Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Marconi, Morse, Edison, Kurzweil, and Ford. Wait, Kurzweil?

January 14th, 2013

Ever wonder who invented Siri, the modern-day equivalent of Hal from 2001: A Space Oddessy? It’s a program that feels so lifelike on your iPhone–that it can answer almost anything on the planet. What would you call this person? A modern-day Thomas Edison? Possibly.

Inc. Magazine called Ray Kurzweil the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” Kurzweil not only invented the artificial intelligence technology and voice recognition that make Siri work, but also works as an entrepreneur, spotting the weaknesses in our world that could be improved by innovation.

Like his predecessors, Kruzweil approaches his work in a nonconventional way. As an entrepreneur, he believes in small business over big–and a do-whatever-it-takes model. He also believes in innovation as problem solving, and comes up with most solutions in his dreams. You could say he even works while he sleeps.

Kruzweil recently spoke with Upstart Business Journal, saying that he has been approached by and could run a large company, but prefers being on the small, invention side.

Kurzweil Music is now a division of Hyundai, the speech recognition is now a part of Nuance, Kurzweil Education Systems is part of a major educational organization, and in each case the company has not dissipated into the woodwork, which is often what happens. The technology has stayed distinct and the groups have stayed there. At Kurzweil Music it’s the same eight engineers that have been there 20 years—actually 30 years, since 1982.”

Kurzweil is plenty pleased to keep coming up with new technology that other people can use and enjoy. He likes to leave the management to those who have real management skills. He wants to be known for creating, not managing.

And Kurzweil comes up with most of these great ideas by working in his sleep. Kurzweil enjoys looking at industry and cultural trends, and trying to predict what the next big invention or solution needs to be.

The last thing he does before going to sleep is assigning himself a problem to solve. Then his head hits the pillow–working on the night shift. He believes the mind is the most creative when you sleep, as relaxation takes over.

“Censors in your mind are relaxed when you’re dreaming. That’s why you’ll dream about things that are culturally or socially taboo,” he said.

Kurzweil will actually work through engineering problems in his dreams, and wake up when he get to a point of unrest. He awakes and writes his thoughts down. The next day he gets up, sorts out his thoughts and writes out a patent application.

Simple enough, right?

Maybe for an aspiring inventor, entrepreneur, or the next “heir” to Edison.

The Talley Group can help you find the most inspiring engineering positions. Call us today! If you know an aspiring engineer, refer an engineer today!

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