The Age of Spiritual Machines Book Summary - The Age of Spiritual Machines Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Age of Spiritual Machines summary

Ray Kurzweil

When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

4.3 (80 ratings)
14 mins

What is The Age of Spiritual Machines about?

The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999) is your guide to the future. These blinks explain the new age of machines and what robotic intelligence will mean for life as we know it.

Table of Contents

    The Age of Spiritual Machines
    summarized in 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Time slowed down when the universe first developed but sped up as life-forms evolved.

    Technology is accelerating at an ever-greater pace. We now live in a world of artificial intelligence, drones and 3D printing, but all this rapid-fire change stands in stark contrast to the origins of the universe. In fact, as the universe began to grow, time actually slowed down.

    Here’s the story:

    About 15 billion years ago, the universe was born. From there, it took just 10-43 seconds, a tiny fraction of a blink of an eye, for the newly created cosmos to cool down to what was still a whopping hundred million trillion trillion degrees, a temperature low enough for gravity to develop.

    About 10-34 seconds after the development of gravity, the universe had cooled to a billion billion billion degrees, which allowed matter – subatomic particles like electrons and quarks – to arise. Approximately 10-10 seconds after matter was created, electromagnetic forces like light began to emerge. And, finally, 10-5 seconds after electromagnetic forces were born, the temperature cooled to a paltry trillion degrees. Quarks could then form protons and neutrons.

    But then things began to slow down. As the universe expanded, events became more spaced out. From tiny fractions of seconds to hours, years, hundreds of thousands of years, and so on.

    The basic building blocks of the universe popped into existence in no time at all, but the larger pieces came into existence much more slowly – it was hundreds of thousands of years before the first atom formed, and hundreds of millions before the formation of galaxies. Earth didn’t exist until nine billion years later!

    As life-forms began to evolve on Earth, however, time began to speed up. The first of these single-celled organisms was formed some 3.4 billion years ago, about a billion years after the formation of Earth. From that point on, evolution gained momentum.

    Seven hundred million years ago, plants and animals – the first multicellular creatures – evolved. In the 130 million years that followed, the basic physiological structures of animals, like spinal cords, appeared. These new structures not only enabled primordial fish to propel themselves through the water, they also marked a significant acceleration in evolutionary time.

    As this pattern continued, the primates emerged and, pretty soon, evolution could be measured in tens of millions of years, rather than hundreds.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Age of Spiritual Machines?

    Key ideas in The Age of Spiritual Machines

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    About the Author

    Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, computer scientist and futurist. He’s the inventor of a reading machine for blind people, speech-recognition technology and multiple music synthesizers. Among other titles, he’s the author of The Singularity is Near, How to Create a Mind, and The Age of Intelligent Machines.

    Who should read The Age of Spiritual Machines?

    • Anyone freaking out about artificial intelligence
    • Computer and social scientists
    • Futurists and inventors

    Categories with The Age of Spiritual Machines

    Books like The Age of Spiritual Machines

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial