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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will


Make Us 'Godlike'
Once we're cyborgs, he says, we'll be funnier, sexier and more loving.
Kathleen Miles
Senior Editor, The WorldPost

Posted: 10/01/2015 08:47 AM EDT

KTSIMAGE VIA GETTY IMAGES

An artistic rendering of a neural network with an artificial connection in a nanotechnology concept.

Futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil predicts humans are going to develop emotions and
characteristics of higher complexity as a result of connecting their brains to computers.
Were going to be funnier. Were going to be sexier. Were going to be better at expressing
loving sentiment, Kurzweil said at a recent discussion at Singularity University. He is involved
in developing artificial intelligence as a director of engineering at Google but was not speaking
on behalf of the company.
Kurzweil predicts that in the 2030s, human brains will be able to connect to the cloud, allowing
us to send emails and photos directly to the brain and to back up our thoughts and memories.

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

This will be possible, he says, via nanobots -- tiny robots from DNA strands -- swimming
around in the capillaries of our brain. He sees the extension of our brain into predominantly
nonbiological thinking as the next step in the evolution of humans -- just as learning to use
tools was for our ancestors.
And this extension, he says, will enhance not just our logical intelligence but also our emotional
intelligence. Were going to add more levels to the hierarchy of brain modules and create
deeper levels of expression, he said. To demonstrate, he gave a hypothetical scenario with
Google co-founder Larry Page.

Ray Kurzweil: We'll Become Godlike When We Connect Our Brai

So Im walking along, and I see Larry Page coming, and I think, I better think of something
clever to say. But my 300 million modules in my neocortex isnt going to cut it. I need a billion
in two seconds. Ill be able to access that in the cloud -- just like I can multiply intelligence with
my smartphone thousands fold today.
In addition to making us cleverer in hallways, connecting our brains to the Internet will also
make each of us more unique, he said.
Right now, we all have a very similar architecture to our thinking, Kurzweil said. When we
can expand it without the limitations of a fixed enclosure" -- he pointed to his head -- "we we
can actually become more different."
People will be able to very deeply explore some particular type of music in far greater degree
than we can today. Itll lead to far greater individuality, not less.
This view is in stark contrast to a common perception, often portrayed in science fiction, that
cyborg technologies make us more robotic, less emotional and less human. This concern is
expressed by Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, head of neuroengineering at Duke University, who fears that
if we rely too much on machines, well lose diversity in human behavior because computers
operate in black and white -- ones and zeros -- without diversion.

Were going to expand the brains neocortex and


become more godlike.
But Kurzweil believes that being connected to computers will make us more human, more
unique and even godlike.

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

Evolution creates structures and patterns that over time are more complicated, more
knowledgable, more creative, more capable of expressing higher sentiments, like being loving,
he said. Its moving in the direction of qualities that God is described as having without limit.
So as we evolve, we become closer to God. Evolution is a spiritual process. There is beauty and
love and creativity and intelligence in the world -- it all comes from the neocortex. So were
going to expand the brains neocortex and become more godlike.

Nanites? Robots.

But will brain nanobots actually move out of science fiction and into reality, or are they
doomed to the fate of flying cars? Like Kurzweil, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT
Media Lab, thinks that nanobots in our brains could be the future of learning, allowing us, for
example, to load the French language into the bloodstream of our brains. James Friend, a
professor of mechanical engineering at UC San Diego focused on medical nanotechnology,
thinks that we're only two to five years away from being able to effectively use brain nanobots,
for example to prevent epileptic seizures.
However, getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would likely be very
difficult, Friend told The WorldPost. He thinks approval would take anywhere from only a few
years to never happening because of people being concerned about swimming mysterious
things into your head and leaving them there," he said.
Other scientists are skeptical that brain nanobots will be safe and effective anytime soon or at
all, largely due to how little we currently understand about how the brain works. One such
scientist is David Linden, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine, who thinks the timing of Kurzweils estimation that nanobots will be in our brains in
the 2030s is premature. Linden says there are huge obstacles, such as adding a nanobot power
source, evading cells that attack foreign bodies and avoiding harming the proteins and sugars
in the tiny spaces between brain cells.
Although the science is far from application in brains, nanotechnology has long been heralded
as a potential game changer in medicine, and the research is advancing. Last year, researchers
injected into living cockroaches DNA nanobots that were able to follow specific instructions,
including dispensing drugs, and this year, nanobots were injected into the stomach lining of
mice.

