The futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil is the 21st century's answer to Tesla, with his now semi-annual (and very optimistic) pronouncements on strong AI. Kurzweil, the author of 'The Age of Spiritual Machines', has another one of those pronouncements here.

Despite owning a Kurzweil keyboard, I do not share Mr. Kurzweil's breezy optimism about machine intelligence. If human ability could be simulated by machines, the Kurzweil company would not have had changed hands several times. There is a huge disconnect between the quality of their product and their ability to service and market their product, and that difference, I think, reflects the role of human (rather than machine) intelligence.

By the way, after several years of excellent service, my PC2X is becoming dodgy. But there's no one who services these instruments, officially, in the entire state. And the promised PC3X advertised on Kurzweil's home page, like seemingly every other Kurzweil product, takes forever to reach the market and when it does is not supported by major retailers like Guitar Center. Their products are brilliant. The rest is maddening. I conclude that Kurzweil is a similarly brilliant fellow, whose vision of the big picture is maddeningly at odds with what is out there now.

Kurzweil, interestingly enough, also sees immortality is in the tea leaves, while remaining either indifferent or oblivious to the social and environmental costs of a world in which radical life extension becomes possible.

While I don't share his optimism about immortality, I believe very strongly that life expectancy amongst the privileged is about to escalate dramatically. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two biggest killers in North America, but the former can be prevented by lifestyle choices. If we couple superior nutrition and exercise with 'intelligent drugs' that actually purge the body of HDL on a regular basis, we can probably add 20-25 years to the average well-to-do person's life.

Which would be great, if you were one of those well-to-do people.

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