Posts Tagged ‘Ray Kurzweil’

Want: Ray Kurzweil to proselytize about climate change

August 25, 2010

Greetings to my new readers from Pharyngula. I’m glad to have struck your fancy. I’ll try to keep it interesting for you.

Enough, please.

In my Kurzweil/geoengineering post, I made the definitive claim that Ray Kurzweil’s vision of uploading consciousness into computers would never happen. I also linked his dream to an allegedly oppressive over-emphasis on technological solutions to the serious global problem of climate change.

In general, my commenters challenged me to back up my talk. Ryan McGivern in particular questioned what Kurzweil has to do with marginalized groups or with fetishizing technology. McGivern seems like a fellow traveler, and I feel obliged to answer him, at least in part. So let’s see if I can clarify my position a little. Read the rest of this entry »

What Ray Kurzweil and geoengineering have in common

August 17, 2010

John Rennie points me to the most eye rollingest article of the week, in which we’re told that brilliant inventor-turned-futurist Ray Kurzweil claims we are perhaps two decades from “reverse-engineering the human brain so we can simulate it using computers.”

I say eye-rollingest. In fact, I had a more visceral reaction to this non-story.

If you haven’t heard of Kurzweil, let me give you some context: He pops 200 vitamin pills a day. He goes to a longevity clinic once a week to be pumped full of untested life-extending drugs. Why? Because he believes mankind is destined to achieve immortality by uploading itself into ultra-powerful computers, and he doesn’t want to miss his shot. Read the rest of this entry »

How to tell Ray Kurzweil and Suzanne Somers apart?

June 2, 2009

Easy: Ray Kurzweil doesn’t inject hormones into his vagina.

From Newsweek‘s Oprah takedown:

In addition, she [Somers] wears “nanotechnology patches” to help her sleep, lose weight and promote “overall detoxification.” If she drinks wine, she goes to her doctor to rejuvenate her liver with an intravenous drip of vitamin C. If she’s exposed to cigarette smoke, she has her blood chemically cleaned with chelation therapy. In the time that’s left over, she eats right and exercises, and relieves stress by standing on her head. Somers makes astounding claims about the ability of hormones to treat almost anything that ails the female body. She believes they block disease and will double her life span. “I know I look like some kind of freak and fanatic,” she said. “But I want to be there until I’m 110, and I’m going to do what I have to do to get there.”

Compare with Wired‘s profile of Ray Kurzweil:

Though both Grossman and Kurzweil respect science, their approach is necessarily improvisational. If a therapy has some scientific promise and little risk, they’ll try it. Kurzweil gets phosphatidylcholine intravenously, on the theory that this will rejuvenate all his body’s tissues. He takes DHEA and testosterone. Both men use special filters to produce alkaline water, which they drink between meals in the hope that negatively charged ions in the water will scavenge free radicals and produce a variety of health benefits. [...] Kurzweil and Grossman justify it not so much with scientific citations — though they have a few — but with a tinkerer’s shrug. “Life is not a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” Grossman explains. “We don’t have that luxury. We are operating with incomplete information. The best we can do is experiment with ourselves.”

I respect Seth Roberts. Kurzweil and Somers? Oy. Have some grace.

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