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April 26, 2001 by Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda attempts to answer the question: are we mortal or immortal? If we are mortal, no further questions need be asked. But if we are immortal, what are the logical arguments that support this idea and what is it that endures after death? From his talk delivered over one hundred years ago.

What question has been asked a greater number of times, what idea has led men more to search the universe for an answer, what question is nearer and dearer to the human heart, what question is more inseparably connected with our existence, than this one, the immortality of the human soul? It has been the theme of poets and sages, of priests and prophets; kings on the throne have discussed it, beggars in the street have dreamt of it. The best of humanity have approached it, and the worst of men have hoped for it. The interest in the theme has not died yet, nor will it die so long a human nature exists. Various answers have been presented to the world by various minds. Thousands, again, in every period of history have given up the discussion, and yet the question remains fresh as ever. Often in the turmoil and struggle of our lives we seem to forget it, but suddenly some one dies — one, perhaps, whom we loved, one near and dear to our hearts, is snatched away from us — and the struggle, the din and turmoil of the world around us, cease for a moment, and the soul asks the old question, “What after this? What becomes of the soul?”

What is the Singularity?

March 30, 1993 by Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge

Originally published 1993 as an academic paper: Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University. The version that appears on Vernor Vinge’s website can be read here.

Vernor Vinge is a retired San Diego State University math professor, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, Rainbows End, Fast Times at Fairmont High, and The Cookie Monster, as well as forread more

Essay collection | The Ray Kurzweil Reader

July 10, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

The Ray Kurzweil Reader is a collection of essays by Ray Kurzweil on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, radical life extension, conscious machines, the promise and peril of technology, and other aspects of our future world. These essays, published  from 2001 to 2003, are now available as a PDF document for convenient downloading and offline reading. The 30 essays, organized in seven topic areas (such as “How to Build a Brain”), cover subjects… read more

The Drexler-Smalley debate on molecular assembly

December 1, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler and Rice University Professor and Nobelist Richard Smalley have engaged in a crucial debate on the feasibility of molecular assembly. Smalley’s position, which denies both the promise and the peril of molecular assembly, will ultimately backfire and will fail to guide nanotechnology research in the needed constructive direction, says Ray Kurzweil. By the 2020s, molecular assembly will provide tools to effectively combat poverty, clean up ourread more

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

April 17, 2001 by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman at Caltech giving his famous lecture he entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom."  (credit: California Institute of Technology)

This visionary speech that Richard Feynman gave on December 29th, 1959, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology helped give birth to the now exploding field of nanotechnology.

I imagine experimental physicists must often look with envy at men like Kamerlingh Onnes, who discovered a field like low temperature, which seems to be bottomless and in which one can go down and down.

Such a man is then a leader and has some temporary monopoly in a scientific adventure. Percy Bridgman, in designing a way to obtain higher pressures, opened up another new field and was able to move into it and to lead us all along. The development of ever higher vacuum was a continuing development of the same kind.… read more

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