Glenn sits down with renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil

On Tuesday’s episode of The Glenn Beck Program, Glenn invited well known futurist Ray Kurzweil onto his television show. Kurzweil is famous for his ability to predict technological innovations, including the rise of the internet.

One of Kurzweil’s predictions involves what he calls the “singularity”, a point where technology will be evolving so quickly that it will irreversibly change human life. It is at this point where human will begin to augment their own biology and intelligence with technology and artificial intelligence. He believes this will occur in 2045.

Kurzweil’s website explains:

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then 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 our bodies, our brains, and our environment, overcoming pollution and poverty, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses (like “The Matrix”), “experience beaming” (like “Being John Malkovich”), and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.

Technology new site The Verge profiled the Singularity movement, and noted Kurzweil as it’s optimistic prophet:

Kurzweil is the Singularity’s optimistic prophet. As a young inventor, he set out to help the blind to see and the mute to speak. Incredibly, he accomplished these lofty goals, creating technologies that touched many lives, and making himself a millionaire many times over the process. So perhaps it’s not surprising that he truly believes he can solve the vexing problem of mortality, and even, as he explains in the documentary Transcendent Man, bring his dead father back to boot. In Kurzweil’s vision of the future, we can merge our brains with computers, giving us a near godlike intelligence and the ability to back up our memories and thus live forever. This new species of man-machine will spread out across the universe, a super race on an infinite quest for knowledge.

Kurzweil was the subject of the documentary The Transcendent Man, and you can watch the trailer for that film below:

Watch the interview from TheBlaze TV below:

Part 1:

Part 2:


  • Anonymous

    I think Mr. Beck was a bit frustrated with the interview, but also, there were questions he asked that I think remarkably Mr. Kurzweil could not answer. Being a futurist, his forecasting doesn’t allow for human discord to interrupt his vision, say for example, Middle East collapse, EMP-loaded Nuclear explosion, or any other Black Swan event that may interfere with said vision. It’s called a ‘Delta, Delta’, where technological innovation exists on a steady 45 degree incline, coupled with his existential growth paradigm. Kurzweil is hard-wired into excepting this singularity as inevitable, so queries about Moral turpitude and whose hands could this possible fall into are almost insignificant to him. Not because he doesn’t care about evil ceasing the controls (or as refers to them as +’s and -‘s), he’s so equipped for the future that he’s not really concerned about history from a human behavior perspective. Yes, he’s quite adept at cataloging human history through there +’s and -‘s vis-a-vis innovations, but the constructs of events through human corruption, depravity, or courage and perseverance are almost too superficial for his concern, as he sees it. Yeah, humanity has endured all these horrific things but here we are with IPads, self-driving cars, and double-photonic telemetry, thus, no huss no fuss.

    I don’t mean to disparage Kurzweil as coming off as some kind of tech-sociopath, I’m merely suggesting that he sees things from a much higher story window than most, so the way he categorizes the world around him is starkly stranger than normalcy bias-ridden individual.

    I do disagree with his notion that we’re smarter, and that we’re more democratized (as if that’s a good thing – historically, from Cicero to Madison [Federalist Paper 14] democracies are really bad, as it means society is being controlled by mobs), as having access to smartphones grants people phenomenal cosmic power. I don’t believe intent over action is superlative law. People use their daily tech to fulfill the lowest common denominator, otherwise billions wouldn’t be put into Zeygna, Angry Birds, and Windows 8.

    Eventually, classes of people will be created as to how they use their technology available to them (as Mr. Beck cited with Sagan’s Demon Haunted World notion), and those that spend hours a day surfing the web (as Kurzweil suggested is about to become a thing of the past conventionally) and playing games will be handicapped as content-creators will be using there creations as currency and bargaining chips to get ahead in a quasi-cybernetic world.

    Yes, a Black Swan event may occur that disrupts all these projections, but we also can’t undo what we know, meaning the trajectory is inevitable, even with setbacks.

    • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

      I have to agree with you, especially on the Black Swan events that may occur; any study of history shows a single event, small or large, is capable of upsetting a dynamic system. 

