Ray Kurzweil: To Merge With Technology Is to Enhance Our Humanity


Technological shifts outpace our awareness of them. While we’re busy with our day-to-day lives—getting a new smartphone or downloading the next updates—we often don’t notice how these incremental changes shape our relationship with technology. According to Ray Kurzweil, this trend will continue as we become more closely integrated with the tech around us.

“At some point, we’ll be literally a hybrid of biological and nonbiological thinking, but it’s a gradual transition,” Kurzweil says.

Instead of happening overnight, he predicts we’ll steadily enhance ourselves using technology, not by replacing the parts that make us human but by building on them over time.

One of the biggest concerns people express about this idea is the fear of losing one’s body or mind in the process—that we’ll become less and less human in the future.

“I don’t want to give that up. I’m not talking about giving things up,” Kurzweil says. “I’m talking about enhancing our experience and our bodies and our brains.”

He likens this process to what happens as we grow and change through life. At what point do we cease to be our “old selves” and become our “new selves”? There isn’t a clear line. We change and grow incrementally. And day to day, those incremental changes aren’t obvious.

“You’re not the same person you were when you were four years old—where is that four-year-old girl? Is she gone, should we mourn her? Well, no, she’s contained in you. You’ve enhanced yourself to become who you are today,” Kurzweil argues.

One thing is clear: Most of us rarely go a day without technology. What do you think will happen in the coming years? Will we become even more closely tied to our tools? Should we?

For years, Ray Kurzweil has been giving fireside chats at Singularity University. Now, some of his best questions and answers will be released every Thursday on Singularity University’s Ray K Q&A YouTube channel. Check back each week for the latest video.

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