The New Review: TECHNOLOGY: THE KURZWEIL FILE: Ray's road to Google
(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 1948 In Queens, New York, Kurzweil is born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Austria just before the second world war.
1963 After his uncle introduces him to computer science, Kurzweil writes his first program at 15. It recognises patterns in pieces of classical music and composes original melodies in a similar style.
1965 Kurzweil appears on TV demonstrating this musical pattern recognition program, and is later invited to the White House to be congratulated by President Johnson in a ceremony as one of 40 Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners.
1970 Graduates from MIT with a degree in computer science.
1974 Founds his first significant enterprise, Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc (KPC), and creates optical character recognition, the first computer program that can identify (or "read") printed text regardless of font, enabling blind people visual access to any document. After Kurzweil demonstrates the Reading Machine on the Today Show, Stevie Wonder (pictured above with Kurzweil, left) is the first to buy a unit from KPC, befriending Kurzweil in the process.
1980 Kurzweil sells KPC to Xerox, which wants to use OCR technology, and remains a consultant at the company until 1995.
1982 With Stevie Wonder as an adviser, Kurzweil creates the Kurzweil 250, the first electronic instrument to integrate sounds from an entire orchestra into one keyboard-type instrument.
1988 Kurzweil's first book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, is published, receiving the most outstanding computer science book of 1990 by the Association of American Publishers. It includes Kurzweil's predictions for the emergence of the world wide web.
1999 President Clinton presents Kurzweil with the National Medal of Technology, the highest honour in technology in the US, in a White House ceremony.
2001 Kurzweil is awarded the Lemelson-MIT prize for the Kurzweil Reading Machine, and a year later is inducted into the National Inventors' Hall of Fame.
2005 Publishes the
New York Times bestselling book The Singularity is Near
2012 Appointed director of engineering at Google
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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