      One small change into any system, especially one that grows more and more complex, can cause unexpected permutations which can push the system to disruption or to a complete collapse.

      One only has to look for a reasonable example at the early twentieth century spread of the “Spanish Flu” which became a pandemic causing massive sickness and death. It does not take much speculation and imagination to see the damage a specialized computer virus could achieve in a world as the futurist details.

      • Anonymous

         Great example w/ the Spanish Flu. I call it ‘the Rapture phenomenon’ in regards to your virus notion. Kurzweil has had tremendous success speculating incremental advances, hence, leading to his larger, long-term bets, but staying on coarse with even his own line of thought (being that subsequent evolution inherently is more complex), eventually, he must saturate his own speculations if he simultaneously is favoring a monolithic shift in human interactivity. His efforts to dictate ‘the time and the place’ of such a profound anchor point (to him The Singularity) there must be simultaneous consideration for all the more complex monkey-wrenches that can and will be tossed into the engine.

        An example being I’m currently using a 2-year old Android to perform virtual desktop trouble-shooting, augmented reality tasks, testing, and debugging, remote-server work, tethering, along with an assortment of root kit manipulation. Now, a study group (one of my social groups I already co-habitat in so no worry of hard uncertainty principles in effect) through observation shows that collectively they gather data by social media; that’s it, that’s within 90% of their collective tech-usage. If you remove the idea of ‘sharing’ from the variable table, no content is being manipulated nor created on their much newer (by tech standards) smartphones and tablets. This small experiment suggests Sagan’s point that the faster technology evolves (inherently becoming more complex) the less average people will utilize it to half or full capability. Simply by monitoring usage, even though phones have become 2-6X more powerful with more apps capable of doing more tasks, more functions, and more opportunities for content creation, seemingly the trajectory never wavers. In fact, the more complex are systems become, the more we see defraction occur amongst the usage, in that, people 15 years ago were spending considerable time playing solitaire on their desktops, now they’ve migrated that time playing angry birds on their IPads. Considerably far more advanced tech, though, the behavior hasn’t changed. Nor will it be any different 15 years from now.

        This specimen under the microscope is perhaps what Mr. Beck was alluding to for Mr. Kurzweil about responsibility (personal and societal) for these advances. No matter how sophisticated the relationship becomes with technology, it isn’t altering human behavior. People still want to extract as much leisure and entertainment as possible out of their tech experiences; it’s just that the consequences are becoming more dire pursuing them for too long, or at all in some cases.

        The steady flatline of needing to be entertained, combining that with the Moore’s Law of computing power (and subsequent advances do to Moore’s Law) which in turn will provide the average person with Tony Stark’s lab in 20 years but they won’t be using it to invent new elements, but to consume as much content as possible. This outcome is one to be greatly concerned about, but in a free society, how do you teach people not to eat the chocolate cake, sitting on their plate with a sign that says please eat me?

        The problem must be tackled now, because once it’s in place, like a cold, the T-Cells now must be reactive rather than proactive, but the larger the scale, the more chaotic the circumstances.

        • Anonymous

          I had not seen this episode until today. I will put another spin on this that is more sinister, but not less possible to include pandemic, malicious computer viruses, systemic code inclusions that allow back-door access that could be utilized by others to “shut down” those who oppose a given group of people – politically or what have you, and those that are designed with code that could be remoted to kill the host if they are not fulfilling their function in humanity as determined by those in authority (those with mental or physical disabilities, terminal diseases, or those whose opposition to those in authority (“Big Brother”) causes problems. While the ability to share information now with one another is a benefit, the possibility of sharing viral code or being connected to larger life/death code is a distinct, and frightful possibility.

          With all the beauty, precision, and technological advances the Germans had, they were able to create something ghastly and atrociously wrong by brainwashing people and feeding their fears and prejudices. Taking that to another level of being able to transform their minds into something that those who were resistant to on their own (as there were dissidents who worked against those efforts), could no longer resist is truly frightening.

