Ray Kurzweil grew up in Queens, N.Y., where, he says, schoolwork was never so challenging that it kept him from doing what he really wanted to do: build computers.

That was also the case at Kurzweil’s next school, MIT, where the young student skipped so many classes to work on inventions that his classmates nicknamed him The Phantom. They should have called him The Natural because, as it turns out, Kurzweil is an intuitive inventor.

He helped invent the first optical character reading technology, the first text-to-voice synthesizer, computer-based musical instruments, and the first large-vocabulary speech-recognition system. His inventions have made him famous. He has founded several companies and written hundreds of articles. He has also authored and coauthored a number of books, including The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, and the forthcoming Fantastic Voyage, which he cowrote with Terry Grossman, founder and medical director at Frontier Medical Institute.

In recent years, Kurzweil has shifted from inventing technologies to tracing the arc of technology progress. Want to know how technology will change our lives, our jobs and our bodies over the next two decades? Kurzweil is a good person to ask.

Interview here.