essays collection By Author | A-Z

The Computational Universe

October 25, 2002 by Seth Lloyd

The amount of information you could process if you were to use all the energy and matter of the universe is 10^90 bits and the number of elementary operations that it can have performed since the Big Bang is about 10^120 ops. Perhaps the universe is itself a computer and what it’s doing is performing a computation. If so, that’s why the universe is so complex and these numbers say how big that computation is. Also, that means Douglas Adams was right (the answer is “42″).… read more

I am the very model of a Singularitarian

January 17, 2006 by Amara D. Angelica

Charlie Kam has written and recorded a humorous Singularitarian version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General,” from the Gilbert & Sullivan opera, “The Pirates of Penzance.”… read more

Strategic Sustainable Brain

March 31, 2006 by Natasha Vita-More

The human brain faces a challenging future. To cope with accelerating nanotech- and biotech-based developments in an increasingly complex world, compete with emerging superintelligence, and maintain its performance and sustainability as people live longer, the fragile human brain will need major enhancements: a backup system, eliminating degenerative processes, direct mind-linkup to ubiquitous computing networks, error-correction for memory, and a global Net connection with remote neural access.… read more

Life Extension and Overpopulation

April 9, 2001 by Max More

The prospect of life extension raises fears of overpopulation. Extropian Max More argues we should focus on reducing births, not on raising or maintaining death, since population growth and pollution are slowing down (from growing wealth) and in the future we can create new habitats in space.… read more

Raymond Kurzweil: Great Inventions

May 31, 2001

Since age 17, Ray Kurzweil has built companies, authored books and advised startups. UPSIDE magazine Editor in Chief Jerry Borrell recently caught up with this innovative thinker.… read more

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

Tribute to Michael Dertouzos (1936 — 2001)

August 30, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In memory of Michael Dertouzos, 1936 — 2001.… read more

Nanotechnology: Six Lessons from Sept. 11

December 13, 2001 by K. Eric Drexler

The Sept. 11 attacks confirmed the ongoing terrorist threat and the importance of proactive development of methods to prevent nanotech abuse, K. Eric Drexler, Chairman of the Foresight Institute said in a statement sent to institute members. The “nanotechnology boom” is beginning, he said, urging members to use their brains and their wallets to “ensure that the field of nanotechnology never has its own Sept. 11.”… read more

Connectivity: What it is and why it is so important

February 11, 2002 by Bob Frankston

The difference between the network and the application is crucial to the future of the Internet. Bob Frankston points out that connectivity is the basic resource, telephony and television are simply applications built on connectivity, and that we should replace complex regulation with the power of the marketplace.… read more

Beyond Computation: A Talk with Rodney Brooks

June 7, 2002 by John Brockman

Rodney Brooks is trying to build robots with properties of living systems. These include self-reproducing and self-assembling robots and one inspired by Bill Joy that wanders around the corridors, finds electrical outlets, and plugs itself in. His students’ edgy projects include real-time MRI imagery, virtual colonoscopies, programs that create DNA for E. coli molecules that act as computers, and eventually, self-organizing smart biomaterials that grow into objects, such as a table.… read more

Top News of 2002

February 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil, Amara D. Angelica

KAI logo

In its second year of operation, 2002, continued to chronicle the most notable news stories on accelerating intelligence. We offer here our overview of the dramatic progress that the past year has brought. Following that, we selected just over half of the 823 news stories posted in 2002 to document key breakthroughs in the continued exponential growth of increasingly diverse information-based technologies; deepening understanding of the information basis of biological processes; the early contributions of nanotechnology, and a multiplicity of related topics.… read more

Ray Kurzweil Responds to Richard Eckersley

February 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“Eckersley bases his romanticized idea of ancient life on communication and the relationships fostered by communication. But much of modern technology is directed at just this basic human need.”… read more

Gelernter, Kurzweil debate machine consciousness

December 6, 2006 by Rodney Brooks, Ray Kurzweil, David Gelernter

Are we limited to building super-intelligent robotic “zombies” or will it be possible and desirable for us to build conscious, creative, volitional, perhaps even “spiritual” machines? David Gelernter and Ray Kurzweil debated this key question at MIT on Nov. 30.… 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

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