essays collection By Author | A-Z

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

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

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

Open-Source Biology And Its Impact on Industry

March 3, 2004 by Rob Carlson

Technology based on intentional, open-source biology is on its way, whether we like it or not. Distributed biological manufacturing is the future of the global economy and will occur as inexpensive, quality DNA sequencing and synthesis equipment becomes available to anyone. In 2050, garage biology hacking will be well under way. Fear of potential hazards should be met with increased research and education, rather than closing the door on the profound positive impacts that distributed biological technology will have on human health, human impacts on the environment, and increasing standards of living around the world.… read more

Nanotechnology Dangers and Defenses

March 27, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

To avoid dangers such as unrestrained nanobot replication, we need relinquishment at the right level and to place our highest priority on the continuing advance of defensive technologies, staying ahead of destructive technologies. An overall strategy should include a streamlined regulatory process, a global program of monitoring for unknown or evolving biological pathogens, temporary moratoriums, raising public awareness, international cooperation, software reconnaissance, and fostering values of liberty, tolerance, and respect for knowledge and diversity.… 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

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

When Will HAL Understand What We Are Saying? Computer Speech Recognition and Understanding

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

This chapter from HAL’s Legacy: 2001′s Computer as Dream and Reality addresses the accomplishments–and challenges–of automatic speech recognition. What kind of paradigm shift in computing will give HAL the ability to understand human context, and therefore truly speak?… read more

Inventing Modern America: Book Launch and Panel Discussion with Lemelson-Prize Inventors

November 28, 2001 by Lucas Hendrich

At a launch event for the book on November 27, 2001, five of them discussed their influences, dreams, and where future innovation should focus with the book’s author, David E. Brown, and Christopher Lydon, former host of National Public Radio’s call-in talk show “The Connection.”… read more

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