Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil (born 1948) is an American inventor and futurist. He is involved in fields as diverse as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He is the author of several books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism.
He has received nineteen honorary Doctorates and honors from three U.S. presidents.
Ray has written six books, four of which have been national best sellers. The Age of Spiritual Machines has been translated into 9 languages and was the #1 best selling book on Amazon in science. Ray’s latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy.
Question: What's the best advice you ever received?
Kurzweil: Well, I… it’s all the company that match up high school students to colleges in 1968, I was 20 years old. And I was involved in some project and I didn’t like the way things were going and my manager came in this advice, it said, “Really, all you should worry about is to meet your own expectations, set your standards high and you should be, you know your most critical judge and then meet your own standards and if you’ve done that, you’re finished and then don’t really worry about what happens, if in fact you do that, good things will happen but you don’t really have to worry about what other people think, about the response of the world is, the sort of superficial material success of the project, that will take care of itself.” Set high standards and try to meet them and be your own most critical judge and so I keep that in mind if I get overly concerned about how something is going and I do set high standards for myself and the only person I can declare failure is yourself. And I don’t worry about my project’s failing, I worry about that I might have a setback or it might… and therefore I’m going to have to work harder and longer to achieve success but if perseverance in the end pays all.