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The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  3,621 ratings  ·  237 reviews
Ray Kurzweil is the inventor of the most innovative and compelling technology of our era, an international authority on artificial intelligence, and one of our greatest living visionaries. Now he offers a framework for envisioning the twenty-first century--an age in which the marriage of human sensitivity and artificial intelligence fundamentally alters and improves the wa ...more
Trade Paperback, 388 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Penguin (first published December 28th 1998)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The age of spiritual machines: when computers exceed human intelligence, Ray Kurzweil
Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist. Aside from futurism, he is involved in fields such as optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و پنجم اکتبر سال 2002 میلادی
عنوان: عصر ماشین های معنوی؛ نویسنده: ری کورزویل؛ مترجم: سیمین موحد؛ تهران، پیکان، 1380؛ در 566 ص؛ کتابنامه از ص 499 تا ص 558؛ شابک: 9643281590؛ موضوع: هوش مصنو
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
As an AI person, I have mixed feelings about this book. Half of me says that it's nonsense: the author come across as ludicrously optimistic, indeed quite out of touch with reality, and saturated with hubris to the point where it's starting to crystallize out in his hair. Who could ever take this crap seriously?

The other half points out that, even though AI has a terrible history of overhyping itself, the errors are often not as bad as they first appear. People in the 50s did indeed make themsel
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Technology/futurist enthusiasts
The Age of Spiritual Machines, is an attention-grabbing and misleading title given to a decent futuristic book. I have long wanted to read a book by Ray Kurzweil. He is one of the most prolific futurist writers. The news of him becoming the Director of Engineering at Google, re-sparked my interest in him.

I enjoyed the book, and found it quite accessible. Almost too accessible! Considering the complex nature of the subject-matter, technicalities are kept to a minimum. This is a good thing or a ba
Lynne Williamson
Mar 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I talked to a good friend of mine today at brunch who has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology about some of the science and the futurisms in Kurzweil's book. My friend said immediately, "he sounds like a physicist, and those crazy physicists will invent things like the particles that don't know which way they are going until they are 'observed' because they don't know what is really happening." I said, "it's like a physicist's version of the "god of the gaps." And he agreed. Of course, being ...more
Todd Martin
Apr 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
In The Age of Spiritual Machines author, and futurist, Ray Kurzweil prognosticates the rise of intelligent machines (among other things). The book was written in 1999, and he has predictions for 2009 so there’s been enough time for some of his predictions to be tested. Unfortunately he fares very, very poorly. See for yourself:

The ones he gets right were those things that were either already available in 1999 or are incremental extensions of things that w
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd law holds that "any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic." While we know this technology is currently being developed, on schedule, it's simply difficult to imagine the implications for humanity without it seeming somehow contrived. "Deus ex machina;" so it comes to this.

Again, while I am convinced the premises are valid and the argument is sound, and therefore accept his projections as nearly true, it does not make them easier to believe. An
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ray Kurzweil has been accused by some as being incredibly optimistic in his vision for the future of humanity and the computer's that we've created. His predictions, however, have an uncanny way of coming to pass, at least in large part. Spiritual Machines was written in 1999 and speaks of the advances that computers will make in the twenty-first century.

Now, a decade later, it is possible to look at the first of Kurzweil's predictions, helpfully listed out in a chapter labeled "2009" and evalua
ری کورزویل-نویسنده کتاب- خود یکی از فعالان انقلاب فناوری اطلاعات است. اولین نمونه های سیستم های اسکن تشخیص متن و تبدیل متن به گفتار و نیز فعالیت هایی بر روی تلفیق موسیقی و علوم کامپیوتری از اقدامات وی است. با این حال وی نه تنها یک تکنسین صرف، که یک آینده نگار(فیوچریست) نیز هست که بسیاری از پیش بینی های وی به تحقق پیوسته . عمده ترین دیدگاه وی در کتاب حاضر، نظریه ای است که توسط وی توسعه یافته و آن تکامل هوش است. بر طبق این نظریه،از ابتدای خلقت و خصوصاً با ظهور حیات، هوش ناچیز موجود در طبیعت با سرع ...more
Ali AlGharrash
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يتابع هذا الكتاب الشيق التطور الكبير والحاصل في قطاع التكنولوجيا ويستعرض بشكل علمي اعتماداً على التطورات السابقة ويتبنأ بالتطورات القادمة وبالثورة التكنولوجية والتي ستحصل في العقود القادمة ويتحدث عن ماهيتها ومدى تأثيرها في حياة البشر وكيف ستكون سيطرة الآلات الذكية في حياة البشر

