essays collection

Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers Getting Stupider?

October 20, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The Deep Fritz computer chess software only achieved a draw in its recent chess tournament with Vladimir Kramnik because it has available only about 1.3% as much brute force computation as the earlier Deep Blue’s specialized hardware. Despite that, it plays chess at about the same level because of its superior pattern recognition-based pruning algorithm. In six years, a program like Deep Fritz will again achieve Deep Blue’s ability to analyze 200 million board positions per second. Deep Fritz-like chess programs running on ordinary personal computers will routinely defeat all humans later in this decade.… read more

Parallel universes, the Matrix, and superintelligence

June 26, 2003 by Michio Kaku

Physicists are converging on a “theory of everything,” probing the 11th dimension, developing computers for the next generation of robots, and speculating about civilizations millions of years ahead of ours, says Dr. Michio Kaku, author of the best-sellers Hyperspace and Visions and co-founder of String Field Theory, in this interview by KurzweilAI.net Editor Amara D. Angelica.… read more

Strategic Sustainable Brain

March 31, 2006 by Natasha Vita-More

The human brain faces a challenging future. To cope with accelerating nanotech- and biotech-based developments in an increasingly complex world, compete with emerging superintelligence, and maintain its performance and sustainability as people live longer, the fragile human brain will need major enhancements: a backup system, eliminating degenerative processes, direct mind-linkup to ubiquitous computing networks, error-correction for memory, and a global Net connection with remote neural access.… read more

Simulating Reality

March 26, 2001 by Mike Weiner

Today’s VR simulators, some using powerful supercomputers, allow us to experience realities that would be impossible in the real world, but their history actually goes back to ingenious mechanical musical instruments of the 19th century.… read more

Say Ah

May 23, 2001 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Nanorobots the size of bacteria might one day roam people’s bodies, rooting out disease organisms and repairing damaged tissue.… read more

Postscript Re: Ray Kurzweil

July 30, 2001 by Jaron Lanier

This postscript to his One Half of a Manifesto is a further discussion and criticism of exponential trends. Do these trends exist as predictive models, or are we playing connect-the-dots based upon an arbitrary selection of milestones and paradigm shifts?… read more

A Jurisprudence of Artilects: Blueprint for a Synthetic Citizen

August 7, 2001 by Frank W. Sudia

Will artilects have difficulties seeking rights and legal recognition? Will they make problems for humans once they surpass our knowledge and reasoning capacities? Frank W. Sudia provides a legal blueprint.… read more

Remarks on Accepting the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund on November 29, 2001

December 3, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil was honored with the Tree of Life Award on November 29, 2001. Here are his remarks on accepting this prestigious award.… read more

Review of Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us by Rodney Brooks

January 28, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil reviews Rodney Brooks’ latest book on robotics for Wired Magazine. Brooks challenges Jaron Lanier’s claim that AI is “based on an intellectual mistake” and Kurzweil’s statements on reverse-engineering the brain and the date of the “Singularity.” Kurzweil responds.… read more

Predictive Human Genomics Is Here

May 29, 2002 by Terry Grossman

Thanks to breakthroughs in genomics testing, physicians now have tools for true preventive medicine. Gene chips and genomics test panels can predict one’s predisposition towards many serious — and often preventable — genetic diseases and allow doctors to modify gene expression through precise, targeted, individualized interventions.… read more

Kurzweil responds to Edge challenge, advises Bush

January 26, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

In a hypothetical letter to President Bush, Ray Kurzweil advised him to accelerate FDA review of defensive solutions for bioengineered pathogens, fund a crash program for developing promising new methodologies for human somatic cell engineering, and perfect hydrogen fuel cells, which could have major implications for the economy, the environment, and the geopolitics of oil.… read more

Gelernter, Kurzweil debate machine consciousness

December 6, 2006 by Rodney Brooks, Ray Kurzweil, David Gelernter

Are we limited to building super-intelligent robotic “zombies” or will it be possible and desirable for us to build conscious, creative, volitional, perhaps even “spiritual” machines? David Gelernter and Ray Kurzweil debated this key question at MIT on Nov. 30.… read more

What is the Doomsday Clock and why should we keep track of the time?

The Doomsday Clock was shifted on January 26, 2017 from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes to midnight --- the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years.
March 6, 2017

2.5-minutes-to-midnight

By Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Science, Griffith University

It made headlines recently when the Doomsday Clock was shifted on January 26, 2017 from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes to midnight.*

That is the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years. The body responsible for the clock said the probability of global… read more

Infinite Memory and Bandwidth: Implications for Artificial Intelligence

February 21, 2001 by Raj Reddy

Not to worry about superintelligent machines taking over, says AI pioneer Dr. Raj Reddy. A more likely scenario: people who can think and act 1000 times faster, using personal intelligent agents.… read more

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

April 17, 2001

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.… read more

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