THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR:
When Humans Transcend Biology
By Ray Kurzweil, Viking Press
Press Release (download pdf)
The bestselling author of The Age of Spiritual Machines presents the next stage of his compelling vision of the future: the merging of humans and machines

“What’s arresting [is]…the degree to which…Kurzweil’s heady and bracing vision…seems downright plausible.”--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“The Singularity, almost an article of faith in techie circles, is the point at which machine intelligence outstrips human brainpower…Ultimately, Kurzweil predicts, the predominant component of human intelligence will be non-biological, and more of our experiences will take place in virtual reality than in the physical world. Human-machine intelligence will saturate the immediate vicinity of the Earth, and eventually grow to fill the universe. Kurzweil backs his predictions with numerous citations of other experts, and…the book repays close attention.” --Kirkus, Starred Review

“Ray Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”-- Bill Gates

“A brilliant book with deep insights into the future from one of the leading futurists of our time.”-- Marvin Minsky

If you thought Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines," which talked about a time when human and machine cognition would blur, was really out there, this new book is really, really out there. Delightfully so.-- Olga Kharif, BusinessWeek online

Few figures are more admired and respected in the field of technology than Ray Kurzweil, who as inventor and futurist has expanded our ideas and enabled us to realize the nearly miraculous potential of technology to transform our lives. His last book, The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), was a national bestseller and is a genuine classic in the field—an exploration of the nature of life when computer intelligence rivals that of humans. In THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR: When Humans Transcend Biology (Viking; On Sale: September 26, 2005; $29.95; 672 pages), Kurzweil presents the next stage of his compelling view of the future: the merging of humans and machines.

Kurzweil refers to this as “The Singularity,” and describes it as “…a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.” In THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR, Kurzweil postulates that we are already in the very early stages of this transition, and that within just a few decades, life as we know it will be completely different. As Kurzweil explains, “The Singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine nor between physical and virtual reality. If you wonder what will remain unequivocally human in such a world, it’s simply this quality: ours is the species that inherently seeks to extend its physical and mental reach beyond current limitations.”

What does this mean in practical terms? Human aging and illness will be reversed. World hunger and pollution will be solved. Our bodies will be transformed by nanotechnology, so that, for example, we will eventually be able to augment and replace our biological organs and vastly extend our intelligence. The book also considers the philosophical and social ramifications of these profound changes. What for instance becomes of human political, social, and religious institutions, of human consciousness, the question of identity, the meaning of death?

In THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR, Kurzweil expands on these concepts as well as addressing what critics ranging from government officials and organized religion to humanists and other scientists will likely have to say regarding The Singularity. As Publishers Weekly writes, “Kurzweil is a true scientist--a large-minded one at that--and gives due space both to ‘the panoply of existential risks’ as he sees them and the many presumed lines of attack others might bring to bear.” Ray Kurzweil has a twenty-year track record of accurate predictions, and while the concepts put forth in the book are both dramatic and controversial, they are also extremely important and overwhelmingly optimistic.

About the Author: Ray Kurzweil is a prizewinning author and scientist who received the National Medal of Technology and has been inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame. His books include The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Age of Intelligent Machines, and Fantastic Voyage. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.

THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR: WHEN HUMANS TRANSCEND BIOLOGY
BY RAY KURZWEIL
VIKING ON SALE DATE: September 26, 2005; $29.95; 672 pages
ISBN: 0-67003384-7

Ray Kurzweil will be available for interview this Fall in the following cities:

Boston Local
New York To be scheduled
San Francisco September 22 and 23
Washington, DC October 27 and 28
Los Angeles November 17 and 18

For more information, please visit Penguin.com or KurzweilAI.net

For more information or to arrange and interview please contact:
Holly Watson at 310.390.0591 or holly.watson@us.penguingroup.com
To request a review copy, please contact
Laura Tisdel at 212.366.2226 or laura.tisdel@us.penguingroup.com

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

Contact: Holly Watson, 310.390.0591
Holly.watson@us.penguingroup.com