essays collection By Author | A-Z

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

Nanoethics and Human Enhancement

March 31, 2006 by Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff

Radical nanotech-based human enhancements such as bionic implants and “respirocyte” artificial red blood cells will become technologically viable in the near future, raising profound ethical issues and forcing us to rethink what it means to be human. Recent pro-enhancement arguments will need to be critically examined and strengthened if they are to be convincing.… read more

Letter from Hans Moravec

February 21, 2001 by Hans Moravec

In this March 25, 1999 Letter to New York Review of Books, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Hans Moravec counters John Searle’s “Chinese Room” argument, which attempts to show that machines cannot be conscious.… read more

The Virtual Thomas Edison

March 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

As machines exceed human intelligence, will they threaten humanity? How will inventors keep up? Raymond Kurzweil lays out his vision of the future for Time Magazine’s special issue on the future.… read more

Excerpts from “One Half of a Manifesto”

July 30, 2001 by Jaron Lanier

Does the optimism of technologists blur the question of quantitative improvements in hardware versus a lack of qualititative improvements in software? Do they point the way towards an eschatological cataclysm in which doom is imminent?… read more

Taming the Multiverse

August 7, 2001 by Marcus Chown

In Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, physicist Sir Roger Penrose is paraphrased as suggesting it is impossible to perfectly replicate a set of quantum states, so therefore perfect downloading (i.e., creating a digital or synthetic replica of the human brain based upon quantum states) is impossible. What would be required to make it possible? A solution to the problem of quantum teleportation, perhaps. But there is a further complication: the multiverse. Do we live in a world of schizophrenic tables? Does free will negate the possibility of perfect replication?… read more

Arthur C. Clarke Offers His Vision of the Future

December 3, 2001 by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Kurzweil

The science fiction visionary behind HAL offers his predictions of salient events to come in this century.… read more

Review of Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas

January 24, 2002 by Lucas Hendrich,

The fertile ground of the Internet has led to countless innovations, eliminating physical barriers and allowing a borderless, transparent source of information to flourish. How will the story of the Internet be played out in the 21st Century?… read more

Technotopia and the Death of Nature

May 22, 2002 by James John Bell

There is something missing from the discussion of the technological singularity, says James Bell: the true cost of progress will mean the unprecedented decline of the planet’s inhabitants — an ever-increasing rate of global extinction, some warn.… read more

The Cyclic Universe

January 22, 2003 by Paul J. Steinhardt

Is the universe expanding indefinitely–the Big Bang model–or does it go through cycles of expansion and contraction? Paul Steinhardt, who is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, suggests a cyclic model that could successfully compete with the Big Bang model.… read more

Molecular Manufacturing: Start Planning

October 9, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular nanotechnology manufacturing is coming soon. The economic value–and military significance–of a nanofactory will be immense. But if a well-designed plan is not in place, serious risks will very likely lead to military destruction, social or economic disruption or unnecessary human suffering on a large scale. Here’s what needs to be done.… read more

Nanofactories, Gang Wars, and “Feelies”

February 3, 2006 by Damien Broderick

In 30 years, a new intelligent species might share the planet with us and
dirt-cheap molecular manufacturing may end poverty and strife. But there exists a risk that a world of lotus-eaters will degenerate into gang wars among those for whom life
retains no discipline or meaning.… read more

What is the Doomsday Clock and why should we keep track of the time?

The Doomsday Clock was shifted on January 26, 2017 from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes to midnight --- the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years.
March 6, 2017


By Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Science, Griffith University

It made headlines recently when the Doomsday Clock was shifted on January 26, 2017 from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes to midnight.*

That is the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years. The body responsible for the clock said the probability of global… read more

Human Cloning is the Least of It

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In this message posted to the WIRED Future List, Raymond Kurzweil asserts that cloning–replicating animals, organs, and cells–has profound implications for health and well-being of both humans and animals, including a possible solution for world hunger. He also sees no problem with human cloning.… read more

The 10,000-Year Library

April 11, 2001 by Stewart Brand

Much of the information of the past–as well as the present–is endangered or lost forever. Underground rock vaults, “time mail,” and a museum built around a 10,000 year clock are some of the ideas for assuring that vital information survives future crashes of civilizations.… read more

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