Ray Kurzweil: Look to cybersecurity to fight human pandemics

February 23, 2011

Ray Kurzweil may be the world’s most prominent techno-optimist. The 63-year old futurist and artificial intelligence guru believes, famously, that by 2045 humans will build a computer capable of replicating and storing the human mind — what he calls the “singularity” — essentially allowing our mental selves to live on indefinitely.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that Kurzweil takes an equally sunny view of cybersecurity,  in contradiction to the prevailing gloom around the threat of cyberwar and the futile arms race against cybercriminals. In fact, Kurzweil believes that the information security industry should serve as a model for addressing the sort of pandemic diseases that may result from our globalized society and the looming problem of bioterrorism. Just as the antivirus industry constantly detects new threats, takes them apart, and distributes a “cure,” he argues that our biological antivirus systems need to work in the same networked fashion at a comparable speed. […]