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Thought Experiments: When the Singularity Is More than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil

January 16, 2006 by Cory Doctorow

Is the Singularity a spiritual or a technological belief system? Perhaps it is the melding of both, says science fiction author Cory Doctorow in this dialogue with Ray Kurzweil. “After all, this is a system of belief that dictates a means by which we can care for our bodies virtuously and live long enough to transcend them. It’s no wonder that the Singularity has come to occupy so much of the science fiction narrative in these years. Science or spirituality, you could hardly ask for a subject better tailored to technological speculation and drama.”… read more

Nanoethics and Human Enhancement

March 31, 2006 by Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff

Radical nanotech-based human enhancements such as bionic implants and “respirocyte” artificial red blood cells will become technologically viable in the near future, raising profound ethical issues and forcing us to rethink what it means to be human. Recent pro-enhancement arguments will need to be critically examined and strengthened if they are to be convincing.… read more

Techno-Utopia and Human Values

February 3, 2006 by Richard Eckersley

It is our preordained fate, Ray Kurzweil suggests, to advance technologically “until the entire universe is at our fingertips.” The question then becomes, preordained by whom or what? Biological evolution has not set this course for us. Is technology itself the planner?… read more

Some Challenges And Grand Challenges For Computational Intelligence

July 15, 2003 by Edward Feigenbaum

The Turing Test is a very ambitious Grand Challenge. The “Feigenbaum Test” is more manageable: focus on natural science, engineering, or medicine with conversation in the jargonized and stylized language of these disciplines. There are two other grand challenges in achieving Computational Intelligence: Build a large knowledge base by reading text, reducing knowledge engineering effort by one order of magnitude; and the “Grand Vision”: distill from the WWW a huge knowledge base, using ontologies and building a system of “semantics scrapers” that will access the semantic markups, integrate them appropriately into the growing knowledge base, and set up the material for the scrutiny of an editorial process.… read more

The New Luddite Challenge

February 21, 2001 by Ted Kaczynski

An excerpt from the Unabomber Manifesto that briefly summarizes the author’s charge against technological progress.… read more

Live Forever–Uploading The Human Brain…Closer Than You Think

April 9, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil ponders the issues of identity and consciousness in an age when we can make digital copies of ourselves.… read more

Why Language Is All Thumbs

March 14, 2008 by Chip Walter

Toolmaking not only resulted in tools, but also the reconfiguration of our brains so they comprehended the world on the same terms as our toolmaking hands interacted with it. With mirror neurons, something entirely new entered the world: memes–a far more effective and speedy method for pooling knowledge and passing it around than the old genetic way.… read more

Are We Becoming an Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the Twenty First Century

November 20, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil addresses questions presented at Are We Becoming an Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the 21st Century, a conference on technology and ethics sponsored by Washington National Cathedral. Other panelists are Anne Foerst, Bill Joy and Bill Mckibben.… read more

Technology in the 21st Century: an Imminent Intimate Merger

May 14, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Foresight Institute “Exploring the Edges” Senior Associate Gathering, April 27, 2002, Ray Kurzweil presented the case of the emergence of biological and machine intelligence, answering the three major challenges: limited resources, inadequate software, and ethical concerns. Here are the presentation slides and audio.… 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

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