e-book: Engines of Creation

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ENGINES of CREATION | Glossary

February 21, 2001
Author:
K. Eric Drexler

This glossary contains terms used in describing matters related to advanced technology. It was compiled by the MIT Nanotechnology Study Group, with special help from David Darrow of Indiana University.

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 5: Thinking Machines

February 21, 2001
Author:
K. Eric Drexler

The world stands on the threshold of a second computer age. New technology now moving out of the laboratory is starting to change the computer from a fantastically fast calculating machine to a device that mimics human thought processes – giving machines the capability to reason, make judgments, and even learn. Already this artificial intelligence is performing tasks once thought to require human intelligence…
- BUSINESS WEEK

COMPUTERS have emerged from back rooms and laboratories to help with writing, calculating, and play in homes and offices. These machines do simple, repetitive tasks, but machines still in the laboratory do much more. Artificial intelligence researchers say that computers can be made smart, and fewer and fewer people disagree. To understand our future, we must see whether artificial intelligence is as impossible as flying to the Moon.

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 8: Long Life In An Open World

February 21, 2001
Author:
K. Eric Drexler

The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.
Sir THOMAS BROWNE

CELL REPAIR MACHINES raise questions involving the value of extending human life. These are not the questions of today’s medical ethics, which commonly involve dilemmas posed by scarce, costly, and half-effective treatments. They are instead questions involving the value of long, healthy lives achieved by inexpensive means.

ENGINES of CREATION | Chapter 9: A Door To The Future

February 21, 2001
Author:
K. Eric Drexler

London, April 1773.
To Jacques Dubourg.
Your observations on the causes of death, and the experiments which you propose for recalling to life those who appear to be killed by lightning, demonstrate equally your sagacity and your humanity. It appears that the doctrine of life and death in general is yet but little understood…   I wish it were possible… to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But… in all probability, we live in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection…
I am, etc.
- B. FRANKLIN.

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