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Beyond Computation: A Talk with Rodney Brooks

June 7, 2002 by John Brockman

Rodney Brooks is trying to build robots with properties of living systems. These include self-reproducing and self-assembling robots and one inspired by Bill Joy that wanders around the corridors, finds electrical outlets, and plugs itself in. His students’ edgy projects include real-time MRI imagery, virtual colonoscopies, programs that create DNA for E. coli molecules that act as computers, and eventually, self-organizing smart biomaterials that grow into objects, such as a table.… read more


February 21, 2001

The “inner light, that private way that it is with you that nobody else can share … is forever outside the bounds of computer science,” argues philosopher Dennett. From Ray Kurzweil’s revolutionary book The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990.… read more

What is Friendly AI?

May 3, 2001 by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

How will near-human and smarter-than-human AIs act toward humans? Why? Are their motivations dependent on our design? If so, which cognitive architectures, design features, and cognitive content should be implemented? At which stage of development? These are questions that must be addressed as we approach the Singularity.… read more

Ethics for Machines

July 5, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

What are the ethical responsibilities of an intelligent being toward another one of a lower order? And who will be lower–us or machines? Nanotechnologist J. Storrs Hall considers our moral duties to machines, and theirs to us.… read more

The Paradigms and Paradoxes of Intelligence, Part 1: Russell’s Paradox

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An exploration of Russell’s Paradox, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Remarks at The Celebration, A Gala to Celebrate the Groundbreaking of the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind

October 22, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil’s remarks given at the groundbreaking of the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind… read more

Why is beauty making a comeback now?

January 21, 2002 by Joel Garreau

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.” Joel Garreau asks: why is beauty back in?… read more

Accelerating Intelligence: Where Will Technology Lead Us?

March 26, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Kurzweil gave a Special Address at BusinessWeek’s The Digital Economy New Priorities: Building A Collaborative Enterprise In Uncertain Times conference on December 6, 2001 in San Francisco. He introduced business CEOs to the Singularity — the moment when distinctions between human and machine intelligence disappear.… read more

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness

August 17, 2002 by David Chalmers

The vague term “consciousness” poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. Philosopher David Chalmers presents a nonreductive theory of consciousness based on principles of structural coherence (tied to awareness) and organizational invariance (e.g., a silicon isomorph of a human can be conscious) and a double-aspect view of information (physical and phenomenal aspects).… read more

An Open Letter to Richard Smalley

April 16, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

Dr. Richard Smalley has voiced criticisms of Dr. Eric Drexler’s concept of molecular assemblers, which could be used to implement self-replicating nanobots. Smalley, who discovered “fullerenes” (aka “buckyballs”), is Chairman of the Board of Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. and former director of Rice University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Drexler, who coined the term “nanotechnology” and is Chairman of the Board of Foresight Institute, responds to these criticisms.… read more

Cyborg Liberation Front: Inside the Movement for Posthuman Rights

January 15, 2004 by Erik Baard

Should Humans Welcome or Resist Becoming Posthuman? This was a key question debated at the 2003 World Transhumanist Association conference at Yale University by attendees, who met to lay the groundwork for a society that would admit as citizens and companions intelligent robots, cyborgs made from a free mixing of human and machine parts, and fully organic, genetically engineered people who aren’t necessarily human at all.… read more

The Need For Limits

March 24, 2006 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular manufacturing will give its wielders extreme power and has the potential to remove or bypass many of today’s limits, including laws. That could lead to a planet-wide dictatorship, or to any of several forms of irreversible destruction. Perhaps the biggest problem of all will be how to develop a system of near-absolute power that will not become corrupt.… read more

Dear PC: R.I.P.

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the post-PC future includes nanobots and fully immersive virtual reality.… read more

Surfing The Singularity: Damien Broderick

May 18, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

In The Spike (Forge, 2001), Damien Broderick takes us on a wild, hyperkinetic ride through some of the planet’s most imaginative ideas on the accelerating times ahead.… read more

Discovery Today Discussion of Machine Consciousness

July 26, 2001 by Discovery Today, Hugo de Garis

Hugo de Garis, brain builder, feels the weight of a future conflict between humans and the artificially intelligent beings they have created. Sir Roger Penrose is skeptical, and Robert Llewellyn is curious. See a discussion between the three.… read more

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