“The restless genius” (Wall Street Journal) Ray Kurzweil comes to Cal Performances’ Wheeler Auditorium on Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. He has been nicknamed the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison” by Forbes Magazine for making cutting-edge technological advances including the first flatbed scanner, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, and the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano. In addition to his inventions, Kurzweil is known for his widely popular books, five of which have been bestsellers. PBS includes Kurzweil on its list of 16 revolutionaries who made America in the past two centuries. He will give audience members much to think about when he discusses his predictions for the future such as artificial intelligent with the capability of human emotions, nanotechnology to extend human lifespan and tools that will provide humans answers as quick as they think of the questions, among others.
Born in New York City in 1948, Kurzweil has been a praised for his technological talents from childhood. He won the International Science Fair in 1965 for creating a computer that played a piano piece which he composed himself. He obtained a graduate degree from MIT in both computer science and literature. During his college years, he started his company Kurzweil Computer Products in which he created scanners and readers to help blind people. In the 1980s, after a meeting with Stevie Wonder he created the Kurzweil K250, a machine capable of imitating a number of instruments, allowing a single user to compose and play an entire orchestral piece. In addition, Kurzweil used his previous technology in text- to-speech technology to organize Kurzweil Educational Systems, which built computer technologies to help children affected by blindness, dyslexia, and ADD.
In recognition of his talents Ray has won the MIT-Lemelson Prize, the world’s largest award for innovation, the National Medal of Technology. He has also been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and has received 19 honorary doctors. Kurzweil is a popular speaker and routinely appears at conferences like DEMO, SXSW, and TED. He was recently appointed as the Director of Engineering at Google and is working on an artificial intelligence project there.
Tickets for Ray Kurzweil on Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. at Wheeler Auditorium and are priced at $36.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.