Ray Kurzweil is considered one of the leading inventors of our time and would be an invaluable speaker to have at Bucknell University. His numerous inventions include the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. In addition, he has founded over 10 companies ranging from developing reading products to help students with learning disabilities, to intelligent tools designed to assist in the creative process (http://www.kurzweiltech.com/companies_flash.html). Since his accomplishments and inventions span across a wide variety of subjects, nearly every student at Bucknell would find Kurzweil’s lecture to be of interest and relevant to his interests.
Furthermore, beyond his advancements in technology, Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, which is an area not many people are familiar with and would find interesting. Kurzweil has long predicted that the “mind and machine will one day merge”and believes he can one day create avatars of the deceased that are programmed to to know everything about that individual’s past and will have the ability to think like the person did (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/futurist-ray-kurzweil-bring-dead-father-back-life/story?id=14267712). Such an advancement is unimaginable and almost taboo to the vast majority, but Kurzweil strongly affirms that such inventions are possible and that one day death can be eliminated all together. Due to his knowledge and contributions to a wide array of subjects and his unique outlook on the future, Kurzweil would be both and interesting and insightful speaker to have at Bucknell.