Ray Kurzweil, Futurist: 10 Questions About What’s Coming Next

The 2009 doc­u­men­tary Tran­scen­dent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil is cur­rent­ly screen­ing both online and in select venues, and pro­vok­ing exact­ly the wide range of respons­es one would expect from a film about a futur­ist who has claimed, among oth­er things, that man would soon learn how to extend his life “indef­i­nite­ly.” The New York Times recent­ly com­pared his the­o­ries with 2nd and 3rd cen­tu­ry gnos­ti­cism, and since this film was made by an avowed believ­er in Kurzweil’s phi­los­o­phy and the­o­ries, it’s no sur­prise that Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can faults the movie for its rev­er­ence, and Vari­ety wish­es “It were not so trans­par­ent­ly on [Kurzweil’s side].”

Mean­while, the “high­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed crack­pot,” as you see him described in the movie’s trail­er, has been proven right more often than wrong. His fans are legion, and often wealthy. Lar­ry Page, the founder and CEO of Google, helped estab­lish Sin­gu­lar­i­ty Uni­ver­si­ty with Kurzweil in 2008, and there many entre­pre­neurs and investors take 10 week cours­es to the tune of $25,000.

If you’re not inter­est­ed in shelling out $5 to rent the movie online (scroll down to the bot­tom of the page), then Kurzweil’s 10 answers to Time Mag­a­zine’s 10 ques­tions will give you a taste of what the fuss has been all about.

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly

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