essays collection

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

Technium

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.

Evolution and the Internet: Toward A Networked Humanity?

February 26, 2001 by Danny Belkin

Integration of human and machine will lead to an interconnected “organism”–the next major evolutionary step forward for humanity, says immunology PhD candidate Danny Belkin.… read more

Track 7 Tech Vectors to Take Advantage of Technological Acceleration

May 9, 2001 by Max More

In this update and expansion of his essay, “Taking Advantage of Technological Acceleration,” Max More reveals how businesses can keep up with accelerating technologies in seven primary vectors or metatrends.… read more

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

Are You Ready for a Virtual Reality?

November 2, 2001 by Joyce A. Schwartz

“If you work on technologies, you need to anticipate where technologies are going,” Kurzweil said at the 2000 ACM Siggraph in New Orleans.… read more

What is the missing ingredient — not genes, not upbringing — that shapes the mind?

January 21, 2002 by Steven Pinker

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.” Steven Pinker’s question: what shapes the mind?… read more

AI and Sci-Fi: My, Oh, My!

June 3, 2002 by Robert J. Sawyer

A lot of science fiction has been exploring lately the concept of uploading consciousness as the next, and final, step in our evolution, says SF writer Robert Sawyer, who reveals the real meaning of the film 2001: the ultimate fate of biological life forms is to be replaced by their AIs. Paging Bill Joy…… read more

Don’t let Crichton’s Prey scare you–the science isn’t real

January 26, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

A review of Michael Crichton’s Prey, a novel featuring out-of-control, self-replicating nanotechnology.… read more

Biocosm: Lecture at Hayden Planetarium

February 9, 2006 by James N. Gardner

Why is the universe life-friendly? Columbia physicist Brian Greene says it’s the deepest question in all of science. Cosmologist Paul Davies agrees, calling it the biggest of the Big Questions.… read more

It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind

February 2, 2007 by James N. Gardner

A new book, The Intelligent Universe, proposes that the universe might end in intelligent life, one that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole.… read more

The Twenty Laws of the Telecosm

February 21, 2001 by George Gilder

This excerpt from Telecosm (Free Press/Simon & Shuster) encapsulates futurist George Gilder’s grand vision of the age of the telecosm–in which infinite bandwidth will revolutionize the world.… 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

Israel in the Age of Knowledge

August 8, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil’s keynote address delivered at “Connections,” American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, April 28, 1996.… read more

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