- About Us
Raymond Kurzweil has founded four successful businesses, all based on artificial intelligence technology he developed. He pioneered systems for optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, and speech recognition. He developed the CCD (charge-coupled device) flatbed scanner, and the first electronic keyboard to synthesize the sounds of acoustic instruments. His interest in artificial intelligence began in high school, when he built a computer and programmed it to compose music in the style of different composers. This project won him first prize in the International Science Fair and an appearance on the television show What's My Line? As a sophomore at MIT, Kurzweil ran a business matching high school students with appropriate colleges using a program he had written. At the time, there was only one computer in New England with enough memory to run his database. Today, his scanners and OCR are standard equipment in the modern office, his synthesizers pervade popular music, his Reading Machines allow the blind to hear the contents of printed matter, and his voice recognition system is used in emergency rooms all over the United States. Kurzweil's 1990 book The Age of Intelligent Machines contained remarkably accurate predictions about the immediate future of technology and society. Another book, The 10% Solution For a Healthy Life, describes Kurzweil's successful effort to rid himself of Type II diabetes through a diet he researched himself, and recommends a course of action for all but eliminating the risk of heart disease and cancer. In 1999 he published the international bestseller The Age of Spiritual Machines and was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Clinton. His 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near, proposes that technology will permit the extension of human consciousness beyond its present biological limits. In this 2000 address to the Academy of Achievement in Scottsdale, Arizona, he reflects on his career as an inventor, and describes impending developments in technology and their implications for human life.
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