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.
Ray Kurzweil: The important thing for people of all ages, particularly people who are young, is to learn how to learn, and to find what your passions are.
The whole world is driven by knowledge and creating new knowledge; it’s not a matter of disassembling information. It requires passion and you don’t have to become an engineer or scientist.
The world is being created by everyone; including artist. And in fact you can see how computer technology is transforming music and graphic arts and movie making and every other field.
So find out where you have a passion to create new knowledge, and pursue that passion. And it may even change over time.
Some people have a very clear direction. My father was a brilliant musician at the age of 8. I knew I was going to be an inventor when I was 5 years old. Some people don’t know and they should explore lots of different things to find out where they do have a passion for, and really learn how to learn.
Knowledge is going to become obsolete very quickly; it’s expanding exponentially. The arrow where way you learn one trade and then pursue that until you’re retired 40 years later, as long since gone or ready.
The world is really hungry for new knowledge because we double human knowledge, including music and art and science, every year. So, there’s always new opportunities; and you should look for them.
Keep an open mind. Don’t develop overly rigid ways of looking at things. I think that’s what holds many people back.
Recorded on April 27, 2009.