Hardcover: 672 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (September 22, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN: 0670033847

When Humans Transcend Biology
By Ray Kurzweil, Viking Press

Table of Contents


- The Power of Ideas 1

Chapter 1 - The Six Epochs 7
The Intuitive Linear View Versus the Historical Exponential View 10
The Six Epochs 14
Epoch One: Physics and Chemistry. Epoch Two: Biology and DNA.
Epoch Three: Brains. Epoch Four: Technology.
Epoch Five: The Merger of Human Technology with Human Intelligence.
Epoch Six: The Universe Wakes Up.
The Singularity Is Near 21

Chapter 2 - A Theory of Technology Evolution: The Law of Accelerating Returns 35

The Nature of Order. The Life Cycle of a Paradigm. Fractal Designs.
Farsighted Evolution.

The S-Curve of a Technology as Expressed in Its Life Cycle 51
The Life Cycle of a Technology. From Goat Skins to Downloads.

Moore’s Law and Beyond 56
Moore’s Law: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? The Fifth Paradigm. Fractal
Dimensions and the Brain.
DNA Sequencing, Memory, Communications, the Internet, and

Miniaturization 72
Information, Order, and Evolution: The Insights from Wolfram and
Fredkin’s Cellular Automata. Can We Evolve Artificial Intelligence from
Simple Rules?

The Singularity as Economic Imperative 96
Get Eighty Trillion Dollars—Limited Time Only. Deflation . . . a Bad Thing?

Chapter 3 - Achieving the Computational Capacity of the Human Brain 111

The Sixth Paradigm of Computing Technology: Three-Dimensional

Molecular Computing and Emerging Computational Technologies 111
The Bridge to 3-D Molecular Computing. Nanotubes Are Still the Best
Bet. Computing with Molecules. Self-Assembly. Emulating Biology.
Computing with DNA. Computing with Spin. Computing with Light.
Quantum Computing.

The Computational Capacity of the Human Brain 122
Accelerating the Availability of Human-Level Personal Computing.
Human Memory Capacity.

The Limits of Computation 127
Reversible Computing. How Smart Is a Rock? The Limits of Nanocomputing.
Setting a Date for the Singularity.Memory and Computational
Efficiency: A Rock Versus a Human Brain. Going Beyond the Ultimate:
Pico- and Femtotechnology and Bending the Speed of Light. Going Back
in Time.

Chapter 4 - Achieving the Software of Human Intelligence:
How to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain 143

Reverse Engineering the Brain: An Overview of the Task 144
New Brain-Imaging and Modeling Tools. The Software of the Brain.
Analytic Versus Neuromorphic Modeling of the Brain. How Complex Is
the Brain? Modeling the Brain. Peeling the Onion.

Is the Human Brain Different from a Computer? 149
The Brain’s Circuits Are Very Slow. But It’s Massively Parallel. The Brain
Combines Analog and Digital Phenomena. The Brain Rewires Itself.Most
of the Details in the Brain Are Random.The Brain Uses Emergent Properties.
The Brain Is Imperfect.We Contradict Ourselves. The Brain Uses Evolution.
The Patterns Are Important. The Brain Is Holographic. The Brain Is
Deeply Connected. The Brain Does Have an Architecture of Regions. The
Design of a Brain Region Is Simpler than the Design of a Neuron. Trying to
Understand Our Own Thinking: The Accelerating Pace of Research.

Peering into the Brain 157
New Tools for Scanning the Brain. Improving Resolution. Scanning
Using Nanobots.

Building Models of the Brain 167
Subneural Models: Synapses and Spines. Neuron Models. Electronic
Neurons. Brain Plasticity.Modeling Regions of the Brain. A Neuromorphic
Model: The Cerebellum. Another Example:Watts’s Model of the Auditory
Regions. The Visual System. Other Works in Progress: An Artificial
Hippocampus and an Artificial Olivocerebellar Region. Understanding
Higher-Level Functions: Imitation, Prediction, and Emotion.

Interfacing the Brain and Machines 194

The Accelerating Pace of Reverse Engineering the Brain 195
The Scalability of Human Intelligence.

Uploading the Human Brain 198

Chapter 5 - GNR: Three Overlapping Revolutions 205

Genetics: The Intersection of Information and Biology 206
Life’s Computer. Designer Baby Boomers. Can We Really Live Forever?
RNAi (RNA Interference). Cell Therapies. Gene Chips. Somatic Gene
Therapy. Reversing Degenerative Disease. Combating Heart Disease.
Overcoming Cancer. Reversing Aging. DNA Mutations. Toxic Cells.
Mitochondrial Mutations. Intracellular Aggregates. Extracellular Aggregates.
Cell Loss and Atrophy. Human Cloning: The Least Interesting Application
of Cloning Technology.Why Is Cloning Important? Preserving Endangered
Species and Restoring Extinct Ones. Therapeutic Cloning. Human
Somatic-Cell Engineering. Solving World Hunger. Human Cloning

Nanotechnology: The Intersection of Information and the Physical World 226
The Biological Assembler. Upgrading the Cell Nucleus with a Nanocomputer
and Nanobot. Fat and Sticky Fingers. The Debate Heats Up.
Early Adopters. Powering the Singularity. Applications of Nanotechnology
to the Environment. Nanobots in the Bloodstream.

