NEW eBooks About Technology

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Singularity is Near eBook editions: far into the future with Ray Kurzweil

  The Singularity is Near is pretty dense.  Not something most people will want to sit down and read in one pass.  In fact I worked on it over a couple of months.  It is hard to really grasp Kurzweil's future.  A future driven by exponential growth in knowledge and computing power.that actually alter the basic tenets of human life.

His future vision is about knowledge explosion, computing, the biological revolution, the nanotechnology revolution and the organization of the human brain. As usual it is a mind blowing collection of great value to those of us who care where the future is taking us.

To grapple with the information contained in this expansion of the human potential over the next four decades takes an open mind and a willingness to accept at least some of what you may not understand.

I know some basic things about nanotech and the biotech revolution. I am as familiar with computing as any person who has participated in the development of that technology for the last forty years. But this book expanded my breadth and depth of knowledge dramatically. It is a heady experience and one well worth living if you like to know where humanity may be headed.

Buy it, borrow it, steal it, (apologies to Ray) but get your hands on it and read this book. It will help you understand the changes that are approaching and help you benefit from them rather than simply being run over by them. They are headed our way and moving at exponential speeds already. We do need to be ready for them.

Here is the publisher's take:

The great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is one of the best-known and controversial advocates for the role of machines in the future of humanity.

In his latest, thrilling foray into the future, he envisions an event--the "singularity"--in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines.

The Singularity Is Near portrays what life will be like after this event--a human-machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed, world hunger will be solved, and our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death. We will be able to create virtually any physical product just from information, resulting in radical wealth creation.

In addition to outlining these fantastic changes, Kurzweil also considers their social and philosophical ramifications. With its radical but optimistic view of the course of human development, The Singularity Is Near is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and provocative books of 2005. Tags: ebook,e-books,kurzweil,nano technology,ebooks about science

Is the Digital Era creating New Life for P-Books?

After a very long weekend of too much food, too many relatives and too little sleep, I woke up yesterday, poured a cup of coffee and started reading the New York Times.  The first article to catch my attention was How to Publish Without Perishing.

nytlogo153x23 In this piece James Gleick opines that there is a bright future for printed, bound books:

I think, on the contrary, we’ve reached a shining moment for this ancient technology. Publishers may or may not figure out how to make money again (it was never a good way to get rich), but their product has a chance for new life: as a physical object, and as an idea, and as a set of literary forms. . . .

Go back to an old-fashioned idea: that a book, printed in ink on durable paper, acid-free for longevity, is a thing of beauty. Make it as well as you can. People want to cherish it.


While I find this an interesting view, I wonder if Mr. Gleick has been out and about in the real world lately.  Has he been to his local bookstore?  Does he have any contact at all with "the younger generation"?

Later in the day I found myself inside the local Barnes and Noble.  In our town, they have the best selection of CDs and it is Christmas time. 

The store was moderately busy.  A few people in the coffee shop, a few people sitting in the oversize chairs (mostly they looked like they were waiting for someone), a bustling staff and a handful of customers. 

barnes chars I took a seat and did some intense people watching over the next half hour.  Anything was better than facing the chaos in my house!

I found the demographics very telling.  I saw children (approximately 5-13) accompanied by parents; I saw middle aged women, and I saw old men and women.  Aside from the staff, I did not see one person between the age of about 13 and 30.  None!

I was willing to chalk it up to a very unscientific survey and leave it at that.  I decided I better quite procrastinating.  So I started gathering my stuff and getting ready to go clean up my house.  And then I saw her.  A real life teenage girl.  She just appeared before my eyes. I was so intrigued by the sight I just stared.

She looked around for a moment, and then she threw herself into a chair with a big sigh.  She routed around in her jean's pocket and pulled out a cell phone.  Within seconds she was texting away.  Totally ignoring all the beautifully bound books along with everyone in the store.

I for one, am unwilling to bet that she will someday wake up and find a book a thing of beauty; something to cherish.  I doubt that she will see a book as an idea or a set of literary forms.

She may see it as furniture (a great way to warm up a room and give it a little class).  Kind of like the antique rolltop desk I inherited from my grandmother.  Beautiful but with very limited usability. Tags: ebook,e-books,digital reading,publsihing,books,p-books