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Google exec can't wait for a computer to love him

Technically Incorrect: Ray Kurzweil insists that in the near future computers will know what it is to think and be like us.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Ray Kurzweil. He needs a computer lover who won't drive him crazy.

Singularity Videos/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Some expect 2029 will be a very interesting year.

It could be the year when the minds of humans will be equaled by the minds of computers.

More importantly, though, it could be the year that computers start to tell really good jokes and show just how loving they are.

This, at least, is the vision of Ray Kurweil, Google's director of engineering.

He's already declared that by 2030, humans will be flesh-and-flash drive hybrids. We'll be bits of our human selves and bits of, well, bits.

He expanded on these thoughts in a chat with astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson at 92Y's 7 Days of Genius Festival on Monday. As CNN reports, Kurzweil explained that by the late 2020s, computers will have clarity about what it is to act human and have human intelligence.

"When I talk about computers reaching human levels of intelligence," he said, "I'm not talking about logical intelligence. It is being funny and expressing a loving sentiment."

We've seen movies depict this future joy. We've seen how Scarlett Johansson mesmerized Joaquin Phoenix in "Her," until he (almost) concluded she was the one. And what a one.

For Kurweil, though, it's as if we'll become Joaquin Johanssons, the love children of humans and computers.

The nanobots that will live permanently in our brains will download new skills for us. Our genes will be constantly edited like these pages, so that we'll live forever free of disease and, who knows, even body odors.

But won't these superbeings merely be the equivalents of today's 1 percenters? Won't the rich advance themselves and leave the masses to be even lesser serfs, constantly looking up to their hybrid masters? After all, Kurzweil has already suggested that once we have our robotic implants, we'll be "godlike."

Is there anything worse than a rich, godlike human?

It won't be like that, believes Kurzweil. Everyone will have a nanobot, just as they now have a cell phone.

He was, though, pressed to declare what we hybrid humans will do for a living. He wasn't too concrete about that, it seems.

The future is hard to imagine, even for a renowned futurist like Kurzweil. For all our brains, we humans do have a tendency to make a mess of things and perform random acts of idiocy. History takes turns that seem more like swoons.

There is, though, something tantalizing about the idea that a computer could give us the love that we seem to constantly crave from others -- and so rarely get for very long.

How wonderful it would be to have a computer that actually understood and even loved us on the darkest day. What a contrast from those who claim to love us but then seem to enjoy decrying us, cheating on us, leaving us and divorcing us.

The problem, of course, is that if we all end up as these human/computer hybrids, permanently healthy and constantly being programmed, there's one thing we might ultimately lose: our individuality.