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Cloud Hardware Science Technology

Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity 267

Nerval's Lobster writes "Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil predicts the cloud will eventually do more than store our emails or feed us streaming movies on demand: it's going to help expand our brain capacity beyond its current limits. In a question-and-answer session following a speech to the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California last week, Kurzweil described the human brain as impressive but limited in its capacity to hold information. 'By the time we're even 20, we've filled it up,' he said, adding that the only way to add information after that point is to 'repurpose our neocortex to learn something new.' (Computerworld has posted up the full video of the talk.) The solution to overcoming the brain's limitations, he added, involves 'basically expanding our brains into the cloud.'"
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Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity

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  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:10PM (#41615439) Homepage Journal
    Number one: Ray and Terry's Longevity Products [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:11PM (#41615445)

    No. This is a common myth. We do infact use pretty much all of our brains.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:21PM (#41615511) Journal

    Kurzweil seems to be following the proud tradition of very sharp people who have illustrious careers which then provide them the freedom to go a bit off the rails...

    His speech and music synthesis stuff is solid. After he found nerd jesus and decided that he would live forever through the power of the internet...

  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:03AM (#41615735)

    Sorry, that is your very own made-up-on-the-spot definition of "information". You can't just redefine words in a way that nobody else does.

    From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

                n 1: a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn;
                          "statistical data" [syn: {data}, {information}]

    From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (26 July 2010) [foldoc]:

        raw data /day't*/ (Or "raw data")
              Numbers, {characters}, {images}, or other method of recording,
              in a form which can be assessed by a human or (especially)
              input into a {computer}, stored and {processed} there, or
              transmitted on some {digital channel}. Computers nearly
              always represent data in {binary}.

              Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some
              kind of {data processing system} does it take on meaning and
              become {information}.

  • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:25AM (#41615833)

    For interesting critiques on Kurzweil, you might...

    ... read Jaron Lanier, particularly his One Half of a Manifesto [], where he makes a pretty compelling case that Kurzweil is a "cybernetic totalist" who's pretty much willing to throw away everything that makes human life worth living in order to prove that human nature is mechanistic and reducible to mere information.

    ... watch The Transcendent Man, a documentary on RK, which makes the pretty compelling case the Kurzweil is in fact obsessed with "the technological singularity" not because he has a rational basis for it to be, but because he's wracked with guilt for never having a good relationship with his father, and he's obsessed with the idea that the Singularity could not just prolong him forever, but resurrect his dead father as well. He's driven by the idea that death is abandonment or alienation and he's terrified of being abandoned, again.

  • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @04:20AM (#41616861)
    The brain prefers to be asynchronous. Too much synchronicity leads to seizures and epilepsy, particularly when there is a "focus" or irritant which starts synchronized regular firing activity. This is the reason that (for some people) flashing visual displays with very bright contrast at a particular flicker rate can also lead to seizures: the consistent synchronized flashing leads to synchronous stimulation of the retina and the V1-part of the occipital lobe and on forward through the visual areas til it hits a recurrent area and a loop leads to continuing seizures even upon withdrawal from the stimulus.


    Yes at night-time, certain rhythms are predominant, and yes some people say that rhythmic entrainment is part of the binding of phenomena and stimuli in the brain, but too much synchrony is a bad bad thing in the brain.

    I think that it can be said that there are upper and lower bounds on signal propagation times through the geometry of the brain and upper and lower bounds on the firing rates of different populations of neurons, and that large pools of certain populations firing simultaneously present as particular types of EEG signals in certain regions, but I don't think you can say that the brain has a clock rate like a digital synchronous circuit requires. The brain's more asynchronous.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev