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Toward closure: Open letter to Prof. Smalley

July 18, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

Prof. Richard Smalley has criticized Dr. Eric Drexler’s concept of molecular assemblers. But in recent testimony, Smalley appears to have reversed this position. Drexler, who coined the term “nanotechnology” and is Chairman of the Board of Foresight Institute, again calls for Smalley to clarify his position on what is “perhaps the most fundamental issue in the field today.”… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Dangerous Idea: The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion

January 17, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“What is your dangerous idea?” Over one hundred big thinkers answered this question, as part of The Edge’s Annual Question for 2006. Ray Kurzweil’s dangerous idea? We can achieve immortality in our lifetime.… read more

Empowering the Really Little Guys

April 9, 2006 by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

“Individuals are getting more and more powerful,” says author Glenn Reynolds in his insightful new book, An Army of Davids. “With the current rate of progress we’re seeing in biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, it seems likely that individuals will one day–and one day relatively soon–possess powers once thought available only to nation-states, superheroes, or gods. That sounds dramatic, but we’re already partway there”–and nanotechnology may be the “ultimate empowerer of ordinary people.”… read more

Building Gods or Building Our Potential Exterminators?

February 26, 2001 by Hugo de Garis

Hugo de Garis is concerned that massively intelligent machines (“artilects”) could become infinitely smarter than human beings, leading to warring factions over the question: should humanity risk building artilects? Result: gigadeaths. (See the author’s The Artilect War book draft for further details.)… read more

Who Will Rule the 21st Century?

May 25, 2008 by Jack Welch

Straight-line extrapolation shows that China and India, with their faster growth rates, will eventually catch up to the U.S. in terms of pure economic size. But America has a final competitive advantage: its confluence of bright, hungry entrepreneurs and flush, eager investors; and its stable, highly adaptable system.… read more

Respirocytes

May 20, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

An artificial nanomedical erythrocyte, or “respirocyte” — intended to duplicate all of the important functions of the red blood cell — could serve as a universal blood substitute, preserve living tissue, eliminate “the bends,” allow for new sports records, and provide treatment for anemia, choking, lung diseases, asphyxia, and other respiratory problems.… read more

The Virtual Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The changing library, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

A Wager on the Turing Test: Why I Think I Will Win

April 9, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Will Ray Kurzweil’s predictions come true? He’s putting his money where his mouth is. Here’s why he thinks he will win a bet on the future of artificial intelligence. The wager: an AI that passes the Turing Test by 2029.… read more

Review: Vernor Vinge’s ‘Fast Times’

September 5, 2002 by Hal Finney

Vernor Vinge’s Hugo-award-winning short science fiction story “Fast Times at Fairmont High” takes place in a near future in which everyone lives in a ubiquitous, wireless, networked world using wearable computers and contacts or glasses on which computer graphics are projected to create an augmented reality.… read more

The Intelligent Universe

December 12, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Within 25 years, we’ll reverse-engineer the brain and go on to develop superintelligence. Extrapolating the exponential growth of computational capacity (a factor of at least 1000 per decade), we’ll expand inward to the fine forces, such as strings and quarks, and outward. Assuming we could overcome the speed of light limitation, within 300 years we would saturate the whole universe with our intelligence.… read more

Immortality

April 26, 2001 by Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda attempts to answer the question: are we mortal or immortal? If we are mortal, no further questions need be asked. But if we are immortal, what are the logical arguments that support this idea and what is it that endures after death? From his talk delivered over one hundred years ago.

What question has been asked a greater number of times, what idea has led men more to search the universe for an answer, what question is nearer and dearer to the human heart, what question is more inseparably connected with our existence, than this one, the immortality of the human soul? It has been the theme of poets and sages, of priests and prophets; kings on the throne have discussed it, beggars in the street have dreamt of it. The best of humanity have approached it, and the worst of men have hoped for it. The interest in the theme has not died yet, nor will it die so long a human nature exists. Various answers have been presented to the world by various minds. Thousands, again, in every period of history have given up the discussion, and yet the question remains fresh as ever. Often in the turmoil and struggle of our lives we seem to forget it, but suddenly some one dies — one, perhaps, whom we loved, one near and dear to our hearts, is snatched away from us — and the struggle, the din and turmoil of the world around us, cease for a moment, and the soul asks the old question, “What after this? What becomes of the soul?”

The Future of Libraries, Part 1: The Technology of the Book

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The future of book technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal… read more

Transcending Moore’s Law with Molecular Electronics and Nanotechnology

September 27, 2004 by Steve T. Jurvetson

While the future is becoming more difficult to predict with each passing year, we should expect an accelerating pace of technological change. Nanotechnology is the next great technology wave and the next phase of Moore’s Law. Nanotech innovations enable myriad disruptive businesses that were not possible before, driven by entrepreneurship.

Much of our future context will be defined by the accelerating proliferation of information technology·as it innervates society and begins to subsume matter into code. It is a period of exponential growth in the impact of the learning-doing cycle where the power of biology, IT and nanotech compounds the advances in each formerly discrete domain.… 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

Ray Kurzweil Q&A with Darwin Magazine

December 3, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Machine consciousness is the subject of this dialog with Darwin Magazine.… read more

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