(When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence)


Ray Kurzweil

It is not a bad definition of man to describe him as a tool-making animal. His earliest contrivances to support uncivilized life were tools of the simplest and rudest construction. His latest achievements in the substitution of machinery, not merely for the skill of the human hand, but for the relief of the human intellect, are founded on the use of tools of a still higher order.

Charles Babbage, 150 years ago


I. Issues of AI (Artificial Intelligence)

What computers still CAN'T do

What computers CAN do

Jonathan Schaeffer,
Professor of Computer Science
at the University of Alberta

Gary Kasparov (1997)


II. What are the Claims of ASM?

Background - Kurzweil's Two Premises:

1. Moore's Law of Integrated Circuits (by Gordon Moore, Inventor of the IC, 1965)

"The packing density of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every two years."

2. Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns

"The species and computational technology will progress at an exponential rate, but the exponent of this growth is vastly higher for the technology than it is for the species."

Thus the computational technology inevitably and rapidly overtakes the species that invented it.

Example of Inevitability of Machine Success - Chess

Figure 8.18 International Chess Federation Ratings for Humans and Computers
(from Firebaugh, Artificial Intelligence, Second Edition)

"...since 1900, human performance has increased about one (actually, 0.87) FIDE point per year while computer performance increases 43 points per year. The second inevitable conclusion is that the best computer chess player will eventually surpass the best human chess player. From the (m,b) values given above, we can compute when this will happen, and the answer is when year = 1995.9 (i.e., about September, 1995). This result misses the date of February 10, 1996 when Deep Blue first defeated Garry Kasparov by only five months.


Timeline for Emerging Machine Intelligence

Kurzweil projects the impact of increasingly intelligent machines in the areas of

for each of the following time frames: 2009, 2019, 2029, and 2099.

Consider the following claims:





III. Who is Ray Kurzweil?

In discussing philosophies of consciousness and mind, Kurzweil says:

"My own view is that all of these schools are correct when viewed together, but insufficient when viewed one at a time. That is, the truth lies in a synthesis of these views. This reflects my Unitarian religious education in which we studied all the world's religions, considering them 'many paths to the truth.'"

In highschool, he played a piano composition which had been composed by a computer he had built.

In college he ran a business matching highschool kids with colleges using a program he wrote.

In 1974 he founded Kurzweil Computer Products which invented the first omni-font optical character recognition (OCR) system.

In 1976 he developed the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the first print-to-speach reading machine for the blind, the first model of which went to Stevie Wonder.

With Stevie Wonder as musical adviser, he developed the Kurzweil 250, the first electronic musical instrument to successfully emulate the complex sound response of a grand piano and virtually all other orchestral instruments.

In 1982 he started Kurzweil Applied Intelligence with the goal of creating a voice-activated word processor. This spawned Kurzweil Clinical Reporter which allows doctors to dictate medical reports directly. Much of his book was written with Voice Express Plus which takes natural language dictation directly. This has evolved into a listening device for the deaf which recognized natural speech in real time.

He was named Inventor of the Year in 1988 by M.I.T.

His The Age of Intelligent Machines won the Association of American Publishers' Award for the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990

He was awarded the Dickson Prize, Carnegie Mellon's top science prize for 1994

Recipient of nine honorary doctorates and honors from two U.S.presidents

IV. What is his Prediction Record?

Consider the following predictions for the 1990s from The Age of Intelligent Machines and other Kurzweil writings from the 1980s.

What Happened: Yes and No

What Happened: Right on.

What Happened: It did - the WWW in 1994.

What Happened: Right on.

What Happened: Most of the musical sounds you hear on television, in the movies, and in recordings are now created on digital synthesizers.

What Happened: Right on, with retinal pattern recognition being the most unique of all.

What Happened: Whoops - it took till the late 1990s.

Conclusion: Overall, Ray Kurzweil has had a remarkably accurate record of predicting both content and timing.

V. Evidence of Validity of ASM Claims

Case 1: "Blind man 'sees' with camera wired to brain", Racine Journal Times, 1/17/2000

Case 2: "Cyborg 1.0: Kevin Warwick Outlines his Plan to become One with his Computer", WIRED, February, 2000

Case 3: "HELLO, WORLD - Imagine a machine that speaks your language - and translates it for those who don't.", WIRED Special Report on the Future of Translation, May 2000

Consider the three stages required for Machine Translation (MT):

1. Speech to Text (Continuous speech recognition): Solved at the 96% level

2. Language A Text to Language B Text: In progress

3. Text to Speech (Speech Synthesis): Completely solved

The MT Challenge:

Case 4: "For First Time, Gene Therapy Really Works", St. Petersburg Times, April 28, 2000