The 1999 National Medal of Technology

April 21, 2000

On March 14, 2000, in Washington, D.C., President Bill Clinton bestowed the 1999 National Medal of Technology on five distinguished recipients. Since 1985, when the first Medal was awarded, these ceremonies have recognized individuals, teams and corporations who as technological innovators have made lasting contributions to the enhancement of America’s economic competitiveness and standard of living.

The Medalist selection program is administered by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Technology Policy. An independent committee of experts from the scientific and technological community evaluates the candidates, who are nominated through an open, national, competitive solicitation.

Ray Kurzweil has predicted that within the next few decades the intelligence of machines will exceed that of humans. If they do, two points should be remembered. First, the machines will have been given a huge boost by Kurzweil’s work on pattern recognition, the skill of finding abstract meaning in complex data, which comes naturally to humans but is difficult for computers. Second, exceeding Kurzweil’s own intelligence will not have been easy, as witnessed by his long list of accomplishments. […]