          If people had the capacity to share information 60+ years ago, we may not be at the point we are now with the government’s overreach into our information and making changes with so few people being aware of what was happening. Those encroachments were small, and they were designed to “help people,” so they accepted them.

          These technological advances we see in the “Information Age” do have benefits, but with all great power, comes great responsibility to ensure they are not used for the evil for which they have the propensity to be used.

      • Anonymous

        The Spanish flu may have been catastrophic in the short run but it did not disrupt the progress of civilization as a whole. I don’t understand these Black Swan arguments being put forth here. Sure a lot of things COULD happen. But hasn’t Kurzweil done a pretty remarkable job of predicting things up to now? Why not give credit where credit is due?

        • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

          Mr Kurzweil has done a fantastic job; the Black Swan incidents are basically what can happen naturally or deliberately in any ecosystem as complexity expands…one incident, small or large, shares the ability to cause a cascade of unexpected events across the system, and in turn spark more unexpected events.

          This is another example of “glass half full or empty” in concept. I have read too many events in history where the unexpected has occurred, and in a technologically advanced world as described, the smallest change can have disastrous consequences.

          What would have been the effect of Super Storm Sandy in 2040 and the disruptive premutations branching off from there?

  • David Callow

    What a fantastic interview

  • Stacy Kristine Quick

    any believer ever consider the antichrist might just be a self-aware computer program?

    • D Wilson

      What are you saying, Stacy? Are you suggesting that the antichrist could actually be manipulating the computers…maybe even the ballot computers, thus re-electing a socialist, anti-colonialist, false man into the position of POTUS? Wow. And I thought that BO actually *was* the antichrist. I guess I may have made a mistake. Either way, I seriously fear the future of this once great nation.

  • D Wilson

    If, as Mr. Kurzweil predicts, humans will merge with computers — or, more specifically, have our minds transferred into the digital world fully intact and aware — then could that also have been the case with ancient civilizations that suddenly, inexplicably disappeared from the world? Consider the crystal skulls…made of quartz, a natural element that we, today, use in our computers for storing and retrieving data. A single crystal skull could, potentially, possibly, hold unimaginable amounts of data EACH. Could the consciousnesses of ancient people be stored in these quartz skulls? I’m not saying that is definitely the case, but could it be??? Also, would these quartz crystal skulls be able to keep that stored data indefinitely, being unharmed from an EMP or other such disastrous event?

    • Anonymous

      LOL,  you realize Crystal skulls turned out to be 19th century manufactured frauds?

  • Ginny Auldridge

    but can we create a computer as stupid as people?

    • Xray 0-1 Actual

      Technically speaking, computers are more or less already there. They’re neither sentient, nor are they free thinking. They have a near limitless potential, but unless they receive any input that potential is pretty much useless.
      My assessment of it all is a computer is as smart as the person using it.

  • Robert

    Just wondering Glenn! Does God have anything to say about this?

  • Robert

    Wait a minute! I thought George Soros was a spooky dude!

  • Robert

    Glenn, I take it God’s not in control!

  • Anonymous

    This is way over my intellectual possibilities……I’ll stick to my belief in God and His plans for me.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting.. I literally just finished reading an article by a Harvard professor on biology and DNA etc.. He also predicted within 50 years much of what Mr. Kruzweil explores. He also said he was 3.6% Neanderthal–non sequitur I know but.. 

  • Anonymous

    If you appeal to the emotionalism of people and can do it in sufficient numbers, it really doesn’t matter what you are selling, your fortune is made. I don’t believe Mr. Kurzweil is a futurist; he’s a funturist taking advantage of those that have a genetic tendency toward believing in that general direction. I’ve been involved with computers since the late 50’s and have gone through all the descriptive abilities that so-called thinkers have sold like snake oil salesman. In the end, there are 2 points to remember: 1) computers are and remain on/off switches; 2) they can only be as good as the programmers responsible (now, that is scary). If you think that those two basics are not true, try to design an aircraft carrier, an airplane, or an as-yet-undiscovered solution for an as-yet-to-be-determined need from just a conceptual idea for a specified mission or vague generality. It isn’t very long before you discover that, without the genius of the human mind that you are up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle. In the end, computers are and remain, tremendous processing machines for data input, storage and retrieval; they are unbeatable for repetitive calculations and statistics. But for conceptual thinking where real originality is in the brain of the beholder, I’ll always go with a few superior human intellects.

