Intelligent Machines

“He’s a visionary.”

It has always been a dream of modern man to build a machine with an intelligence similar to man himself. This intelligent machine is of course the computer equipped with artificial intelligence. It’s very common in Japan to associate modern living with robots interacting with human beings. As a matter of fact, robots are currently being develped to assist many humans as the population of Japan rapidly ages.

In the 1968 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, director Stanley Kubrick shows a very intelligent supercomputer named Hal 9000 which interacts with scientists and astronauts on a voyage to Jupiter. This supercomputer is the pinnacle in artificial intelligence, with an error-free performance record. HAL 9000 is designed to communicate and interact like a human, and even mimics (or reproduces) human emotions; in fact the astronauts have learned to treat it like another crewman, addressing it as “Hal”.

We are not far away from having supercomputers like Hal. Ray Kurweil, a renown U.S. inventor, has predicted that machines will achieve human-level artificial intelligence by 2019. Humanity is on the brink of advances that will see tiny robots implanted in people’s brains to make them more intelligent, said Ray Kurweil.

This engineer believes machines and humans will eventually merge through devices implanted in the body to boost intelligence and health. “It’s really part of our civilization,” Mr. Kurzweil explained.

“But that’s not going to be an alien invasion of intelligent machines to displace us.” Machines are already doing hundreds of things humans used to do, at human levels of intelligence or better, in many different areas, he said.

“I’ve made the case that we will have both the hardware and the software to achieve human level artificial intelligence with the broad suppleness of human intelligence including our emotional intelligence by 2029,” he said.

“We’re already a human machine civilization; we use our technology to expand our physical and mental horizons and this will be a further extension of that.”

Humans and machines would eventually merge, by means of devices embedded in people’s bodies to keep them healthy and improve their intelligence, predicted Mr Kurzweil.

“We’ll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons,” he recently commented to to the BBC News.

The nanobots, he said, would “make us smarter, remember things better and automatically go into full emergent virtual reality environments through the nervous system”.

Supercomputers with complex artificial intelligence will be used to help mankind bring solutions to the following challenges in the years ahead:

  • Make solar energy affordable
  • Provide energy from fusion
  • Provide access to clean water
  • Reverse engineer the brain
  • Improve urban infrastructure
  • Engineer better medicines
  • Advance personalized learning

I’m glad to be living in this century when science-fiction blends in with reality. Right Hal?

2 thoughts on “Intelligent Machines”

  1. I read Fantastic Voyage, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near, and they changed my life. I even found some of his lectures on Itunes and I find myself impatiently awaiting his next book.

    Recently read another incredible book that I can’t recommend highly enough, especially to all of you who also love Ray Kurzweil’s work. The book is “”My Stroke of Insight”” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had heard Dr Taylor’s talk on the TED dot com site and I have to say, it changed my world. It’s spreading virally all over the internet and the book is now a NYTimes Bestseller, so I’m not the only one, but it is the most amazing talk, and the most impactful book I’ve read in years. (Dr T also was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Oprah had her on her Soul Series last month and I hear they’re making a movie about her story so you may already have heard of her)
    If you haven’t heard Dr Taylor’s TEDTalk, that’s an absolute must. The book is more and deeper and better, but start with the video (it’s 18 minutes). Basically, her story is that she was a 37 yr old Harvard brain scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, and thanks to her amazingly loving and kind mother, she eventually fully recovered (and that part of the book detailing how she did it is inspirational).

    There’s a lot of learning and magic in the book, but the reason I so highly recommend My Stroke of Insight to this discussion, is because we have powerfully intelligent left brains that are rational, logical, sequential and grounded in detail and time, and then we have our kinesthetic right brains, where we experience intuition and peace and euphoria. Now that Kurzweil has got us taking all those vitamins and living our best “”Fantastic Voyage”” , the absolute necessity is that we read My Stroke of Insight and learn from Dr Taylor how to achieve balance between our right and left brains. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Lillie:

    Thank you very much for your recommendation of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, “My Stroke of Insight”.

    Your description of the book is very interesting and encourages its reading. I’ll look into its availability at and purchase it as soon as I finish two books I’m presently reading.

    Thanks for dropping by and for your comments. Please come again in the future.



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