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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Inventor comes to campus

Ray+Kurzweil+speaks+at+the+Oncor+Tate+Lecture+on+Tuesday.Photo+courtesy+of+SMU+News+and+Communications
Photo courtesy of SMU News and Communications
Ray Kurzweil speaks at the Oncor Tate Lecture on Tuesday.Photo courtesy of SMU News and Communications

Ray Kurzweil speaks at the Oncor Tate Lecture on Tuesday.Photo courtesy of SMU News and Communications (Photo courtesy of SMU News and Communications)

 

 

The second lecture of the year for the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series packed McFarlin Auditorium with people eager to hear yet another discussion of issues facing the world today.

Ray Kurzweil was Tuesday’s speaker for the Oncor Lecture of the series and addressed “The Future of Technology” in his lecture. Being thought of as “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” by Inc. magazine makes him qualified to address this issue.

Kurzweil worked to become one of the leading inventors of our time by inventing the first flat bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition and the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. 

His website has over 1 million readers.

Kurzweil, a 1999 National Medal of Technology recipient, spoke with SMU students, high school students and other participants in a question and answer session before his lecture in Hughes-Trigg.

Freshman Ty Skoro said the informal session before the lecture “sparked a lot of good debate because of the great questions that students posed to Kurzweil.”

Kurzweil addressed in his lecture that human beings have two things other beings do not have.

He believes we transcend and go beyond our limits, while also pointing out that “we have an organized body of ideas that is passed down from generation to generation.”

Growth in technology is going on at an exponential rate. 

Each major achievement in technology has come at a constant rate of time between the new idea and the old one.

Kurzweil explained this growth in many graphs detailing the growth in technology. This could include computer technology to developments in health and surgery that can add years on to people’s life.

The new technology is becoming absorbed exponentially quicker than it used to be in the past. 

He used the example of the world taking 400 years to start using the printing press on a worldwide basis to Wikipedia and blogs absorbed by society in three years.

He explained that because of these improvements our life expectancy will go up during our lifetime, so we should hang on to see the next century of development.

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