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The great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is one of the best-known and mostcontroversial advocates for the role of machines in the future of humanity. In this book, he envisions an event - the 'singularity' - in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines. 'The singularity is near' portrays what life will be like after this event - a human- machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed; world hunger will be solved; our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death; and virtually any physical product can be created from information alone. 'The singularity is near' also considers the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes.