This article was published in The Stream (July 6, 2022) under the title "The Church of Artificial Intelligence of the Future" and is republished with permission. There is a church that worships artificial intelligence (AI). Zealots believe that an extraordinary AI future is inevitable. The technology is not here yet, but we are assured that it's coming. We will have the ability to be uploaded onto a computer and thereby achieve immortality.
The singularity is that point in time when all the advances in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to machines that are smarter than human beings. Kurzweil's timetable for the singularity is consistent with other predictions,– notably those of Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who predicts that the dawn of super-intelligent machines will happen by 2047. But for Kurzweil, the process towards this singularity has already begun.
Late last Friday, Google announced a jaw-dropping hire: Ray Kurzweil will join the company as a Director of Engineering. Has the world's brainiest tech company suddenly bought into Kurzweil's "rapture of the nerds" b.s. They've just signed The Singularity's death warrant by putting its chief proselytizer to work doing what he does best: inventing better machines for the real world, not writing science fiction. For this, Larry Page should get some kind of medal. Ray Kurzweil is a genius inventor.
Speaking to Fortune, the famed "future teller" dismissed most people's worries about automation. "Everybody would go, 'Oh, my God, we're going to be out of work,"' Kurzweil told Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram. "I would say, 'Well, don't worry, for every job we eliminate, we're going to create more jobs at the top of the skill ladder.'" Kurzweil added that when people ask what these new jobs would be, he'd say, "Well, I don't know. We haven't invented them yet."
In a recent interview with the New York Public Library, Amy Kurzweil described her cartoons as studies in "erudite silliness." Well, Kurzweil is certainly erudite--just check out those pencil-nub earrings (Blackwings, no less, favored by the likes of John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Stephen Sondheim, Vladimir Nabokov, and Amy Kurzweil). Also, delightfully silly--just look at her earrings. Who better, then, than this fiction-M.F.A.-holding artist to offer a tutorial on drawing hilarious cartoons about characters from literature and about the literarily minded. It can be a dangerous endeavor--people don't always love to see how you think Mr. Darcy looks.