Ray Kurzweil proposes entrepreneurial peace fund and renewable-energy initiatives to Israeli leaders

November 6, 2009 | Source: KurzweilAI

Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres at the recent Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow 2009, Ray Kurzweil proposed several innovations for dealing with the coming energy shortages and bolstering Israel’s growing economy.

He also proposed an “Entrepreneurial Peace Fund” — a collaborative technology incubator between Israel and Palestine. The proposal was widely met with enthusiasm and support in both public and private sessions.

In a speech to the conference, Netanyahu credited Kurzweil with the insight and inspiration for the Prime Minister’s new National Commission for Renewable Energy initiative, with the goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable technologies within ten years.

“Yesterday, Ray Kurzweil…said that the efficiency of solar energy doubles every two years; you said that within a very brief generation it will become the energy of the proximate future,” said Netanyahu. “Well, if that’s the case we’re in good shape. But I say let’s make it happen, faster…. What I propose to do today is to establish a national commission of scientists, engineers, business and government people, to set a goal that within ten years we’ll have a practical, clean, efficient substitute for oil.”

Speaking at the conference’s Opening Plenary Session, Looking towards Tomorrow: Turning Crises into Opportunities, Kurzweil explored ways of using nanotechnology and other exponentially growing “information technologies” to transform the energy and environmental crisis into opportunities for Israel and for the world.

In two additional panel discussions, Kurzweil presented his ideas on the future of artificial intelligence and reverse engineering the brain. Responding to a prediction by Henry Markram (head of the Blue Brain Project) that the human brain would be successfully reverse-engineered by 2018, Kurzweil noted that he was “the conservative” in this case, with his prediction of 2029.

The annual Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow is attended by the world’s top leaders in business, government, media and technology, focused on policy making, economic and business initiatives, and critical thinking about global challenges.

Ray Kurzweil’s speeches at the conference can be seen on the conference website. See thumbnail 5, “Morning Plenary Session,” and thumbnail 9, “A Conversation.”