10 Questions for Ray Kurzweil: Reader input

A couple of days ago, I invited readers to submit questions they’d like Ray Kurzweil to answer. The Science Cheerleader and Bartacus will be interviewing Ray Kurzweil (Artificial Intelligence expert; king of the Singularity effort)  in the coming weeks. Details are here.  As a reminder, the deadline to submit questions is midnight, Monday 2/16. 

Here are some terrific questions from Science Cheerleader readers:

Jon: Singularity University is clearly aimed at helping to shape the Singularity and hasten its arrival. Do exponential trends really need help and, if so, can we really expect to shape them?

Paul: 1) What is/will be the relationship between ethics and The Singularity? The rapid growth of science/knowledge leads to many advancements via engineering, but how can/will ethics be applied when mankind can no longer keep pace. Or will this be a problem?    2) What to do about scientific literacy so that everyone can understand, to at least a basic level, the rapidly advancing technology?

Given the slow and erratic progress in AI over the past 40 years, what makes Kurzweil so confident that machines will become intelligent (in the commonly understood sense) in the next 40?    Or perhaps I should ask the flip side of the question: Suppose that things continue in much the way they are now, with increasingly powerful and miniaturized wireless devices making information available wherever we want it. Does that count as a “singularity”? It is easy for me to imagine, for instance, a brain implant that allows me to conduct Google searches purely by the power of thought–but that merging of biological and digital intelligence seems distinctly different from what Kurzweil means by singularity.