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Robot: Child of God

May 9, 2001 by Anne Foerst

Sometimes computers act as if they are possessed–does that mean they may have souls? Probably not right now, but Anne Foerst explores the possibility of soulful robots.… 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

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

Humans and Machines Converge at ACM1

May 8, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

Humanoid robots aren’t perfect, but they may have a thing or two to teach computers.… read more

AI (the movie) and AI Panel Discussion at MIT

May 7, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

Steven Spielberg’s film “A.I.” was previewed at MIT on April 20, 2001 at an event that seemed geared more toward humans than futuristic robots.… 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

What is Friendly AI?

May 3, 2001 by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

How will near-human and smarter-than-human AIs act toward humans? Why? Are their motivations dependent on our design? If so, which cognitive architectures, design features, and cognitive content should be implemented? At which stage of development? These are questions that must be addressed as we approach the Singularity.… read more

Quantum Computing with Molecules

May 1, 2001 by Isaac L. Chuang, Neil Gershenfeld

By taking advantage of nuclear magnetic resonance, scientists can coax the molecules in some ordinary liquids to serve as an extraordinary type of computer.… read more

When Machines Outsmart Humans

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

Artificial intelligence is a possibility that should not be ignored in any serious thinking about the world in 2050. This article outlines the case for thinking that human-level machine intelligence might well be appear in that time frame. It then explains four immediate consequences of such a development, and argues that machine intelligence would have a revolutionary impact on a wide range of the social, political, economic, commercial, technological, scientific and environmental issues that humanity will face in the next century.… read more

The Transhumanist FAQ

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This FAQ, written by Nick Bostrom (with the help of others—see endnote), outlines the principles of transhumanism and provides definitions of transhumanist terms and resources. This is one of many versions of the “Transhumanist FAQ” that can be found on many websites, per organization or individual.… read more

How Long Before Superintelligence?

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence within this century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance; ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological brains; how difficult it will be neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to make this approach work; and how fast we can expect superintelligence to be developed once there is human-level artificial intelligence.… read more

Nanotechnology: What Will It Mean?

April 27, 2001 by Ralph C. Merkle

Ralph C. Merkle weighs in on the debate about the future of nanotechnology, considering its possible uses and abuses.… 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?”

Minimally Conscious States

April 17, 2001 by Douglas I. Katz

What exactly is the threshold of consciousness? One way to approach that core question is to explore “minimally conscious states,” a condition of severely altered consciousness in which the person demonstrates minimal but definite behavioral evidence of self or environmental awareness. Neurologist Dr. Douglas I. Katz has developed a precise set of measures that might serve as a checklist in the development of conscious computers.… read more

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

April 17, 2001 by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman at Caltech giving his famous lecture he entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom."  (credit: California Institute of Technology)

This visionary speech that Richard Feynman gave on December 29th, 1959, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology helped give birth to the now exploding field of nanotechnology.

I imagine experimental physicists must often look with envy at men like Kamerlingh Onnes, who discovered a field like low temperature, which seems to be bottomless and in which one can go down and down.

Such a man is then a leader and has some temporary monopoly in a scientific adventure. Percy Bridgman, in designing a way to obtain higher pressures, opened up another new field and was able to move into it and to lead us all along. The development of ever higher vacuum was a continuing development of the same kind.

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