Anyone who knows the history of A.I. will recognize that the basic theory (and even the diagrams that are used to illustrate it) is very much in the spirit of a textbook model of vision that was introduced in 1980, known as neocognitron.
Now that isn't to say that Kurzweil didn't start a music revolution with his synthesizer, and his blind reading machine, but that was 1960s technology and theres a big what have you done for me lately.
Sergey specifically hired Kurz to work on natural language processing, an area Ray knows little to nothing about.
I'm reminded of Hinton giving a ted talk about neural network recognition of individual letters. And as I watched I thought HEY this looks familiar. Nothing had changed since the 1980s. These old FRUMPS are not the leaders. Who are? Well people like me who are actually there in the details pushing on the real leading edge and testing mecanisms of neural design. Edelman's younger protege Olaf Sporns -Networks of the Brain
Even more disappointing is the fact that Kurzweil never bothers to do what any scientist, especially one trained in computer science, would immediately want to do, which is to build a computer model that instantiated his theory, and then compare the predictions of the model with real human behavior. Does the P.R.T.M. predict anything about human behavior that no other theory has predicted before? Does it give novel insight into any long-standing puzzles in human nature? Kurzweil never tries to find out.