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How to stop commercial air hijackings without inconveniencing air travelers

October 4, 2001 by Steve Kirsch

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch has an idea for preventing skyjacking: we install panic buttons that put the plane on forced autopilot, randomly select one of the nearest airports capable of accommodating that plane type, and automatically land the aircraft.… read more

What kind of system of ‘coding’ of semantic information does the brain use?

January 21, 2002 by Daniel Dennett

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.” Daniel Dennett asks: how does the brain code semantic information?… read more

How Can We Possibly Tell If It’s Conscious?

April 18, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Tucson 2002: Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, Ray Kurzweil addressed the question of how to tell if something is conscious. He proposed two thought experiments.… read more

The Vasculoid Personal Appliance

October 22, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Robert A. Freitas Jr. (author, “Nanomedicine”) visualizes a future “vasculoid” (vascular-like machine) that would replace human blood with some 500 trillion nanorobots distributed throughout the body’s vasculature as a coating. It could eradicate heart disease, stroke, and other vascular problems; remove parasites, bacteria, viruses, and metastasizing cancer cells to limit the spread of bloodborne disease; move lymphocytes faster to improve immune response; reduce susceptibility to chemical, biochemical, and parasitic poisons; improve physical endurance and stamina; and partially protect from various accidents and other physical harm.… read more

The Power of an Idea

July 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) founder Dr. Kenneth Jernigan “realized that the pace of technology was accelerating, and these hastening advances would either be liberating for blind people, or would represent another barrier,” said Ray Kurzweil in a speech at NFB’s 2003 annual convention. Jernigan’s solution, a research and training institute, was an example of the power of an idea.… read more

Cultural Dominants and Differential MNT Uptake

March 30, 2006 by Damien Broderick

The impacts of radical and disruptive technologies such as molecular nanotechnology on societies deserve serious study by economists, sociologists and anthropologists. Would civil societies degenerate almost instantly into Hobbesian micro states, where the principal currency is direct power over other humans, expressed at the worst in sadistic or careless infliction of pain and consequent brutalization of spirit in slaves and masters alike?… read more

Not Your Father’s Internet

February 21, 2001 by Bill Gates

Bill Gates envisions the next-generation Internet as a single, unified interface to information instantly available to you anywhere, any time.… read more

Wild Cards: The Nature of Big Future Surprises

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

In the coming years, the world could experience a series of massively transformative events, or “wild cards,” brought on by radical developments in areas such as AI and nanotechnology. Futurist John Petersen suggests strategies for dealing with them proactively.… read more

The Senses Have No Future

May 15, 2001 by Hans Moravec

For Hans Moravec, our natural senses will swiftly become obsolete, as brain to computer interfaces become more common. Our physical environment will change as well, into what he calls a “densely connected cyberspace.” Do our senses serve just to exchange information?… read more

Foreword to ‘The Eternal E-Customer’ (book by Bryan Bergeron)

July 26, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How have advances in electronic communications changed power relationships? The toppling of a government provides one not-so-subtle example. Ray Kurzweil talks about those advances in this forward to The Eternal E-Customer, a book that looks at the principles companies must adopt to meet the needs and desires of this new kind of customer.… read more

Machine Intelligence: The First 80 Years

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A brief history of machine intelligence written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Will My PC Be Smarter Than I Am?

November 9, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Once we learn how to map the brain and make computers fast enough to simulate it, all bets are off.… read more

Why Sleep?

January 21, 2002 by Terrence Sejnowski

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.” Terrence Sejnowski asks: why sleep?… read more

Rethinking Operating Systems

February 11, 2002 by Bob Frankston

We know hardware has become exponentially faster, cheaper and smaller since the advent of the operating system, yet the interface hasn’t changed much. In this draft of an essay, Bob Frankston proposes a rethink of the assumptions that went into user interface design thirty years ago.… read more

Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds

June 6, 2002 by Daniel Dennett

AI skeptics offer several reasons why robots could never become conscious. MITs’ humanoid Cog robot project may give them pause.… read more

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