essays collection

The End Of Time: A Talk With Julian Barbour

August 3, 2001 by Julian Barbour

In this talk with the Edge’s John Brockman, Julian Barbour takes on the absolute framework of time. And if time truly doesn’t exist, could we, hypothetically, live forever?… read more

Response to Stephen Hawking

September 5, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Stephen Hawking recently told the German magazine Focus that computers were evolving so rapidly that they would eventually outstrip the intelligence of humans. Professor Hawking went on to express the concern that eventually, computers with artificial intelligence could come to dominate the world. Ray Kurzweil replies.… read more

How Does the Brain Generate Computation?

December 19, 2001 by Marc D. Hauser

In this Edge talk, Marc D. Hauser reflects on attempts to answer this question, from Noam Chomsky’s insights to the dance of the honey bee.… read more

Forecasts and Alternative Futures

February 19, 2002 by Sohail Inayatullah

This third chapter from Situating Sarkar:Tantra, Macrohistory and Alternative Futures explores non-Western future visions, where progress can be seen in a more spiritual than materialistic light, through the eyes of poet and visionary Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar.… read more

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

June 24, 2002 by W. Daniel Hillis

Nobel prize winner physicist Richard Feynman played a critical role in developing the first parallel-processing computer and finding innovative uses for it in numerical computing and building neural networks as well as physical simulation with cellular-automata (such as turbulent fluid flow), working with Stephen Wolfram.… read more

The Future of Life

March 30, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

A coming era of personalized genetic medicine, breakthroughs that radically extend the human lifespan, nanomedicine, and the merger of our biological species with our own technology were among the future visions presented at TIME’s “The Future of Life” conference.… read more

Embrace, Don’t Relinquish, the Future

February 21, 2001 by Max More

Extropy Institute head Max More finds Bill Joy’s Wired essay uninformed, unworkable, and even unethical because it will slow down progress in medicine and other vital areas, he believes.… read more

Quantum Computing with Molecules

May 1, 2001 by Isaac L. Chuang, Neil Gershenfeld

By taking advantage of nuclear magnetic resonance, scientists can coax the molecules in some ordinary liquids to serve as an extraordinary type of computer.… read more

Ethics for Machines

July 5, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

What are the ethical responsibilities of an intelligent being toward another one of a lower order? And who will be lower–us or machines? Nanotechnologist J. Storrs Hall considers our moral duties to machines, and theirs to us.… read more

The End of Handicaps, Part 2

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How technology has and will continue to assist the disabled, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

As We May Think

November 1, 2001 by Vannevar Bush

This visionary essay, published in 1945, is a reminder that science and technology can and should be pursued as a means for peaceful and beneficial ends, not only warfare.… read more

Why is religion so important to most Americans and so trivial to most intellectuals?

January 21, 2002 by David Gelernter

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.” David Gelernter asks: why is religion important to some?… read more

Green or Gray?

April 5, 2002 by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Will the future be green (based on biotechnology) or gray (based on nanotechnology and nanotech-powered AI)? Ray Kurzweil and Gregory Stock will debate this issue at the Foresight Senior Associate Gathering. Both have advantages, but environmentalists and anti-biotech activists may load the dice in favor of gray.… 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

Two Stars For Peace: The Case for Using U.S. Statehood to Achieve Lasting Peace in the Middle East

January 25, 2005 by Martine Rothblatt

World order is essential to reducing the time to the Singularity, says author Martine Rothblatt, citing Ray Kurzweil’s observation that increased order (and lowered chaos) reduces the interval between salient events in time.
In a new book, she suggests an imaginative solution to one major threat to world order: the explosive Palestine/Israeli conflict.… read more

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