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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 | 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

book review | Dan Brown’s Inferno

May 31, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

Inferno

Dan Brown’s latest action thriller Inferno follows art historian Robert Langdon in a fast-paced roller-coaster hunt for the source of a genetic hack delivered to everyone on the planet via a highly contagious airborne virus.

As in previous novels, Langdon works against the clock to decipher hints hidden in the treasures of the world’s art and literature, fighting intrigue and deception.

I… read more

A global viral vector: reality check

May 31, 2013 by Andrew Hessel

bio-chrime prophesy

In Dan Brown’s Inferno [see book review | Dan Brown’s Inferno], an airborne virus permanently modifies the DNA in human cells in one third of the population of the world.

We asked synthetic biologist/genomic futurist Andrew Hessel to comment on this scenario (his co-authored “The Bio-Crime Prophecy” is the cover story in the current issue of Wired UK).

Q: How realistic is Brown’sread more

Teaching a robot to anticipate human actions

May 30, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

A robot that anticipates your actions (credit

Why can’t a robot be like a servant (to paraphrase My Fair Lady)? You know, one who would anticipate your every need — even before you asked?

The folks at the Personal Robotics Lab of Ashutosh Saxena, Cornell assistant professor of computer science have gone and done just that.

When we last (virtually) visited the lab, we learned that the roboticists taught  “hallucinating” robots to arrange your room… read 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

Robotic space-colony construction, cubesats for Mars, transhumanists on space, and more….

May 22, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Artist's concept of jig factory in space (credit: Anna Nesterova and John Strickland)

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC), produced by the National Space Society (NSS) — the happening place to learn about the future of space — kicks off Thursday May 23 and runs through Monday May 27 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, California. ISDC speakers will discuss a wide range of breakthroughs in space development. Here are just two that I find especially interesting. (Full… read more

book review | The Transhumanist Wager

May 15, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

The Transhumanist Wager

Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager is an epic story of radical libertarian ideas, their enemies, and the violent global conflict that ensues, painted in strong saturated colors with little room for intermediate shades and character development.

After reading cover to cover, and then reading it more carefully, I have mixed love/hate feelings about this novel.

It’s a page turner. Istvan — a former journalist… 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

An autonomous flying car? Really?

May 12, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Artist's impression of TF-X future flying car in flight (credit: Terrafugia Inc.)

“Where’s my flying car?”

Skeptics have trashed predictions of flying cars with this annoying question ever since the Jetsons.

But now Terrafugia Inc. has announced feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) [similar to a helicopter] plug-in hybrid-electric flying car, the TF-X.

Just tell it where to go. It flies (and lands) for you — no runway needed — and… read more

Google’s self-driving car gathers nearly 1 GB/sec

May 4, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

googlecarsees

“Google’s self-driving car gathers 750 megabytes of sensor data per SECOND! That is just mind-boggling to me. Here is a picture of what the car ‘sees’ while it is driving and about to make a left turn. It is capturing every single thing that it sees moving — cars, trucks, birds, rolling balls, dropped cigarette butts, and fusing all that together to make its decisions while driving. If it sees… read more

Ask Ray | How do you gauge if strong AI is a few years away?

April 30, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

silver robot with cosmos

Mr. Kurzweil,

I’m currently in the middle of How to Create a Mind. I’m struggling with this one a bit more than you’re other books, but it’s very enjoyable and elucidating.

You have for some time predicted human level machine intelligence arriving by 2029.

However, in Mind you estimate the speed of a computer necessary to simulate the brain at 100 trillion cps, and state that the… read more

Ask Ray | How can I maintain my stream of personal identity?

April 24, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Dr. Kurzweil,

My name is Stanley. I too was born and bred in Queens, New York. I am also an Alcor member since 1992. I was part of the New York stabilization team and was part many cryonic cases.

I I am currently experiencing an extreme case of death terror.

I am 45 years old and am desperate not to require cryopreservation, and live to be uploaded.… read more

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits

April 19, 2013 by Ramez Naam

Naam-Limits-of-Earth-Part1-001-earth (600x600)

This is part two of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth.  Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems.  Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finiteread more

The Limits of the Earth — Part 1: Problems

April 18, 2013 by Ramez Naam

Naam-Limits-of-Earth-Part1-001-earth (600x600)

This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Powerread more

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