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Technology Speaker Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil

Entrepreneur, Futurist & World Renowned Inventor

Bio

Ray Kurzweil has been described as "the restless genius" by the Wall Street Journal, and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the "rightful heir to Thomas Edison," and PBS included Ray as one of 16 "revolutionaries who made America," along with other inventors of the past two centuries.

As one of the leading inventors of our time, Ray was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

He has received nineteen honorary Doctorates and honors from three U.S. presidents.

Ray has written four national best selling books. The Age of Spiritual Machines has been translated into 9 languages and was the #1 best selling book on Amazon in science. Ray's book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy.

Kurzweil speaks frequently to diverse audiences around the world, presenting a provocative, long-term, big picture view of the future of technology and its implications for society. In his presentations he explains the exponential growth of technology (in his terms, “The Law of Accelerating Returns”) and its path toward reverse engineering the brain, nanotechnology, the merging of human and machine, and, ultimately, extreme human life extension.

Topics

Ray Kurzweil's Speaking Presentations:

Ray Kurzweil tailors his lectures and speaking engagements to specific audiences and often speaks on: innovation, health and medicine, education, business & investing, energy, disabilities & assistive technologies. Below are examples of some of his many keynote topics:

Technology & The Future

At the onset of the 21st century, it will be an era in which the very nature of what is means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy, and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.  The paradigm shift rate is now doubling every decade, so the twenty-first century will see 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate.  Computation, communication, biological technologies (for example, DNA sequencing), brain scanning, knowledge of the human brain, and human knowledge in general are all accelerating at an even faster pace, generally doubling price-performance, capacity, and bandwidth every year. Three-dimensional molecular computing will provide the hardware for human-level "strong" AI well before 2030.  The more important software insights will be gained in part from the reverse-engineering of the human brain, a process well under way.  While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, celebrated futurist Ray Kurzweil presents an inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny in which we will merge with our machines, can live forever, and are a billion times more intelligent...all within the next three to four decades.

Innovation & Invention

As one of the leading inventors of our time, Ray was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.  In his presentations Kurzweil discusses the democratizing effects of technology,  how to foster innovation in an organization, and how to bring inventions to market. He explains how the law of accelerating returns and the exponential growth of information technology are accelerating opportunities for innovation. In this talk, he draws upon his own history of innovation which led to his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, founded by the U.S. Patent Office in 2002.

Health & Medicine

We are now at a pivotal time in health technologies.  With the collection of the genome in 2003 and the advent of techniques such as RNA interference that can actually turn off the genes that promote disease and aging, medicine has transformed itself into an information technology.  As such, medicine is now subject to the “law of accelerating returns,” meaning that these technologies will be a thousand times more powerful than today in ten years, and a million times more powerful in 20 years.  Up until recently, health interventions were hit or miss.  We'd find something that seemed to work with only crude models of how they worked.  Drug development was called "drug discovery," basically finding things that worked rather than designing them.  Today it is within our grasp to slow the aging process and take full advantage of advances in bio- and nanotechnology that have already begun and will be occurring at an accelerating pace in the years ahead.  Ultimately, we will merge with our machines, vastly extending human health and longevity, and greatly increasing our intelligence.

Education

Kurzweil presents to many academic groups including educators, administrators, executive boards, and higher education IT specialists about the intersection of information technology (a broad perspective), education and human knowledge.  He describes a future in which there is widespread and inexpensive access to education around the world, individualized learning through computer assisted instruction,  full-immersion virtual reality classrooms and labs, and ultimately the ability to download knowledge and skills directly to our brains.  He remarks on the key role of education in supporting the unique attribute of our species which is an exponential expanding knowledge base that we pass down from generation to generation.  He notes that as jobs are destroyed at the bottom of the skill ladder and more satisfying and better paying jobs are added at the top, investment in education has increased to keep pace with the rising skill ladder.  Specifically, in 1870 there were 60,000 college students and today there are over 6 million.  Expenditures in K-12 education in constant dollars and on a per capita basis have multiplied by ten over the past century.  Our economy is increasingly dominated by knowledge intensive jobs, hence the increasingly central role of education and technology.

