Ray Kurzweil

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Tineke sent me a DVD with the interview that Raoul Heertje did with Ray Kurzweil for the television show “Wintergasten” about three weeks ago. I watched it a few days ago and still wonder what to think of it.

Ray Kurzweil frequently uses the word “transcendent” in the interview. He means the overcoming of physical limitations. He is apparently very good at this: he has done an incredible set of inventions: software and hardware that translates texts into speech, the flatbed scanner, a synthesizer and much more. But I cannot help thinking that his ideas about immortality are wrong. Luckily Raoul Heertje asked many of the questions that came to my mind, so it became clear that Ray Kurzweil really believes what he is saying. The absence of doubt always raises my own doubts.
It is interesting that the word “transcendence” is also uses in esoterics. But here it means overcoming psychological limitations. Basically the core message of esoterics is that there are no problems that have to be solved; the only real solution is to see that “problems”” are Life’s “solutions”. Ray Kurzweil seems to think that Life is hostile to humans, and I don’t see that. Many “problems” can be “solved” by stopping to create them ,or by taking away the causes. The idea that all solutions have to come from techniques and machines seems pretty weird to me. And especially when it comes to death and immortality I cannot help thinking that his ideas are fundamentally wrong. I have believed some of them for many years, but now I think that what I have already said: humans tend to want solutions for problems that are actually Life’s solutions to make Life possible at all.

It is always funny to hear myself argue with people like Ray Kurzweil. I mean, it is clear that we don’t really play in the same league. I have still some time left, but I don’t think I will ever invent anything like he did. So everything I say is said with high respect, let that be clear.