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How different could life have been?

January 21, 2002 by Richard Dawkins

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.” Richard Dawkins asks: how different could it all have been?… read more

Millennium 3000 Scenarios

March 13, 2002 by Theodore J. Gordon, Jerome C. Glenn

Experts in various areas were asked to speculate on life in the year 3000. Their ideas were compiled into six scenarios by two leading futurists for the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. “The authors provide some insightful scenarios,” says Ray Kurzweil. “However, I feel that their time frames do not adequately reflect the accelerating pace of progress inherent in what I call the law of accelerating returns. The types of changes they describe for 2050 and 3000 respectively will arrive much earlier in my view, but the issues raised by such developments as femtotechnology and nonbiological intelligence are compellingly described.”… 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

Parallel universes, the Matrix, and superintelligence

June 26, 2003 by Michio Kaku

Physicists are converging on a “theory of everything,” probing the 11th dimension, developing computers for the next generation of robots, and speculating about civilizations millions of years ahead of ours, says Dr. Michio Kaku, author of the best-sellers Hyperspace and Visions and co-founder of String Field Theory, in this interview by Editor Amara D. Angelica.… read more

What the Future Will Bring

June 15, 2005 by Ray Kurzweil

“Follow your passion,” Ray Kurzweil advised graduates in a commencement address on May 21 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, one of the nation’s earliest technological universities. “Creating knowledge is what will be most exciting in life. To create knowledge you have to have passion, so find a challenge that you can be passionate about and you can find the ideas to overcome that challenge.” Kurzweil also described the three great coming revolutions-genetics, nanotechnology and robotics-and their implications for our lives ahead.… read more

Words and Rules

February 21, 2001 by Steven Pinker

An important problem in AI in understanding how language works. In this paper, presented in his Colin Cherry Memorial Lecture on March 23, 1999 at Imperial College, London, Dr. Steven Pinker suggests that we use a combination of memory and grammatical rules to convey information.… read more

Artificial Intelligence in the World Wide Web

March 7, 2001 by David G. Stork

The Internet is a new metaphor for the human brain. It makes it possible for hundreds of millions of Web users to teach computers common-sense knowledge, similar to SETI@home’s search for E.T., says Dr. David G. Stork, a leading AI researcher. This can even be accomplished just by playing games on the Net.… read more

Foreword to ‘Dark Ages II’ (book by Bryan Bergeron)

July 26, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Our civilization’s knowledge legacy is at great risk, growing exponentially with the exploding size of our knowledge bases. And that doesn’t count the trillions of bytes of information stored in our brains, which eventually will be captured in the future. How long do we want our lives and thoughts to last?… read more

The Age of Knowledge

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An illustration of the second industrial revolution written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal… read more

What is time, and what is the right language to describe change, in a closed system like the universe, which contains all of its observers?

January 21, 2002 by Lee Smolin

Since the observers are inside the universe itself, we must formulate a “background-independent” quantum theory of gravity and cosmology , as well as the notions of time and change, to apply to a system with no fixed background, which contains all its possible observers–perhaps even one in which the laws themselves evolve as the universe does. Lee Smolin 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

Clottocytes: Artificial Mechanical Platelets

April 12, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Nanorobotic artificial mechanical platelets (“clottocytes”) may allow for complete hemostasis in as little as one second – 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural system and 10,000 times more effective in terms of bloodstream concentration. They could also work internally. Using acoustic pulses, a blood vessel break could be rapidly communicated to neighboring clottocytes, immediately triggering a progressive controlled mesh-release cascade.… read more

Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers Getting Stupider?

October 20, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The Deep Fritz computer chess software only achieved a draw in its recent chess tournament with Vladimir Kramnik because it has available only about 1.3% as much brute force computation as the earlier Deep Blue’s specialized hardware. Despite that, it plays chess at about the same level because of its superior pattern recognition-based pruning algorithm. In six years, a program like Deep Fritz will again achieve Deep Blue’s ability to analyze 200 million board positions per second. Deep Fritz-like chess programs running on ordinary personal computers will routinely defeat all humans later in this decade.… read more

Kurzweil responds to Edge challenge, advises Bush

January 26, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

In a hypothetical letter to President Bush, Ray Kurzweil advised him to accelerate FDA review of defensive solutions for bioengineered pathogens, fund a crash program for developing promising new methodologies for human somatic cell engineering, and perfect hydrogen fuel cells, which could have major implications for the economy, the environment, and the geopolitics of oil.… read more

Runaway Artificial Intelligence?

February 3, 2006 by J. Storrs Hall

Synthetic computer-based artificial intelligence will become available well before nanotechnology makes neuron-level brain scans possible in the 2020s — it’s already a short step to computer systems that make better decisions than corporate managers do, says J. Storrs Hall.… read more

Corporate Cornucopia: Examining the Special Implications of Commercial MNT Development

May 24, 2006 by Michael Vassar

Molecular nanotech is the largest commercial opportunity of all time. But it may also create severe roadblocks and risks, including terrorism, unstable arms races, competitive pricing, restrictive patents, import opposition, economic disruption, and out-of-control AI.… read more

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