كتاب شيق جداً استمتعت في قراءته
This was too easy. I need something with more detail; more in depth.
The author is too optimistic. Plus the writing style wasn't as good as I'd expected.
Scott Lerch
Feb 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: singularity
After reading this book I was completely giddy about the future. Everything suddenly seemed possible, nothing impossible, all without invoking anything supernatural. This is what I was looking for to replace my lost religion. Ray Kurzweil pointed out the now obvious end result of the rapid exponential advances in computer technology. Others discovered the trends long before but Ray Kurzweil put it all together in one incredibly fun book to read. Kurzweil’s thesis rests on the exponential growth ...more
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kurzweil looks at history and demostrates to us that the rate of technological progress has always been growing exponentially. And that part of the book, part one, is a lot of fun to read. Borrow the book, read this section and enjoy.

But where Kurzweil wants to go with this is into the future. And here you have to keep in mind that the book was written in 1998 so we're part of the future he's looking into. And, like many before him, not only does he not get a home run with every hit, he doesn't
أسامة قنديل
الكاتب متفائل بمستقبل الذكاء الاصطناعي وأغلب الكتاب كان يتكلم عن مدى قدرة الالات الذكية وماذا ممكن ان تضيف لحياتنا وكيف قد تكون علاقتها معنا،
لكن برأيي الكاتب أغفل نقطة مهمة جدا في الحديث عن الذكاء الاصطناعي وهي أنه أكبر عقبة بتتواجهنا لنوصل هذا الذكاء ليست عقبة "القوة الحسابية للحواسيب" وانما هي في فهمنا لماهية الذكاء نفسه
فربما حتى لو امتلكنا حواسيب خارقة أسرع بكثير من مجمل العقول البشرية فانه بدون برنامج مناسب يمتلك الذكاء وبامكانه خلق معرفة جديدة وتكوين وعي لن نصل الى أآلات ذكية وهذه المسألة
Ovidiu Neatu
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epoca masinilor spirituale, prezinta unele tendinte pe care le vede autorul, si incearca sa extrapoleze aceste tendinte pentru a arunca o privire in viitor. Tendinte precum decelerarea exponentiala a frecventei cu care au loc evenimente semnificative la scara universului –de la Big Band pana in prezent-, iar acest lucru va continua pe masura ce entropia isi face treaba: creste dezordinea. Dar in mijlocul acestei cresteri a dezordinii pachete mici de ordine iau forma din cand in cand. Aceste pach ...more
Adam Bignell
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Age of Spiritual Machines, while seeming perhaps too optimistic when read with 2016 eyes, is nonetheless an exciting adventure to the limits of imagination. It lays out in (keeping in mind the pop-science genre) relatively technical detail the means with which our technology will develop, and the impacts these developments will have on our environment, businesses, art, and relationships. It is akin to stepping inside a museum of the future; the technocracies of Hollywood pale in comparison t ...more
Robert Boyd
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I'd heard about this book for years and was familiar enough with the theory of singularity, but I just kept wishing I had read this sooner. It made me realize that I should make a point of reading more books written by geniuses.

This book is prophetic. By now, many of Kurzweil's predictions have been realized (the fact that his predictions on wearable personal computers, electronic books, and text-to-speech technology were read to me by my Kindle device, which I had stowed in my coat pocket
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, tech
I put this on my to-read list and it magically appeared on my desk at work a few days later! It’s good to have friends who read…thank you JG!

It wasn’t an easy book for me to read but by then I had made my goal of 50 so I dove in. I enjoyed his theories on how evolution is speeding up while the changes in the universe seem to be slowing down. It was a little hard to wrap my brain around it, but I appreciated it. He lost me in the philosophical sections but that’s on me – I’ve never been into phil
Nate Huston
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book. Definitely one that I will return to, most likely a few times. One reason for that will be that Kurzweil has a habit of quickly accelerating into the realm of mind-bending, especially in his theoretical discussions. While those were mentally taxing to fully wrap my brain around, even the most complex ones were short and succinct.

The most striking takeaway is Kurzweil's conception of technology as a continuation of "evolution by other means." Besides oblique reference to Uncle Carl,
Monwar Hussain
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I would love to give this book six stars.