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

The Nanorobot Surgeon You Can Swallow

And we are learning how to enhance our brains, albeit not with nanobots. Researchers have
already successfully sent a message from one human brain to another, by stimulating the
brains from the outside using electromagnetic induction. In another study, similar brain
stimulation made people learn math faster. And in a recent U.S. government study, a few dozen
people who were given brain implants that delivered targeted shocks to their brain scored
better on memory tests.
Were already implanting thousands of humans with brain chips, such as Parkinsons patients
who have a brain chip that enables better motor control and deaf people who have a cochlear
implant, which enables hearing. But when it comes to enhancing brains without disabilities
and for nonmedical purposes, ethical and safety concerns arise. And according to a survey last
year, 72 percent of Americans are not interested in a brain implant that could improve memory
or mental capacity.
Yet, some believe enhancement of healthy brains is inevitable, including Christof Koch, chief
scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and Gary Marcus, professor of
psychology at New York University. They use the analogy of breast implants -- breast surgery
was developed for post-mastectomy reconstruction and correcting congenital defects but has
since become popular for breast augmentation. Brain implants could follow the same path,
they say.

Nicholas Negroponte: Nanobots in Your Brain Could Be the Fut

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

Here are Kurzweils answers to a couple of the questions he took at the Singularity University
discussion:
You have predicted that in 2029, we will reach the singularity -- the point at which
artificial intelligence outpaces human intelligence. Your opening remarks suggest that
youre fundamentally positive about AI in the post-2029 world. Other speakers have
been a little more ambivalent, certainly regarding the future of employment. Would you
elaborate on your overall sentiment on the post-2029 world?
Ive actually written about the dangers of AI more than most. But Im also optimistic, having
looked at the positive impact that technology has had on human life.
When it comes to the existential threat of AI, the primary strategy comes from governance and
social systems. We will have conflict between different groups of humans, each enhanced by AI.
We have that today with humans using intelligent weapons. The best tool we have to combat
that is to continue to work on our democracy, liberty and respect for each other.
When it comes to potential unemployment caused by AI, its always been the case that we can
clearly see the jobs that are going away. This started 200 years ago in the textile industry in
England. The weavers, who had enjoyed a business model passed down for centuries, were
suddenly losing their jobs to machines that could spin thread or weave cloth. You could look at
almost every job, and it would not be long before itd be automated. The reality is that
employment went up, and prosperity went up. The common man or woman, rather than just
having one shirt, could now have a whole wardrobe. Life became better, and there were
actually more jobs.

Ray Kurzweil: A.I. Will Result In More Human Jobs, Not Fewer

If I were a futurist in 1900 and said, OK, about [40 percent] of you work on farms and a third
work in factories. I predict, by the year [2012], only about two percent of us will work on farms
and [nine percent] in factories, everyone would go, Oh my God, were going to be out of
work! Id say, Don't worry. Youre going to get new jobs creating apps, web sites, chip designs
and data analysis -- nobody would have any idea what Im talking about.
Were destroying jobs at the bottom of the skill ladder and creating new jobs at the top. Weve
invested more in education in the U.S. over the last century. Weve increased per capita
investment in K-12 education significantly. We had 50,000 college students in 1870; we have
[20 million] today.
Its a difficult political situation because people can see the jobs that are going away, and that's
painful. You say, Well but there will be new jobs, and people say, What new jobs? And you

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

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say, Well, I don't know; they havent been invented yet. Its kind of a weak argument. But its
true.
Were also creating jobs that move up Maslows hierarchy so we can spend more time doing
things that give us gratification. People a century ago for the most part were happy if they could
have a job and provide for their family. Today, to an increasing degree, people get gratification
from what theyre doing. They look for a career that meets their passion -- lots of people are
pursuing entrepreneurial ideas. We have 20 million college students and an equal amount of
people who teach them and support that infrastructure, all to think about knowledge and
organize knowledge. Thats not something people spent much time doing a century or two ago - were going to keep moving in that direction.

