kottke.org posts about Ray Kurzweil

Kurzweil reviews HerFeb 18 2014

Futurist Ray Kurzweil reviews Spike Jonze's Her.

I would place some of the elements in Jonze's depiction at around 2020, give or take a couple of years, such as the diffident and insulting videogame character he interacts with, and the pin-sized cameras that one can place like a freckle on one's face. Other elements seem more like 2014, such as the flat-panel displays, notebooks and mobile devices.

Samantha herself I would place at 2029, when the leap to human-level AI would be reasonably believable. There are some incongruities, however. As I mentioned, a lot of the dramatic tension is provided by the fact that Theodore's love interest does not have a body. But this is an unrealistic notion. It would be technically trivial in the future to provide her a virtual visual presence to match her virtual auditory presence, using, lens-mounted displays, for example, that display images onto Theodore's retinas.

According to Jonze in interviews, Kurzweil's work on the singularity was a definite influence on the movie.

The oldest living things in the world, photographedSep 30 2009

Rachel Sussman has travelled the world to take photographs of the oldest living things in the world. This is actinobacteria from Siberia; it's 400,000 years old.

Actinobacteria

There's a map and a progress blog and an unassociated Wikipedia entry that tells of the ocean-going species Turritopsis nutricula:

The Hydrozoan species Turritopsis nutricula is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again. This means that there may be no natural limit to its life span.

Who wants to bet that Ray Kurzweil drinks a Turritopsis nutricula smoothie every morning? (via @bobulate)

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