Even three quarters through the book, I could not believe Kurzweil had written this in Nineteen freaking Ninety-Eight!! The book is almost so good, I cannot read it for long. I myself am a huge technology enthusiast, and I suffer from the common problem in just gushing about Technology. Now, on a meta-level, Kurzweil does that too, I guess. :) But his writing is so measured, so specific, yet not lifeless and so powerful.

This coming after Antifragile where
Scott Lee
I first encountered Kurzweil as either an interview or article subject (don't remember which) in WIRED magazine several years ago. I found his ideas fascinating (although I don't personally believe we're headed into his vision of the future) and in fact ended up spinning several short stories out of my own response to the ideas in the interview as transmogrified (gotta love Calvin & Hobbes!) by my brain in the intervening years.

Unfortunately, when allowed to go on at length (as he does here
Nov 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Drug enthusiasts. Delusional people. Kurzweil fan club. Absolutely no one.
Shelves: technology
Really disliked this one. Surprised by the amount of text the author dedicates to cybersex. Buzz words and jargon used like a fog to mask a lack of actual explication. Kurzweil kept popping up in annoying ways -- name-dropping his inventions, talking about the deadline for the book, having an extended conversation with an imagined reader named Molly. Not a lot of substance here.

Kurzweil does coherently present his Law of Accelerating Returns, but he doesn't address the problem of energy in a fin
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
When I read this book in 2000, it blew my mind. It actually changed the way I looked at everything. It made me feel like I knew a secret, something important, that other people didn't know. While I still believe in Kurzweil's genius, and his futurist prophecies, this book is obsolete.

For a current, in-depth look at Kurzweil's brilliant mind, find the 2009 documentary "Transcendent Man", and see Kurzweil talk about the fast approaching realization of his "singularity" theory.


Lorin Cary
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book. A futurist, Ray Kurzweil not only writes about technology, specifically, technology related to computing, he is a creator of technologies which have made computers 'smarter.' About half of the book is devoted to scenarios: the shape of technology in the society of 1999, 2009, 2019, 2029, and 2099. These are fascinating and provide a treasure trove for science fiction writers.A time line traces a variety of technological developments, scientific theories and thought modes ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-sims
Did you ever wondered if a computer can become more intelligent than humans. Age of Spiritual Machines is a book which will answer this question, give you new ideas, and really makes you feel like some body is talking to you through the book.
The topics in this book and the answers to the questions in your mind is really great. The answers might be what you call "different" but really works.
Ideas or at least ideas are very rare and interesting. The way the author talks about future, telling w
Bryan Cebulski
Started reading this because I've been playing Frictional Games' SOMA. It has a cool premise, but Kurzweil's projections are dated and the philosophy lacks much depth. Like many pop science books, its main goal is to popularize the ideas it presents (here being human identity and artificial intelligence) but doesn't delve terribly deep into the matter. Lots of summarizing, repetition, outlining of basic theories the audience probably already knows, etc.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Ray Kurzweil is hailed as one of the most accurate and brilliant futurists of our time and this book details his views on what our technological world will look like in 10, 20, 50, 100 years. It is fascinating and thought provoking.
Jake Saunders
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've wanted to read this since it was published in 2000 and finally got around to it! It did not disappoint. The intervening 15 years actually made it more interesting because we have seen so many of Kurzwell's predictions come true.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
we are in great trouble!
Lokesh Joshi
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This books is all about how world is changing very fast in now a day time, (May be) how world will be run by AI.
How time period is getting slow and fast in terms of technological advancement both by Universe and Human species. How time gets speed up after introduction of life forms, until then why time was so slow that it took around 9 billion year for earth to form after creation of universe and thanks to life forms introduction, its process got speed up.
How storing information helped every lif
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Este libro porqué explica cómo ha ido evolucionando el mundo natural y la tecnología.
La tecnología evoluciona mucho mas rápido que el mundo natural, de forma exponencial.
Explica entonces como en un futuro logrará el ser humano relacionarse de forma biológica con la tecnología, mediante un chip en el cerebro que le pueda dar información y el cerebro tendrá que mejorar su memoria para recordar toda eta información. La comunicación aumentará considerablemente a finales del siglo, pues podrás ver f
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Raymond Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist who has published books on health, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and the technological singularity.
“The purposeful destruction of information is the essence of intelligent work.” 39 likes
“Yes, well, the subjective experience is the opposite of the objective reality” 7 likes
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