On 2 August I tried to close the circle opened when the first Booktown was broadcast ten years ago. On that program I discussed The Age of Spiritual Machines, one of several books in which inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil claims that the speed of technological change is increasing so rapidly that by 2020 we will a reach a 'singularity', a state in which human consciousness and technical ability will be so completely transformed that we will essentially become a new species.
Finding this idea both fascinating and repulsive, I cast around for some alternative points of view and came up with several passages from Nevada County poet, essayist and visionary Gary Snyder (I think they were from The Practice of the Wild), where he wrote of the mind as an example of a wild ecosystem--which I interpreted to mean one that should be kept wild.
We're half way to 2020 now. Ten months ago I started trying to arrange a discussion between Ray Kurzweil and Gary Snyder to mark that midpoint and the end of Booktown. I tried reaching Kurzweil through a number of his organizatons but never heard back from him. Snyder was easier to find and agreed immediately. Since there was no Kurzweil in the studio with us, I summarized some of his ideas, then let the conversation take its own course.
You could call this program The End.
To hear this program, click here.
posted by Eric Tomb and others 4:07 PM