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A Dialog with the New York Times on the Technological Implications of the September 11 Disaster

September 27, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In preparation for the New York Times article, “In the Next Chapter, Is Technology an Ally?,” Ray Kurzweil engaged in a conversation with computer scientist Peter Neumann, science fiction author Bruce Sterling, law professor Lawrence Lessig, retired engineer Severo Ornstein, and cryptographer Whitfield Diffie, addressing questions of how technology and innovation will be shaped by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.… read more

Movie reviews: A Beautiful Mind, Vanilla Sky, Waking Life

January 15, 2002 by Amara D. Angelica

It’s only a movie. Or is it? The three coolest films of this millennium so far tantalizingly blur the boundary between real and virtual worlds and suggest the question: Are you living in a simulation? Spoilage warning: the following reveals plot details.… read more

Interview with Michael Behar for a story in WIRED on Tactical Mobile Robots

February 26, 2002 by Michael Behar

Ray Kurzweil discusses how robots will think on their feet with the help of virtual reality and other technological advances.… read more

What Shape are a German Shepherd’s Ears?

July 17, 2002 by Stephen M. Kosslyn

There is a gigantic project yet to be done that will root psychology in natural science and providing a better understanding of human nature. Once this is accomplished, you’ll be able to go from phenomenology to information processing to the brain, down through the workings of the neurons, including the biochemistry, all the way to the biophysics and the way genes are up-regulated and down-regulated.… read more

The Future of Nanotechnology: Molecular Manufacturing

April 14, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

The future generations of nanotechnology will rely on being able to effectively arrange atoms. Molecular manufacturing, and the use of molecular assemblers to hold and position molecules, will be key to the future, controlling how molecules react and allowing scientists to build complex structures with atomically precise control. In this essay, Dr. Drexler discusses the benefits and challenges of future molecular manufacturing.… read more

Nanotechnology Dangers and Defenses

March 27, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

To avoid dangers such as unrestrained nanobot replication, we need relinquishment at the right level and to place our highest priority on the continuing advance of defensive technologies, staying ahead of destructive technologies. An overall strategy should include a streamlined regulatory process, a global program of monitoring for unknown or evolving biological pathogens, temporary moratoriums, raising public awareness, international cooperation, software reconnaissance, and fostering values of liberty, tolerance, and respect for knowledge and diversity.… read more

Grasping the Future: Comparing Scenarios to Other Techniques

May 9, 2001 by Max More

It has become a commonplace to hear that change is accelerating. Mention of Moore’s Law is now likely to elicit a bored yawn. We have become so used to rapid and accelerating technological and cultural change that it’s hard to find it shocking. If we still suffer future shock, we are probably too used to it to notice. Yet it has never been more important to confront the fact of accelerated change for anyone constructing strategy in the information economy.… read more

The coming superintelligence: who will be in control?

July 25, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

At some point in the next several decades, as machines become smarter than people, they’ll take over the world. Or not. What if humans get augmented with smart biochips, wearables, and other enhancements, accessing massive knowledge bases ubiquitously and becoming supersmart cyborgs who stay in control by keeping machines specialized? Or what if people and machines converge into a mass-mind superintelligence?… read more

Learning in the Age of Knowledge

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An overview of how education is changing with technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

How Ray Kurzweil Keeps Changing the World

November 7, 2001 by John Williams

The inventor whose amazing devices have transformed the lives of the disabled pursues a new dream: Making paraplegics walk again.… read more

What’s the neurobiology of doing good and being good?

January 21, 2002 by Robert Sapolsky

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.” Roger Sapolsky asks: what’s the neurobiology of doing and being good?… read more

Microbivores: Artificial Mechanical Phagocytes

April 11, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Nanorobotic “microbivores” traveling in the bloodstream could be 1000 times faster-acting than white blood cells and eradicate 1000 times more bacteria, offering a complete antimicrobial therapy without increasing the risk of sepsis or septic shock (as in traditional antibiotic regimens) and without release of biologically active effluents. They could also quickly rid the blood of nonbacterial pathogens such as viruses, fungus cells, or parasites.… read more

Whither Psychoanalysis in a Computer Culture?

October 24, 2002 by Sherry Turkle

In the early 1980s, MIT professor Sherry Turkle first called the computer a “second self.” With this essay, she presents a major new theory of “evocative objects”: Wearable computers, PDAs, online multiple identities, “companion species” (such as quasi-alive virtual pets, digital dolls, and robot nurses for the elderly), “affective computing” devices (such as the human-like Kismet robot), and the imminent age of machines designed as relational artifacts are causing us to see ourselves and our world differently. They call for a new generation of psychoanalytic self-psychology to explore the human response and the human vulnerability to these objects.… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Dangerous Idea: The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion

January 17, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“What is your dangerous idea?” Over one hundred big thinkers answered this question, as part of The Edge’s Annual Question for 2006. Ray Kurzweil’s dangerous idea? We can achieve immortality in our lifetime.… read more

Response to ‘The Singularity Is Always Near’

May 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil


In “The Singularity Is Always Near,” an essay in The Technium, an online “book in progress,” author Kevin Kelly critiques arguments on exponential growth made in Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near. Kurzweil responds.

Allow me to clarify the metaphor implied by the term “singularity.” The metaphor implicit in the term “singularity” as applied to future human history is not to a point of infinity, but rather to the event horizon surrounding a black hole. Densities are not infinite at the event horizon but merely large enough such that it is difficult to see past the event horizon from outside.

I say difficult rather than impossible because the Hawking radiation emitted from the event horizon is likely to be quantum entangled with events inside the black hole, so there may be ways of retrieving the information. This was the concession made recently by Hawking. However, without getting into the details of this controversy, it is fair to say that seeing past the event horizon is difficult (impossible from a classical physics perspective) because the gravity of the black hole is strong enough to prevent classical information from inside the black hole getting out.

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