Now, I should probably hold any reviews or opinions about the book until I am finished, but something in the first chapter bothered me. Kurzweil outlines in one section "The Six Epochs",
- Physics and Chemistry
- Merger of Technology
- The Universe Wakes Up
"Evolution works through indirection: it creates a capability and then uses that capability to evolve the next stage."This from the surface seems like a reasonable and interesting model, but implies that evolution has a direction. This may work for the last 3 epochs (based on technology), but has the evolution of intelligence (brains) really been inevitable?
Initially, I flat out decided "No", based on the fact that if we started another "Earth" there is no guarantee that intelligent life would evolve. This is due to the fact that evolution works by random occurrences that are selected for by the environment. However, after some more pondering (on my daily 1 hour bus commute), I thought that Kurzweil's theory may have some merit. Essentially, it is the idea that given enough time (approaching infinity) that the probability of intelligent life eventually evolving will reach 1. So instead of directed evolution, maybe we can say inevitable evolution?
I am still not entirely comfortable with this idea, but if I had wanted to increase my personal assurances I would have read a textbook!
**The singularity is an event in the near future where computers will become more intelligent then humans and will result in a drastic change in our society.