RAY KURZWEIL HAS invented a few things in his time. In his teens, he built a computer that composed classical music, which won him an audience with President Lyndon B. Johnson. In his 20s, he pioneered software that could digitize printed text, and in his 30s he cofounded a synthesizer company with Stevie Wonder.
More recently, he’s known for popularizing the idea of the singularity—a moment sometime in the future when superintelligent machines transform humanity—and making optimistic predictions about immortality. For now, though, Kurzweil, 69, leads a team of about 35 people at Google whose code helps you write emails.
His group powers Smart Reply, the feature on the Gmail mobile app that offers three suggested email replies for you to select with a tap. In May it rolled out to all of the service’sEnglish-speaking users.