Robotics: Strong AI 259
Runaway AI. The AI Winter. AI’s Toolkit. Expert Systems. Bayesian Nets.
Markov Models. Neural Nets. Genetic Algorithms (GAs). Recursive
Search. Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers
Getting Stupider? The Specialized-Hardware Advantage. Deep Blue
Versus Deep Fritz. Significant Software Gains. Are Human Chess Players
Doomed? Combining Methods. A Narrow AI Sampler. Military and
Intelligence. Space Exploration. Medicine. Science and Math. Business,
Finance, and Manufacturing. Manufacturing and Robotics. Speech and
Language. Entertainment and Sports. Strong AI.

Chapter 6 - The Impact . . . 299

A Panoply of Impacts.

. . . on the Human Body 300
A New Way of Eating. Redesigning the Digestive System. Programmable
Blood. Have a Heart, or Not. So What’s Left? Redesigning the Human
Brain.We Are Becoming Cyborgs. Human Body Version 3.0.

. . . on the Human Brain 312
The 2010 Scenario. The 2030 Scenario. Become Someone Else. Experience
Beamers. Expand Your Mind.

. . . on Human Longevity 320
The Transformation to Nonbiological Experience. The Longevity of

. . . on Warfare: The Remote, Robotic, Robust, Size-Reduced,

Virtual-Reality Paradigm 330
Smart Dust. Nanoweapons. Smart Weapons. VR.

. . . on Learning 335

. . . on Work 337
Intellectual Property. Decentralization.

. . . on Play 341

. . . on the Intelligent Destiny of the Cosmos:

Why We Are Probably Alone in the Universe 342
The Drake Equation. The Limits of Computation Revisited. Bigger or
Smaller. Expanding Beyond the Solar System. The Speed of Light Revisited.
Wormholes. Changing the Speed of Light. The Fermi Paradox Revisited.
The Anthropic Principle Revisited. The Multiverse. Evolving Universes.
Intelligence as the Destiny of the Universe. The Ultimate Utility Function.
Hawking Radiation. Why Intelligence Is More Powerful than Physics.
A Universe-Scale Computer. The Holographic Universe.

Chapter 7 - Ich bin ein Singularitarian 369

Still Human?

The Vexing Question of Consciousness 376

Who Am I? What Am I? 382

The Singularity as Transcendence 387

Chapter 8 - The Deeply Intertwined Promise and Peril of GNR 391

Intertwined Benefits . . . 396
. . . and Dangers 397

A Panoply of Existential Risks 400
The Precautionary Principle. The Smaller the Interaction, the Larger the
Explosive Potential. Our Simulation Is Turned Off. Crashing the Party.
GNR: The Proper Focus of Promise Versus Peril. The Inevitability of a
Transformed Future. Totalitarian Relinquishment.

Preparing the Defenses 408
Strong AI. Returning to the Past?

The Idea of Relinquishment 410
Broad Relinquishment. Fine-Grained Relinquishment. Dealing with
Abuse. The Threat from Fundamentalism. Fundamentalist Humanism.

Development of Defensive Technologies and the Impact of Regulation 416
Protection from “Unfriendly” Strong AI. Decentralization. Distributed
Energy. Civil Liberties in an Age of Asymmetric Warfare.

A Program for GNR Defense 422

Chapter 9 - Response to Critics 427

A Panoply of Criticisms 427

The Criticism from Incredulity 432

The Criticism from Malthus 433
Exponential Trends Don’t Last Forever. A Virtually Unlimited Limit.

The Criticism from Software 435
Software Stability. Software Responsiveness. Software Price-Performance.
Software Development Productivity. Software Complexity. Accelerating
Algorithms. The Ultimate Source of Intelligent Algorithms.

The Criticism from Analog Processing 442

The Criticism from the Complexity of Neural Processing 442
Brain Complexity. A Computer’s Inherent Dualism. Levels and Loops.

The Criticism from Microtubules and Quantum Computing 450

The Criticism from the Church-Turing Thesis 453

The Criticism from Failure Rates 456

The Criticism from “Lock-In” 457

The Criticism from Ontology: Can a Computer Be Conscious? 458
Kurzweil’s Chinese Room.

The Criticism from the Rich-Poor Divide 469

The Criticism from the Likelihood of Government Regulation 470
The Unbearable Slowness of Social Institutions.

The Criticism from Theism 473

The Criticism from Holism 479

Epilogue 485

How Singular? Human Centrality.

Resources and Contact Information 489

The Law of Accelerating Returns Revisited 491
Notes 497
Index 603