Friday, 31 Jul 2015 7:00 PM
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM GREATER RIVERSIDE SKEPTICS FORUM. DO NOT RSVP HERE. GO TO THE SKEPTICS FORUM MEETUP TO RSVP. These speakers are on TED Talks that we watch together and discuss afterwards. The speakers are not live.
The accelerating power of technology” Inventor, entrepreneur and visionary Ray Kurzweil explains in abundant, grounded detail why, by the 2020s, we will have reverse-engineered the human brain and nanobots will be operating your consciousness.
Inventor, entrepreneur, visionary, Ray Kurzweil’s accomplishments read as a startling series of firsts — a litany of technological breakthroughs we’ve come to take for granted. Kurzweil invented the first optical character recognition (OCR) software for transforming the written word into data, the first print-to-speech software for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, and the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.
Yet his impact as a futurist and philosopher is no less significant. In his best-selling books, which include How to Create a Mind, The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Kurzweil depicts in detail a portrait of the human condition over the next few decades, as accelerating technologies forever blur the line between human and machine.
In 2009, he unveiled Singularity University, an institution that aims to “assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies.” He is a Director of Engineering at Google, where he heads up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language comprehension.
What others say
“Kurzweil’s eclectic career and propensity for combining science with practical — often humanitarian — applications have inspired comparisons with Thomas Edison.” — Time
Harvey Fineberg studies medical decision making — from how we roll out new medical technology, to how we cope with new illnesses and threatened epidemics. As president of the Institute of Medicine, Harvey Fineberg thinks deeply about new medicine, both its broad possibilities and the moral and philosophical questions that each new treatment brings. How do we decide which treatment to use in a tricky case — both individually and as a community? Is it fair that the richest hospitals get the best healthcare? Who should bear the risk (and gain the reward) of trying the newest treatments?
Fineberg helped found and served as president of the Society for Medical Decision Making and also served as consultant to the World Health Organization. He was provost of Harvard from 1997 to 2001, following thirteen years as Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. He has devoted most of his academic career to the fields of health policy and medical decision making. His past research has focused on the process of policy development and implementation, assessment of medical technology, evaluation and use of vaccines, and dissemination of medical innovations.
“How would you like to be better than you are? Suppose I said that, with just a few changes in your genes, you could get a better memory — more precise, more accurate and quicker.” – Harvey Fineberg