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New plant paradigms from The Human Race to the Future

Genetically engineering exotic foods of the future
April 4, 2014 by Daniel Berleant

Dragonfruit (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Excerpted and adapted from the book The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen and What to Do.

An exponential change perspective, well-known among futures enthusiasts, was applied to time itself by Freeman Dyson in 1997. He taxonomized the future in terms of different, order of magnitude generations — time horizons of 10 years, 100, 1,000, and so on.

My book The Humanread more

Fed-funded research: magic mushrooms create ‘openness’

September 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Psilocybe cubensis (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable and lasting personality change — “openness” — lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, say Johns Hopkins researchers.

Well, doh, didn’t Timothy Leary discover that in the 60s? Um, OK, controlled experiments….… read more

First Pass: What’s Wrong with the Grand Challenges for Engineering

October 11, 2010 by Daniel W. Rasmus

At the risk of committing more over-thinking of the Grand Challenges for Engineering, I want to take a first pass at discussing what I think is wrong with them in a very specific way, and honing the list into something more grand.

Here is the current list:

read more

Why the sponge’s protosynapses never evolved into the real thing

June 25, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


It was a mystery: sponges had evolved a protosynapse — the beginning of a nervous system — but never actually developed a real synapse.

It was the evolutionary period of time when virtually the rest of the entire animal kingdom branched off from a common ancestor it shared with sponges, the oldest known animal group with living representatives.

Ironically, sponges themselves have no nervous system. So what happened to… read more

The state of the future

July 14, 2010 by Jerome C. Glenn


As noted in our 2010 State of the Future (the 14th annual report from the Millennium Project, just published), the world is in a race between implementing ever-increasing ways to improve the human condition and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity and scale of global problems.

If current trends in population growth, resource depletion, climate change, terrorism, organized crime, and disease continue and converge over the next… read more

Ask Ray | Immortality via the singularity

February 3, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Dear Mr. Kurzweil,

Thank you so much for all your help, time, and encouragement throughout my paper and presentation. It was really exciting that you could be in my 7th grade presentation.

I realize as a Director of Engineering at Google you are very busy. I would love to visit Google. I really appreciate everything you have done and all the resources that you sent.

— Lucyread more

Ask Ray | Science and God

March 21, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil


Hi Ray,

It was nice to see you again at the Transcendent Man film screening. I enjoyed the movie and the discussion. The way I see it, over time we have been discovering the intelligence that is manifested in nature. This intelligence is much greater than our own —  however, piece by piece, we have been stitching it together.

The point is that we have been making these discoveries… read more

Evi trumps Siri for general knowledge

January 30, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Evi on iPhone 4

Move over Siri, Evi is the new kid in town.

It’s no Watson, but Evi, created by True Knowledge, a Cambridge, U.K.-based semantic technology startup, like Siri, can answer questions posed by voice (using Nuance software) in a conversational manner or by typing.

But unlike Siri (only available on iPhone 4S), Evi runs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (with iOS 4.0 or… read more

Ask Ray | Will human intelligence amplication widen the divide between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’?

May 11, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

The face of a robot woman.

Dear Mr. Kurzweil,

My name is David Gonzalez, and I am a high school senior. I have been doing extensive research on the Singularity and the technologies used to bring about these changes and plan to major in bioengineering in college. I have some concerns as to the nature of our technological progression towards the eventual dawning of the Singularity. 

You have mentioned that the exponential growth of technology will… read more

Something mechanical in something living

The mechanical comic vs. BigDog
February 22, 2016

venus bot

By Gregg Murray

Why do people find Army robot BigDog creepy but C-3PO funny? It’s not just because BigDog lugs around equipment for killing people and C-3PO delivers whimsical one-liners. Okay, that may be part of it.

In the 1970s, roboticist Masahiro Mori, building upon a fascinating essay of Sigmund Freud, suggested that as robots become more human-like they induce an increasingly eerie response from human… read more

Ask Ray | Will future people lose sight of their humanity?

November 30, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

A Nice Place to Visit

Dear Ray:

Have you seen this Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit?” I think it is a good illustration of the likely consequences of our future.

I’m eager for my 12-year-old son to watch Transcendent Man with me. I think it’s important for him to understand the implications of free will.



Thanks. Yes, I’m very familiar… read more

Panoramic hi-res augmented reality glasses: most radical CES intro so far?

January 7, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Innovega Inc. is demonstrating at CES prototypes of what looks like the most radical augmented-reality eyewear yet.

Intrigued, I called Innovega CEO Steve Willey Monday night. He ran down the specs of their iOptik design: binocular 720 x 1280 pixels, 3D (depth) vision, and a humungous field of view of 90 degrees, as shown in the image above. That’s six times the number of… read more

Why China makes our electronic products (it’s not just cheaper labor)

January 22, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Apple Inc.)

It’s not just that workers are cheaper abroad, according to an important article in The New York Times Saturday. Most of the components of cellphones, computers, and other electronic products are now manufactured in China (and European and other East-Asia countries), so assembling the device half-a-world away would create huge logistical challenges, the article points out.

China now has a far larger supply of qualified engineers than… read more

Ask Ray | How do you respond to Noam Chomsky’s claim that ‘Watson is not good AI’?

February 19, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

brain chip


I was wondering if I could get a comment from Mr. Kurzweil. I know he thinks Watson will win the Jeopardy! match — I agree. Professor Noam Chomsky has told me that Watson is not good AI, though, and I’m curious how Kurzweil would respond to Chomsky’s words, found here.

I read your article in PC Magazine, which is what persuaded me to… read more

Ask Ray | Music videos on living forever ** updated **

June 19, 2014

(credit: Oasis)

Dear readers,

I enjoyed these two hit songs on the modern theme of living forever. I want to share these popular music videos, and their concepts.

Ultimately, their lyrics move toward a perspective that reflects my own optimistic, positive outlook on what is possible.

The choruses include the phrases “Move towards the future” and “I want to live forever, now’s the time to find out.” Both songs reiterate:… read more

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