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.



5 responses »

  1. jhw026 says:

    It sounds like Kurzweil has definitely accomplished some interesting things in his career and would make for an interesting speaker at Bucknell. I especially think his views on futurism and transhumanism would be interesting and possible relevant to Bucknell students as there have been several speakers at Bucknell recently who have spoken on understandings of the mind as an organ and entity and how future technologies might affect our understanding of it.

  2. jmg051 says:

    I think Kurzweil would be an extremely interesting person to bring to Bucknell. His ideas about “eliminating death” are fascinating, and I think they would lead to a lot of discussion among the students. An inventor’s mind works in unique ways, and I’m sure he sees and thinks about things in very different ways than most of us. The best speakers, in my opinion, are those that are slightly different from their audience – this generates discussion and interest. Kurzweil would be a great person to hear speak.

  3. idalbello says:

    I believe Kurzweil could definitely be a great speaker at Bucknell. He seems like a very intelligent inventor that has changed life as we know it. It would be definitely be interesting to hear on how he believes that death can be eliminated, as well as how he believes he can bring back people by programming an avatar. What I’m most curious about is what he would suggest the world do if we eliminated death, speaking in terms of overpopulation and world hunger, as it is still a problem with death in our lives.

  4. clr020 says:

    The idea of eliminating death definitely makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I would be interested in hearing about his thoughts on the subject. Would he just want to have the capablity of eliminating death or would he plan on keeping everybody alive forever? Overpopulation and hunger are becoming bigger issues with each day that passes… I’d like to hear his thoughts on those and how they would be factors in his push for immortal life.

  5. mwh011 says:

    After seeing Ray Kurzweil in a Best Buy commercial during the Super Bowl this year, I got a little curious about his background after remembering he was brought up for this topic. One of the things that I think is most interesting is that he made predictions decades before they actually came true and that some of his future predictions have some pretty big possibilities. Some of his predictions aren’t too far fetched. The basic idea that humans will become more dependent on computers as time goes on seems pretty inevitable. However, some of his predictions are pretty scary as well. For instance, he predicts that personal computers will have the same computing, processing power and memory as the human brain by 2020. He even goes on to predict that computers will be much more powerful than even the most intelligent human brain by 2045 and that computers will basically grow to run the planet. I think having Kurzweil on this campus to talk about these topics alone would be well worth it.

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