In the 2030s, we will be able to send nanobots into


living peoples brains and extract memories of people
who have passed away.
Most things are becoming information technology, including clothing, which will be printed on
3-D printers. Well be able to grow food in vertical agriculture and print it on 3-D printers,
which are pennies for pounds. In the 2020s, 3-D printing designs will be open source and free
so you can live extremely well and print out everything you need, including printing out
houses.
People say, Great, there goes all these industries, like fashion and construction. But look at
industries that have already gone from physical products to digital products, like music, movies
and books. Theres an open source market with millions of free products but people still spend
money to read Harry Potter, see the latest blockbuster and buy music from their favorite artist.
Fueled by the ease of distribution and promotion, you have a coexistence of a free open-source
market and a proprietary market. That's the direction were moving in.
I cant actually describe exactly what the new jobs will be but they will be more gratifying. We
are already redefining the nature of work. I don't feel like Im working when I go to Google
because Im doing what Im passionate about. A lot of people today don't like their jobs. So why
are people so upset if these jobs go away? Weve created a society where you need a job to have
a livelihood. But thats going to be redefined. Were going to have the means of providing an
extremely high standard of living to everyone easily within 15 to 20 years.
In the documentary about yourself, you are preparing yourself to transcend your
death. How do you explain your theory of immortality?
In the film Transcendent Man, I talk about bringing back my father, Frederick Kurzweil. Im
writing a book now called The Singularity Is Nearer, and Im talking about this concept of a
replicant, where we bring back someone who has passed away. Itll go through several different
stages. First, well create an avatar based on emails, text messages, letters, video, audio and
memories of the person. Lets say in 2025, itll be somewhat realistic but not really the same.
But some people do actually have an interest in bringing back an unrealistic replicant of
someone they loved.

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

Transcendent Man Film Trailer

By the 2030s, the AIs will be able to create avatars that will seem very close to a human who
actually lived. We can take into consideration their DNA. In the 2030s, we will be able to send
nanobots into living peoples brains and extract memories of people who have passed away.
Then you can really make them very realistic.
I have collected and keep many boxes of information about my father. I have his letters, music,
8mm movies and my fading memories of him. It will be possible to create a very realistic avatar
in a virtual environment or augmented reality. When you actually interact with an avatar
physically, it will ultimately pass a Frederick Kurzweil Turing test -- meaning hell be
indistinguishable from our memories of the actual Frederick Kurzweil.
Kurzweils comments have been edited for clarity. This is part of the WorldPost Series on
Exponential Technology.
Also on WorldPost:

Stunning Brain Images Reveal Beauty Of F

1 of 16

University of Edinburgh

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

MORE: Nanotechnology, Brain Nanobots, Nanobots, Kurzweil Nanobots, Kurzweil Brain Nanobots, Ray Kurzweil, Brain Nanotechnology, Nanomachines, Nanomedicine,
Artificial Intelligence, AI , Exponential Technology, Worldpost Science And Tech, WorldPost Future Series, Nanorobot

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Ian Monteith University of Saskatchewan


It's an exciting idea, but we'd better think this out very carefully at every step. Right now,
our brains are physically independent, iinsulated from one another by physical barriers
(like skulls). Even with that separation, mind 'viruses' (memes) like religions, ideologies,
panic, mob rumours, etc. can spread through a population and cause deadly
behaviours. What would be the risk if we were to create actual links with other minds or
widespread networks of minds and servers? The wrong information, or a jolt of malicious
stimulation could have enormous and destructive consequences.
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40 Oct 1, 2015 5:37pm

Mike Barden Ball State University


So THIS Development will Weed Out Greed & the Tendency toward Violence?
Like Reply

