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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

Intelligence Augmentation

August 6, 2001 by Pattie Maes

Machine consciousness may not be a matter of replicating total human thought capacity–it may come in several small, specialized parts. In this discussion with the Edge’s John Brockman, Pattie Maes discusses IA (Intelligence Augmentation) as opposed to AI.… read more

How can a small number of genes build a complex mental machine?

January 21, 2002 by Gary F. Marcus

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.” Gary F. Marcus asks: how can genes build a mental machine?… read more

Engineering Humans, Part 1

March 28, 2001 by Rachel Massey

Genetic engineers are starting to modify human genes, using cloning, somatic cell manipulation, germline manipulation. The potential financial and health rewards are huge, but so are the risks.… read more

How are behaviors encoded in DNA?

January 21, 2002 by John McCarthy

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.” John McCarthy asks: how are behaviors encoded in DNA?… read more

Material Progress is Sustainable

February 21, 2001 by John McCarthy

Many people, including many scientists, mistakenly believe that human progress, in the form it has taken in the last few hundred years, is unsustainable,” says Stanford University Professor of Computer Science Dr. John McCarthy. In this article, he presents the scientific case for technological optimism.… read more

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

February 21, 2001 by John McCarthy

What exactly is “artificial intelligence” (AI)? Stanford University Professor of Computer Science Dr. John McCarthy, a pioneer in AI, answers this question in depth for beginners.… read more

How does the body react to medical nanodevices?

November 19, 2003 by Ralph C. Merkle

Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, the second volume in Robert A. Freitas, Jr.’s Nanomedicine series, has been published just in time to provide an authoritative scientific foundation to address the growing concerns about the biocompatibility of nanotechnology in the environmental and medical communities.… read more

It’s a Small, Small, Small, Small World

April 5, 2001 by Ralph C. Merkle

This introduction to nanotechnology by one of its pioneers is an extended version of the article published in the Feb/Mar 1997 issue of MIT Technology Review. It provides greater technical detail.… read more

Nanotechnology: What Will It Mean?

April 27, 2001 by Ralph C. Merkle

Ralph C. Merkle weighs in on the debate about the future of nanotechnology, considering its possible uses and abuses.… read more

Ambiguous Words

May 15, 2001 by George A. Miller

Understanding how humans process the subtlety of language is crucial to recreating the ability to understand natural language in computers. Dr. George Miller investigates the cognitive processes of resolving the vagueness in human language.… read more

Consciousness is a Big Suitcase

August 2, 2001 by Marvin Minsky

Is consciousness reducible to a set of mechanisms in the brain acting in concert? In this discussion with the Edge’s John Brockman, Marvin Minsky peers into the suitcase of the mind.… read more

The emotion universe

November 21, 2002 by Marvin Minsky

Why have we made limited progress in AI? Because we haven’t developed sophisticated models of thinking, we need better programming languages and architectures, and we haven’t focused on common sense problems that every normal child can solve.… 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

Ripples and Puddles

February 21, 2001 by Hans Moravec

Roboticist Hans Moravec advocates a combination of reasoning Programs, neural modeling and perception programs in building intelligent machines. He visualizes a future generation of robots that think like primates, followed by a humanlike generation capable of reason.… read more

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