essays collection

Ray Kurzweil Q&A with Darwin Magazine

December 3, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Machine consciousness is the subject of this dialog with Darwin Magazine.… read more

Interview: Robert Moog

January 29, 2002 by Billy Bob Hargus

Robert Moog, inventor and electronic music pioneer, introduced the synthesizer to the world in the 1960s, as well as a spooky sounding device called the theremin. Here he discusses what led to these innovations in sound.… 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

An Open Letter to Richard Smalley

April 16, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

Dr. Richard Smalley has voiced criticisms of Dr. Eric Drexler’s concept of molecular assemblers, which could be used to implement self-replicating nanobots. Smalley, who discovered “fullerenes” (aka “buckyballs”), is Chairman of the Board of Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. and former director of Rice University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Drexler, who coined the term “nanotechnology” and is Chairman of the Board of Foresight Institute, responds to these criticisms.… read more

Statement for Extropy Institute Vital Progress Summit

February 18, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

Responding to the Presidential Bioethics Council report, “Beyond Therapy,” Ray Kurzweil has written a keynote statement for the Extropy Institute’s Vital Progress Summit, an Internet virtual discussion and debate.… read more

Nanotech Basics

March 27, 2006 by Chris Phoenix, Mike Treder

Members of the Global Task Force of The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) have written 11 key essays addressing the profound implications of molecular manufacturing. They were published in the current issue of Nanotechnology Perceptions and are also available on KurzweilAI.net for discussion on the MindX forum.… read more

Toward Teleportation, Time Travel and Immortality

February 21, 2001 by Raj Reddy

Universal access to instant information and entertainment, personal images captured in 3D (a la Star Wars), telemedicine, and clones with downloaded experiences that live forever are among AI pioneer Reddy’s predictions for the next 50 years.… read more

Minimally Conscious States

April 17, 2001 by Douglas I. Katz

What exactly is the threshold of consciousness? One way to approach that core question is to explore “minimally conscious states,” a condition of severely altered consciousness in which the person demonstrates minimal but definite behavioral evidence of self or environmental awareness. Neurologist Dr. Douglas I. Katz has developed a precise set of measures that might serve as a checklist in the development of conscious computers.… read more

Spielberg catches Kubrick’s baton: a review of the film AI

June 18, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

AI the movie

The androids and other intelligent machines in A.I. represent well-grounded science futurism, says AI pioneer Ray Kurzweil.

Stanley Kubrick developed his ideas for a movie to be called A.I. for over ten years, passing the baton to Steven Spielberg upon his untimely death. As was his working style, Kubrick did not write a screenplay, but kept copious notebooks of ideas. The task of carrying Kubrick’s conception to fruition presented Spielberg with a singular opportunity, but also unique challenges, the most obvious being how to meld Kubrick’s dark visions with his own affirming perspective.

Researching Health and Well-Being at the Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Researching immortality, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

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

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

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