technologies will experience similar exponential growth. He has codified his belief in a theory he has called “the law of accelerating returns,” which explains how salient events in the evolution of technology occur at increasingly shorter time intervals.
(The entire section is 2251 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 102, no. 2 (September 15, 2005): 8.
Computer 38 (November, 2005): 96.
Information Week (October 17, 2005): 72.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 14 (July 15, 2005): 778.
The New York Times 155 (October 3, 2005): E6.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 29 (July 25, 2005): 66.
Science News 168, no. 13 (September 25, 2005): 207.
The Wall Street Journal 246, no. 67 (October 1, 2005): P8.
(The entire section is 33 words.)