4 Oct 2, 2015 1:46am

Mike Barden Ball State University


i MEAN i'm Still Waiting For them flying Cars i Was Promised As a Child So i
AM Dubious About His Timetable BUT...
Like Reply

10 Oct 2, 2015 1:55am

Chad Hanson

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Mike Barden - I found it obvious that he assumed that the mind and the soul
were one in the same thing! That is not true. The mind receives and processes
and the soul creates and expresses. His bots are only going to magnify what's
already there to be worked with....not actually expand it from it's already finite
potential. The capacity of your intellect and aptitudes will remain basically the
same.
Like Reply

5 Oct 2, 2015 6:31am

Show 9 more replies in this thread

Garth Haygood Chief Engineer at Retired


Sorry to disagree with Mr. Kurzweil. I human history has taught us anything is that new
technology will be used in the worst possible way first, to make money next, and then if
any good is capable it will be last.
Like Reply

28 Oct 1, 2015 5:12pm

Jon Adam
That and your wife will be able to know exactly what you are thinking at all
times. Scarey scarey!
Like Reply

9 Oct 1, 2015 5:47pm

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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

Wanda Lee
Exactly Garth....they can keep it, I'm not interested.
Like Reply

6 Oct 1, 2015 6:01pm

Jim Nation Wheat Ridge, Colorado


No, new technology is NOT always used in the worst possible way! Where did
you get that notion?
Like Reply

7 Oct 1, 2015 6:26pm

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Daniel Morgenbesser Works at Mostly in the kitchen


They can't even get the weather right half the time.
Like Reply

21 Oct 1, 2015 4:43pm

Chris Miller
Earthquake predictions are even worse!
Like Reply

3 Oct 2, 2015 7:17am

Robert South Seated at Retired


Oh, the weather and earthquakes come as predicted, just not at the time
predicted. That snow they predict in July will come--in December. The same is
true here. Kurzweil is predicting for 2030 what will be more like 3 to 10 times as
far away.
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2 Oct 2, 2015 12:07pm

Vilk Floyd Software Engineer at Self-Employed


Daniel, the reason for not getting the weather right is computational power.
Supercomputers (clusters with 100's of 000's of CPUs) are needed to run very
complex algorithms with tons of data. And the existing ones (see top500.org)
are few, and still underpowered. But Moore's Law still applies (kind of), and
quantum computing is becoming a reality.. and this is what will lead to the
"technological singularity".
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Uncl Mark
Great, that's all we need...a way for the gov't to access/influence our thoughts in the
cloud (i.e. a futuristic "Patriot Act"). Will we have worry about Chinese or Russian
hackers too?
Like Reply

18 Oct 1, 2015 4:43pm

Uncl Mark
Would this mean that people would be able to contact you mind to mind via a
cloud? Could you imagine the nightmare of everyone being able to contact you
all the time...anytime...being unable to be alone with your own thoughts?
Sounds like a lot of futuristic insanity, if there is no on & off switch/filter to this
mental cloud.
Like Reply

13 Oct 1, 2015 4:51pm

Khoi Nguyen Austin, Texas


talking about protecting intellectual property... they can steal out thougths now.
Like Reply

11 Oct 1, 2015 4:51pm

Adam Griffith San Clemente, California


Probably more likely some corporation will manipulate you to purchase things
you don't need or want.
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William Gaskill Works at Reliability Consultants, Inc.

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Page 9 of 11

Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

Once our brains become interwoven with AI, we will start the permanent change to
digital presence, and organic bodies will eventually be left behind. Within a hundred
years, we could be totally digital, moving easily between a virtual world and interfacing
with a mechanical body in the real world. The next stage in our evolution will be learning
to live in a "hive mind", where the entirety of our mind will be open to everyone else - it
will be, by far, the most loving and the scariest experiences possible.
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10/7/15, 4:46 PM

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13 Oct 1, 2015 6:00pm

Ben Rubin Williamstown, Massachusetts


No thanks.
Like Reply

17 Oct 1, 2015 6:39pm

Don Gettys Joliet Junior College


That's actually natural evolution since a naturally evolved creature is instituting
the change. I believe that all societies reach this point and most move on.
Like Reply

3 Oct 1, 2015 6:54pm

William Gaskill Works at Reliability Consultants, Inc.


