essays collection

Kinds of Minds

May 30, 2007 by J. Storrs Hall
Figure 15.1

In Beyond AI, published today, J. Storrs Hall offers “a must-read for anyone interested in the future of the human-machine civilization,” says Ray Kurzweil. In this first of three book excerpts, Hall suggests a classification of the different stages an AI might go through, from “hypohuman” (most existing AIs) to “hyperhuman” (similar to “superintelligence”).… 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

The Age of Virtuous Machines

June 1, 2007 by J. Storrs Hall

In the “hard takeoff” scenario, a psychopathic AI suddenly emerges at a superhuman level, achieving universal dominance. Hall suggests an alternative: we’ve gotten better because we’ve become smarter, so AIs will evolve “unselfish genes” and hyperhuman morality. More honest, capable of deeper understanding, and free of our animal heritage and blindnesses, the children of our minds will grow better and wiser than us, and we will have a new friend and guide–if we work hard to earn the privilege of associating with them.… read more

Utility Fog: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of

July 5, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

Nanotech pioneer J. Storrs Hall’s original concept, the Utility Fog, consists of a swarm of nanobots (“Foglets”) that can take the shape of virtually anything, and change shape on the fly. Here he discusses the technical details and feasibility of this nanoconcept.… 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 Inflationary Universe

May 1, 2003 by Alan Harvey Guth

What happened before the Big Bang and why is the universe uniform and flat? The inflationary model offers an explanation. It also predicts the observed non-uniformities of the cosmic background radiation based on wild ideas about quantum fluctuations at 10^-35 seconds. Next step: the intersection between cosmology and particle physics.… read more

Predictive Human Genomics Is Here

May 29, 2002 by Terry Grossman

Thanks to breakthroughs in genomics testing, physicians now have tools for true preventive medicine. Gene chips and genomics test panels can predict one’s predisposition towards many serious — and often preventable — genetic diseases and allow doctors to modify gene expression through precise, targeted, individualized interventions.… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan for Cheating Death

February 3, 2006 by Terry Grossman

A cure for aging may be found in the next fifty years. The trick now is to live long enough to be there when it happens. In his two new books, Ray Kurzweil has painted a clear picture of the future and provided a blueprint for how to get there.… read more

The Transhuman Singularity

March 27, 2001 by Terry Grossman

Therapeutic human cloning, stem cell therapies, synthetic organs, molecular nanotechnology, and the digital-cerebral interface may allow us to achieve immortality in this century. But keeping bionic transhumans alive until immortalilty is achieved may prove very expensive. And not everyone will want it.… read more

Why Cryosuspension Makes Sense

April 3, 2001 by Terry Grossman

We’re all genetically programmed to die, but advances in nanomedicine are expected to allow for “radical life extension” by 2050. Meanwhile, there’s cryostasis–freezing the body immediately after death with a view toward resuscitation in the future.… read more

Bootstrapping our way to an ageless future

September 19, 2007 by Aubrey de Grey
Figure 1

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey expects many people alive today to live to 1000 years of age and to avoid age-related health problems even at that age. In this excerpt from his just-published, much-awaited book, Ending Aging, he explains how.… 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

2050 Global Normative Scenarios

March 15, 2002 by Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon

Experts were asked to describe normative (preferred) scenarios for technology, human development, and politics/economics in the year 2050. Their ideas were compiled into three 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 will arrive much earlier in my view.”… read more

Stop everything…IT’S TECHNO-HORROR!

July 25, 2001 by George Gilder, Richard Vigilante

From Silicon Valley via Aspen, Bill Joy wants to call the police. On science. On technology. On the industry that made him rich. The Left is OverJoyed.… 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

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