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The first chapters of The Age of Spiritual Machines provide the foundation for Ray Kurzweil to issue his predictions later in the book They include many theorems of physics and mathematics so it is possible to miss the essential principles later in the book without reading them Nevertheless his choice of words delineates some difficult concepts making this tough but rewarding reading The first chapter ultimately leads up to the most important principle of the book The Law of Accelerating Returns which is that an evolutionary process is not a closed system therefore evolution draws upon the chaos in the larger system in which it takes place for its options of diversity Also evolution builds on its own increasing order In an evolutionary process order increases exponentially Time exponentially speeds up and the valuable products of the process accelerate Kurzweil uses this fundamental principle in addition to others to justify his many predictions The next chapter deals with the process of evolution The evolution of intelligent beings has taken billions of years But we have created something that is evolving at an extremely faster pace technology In a matter of about a thousand years human-created technology has changed from nonexistent to essential to most people Human intelligence a product of evolution is far more intelligent than its creator And so too will the intelligence that we are creating come to exceed the intelligence of its creator the Law of Accelerating Returns predicts it Alan Turing a British mathematician who helped crack Germanys Enigma code during World War II was on the forefront of artificial intelligence He devised a test duly called the Turing Test in which a human judge interviews both a computer and one or more human foils using terminals If the human judge is unable to reliably unmask the computer then the computer wins In Turing view thinking involves conscious intentions The human brain has about 100 billion neurons With about 1000 connections
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