Business & Investing

Kurzweil frequently presents to private equity firms and businesses on technology and the capital markets, business and technology trends, near- and long-term predictions, and strategy in an age of exponential technological growth.

Despite the current economic turmoil, Mr. Kurzweil presents an optimistic argument that the exponential growth of information technology will continue unaffected during the economic downturn as it has in every past recession and during the Great Depression, noting that information technology goes beyond just computerized devices, but includes such disparate areas as health and medicine, and energy.  In every past recession and the Great Depression, he notes that economic growth snapped back to where it would have been had the downturn never occurred.  He presents a wealth of data showing that information technologies have the scale and the ability to overcome the major problems we face such as energy and the environment, health, and even poverty.

Energy

Energy is certainly not an information technology today.  70% of our energy comes from fossil fuels, a nineteenth century technology.  However, if we could capture one part in ten thousand of the sunlight that falls on the Earth we could meet 100 percent of our energy needs using this renewable and environmentally friendly source.  We are unable to do that now because today’s solar panels are also an old industrial technology that are expensive, inefficient, heavy, and hard to install.  There is a new generation of solar panels based on “nanotechnology” (manipulating matter at the level of molecules) that is starting to overcome these obstacles.  The tipping point when energy from solar panels is actually less expensive than fossil fuels is only a few years away.  This is following an exponential progression in solar energy that is similar to what we see in computers.  The power we are generating from solar is doubling every two years.  At that rate, it can meet all of our energy needs within twenty years.

Nanotechnology is an emerging area of technology in which matter and energy is reorganized at the molecular level using information processes.  It is an information technology and therefore subject to what I call the “law of accelerating returns,” this continual doubling of capability about every year.  There are billions of dollars now being invested in these new renewable energy technologies by venture capital organizations, and companies such as Google.  An era in which we can obtain energy from sunlight using nanoengineered solar panels and store the energy in nanoengineered fuel cells (to overcome the intermittency of sunlight) at lower cost than environmentally damaging fossil fuels is close at hand.

Technology & Disabilities

Only technology can provide the scale to overcome the challenges with which human society has struggled for generations. Within a couple of decades non-biological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence and will necessarily soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in the environment, our bodies and our brains, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses, experience ‘beaming’, and enhanced human intelligence. These emerging technologies will be a great leveler in eliminating the handicaps associated with sensory and physical disabilities.

For more information, fees & booking Ray Kurzweil, contact us. (Very SERIOUS booking-related inquiries only.)

What Clients are Saying

The event was a big success. The journalists I spoke to said they found Ray’s speech ‘awe inspiring’ and he was in hot demand for one to one interviews the following day.  We’re collating feedback forms from the attendees - many of them gave Ray 5 out of 5!

–Ketchum Public Relations

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The event was a big success. The journalists I spoke to said they found Ray’s speech ‘awe inspiring’ and he was in hot demand for one to one interviews the following day.  We’re collating feedback forms from the attendees - many of them gave Ray 5 out of 5!

–Ketchum Public Relations

A huge thank you for your enlightening, inspiring and thought-provoking keynote that closed our Handheld Learning Conference the other week ... The delegate feedback from the event and for your talk in particular has been overwhelmingly positive.

–Learning Without Frontiers

We are still excited and full with adrenaline following the exciting talk by Mr. Kurzweil. The presentation was a remarkable achievement. It was fluent and brilliant.

–Olive Bay, Ltd.

Ray was fantastic!  We had a full audience and there continues to be follow-up discussion on Twitter.

–Cambridge BioPartners

The conference went very well and the clients (and myself too!) were very fascinated by Mr. Kurzweil’s speech!

–Credit Suisse

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