Ray Kurzweil and the Conquering of Mount Improbable: An Essay by Extropia DaSilva


People often ask me for my timeframe of when such things as cures for aging, productive nanosystems and AGI will arrive. Unlike Kurzweil, who boldy declared ‘I set the date for the Singularity… as 2045’ (mark that in your calendar, folks) I refuse to speculate. We are not on a highway heading toward a clearly marked destination. We are in a mountain range, dwarfed by its peaks, dimly glimpsing shadowy summits through a fog of ignorance and presented with a bewildering array of twisting paths, most of which probably lead nowhere or to places we would be wise to avoid. We may conquer the peaks within decades, or we may find our efforts thwarted for centuries to come. But one thing I feel is certain. If it can be done, we shall not rest until we have conquered the peaks of mount technological improbable. To turn away from the challenge would be contrary to the inquisitive mind that is our species’ defining characteristic.

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