Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist, and co-founder of Singularity University, will speak November 8 as part of the “Leading Voices in Higher Education” series. Kurzweil, described by Inc. Magazine as the “rightful heir” to Thomas Edison, will give a lecture entitled “Innovation in an Era of Accelerating Technologies.” The event, free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. in Moore Hall’s Filene Auditorium.
“Ray Kurzweil understands technology—its potential powers and exponential growth in applications and accessibility—better than anyone on the planet,” says Luxon.
Named to the National Inventor Hall of Fame in 2002, Kurzweil led development on the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first computer-based keyboard that could recreate the grand piano, and the first “charge-coupled device” flatbed scanner, which is now used in homes and offices. He has written six books, including his 2005 work The Singularity Is Near, a New York Times bestseller.
Kurzweil is the recipient of 19 honorary doctorates, the National Medal of Technology, presented by President Bill Clinton, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize, which recognizes individuals whose inventions improve the world.
Kurzweil is noted for his ideas about longevity. In a 2004 New York Times article, Kurzweil says that he takes 250 supplements a day, part of his daily diet regimen to reduce the effects of aging. In the 2004 book he co-authored, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, Kurzweil suggests that humans may invent technology that will help them achieve immortality.
Singularity University was founded in 2007. Singularity offers a 10-week graduate studies program and shorter executive programs. Located in Silicon Valley, the institution’s interdisciplinary approach focuses on developing technology to address global issues such as hunger, poverty, climate change, and energy.
The “Leading Voices” series started in 2011. The first season, “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy,” brought national political figures, presidential candidates, and policymakers to campus. This summer’s “Leading Voices in U.S. Foreign Policy” included a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a former Defense Department official, and a distinguished Navy admiral. The “Leading Voices in Higher Education,” part of the strategic planning process, has featured visits from prominent writers and figures in higher education.