    • Anonymous

      Look how often they can be hacked! There are some very smart thieves out there and they aren’t machines….

  • Anonymous

    With all due respect to Kurzweil, he is little different than, let’s say, Einstein. His futurist predictions are only his theories, some of which will be true, and many will not. Just like Einstein’s theories of relativity being based on the speed of light being a “universal” constant, will only make sense as long as it can be proven that speed of light is not a universal limit, which has been shown experimentally already. Kurzweil’s theories on computers becoming more intelligent than humans is based on his own assumption of extrapolating the development of technology. A computer or machine will NEVER be able to think like a human being, as it will have to be created by a human in the first place. It is like saying that an egg will be smarter than the hen that layed it.

  • Don Veley and

  • Anonymous

    Beck recognizes the connection between individual liberty and high technology 😀

  • Connie Peebles Howard Propes

    Kurzwell is probably correct and this is why the UN is so cleverly and quietly putting together a treaty for all member nations (including the USA)  to sign in December (yes, next month) that will enable the UN to control the internet as we know it.  Big fees, no free exchange of ideas or opinions – just another way of controlling the masses who do not agree with the idea of a world takeover…..or New World Order as some call it.     America is, again, asleep at the wheel, I fear.

  • Anonymous

    Take time to see what is about to unfold in the last day’s mankind will gain great knowledge we as a people of many nation’s come to this point in time,WE hate one and other WE choose sides against one and other,these new technologies will be a great jump to the future,they will make life better for many and worse for other’s,Unfortunately mankind alway’s take’s the good to far and use’s them for purpose’s of power and a multitude of self fulfilling schemes .
    Take time to smell a rose,walk thru the fallen leave’s,tell the one’s you love that you do love them,be fair to one and other and know that we are truly the greatest nation in the world and we need each other.May GOD Bless you all and i wish ALL AMERICAN’S  a very happy THANKSGIVING with all my heart LOVE!!!!!!!!! 

  • Debra Prisk

    Edgar Casey predicted just the opposite. We will go back to a more natural lifestyle. 

  • Timothy Arends

    Kurzweil has dealt with all of these “Black Swan” arguments before. His point is that his Law of Accelerating Returns is a constant that is barely affected by world events. For example, the Great Depression made only a slight impact on the rate of technological progress, and it quickly caught up after the Depression ended. 

    As far as  the argument that computers will never be as smart as humans, well, that is an age-old argument, and the only possible response to that is that we’ll have to wait and see. However, computers are already doing things that people 15 years ago said were hundreds of years away. 

    Plus, as Kurzweil points out, the problem is being attacked from multiple angles: not only is software getting better but accelerating progress in brain scanning is lending new insights in how the brain works, which may be able to be emulated in computers.

  • Anonymous

    So… Ray you want mankind to become the Borg.
    I remember the name of the chip they want to implant in everyones brain it is called Soul-Catcher 2025 . Nice Ray. Who is it you really work for. Lucifer?

    • Anonymous

       I think the big issue is it gets easier for anyone to kill everyone as technology advances. Where the ability to produce WMD is currently restricted to state entities, this will change. I think Mr. Kurzweil is wrong in one respect, the singularity will happen much faster, I think the tech growth curve is deeper and I pick between 2020 and 2025

  • Anonymous

    So… Ray you want mankind to become the Borg.
    I remember the name of the chip they want to implant in everyones brain it is called Soul-Catcher 2025 . Nice Ray. Who is it you really work for. Lucifer?

  • Anonymous

    Come on…you think God’s gonna let this mess go on forever?  The birth pains are speeding up…read the Bible Becky!

  • crazy betty

    as in the days of noah…

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