essays collection By Author | A-Z

We Earth Neurons

September 18, 2001 by Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett on knowledge sharing and the fate of the planet, in which he contrasts individuals and their brains with the trillions of neurons that compose them. The planet has grown its own nervous system: us.… read more

Software, Property and Human Civilization

December 19, 2001 by Jordan Pollack

In this Edge talk, Jordan Pollack discusses a phenomenon that may restrict innovation: the inability to buy products, due to the established model of software licensing. What are the implications for human civilization?… 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

A New Kind of Science: Analysis

June 24, 2002 by Scott Aaronson

This review of Stephen Wolfram’s new book addresses weaknesses in Wolfram’s notions of computational complexity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the Bell inequality violation.… read more

Personal Fabrication

October 31, 2003 by Neil Gershenfeld

The next big thing in computers will be personal fabrication: allowing anyone to make fully functioning systems — with print semiconductors for logic, inks for displays, three-dimensional mechanical structures, motors, sensors, and actuators. Post-digital literacy now includes 3D machining and microcontroller programming. For a few thousand dollars, a little tabletop milling machine can measure its position down to microns, so you can fabricate the structures of modern technology, such as circuit boards.… read more

Biocosm: Lecture at Hayden Planetarium

February 9, 2006 by James N. Gardner

Why is the universe life-friendly? Columbia physicist Brian Greene says it’s the deepest question in all of science. Cosmologist Paul Davies agrees, calling it the biggest of the Big Questions.… read more

The Third-Generation Web is Coming

December 18, 2006 by Nova Spivack

Web 3.0, expected to debut in 2007, will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents.… read more

The Future

February 21, 2001 by David Dalrymple

The future, in the minds of many, is a very far-off place. However, you are in the future now, as perceived by the you that read the last sentence. You are constantly time-traveling at a constant speed. This however is irrelevant. It will take 10 years (back to superficial human time) until 2010. It will take 20 years until 2020. But now let us explore what is in those years and what their product might be. This article is done in a pseudo-fictional manner; it has a story to it, as do the Molly conversations in Editor-in-Chief Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines. However, it also has a serious side to it… read on.… read more

Tearing Toward the Spike

May 7, 2001 by Damien Broderick

We will live forever; or we will all perish most horribly; our minds will emigrate to cyberspace, and start the most ferocious overpopulation race ever seen on the planet; or our machines will transcend and take us with them, or leave us in some peaceful backwater where the meek shall inherit the Earth. Or something else, something far weirder and… unimaginable.… read more

What I want to be when I grow up, is a cloud

July 6, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

Uploading doesn’t necessarily mean consciousness on a chip. What if you could be anything: a lion or an antelope, a frog or a fly, a tree, a pool, the coat of paint on a ceiling? Nanotechnology may pave the way.… read more

The End of Handicaps, Part 1

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at how technology has assisted the blind, written for “The Futurecast” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Ray Kurzweil, Material Girl

November 2, 2001 by Wired News Radio

In this Wired interview, Kurzweil discusses how he used image- and voice-rendering software to transform himself into a 25-year-old singer named Ramona.… read more

What must a physical system be to be able to act on its own behalf?

January 21, 2002 by Stuart Kauffman

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.” Stuart Kauffman asks: what must a physical system be to be able to act?… 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

Reflections on S1m0ne

August 25, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The movie Simone presents an “unrealistic notion of how technology is introduced to the world,” says Ray Kurzweil in this review. He examines this portrayal from the perspective of his own transformation at the TED conference into Ramona, the state of the art for real-time virtual personality transformation two years ago.… read more

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