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Inventor, Futurist Kurzweil To Speak, Mar. 30 in Masur
One of the nation's leading inventors will deliver the NIH Director's Cultural Lecture on Mar. 30 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. Ray Kurzweil's talk, "Biotechnology and Nanotechnology: Two Overlapping Health Revolutions," will discuss how these two fields are beginning to converge and how that convergence may shape the future of health care.
Kurzweil is coauthor of a new book with a provocative premise ‘ that humans may be on the verge of achieving immortality due to unprecedented, exponential advances in science and technology. The book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, is coauthored by Dr. Terry Grossman.
Kurzweil's extraordinary claims might be considered overly speculative if they came from a less distinguished source. But his professional career includes many impressive achievements.
He is a recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize, which goes to eminent inventors. Indeed, he was inducted into the Inventor's Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1999, Kurzweil won the National Medal of Technology Award.
His previous work has spanned a variety of fields. He invented the first musical synthesizer capable of reproducing the sounds of orchestral instruments. He developed the first commercially marketed large vocabulary speech recognition system. In 1974, he founded Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. The company developed the first "omni-font" optical character recognition (OCR) system, which enabled computers to recognize printed or typed characters regardless of type style and print quality.
One of his most significant inventions to date is the Kurzweil Reading Machine, introduced in 1976, which converts print to speech. The machine made it possible for blind people to read the text of ordinary (non-Braille) books, magazines and other documents.
Kurzweil is the author of several books, including a highly influential volume about artificial intelligence, The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990 by MIT Press.
His recent book is partly a guide, based on solid science, about various measures people can take to maintain and enhance their health. The more controversial parts of Fantastic Voyage are reminiscent of the classic science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, which bore the same title. Here Kurzweil predicts a time when innovations in fields ranging from tissue engineering to nanotechnology will converge to produce radical life extension.
Robots the size of cells, called nanobots, endowed with artificial intelligence, will venture through the human body to repair everything from damaged arteries to deteriorating neurons. Advances in genetics will allow people to reprogram their bodies, turning off the genes that cause disease and contribute to aging.For more information, or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Hilda Madine at (301) 594-5595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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