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Are you ready for robots with sensitive skin?

June 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Robots have just taken another (slightly weird) step toward becoming our overlords.

Technische Universität München (TUM) scientists are developing an artificial skin for robots that will provide tactile information to the robot to supplement information from cameras, infrared scanners, and gripping hands.

The idea is to let the robot know when it touches an object so it can then visually search for whatever it… read more

Are you ready for virtual taste?

January 3, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

nus_digital taste

We’ve talked about robot burger makers. How about virtual tasting, so you could sample your burger before buying it, without grossing everyone out — even taste a pizza before having it delivered?

A National University of Singapore (NUS) researcher has taken an early step in that direction. Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe has invented a digital gadget that can recreate the taste of virtual food and drinks.… read more

‘Artificial Biology’ at Singularity Summit 2010

August 12, 2010 by David Despain

computer_cell

Humans will one day defeat aging with AI, make death and disease relics of the past, regrow lost tissues and body parts as needed, control robot arms on another continent, unravel the complexities of cells, and in their spare time, save the world. At least that’s the hope of six speakers at Singularity Summit 2010 in San Francisco on Aug. 14 to 15: Ben Goertzel, Mandayam Srinivasan, Lanceread more

Ask Ray | The future of Moore’s law

May 28, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

slide - Moore's law is only one example

Dear readers,

A recent article in EE Times discusses the future of Moore’s law: “Broadcom: Time to prepare for the end of Moore’s Law.” This comes up innumerable times. People assume that Moore’s law is synonymous with my law of accelerating returns, which it is not.

Moore’s law was the fifth, not the first, paradigm to bring exponential growth to the price-performance of computing. The law ofread more

Ask Ray | How to Create a Mind thought experiment

February 10, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Albert Einstein

Ray,

I just finished reading How to Create a Mind. I found it both interesting and informative. At the end, I believe that there is an inherent difference between a human brain and an AI system, a difference that can’t be overcome by any amount of added speed and capacity. To illustrate this difference I have included a thought experiment:

Take the most powerful artificial brain in existence. Include all programs necessary to make… read more

Ask Ray | A little thought experiment on cognitive functions

August 15, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Image created with the Connectome Mapping Toolkit (credit: University of Lausanne and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Dear Ray,

After finishing reading The Singularity Is Near and How to Create a Mind I have a few questions about some higher level cognitive functions in regards to your theory of pattern recognizer construction of the brain.

First, you believe that all forms of organized information systems have some form of consciousness albeit at varying degrees of magnitude.

More importantly there seems to be a positive… read more

Ask Ray | An interesting article about body and mind

May 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

gear brain

This is a really interesting article about body and mind which I recently read. I wanted to share it with my readers:

The New York Times | “I am not this body”

Here is a compelling excerpt: “I do not identify with my body. I have a body but I am a mind.

“My body and I have an intimate but awkward relationship, like foreign roommates who share… read more

Ask Ray | Article on integrating digital media into children’s lives by my wife Sonya Kurzweil, PhD

August 21, 2014

(credit: iStockphoto)

Dear readers,

I want to share some articles written by my wife, Sonya Kurzweil, PhD who is a psychologist in private practice and clinical instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Sonya’s medical expertise is women, children, parents and families.

She is interested in the way that digital media can be integrated into the lives of children and teens.

Her recent essays on parenting and digital technology… read more

Ask Ray | Asimov’s ‘The Last Question’

November 27, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Asimov The Last Question

Dear Ray,

About Asimov’s “The Last Question” — I was captivated by Asimov’s story as a child, and again some 50 years later in reading Ray’s version of the answer in The Singularity Is Near.

Looking forward to getting his new book!

Thank you,
Ron Eckhardt

Dear Ronald,

Thanks. Yes, the evolution of intelligence runs counter to the second law.… read more

Ask Ray | Can technology help us find love?

July 29, 2014

(credit: iStock)

Ray,

The promises of accelerating technology are impressive, possibly eliminating disease, poverty, and even death.

But I wonder what hope there is for the lonely. Personally, I’m approaching middle age and have never been on a date. And I know I’m not the only one out there in this situation.

Is there anything technology can do in the near or far future to help people like me… read more

Ask Ray | Computer-based intelligence will become equivalent to that of human intelligence

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

people with cloud gears

Dear Ray,

If the development of computer-based intelligence will become equivalent to that of human intelligence within the next twenty or thirty years, this computer-based intelligence will be able to build even better computers.

Such computer intelligence will, no doubt, find a way to enhance the thought process of the human mind.

No doubt it will supersede the capacity of the human mind. This leads me to… read more

Ask Ray | Death can be erased if humanity makes the right moves

November 26, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

medical doctor with virtual DNA scan of patient

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

Is it stressful to view life as a sort of race against the clock, in which it’s presumably — at least partly — in your power whether you die like all past humans have, or find a way to survive indefinitely?

It seems like a lot of pressure to live with, no? I’m speaking purely from a personal, psychological/emotional point of view here.… read more

Ask Ray | E.M. Forster’s 1909 story ‘The Machine Stops’ predicts the web, tablets and artificial intelligence

June 30, 2014

The Machine Stops - book cover front

Dear readers,

A remarkable foreshadowing of the internet, tablet computers and artificial intelligence from a century ago: E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops.”

Ray Kurzweil

Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review in November 1909, the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Otherread more

Ask Ray | Experiment to find out if we’re being simulated

June 1, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: Bing Maps Platform)

Dear Ray,

Hi, I’m contacting you now and asking you to please consider the following scenario. AD 2060 or later:

Humans can simulate multiple universes. We do so, and eventually intelligent life evolves in one and achieves a civilization with roughly the same science and computation as Earth 2010. This life will be a completely alien species, on a (simulated) alien planet.

That species figures out that… read more

Ask Ray | Fermi Paradox and the Singularity

June 9, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

(A graphical representation of the Arecibo message, sent as radio waves into space in an attempt to actively communicate human existence to alien civilizations. credit: Wikipedia)

Hello Ray,

This may seem asinine but I had a thought regarding the Fermi Paradox and the Singularity. (Wikipedia: “The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.”)

As you well know there is nowhere near enough life in the galaxy (as we see it… read more

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