Ben Rubin : It doesn't matter whether you like it or not - many won't. It is,
however, the next step in our evolution, and the "fittest" will survive.
Like Reply

7 Oct 1, 2015 9:37pm

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Jon Adam
Odd that such a smart man fascinated with increasing emotional intelligence and
expannding the human mind's capabilities can't seem to see the obvious pitfalls in his
vision of the future.
Kurzweil may indeed be a great idea generator, but it's blantantly obvious he lives a life
cloistered from reality.
Like Reply

11 Oct 1, 2015 5:44pm

Kenneth Moore Professor at Sookmyung Women's University


Good point. It's telling that Kurzweil's example of machine-enhanced emotional
intelligence consists in being able to say something clever to a colleague more
quicky/efficiently. Wouldn't truly-increased emtional intelligence consist in not
needing to say something clever to gain acceptance/leverage/momentary
dominance? He may have made some good keyboards in the 80s, but his
understanding of what it means to be human is not only cloistered but also a bit
superficial.
Like Reply

9 Oct 2, 2015 8:08am

Trent Balalis
Wouldn't this open the door to hackers? Can you imagine planting a virus in the cloud
that causes all our brains shut down or false memories. we can't even protect our
current technology from hacking.
Like Reply

11 Oct 1, 2015 6:04pm

F-erenc Szabo Toronto, Ontario


A similar thing already happens via interaction (mass hysteria like religion for
example).
Like Reply

1 Oct 2, 2015 9:27pm

Craig Schultz
F-erenc Szabo - Or, the idea for mass shootings being planted in sick minds by
the wide broadcast of reports of mass shootings by the news media.
Religion has pretty much been OK, with dark periods every one in a while but
mass shootings specifically and terrorist activity doesn't seem to be winding
down anytime soon and is more likely to escalate much more due to the ability
to instantly become world famous, or infamous by committing ever more
heinous acts.
Like Reply Oct 6, 2015 3:12pm

Matt Bevacqua The University of Texas at Austin


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Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'

10/7/15, 4:46 PM

So sick of all these naive, human-centric, "thinkers" who truly believe technology will
make the world a better place. How about nanotech that will save and make life better
for ALL creatures humans share the planet with?
Like Reply

10 Oct 1, 2015 5:49pm

Jed Fribley University of Mississippi ~ Ole Miss


You should check out The Abolitionist Project.
Like Reply Oct 2, 2015 8:16pm

Adam Griffith San Clemente, California


And then Skynet becomes self aware.
Like Reply

8 Oct 1, 2015 5:16pm

Joe Breaux Lafayette, Louisiana


Would be a good way to unite humanity....a common enemy.
Like Reply

3 Oct 1, 2015 7:45pm

Edward Stew
Resistance is futile.
Like Reply

5 Oct 2, 2015 6:51am

John Gorn
Setting aside the ethical issues, I think his timeline is way off. The 2030s are 15 years
away and there is nothing remotely close to suggesting that technology at this level will
emerge in 15 years.
Ray's vision is sort of an extension of Google - a massive collection of data. But you
need more than data to develop something like this. It also requires the intelligence to
process it and the technology to integrate it into biological systems. Not only does none
of that exist, but those biological systems are not even deeply understood.
I think 100 years might be closer to the mark, unless the dreaded AI singularity occurs
and takes over from humans to accelerate the technology. I hope to be dead before that
happens and not to be "resurrected" as an avatar.
Like Reply

7 Oct 1, 2015 8:50pm

Beth McKinney Edmonds High School


Me too. Pretty sure I'll be long gone before any of this and glad of it.
Like Reply

2 Oct 2, 2015 4:58am

Half W. Satire
In your world, if a tree falls in the forset and YOU are not there to hear it.
It makes NO sound !
Like Reply

3 Oct 2, 2015 5:56am

Jon Adam
Brian Sharritts Not even close.
Like Reply

1 Oct 2, 2015 12:19pm

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