essays collection By Author | A-Z

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

Essentials of general intelligence: the direct path to AGI

August 22, 2002 by Peter Voss

Adaptive AI's General Framework

General intelligence comprises the essential, domain-independent skills necessary for acquiring a wide range of domain-specific knowledge — the ability to learn anything. Achieving this with “artificial general intelligence” (AGI) requires a highly adaptive, general-purpose system that can autonomously acquire an extremely wide range of specific knowledge and skills and can improve its own cognitive ability through self-directed learning. This chapter in the forthcoming book, Real AI: New Approaches to Artificial General Intelligence, describes the requirements and conceptual design of a prototype AGI system.… read more

Essay for E-School News

October 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Speaking at the 18th Annual Conference on “Technology and Persons with Disabilities” at California State University Northridge in March 2003, Ray Kurzweil described how key developments in science and technology will affect society, alter education and other fields, and benefit everyone, especially those with disabilities. This article is based on that address.… read more

Essay collection | The Ray Kurzweil Reader

July 10, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

The Ray Kurzweil Reader is a collection of essays by Ray Kurzweil on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, radical life extension, conscious machines, the promise and peril of technology, and other aspects of our future world. These essays, published  from 2001 to 2003, are now available as a PDF document for convenient downloading and offline reading. The 30 essays, organized in seven topic areas (such as “How to Build a Brain”), cover subjects… 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

Encompassing Education

September 17, 2002 by Diana Walczak

Students in the 2020s will explore knowledge in customized, full-immersive, 3-D learning environments, able to see, hear, smell, and touch simulated objects and interact with synthespians to foster a heightened sense of curiosity, says Diana Walczak, Artistic Director and Cofounder, Kleiser-Walczak.… 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

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


February 7, 2007 by Sir Arthur C. Clarke

The Golden Age of space travel is still ahead of us. Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will gain access to the orbital realm — and then, to the Moon and beyond, says Sir Arthur, 89.… read more

Drexler Counters

December 1, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

In this third in a series of letters addressing molecular assemblers, Eric Drexler responds to Prof. Richard Smalley’s response to Drexler’s original open letter. Countering Smalley’s argument that solution-phase chemistry is required, Drexler explains that nanofactories are instead based on mechanosynthesis — “machine-phase” chemistry — and “need no impossible fingers to control the motion of individual atoms within reactants.”… read more

Don’t let Crichton’s Prey scare you–the science isn’t real

January 26, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

A review of Michael Crichton’s Prey, a novel featuring out-of-control, self-replicating nanotechnology.… 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

Diary of an Immortal Man

May 22, 2001 by Richard Dooling

What would it be like to live forever? Writer Richard Dooling explores this question in this fictional piece from Esquire.… read more

Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil, Eric Drexler, and Robert Bradbury

December 3, 2002 by K. Eric Drexler, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Bradbury

What would it take to achieve successful cryonics reanimation of a fully functioning human brain, with memories intact? A conversation at the recent Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler sparked an email discussion of this question. They agreed that despite the challenges, the brain’s functions and memories can be represented surprisingly compactly, suggesting that successful reanimation of the brain may be achievable.… 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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