essays collection By Author | A-Z

The Senses Have No Future

May 15, 2001 by Hans Moravec

For Hans Moravec, our natural senses will swiftly become obsolete, as brain to computer interfaces become more common. Our physical environment will change as well, into what he calls a “densely connected cyberspace.” Do our senses serve just to exchange information?… read more

Embrace, Don’t Relinquish, the Future

February 21, 2001 by Max More

Extropy Institute head Max More finds Bill Joy’s Wired essay uninformed, unworkable, and even unethical because it will slow down progress in medicine and other vital areas, he believes.… read more

Grasping the Future: Comparing Scenarios to Other Techniques

May 9, 2001 by Max More

It has become a commonplace to hear that change is accelerating. Mention of Moore’s Law is now likely to elicit a bored yawn. We have become so used to rapid and accelerating technological and cultural change that it’s hard to find it shocking. If we still suffer future shock, we are probably too used to it to notice. Yet it has never been more important to confront the fact of accelerated change for anyone constructing strategy in the information economy.… read more

Life Extension and Overpopulation

April 9, 2001 by Max More

The prospect of life extension raises fears of overpopulation. Extropian Max More argues we should focus on reducing births, not on raising or maintaining death, since population growth and pollution are slowing down (from growing wealth) and in the future we can create new habitats in space.… read more

Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity

February 26, 2002 by Max More, Ray Kurzweil

As technology accelerates over the next few decades and machines achieve superintelligence, we will encounter a dramatic phase transition: the “Singularity.” Will it be a “wall” (a barrier as conceptually impenetrable as the event horizon of a black hole in space), an “AI-Singularity” ruled by super-intelligent AIs, or a gentler “surge” into a posthuman era of agelessness and super-intelligence? Will this meme be hijacked by religious “passive singularitarians” obsessed with a future rapture? Ray Kurzweil and Extropy Institute president Max More debate.… read more

Track 7 Tech Vectors to Take Advantage of Technological Acceleration

May 9, 2001 by Max More

In this update and expansion of his essay, “Taking Advantage of Technological Acceleration,” Max More reveals how businesses can keep up with accelerating technologies in seven primary vectors or metatrends.… read more

Are We Enlightened Guardians, Or Are We Apes Designing Humans?

May 22, 2006 by Douglas Mulhall

Thanks in part to molecular manufacturing, accelerated developments in AI and brain reverse-engineering could lead to the emergence of superintelligence in just 18 years. Are we ready for the implications — like possible annihilation of Homo sapiens? And will we seem to superintelligence what our ape-like ancestors seem to us: primitive?… read more

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 1

February 2, 2006 by Sander Olson, Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Robert A. Freitas Jr. has written pioneering books on nanomedicine,
nanorobots, and molecular manufacturing. What’s next? The last two books in the Nanomedicine series and a book on fundamentals of nanomechanical engineering, extending Eric Drexler’s classic Nanosystems, he reveals in this interview.… read more

Sander Olson Interviews Ray Kurzweil

February 10, 2006 by Sander Olson, Ray Kurzweil

Nonbiological intelligence is multiplying by over 1,000 per decade. Once we can achieve the software of intelligence, which we will achieve through reverse-engineering the human brain, non-biological intelligence will soar past biological intelligence. By the 2040s, nonbiological intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than the 10^26 computations per second that all biological humanity represents.… read more

Bioconvergence: Progenitor of the Nanotechnology Age

March 8, 2001 by Charles Ostman

Advances in genetic engineering, advanced computational processes, nanobiology, and biological metaphors in computing are leading to a “bioconvergence” that will reshape the economies of the world and perhaps even the very definition of life itself.… read more

How to Change the World . . . Quickly

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

Futurist John Petersen describes a powerful tool that organizations can use for making a desirable future happen, called “normative scenarios.”… read more

Wild Cards: The Nature of Big Future Surprises

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

In the coming years, the world could experience a series of massively transformative events, or “wild cards,” brought on by radical developments in areas such as AI and nanotechnology. Futurist John Petersen suggests strategies for dealing with them proactively.… read more

Foresight call to action

December 16, 2003 by Christine Peterson

Despite the revolutionary promise of molecular nanotechnology (MNT), the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) excludes explicit funding for MNT. The recent Drexler-Smalley debate in Chemical & Engineering News offers an opportunity to correct that. Foresight president Christine Peterson suggests how.… read more

Molecular Manufacturing: Societal Implications of Advanced Nanotechnology

April 10, 2003 by Christine Peterson

The best way to reduce risks from molecular manufacturing would be an open, international R&D program with broad cooperation by the democracies, including a parallel arms control verification project. This requires a decision to pursue the goal and substantial funding. But both of these are currently blocked by the lack of consensus on the technical feasibility of molecular manufacturing. So we urgently need a basic feasibility review by unbiased scientists.… read more

Design of a Primitive Nanofactory

December 4, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular manufacturing requires more than mechanochemistry. A single nanoscale fabricator cannot build macro-scale products. This paper describes the mechanisms, structures, and processes of a prototypical macro-scale, programmable nanofactory composed of many small fabricators. Power requirements, control of mechanochemistry, reliability in the face of radiation damage, convergent assembly processes and joint mechanisms, and product design are discussed in detail, establishing that the design should be capable of duplicating itself. Nanofactory parameters are derived from plausible fabricator parameters. The pre-design of a nanofactory and many products appears to be within today’s capabilities. Bootstrapping issues are discussed briefly, indicating that nanofactory development might occur quite soon after fabricator development. Given an assembler, a nanofactory appears feasible and worthwhile, and should be accounted for in assembler policy discussions.… read more

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