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My Question for Edge: Who am I? What am I?

January 14, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Since we constantly changing, are we just patterns? What if someone copies that pattern? Am I the original and/or the copy? Ray Kurzweil responds to Edge publisher/editor John Brockman’s request to futurists to pose “hard-edge” questions that “render visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefine who and what we are.”… read more

On the Search for the Neural Correlate of Consciousness

June 26, 2002 by David Chalmers

There’s a variety of proposed neural systems associated with conscious experience, but no way to directly observe or measure consciousness. Chalmers suggests though that there may be a “consciousness module” — a functional area responsible for the integration of information in the brain, with high-bandwidth communication between its parts.… 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

Singularities and Nightmares

March 28, 2006 by David Brin

Options for a coming singularity include self-destruction of civilization, a positive singularity, a negative singularity (machines take over), and retreat into tradition. Our urgent goal: find (and avoid) failure modes, using anticipation (thought experiments) and resiliency — establishing robust systems that can deal with almost any problem as it arises.… 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

Robot: Child of God

May 9, 2001 by Anne Foerst

Sometimes computers act as if they are possessed–does that mean they may have souls? Probably not right now, but Anne Foerst explores the possibility of soulful robots.… 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

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

Why I Think I Will Win

April 9, 2002 by Mitch Kapor

Will a computer pass the Turing Test (convincingly impersonate a human) by 2029? Mitchell Kapor has bet Ray Kurzweil that a computer can’t because it lacks understanding of subtle human experiences and emotions.… read more

Encompassing Education

September 17, 2002 by Diana Walczak

Students in the 2020s will explore knowledge in customized, full-immersive, 3-D learning environments, able to see, hear, smell, and touch simulated objects and interact with synthespians to foster a heightened sense of curiosity, says Diana Walczak, Artistic Director and Cofounder, Kleiser-Walczak.… 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

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 2

February 2, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Sander Olson

There are very few diseases or conditions–including infectious diseases–aside from physical brain damage, that cannot be cured using nanomedicine, says nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. He believes nanomedicine’s greatest power will emerge in a decade or two as we learn to design and construct complete artificial nanorobots using diamondoid nanometer-scale parts and subsystems.… read more

Safer Molecular Manufacturing through Nanoblocks

May 9, 2006 by Tom Craver

Lego-style “nanoblocks” could prevent a molecular-assembly fabber from building an atom-precise nanofactory or devices that could help in any attempt to “bootstrap” production of an atom-precise nanofactory, reducing the risk of proliferation of atom-precise MM to “rogue nations” or terrorists.… read more

The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind

January 18, 2008

The Emotion Machine

Marvin Minsky
Simon & Schuster (2007)

In this mind-expanding book, scientific pioneer Marvin Minsky continues his groundbreaking research, offering a fascinating new model for how our minds work. He argues persuasively that emotions, intuitions, and feelings are not distinct things, but different ways of thinking.

By examining these different forms of mind activity, Minsky says, we can explain why our thought sometimes takes the form of carefully reasoned analysis and at other times turns… read more

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