Anita in China: Spanning the Great Wall


Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering, Google
2015 Emerging Issues Forum

author-v22015 Emerging Issues Forum speaker Ray Kurzweil says nanobots will soon connect our neocortex to the cloud, exponentially expanding our ability to do all sorts of things. I’ve been asking myself all day whether Kurzweil is offering hope for closing the gap between people like myself and the students in delegations from both North Carolina and the Ukraine with whom I spent most of the day; I’ll share more about their exciting research agendas, and my quest to fully understand them, later this week.

Great Wall

The four NC students at the Great Wall
(📷: Keith Poston)

Today, I want to share some personal observations as we walked the Great Wall of China. First, both groups moved quickly across the awe-inspring feat of ancient architecture. Call it youthful energy if you’d like, but I saw their purposeful gait from the very first step as something different. I saw sheer, unadulterated determination. Second, although I was super-impressed by my own climb of four towers (filled with all the huffing and puffing the moment demanded), I took great undeserved pride in the fact that both student delegations completed the full eight-tower trek. These students do not half-step. They are conscientious about all they do. Finally, I find myself replaying several scenes reflecting the students’ uncommon, but complete, openess to the new experience. There were several reasons one could find to be cranky, but the students fully embraced the experience, all while laughing and talking comfortably with each other, as well as with random strangers they encountered along the way. It was a joy just to watch.

The personal traits of determination, concientousness and openess predict great futures for these students. Mr. Kurzweil, please forgive the limitations of my imagination, but I just can’t see how hooking my brain up to the cloud helps me to get to where they’re headed in life.

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