essays collection By Author | A-Z

Response to Fortune Editors’ Invitational

July 11, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil was invited to participate in the 2001 Fortune Magazine conference in Aspen, Colorado, which featured luminaries and leaders from the worlds of technology, entertainment and commerce. Here are his responses to questions addressed at the conference.… read more

The Future of Libraries, Part 2: The End of Books

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at what may replace books, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Want to live to 200? Being a cyborg has advantages

November 2, 2001 by Garry Barker

Ray Kurzweil predicts that human identity will be called into question by the massive computers of the future.… read more

How are behaviors encoded in DNA?

January 21, 2002 by John McCarthy

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” John McCarthy asks: how are behaviors encoded in DNA?… read more

Foreword to Electronic Reporting in the Digital Medical Enterprise

June 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Doctors in the year 2012 will have access to full-immersion virtual-reality training and surgical systems, microchip-based protein and gene analysis systems, knowledge-based systems providing automated guidance and access to the most recent medical research, and always-present visual displays of patient data for instant interaction via voice.… read more

Singularities and Nightmares

March 28, 2006 by David Brin

Options for a coming singularity include self-destruction of civilization, a positive singularity, a negative singularity (machines take over), and retreat into tradition. Our urgent goal: find (and avoid) failure modes, using anticipation (thought experiments) and resiliency — establishing robust systems that can deal with almost any problem as it arises.… read more

Cyborg Babies and Cy-Dough-Plasm

May 23, 2001 by Sherry Turkle

The way in which children interact with virtual worlds reveals insights into how we think of ourselves in virtual worlds. Sherry Turkle uses her observations of children to explore issues of consciousness and self in the context of virtual reality.… read more

The Singularity Is Near – Ray Kurzweil at Extro5 (Video)

July 30, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil presents his law of accelerating returns at EXTRO-5.… read more

A Jurisprudence of Artilects: Blueprint for a Synthetic Citizen

August 7, 2001 by Frank W. Sudia

Will artilects have difficulties seeking rights and legal recognition? Will they make problems for humans once they surpass our knowledge and reasoning capacities? Frank W. Sudia provides a legal blueprint.… read more

Remarks on Accepting the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund on November 29, 2001

December 3, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil was honored with the Tree of Life Award on November 29, 2001. Here are his remarks on accepting this prestigious award.… read more

Review of Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas

January 24, 2002 by Lucas Hendrich,

The fertile ground of the Internet has led to countless innovations, eliminating physical barriers and allowing a borderless, transparent source of information to flourish. How will the story of the Internet be played out in the 21st Century?… read more

Technotopia and the Death of Nature

May 22, 2002 by James John Bell

There is something missing from the discussion of the technological singularity, says James Bell: the true cost of progress will mean the unprecedented decline of the planet’s inhabitants — an ever-increasing rate of global extinction, some warn.… read more

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 2

February 2, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Sander Olson

There are very few diseases or conditions–including infectious diseases–aside from physical brain damage, that cannot be cured using nanomedicine, says nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. He believes nanomedicine’s greatest power will emerge in a decade or two as we learn to design and construct complete artificial nanorobots using diamondoid nanometer-scale parts and subsystems.… read more

Safer Molecular Manufacturing through Nanoblocks

May 9, 2006 by Tom Craver

Lego-style “nanoblocks” could prevent a molecular-assembly fabber from building an atom-precise nanofactory or devices that could help in any attempt to “bootstrap” production of an atom-precise nanofactory, reducing the risk of proliferation of atom-precise MM to “rogue nations” or terrorists.… read more

Finishing the Unfinished Revolution

February 21, 2001 by Michael L. Dertouzos

In this manifesto, Dr. Dertouzos introduces a radical vision of human-centered computing intended to make computers more usable, based on natural interaction (such as speech recognition), automation, individualized information access, collaboration, and customization. MIT’s Oxygen project, a prototype to test these concepts, is summarized in this excerpt from The Unfinished Revolution (HarperCollins, 2001),… read more

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