Ray Kurzweil: Thinking Through the Great Change Epochs

Ray Kurzweil: This is kind of the advanced stage of Epoch 4, where humans are creating technology and putting our knowledge base in that technology.  Epoch 5 is when we’re going to merge with that non-biological intelligence we’re creating.  To do that, we need to create intelligence that’s equal to us and we also need the nanotechnology to put it inside our bodies and brains.  I mean, this is almost in my body and brain - it may as well be; I wouldn’t lose it that way - but that’s where we’re headed.  That’ll be Epoch 5.  And then Epoch 6 is when we go out into the rest of the universe.

So, I have these six epochs for really stages in the evolution of information - started out with atomic information and then chemical information, biological information, then information in brains of organisms, then technology, and finally we will merge our intelligence into the technology and take advantage of what I call the "law of accelerating returns," which is the fact that information technology grows exponentially.  That's the force that's behind what’s referred to as the singularity.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

Ray Kurzweil has developed six epochs for stages in the evolution of information.

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Heatwaves significantly impact male fertility, says huge study

As the world gets hotter, men may have fewer and fewer viable sperm

Shutterstock
Surprising Science
  • New research on beetles shows that successive exposure to heatwaves reduces male fertility, sometimes to the point of sterility.
  • The research has implications both for how the insect population will sustain itself as well as how human fertility may work on an increasingly hotter Earth.
  • With this and other evidence, it is becoming clear that more common and more extreme heatwaves may be the most dangerous aspect of climate change.
Keep reading Show less