Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time for Kurzweil

So I've been impressed for years at Ray Kurzweil's own exponentially rising public profile, the most recent accomplishment of which is to answer ten questions for Time magazine.

There's nothing new in the article: Kurzweil tells us that we'll re-engineer bodies and brains, becoming long-lived (the word "immortal" is noticeably absent, however) and much smarter. We'll have to prevent anyone from bioengineering weapons, and we'll have a happier, more spiritual culture. These are just reiterations of claims he's made before, in The Singularity Is Near and The Age of Spiritual Machines so the claims, themselves, are of little interest to me.

What is interesting is that Time has jumped on the apocalyptic bandwagon. Does the magazine endorse Kurzweil's ideas? Not yet. Does it endorse Kurzweil himself? Well, yes. By giving Kurzweil massive mainstream exposure, the magazine acknowledges Kurzweil's social status and simultaneously adds to it.

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