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I'm finding this stuff out a lot, lately. Especially about Kurzweil. Is it fair to say that the futurist movement is less about cynicism/skepticism and more about idealism and optimism for the future, or is this just the case for Kurzweil? Are there other members of the futurist movement who would disagree with this endorsement by the homeopathic community?

None of the on-the-ground transhumanists take Ray very seriously. While he might genuinely be attempting to bring about advanced technology, I don't see how "get lots of publicity" is a viable method to reach his purported goals.

He hasn't really worked on OCR since the 70s. Apparently, that's his claim to technological progress. Oh, also he did some electronic noisemakers. Still, I wonder about the 40 years between then and now. 40 years is a long time to work towards transhumanist technologies. But instead he has squandered it into publicity on top of his OCR accomplishments?

There is a growing sentiment among transhumanists that his cheerleading and publicity campaigns aren't going to materialize advanced technology. We have to build it ourselves. But we already knew this, it's just that the "sit back and wait for it to happen" fairytale is very seductive. In fact, that's exactly what people want to hear.

For somewhat-unrelated criticism regarding Ray Kurzweil, there are these emails from Paul D. Fernhout: http://heybryan.org/fernhout/ But to be fair, you can still spot TSiN on random bookshelves when you go to hackerspaces. It's almost cute, really.

Bias: irc.freenode.net ##hplusroadmap ("sponsored by George Church" just like everything else)


He made the Kurzweil synths and as far as I remember his OCR was for the disabled.

Sometimes it's easy to disregard someone completely just because one think they take it too far.

Imagine how a Davinci might look today.

I do not buy Rays ideas on this matter either but there sure is a discussion worth having in there. Even despite some of the claims he makes.


I'd be really curious to get a copy of the OCR software. I'd like to disassemble it and see what the fuss was about. I can hardly get tesseract to reliably work.

<unnecessary sarcasm>Maybe Ray should jump in and fix tesseract for us.</unnecessary sarcasm>


All you need to do is look in the history book and realize that he was one of the few pepople working in that field. A more concrete thing was his text-to-speech synthesis.

Anyway. I see no point in defending Ray or any of his ideas. Just saying that the man isn't stupid and have done quite a few inventions.

To brush him of, as much as I disagree with some of his points, simply because he makes outragous claims seems a tad self-defeating.


Random programmer decides to cast his "expert" eye over others' work in bid to determine the value of such work. Who are you again?


This concept of "on-the-ground transhumanists" interests me. Are there actually transhumanists who actually work on building transhuman stuff?


> Are there actually transhumanists who actually work on building transhuman stuff?

More than you might guess. There's a lot of participation within the do-it-yourself biohacking scene. Also, RepRap and other open source hardware projects tend to attract transhumanist talent. I don't mean to sound too biased but you should check out that IRC channel I mentioned.


A while back I interviewed with a startup doing transhumany things that was full of on-the-ground transhumanists and they were all quite serious about it. They're out there.


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