The University of Houston’s Farfel Distinguished Lecture series will present a lecture by Ray Kurzweil — “The Web Within Us: When Minds and Machines Become One.”
Ray Kurzweil has been described as â€œthe restless geniusâ€ by the Wall Street Journal and â€œthe ultimate thinking machineâ€ by Forbes. Moreover, Inc. magazine ranked him eighth among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the â€œrightful heir to Thomas Edisonâ€; and PBS included him as one of sixteen â€œrevolutionaries who made America,â€ along with other inventors of the past two centuries.
As one of the leading inventors of our time, Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition system, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the sound of the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition system. His Web site Kurzweil AI.net has more than 1 million readers.
Among Kurzweilâ€™s many honors, he is the recipient of the $500,000 MIT-Lemelson Prize, the worldâ€™s largest prize for innovation. In 1999, he received the National Medal of Technologyâ€”the nationâ€™s highest honor in technologyâ€”from President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony. And in 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fameâ€”established by the U.S. Patent Office.
Kurzweil has received thirteen honorary doctorates as well as honors from three U.S. presidents. He has written five books, four of which have been national best sellers. The Age of Spiritual Machines has been translated into nine languages and was Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling book in science. His latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller and has been the No. 1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy.