essays collection By Author | A-Z

Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III

April 17, 2007 by William B. Scott, Amara D. Angelica

Space Wars by Willliam Scott, Michael Coumatos, and William Birnes, Forge Books (April 17, 2007) describes how the first hours of World War III might play out in the year 2010. While fiction, it’s based on real-world military scenarios and technologies, dramatically highlighting the West’s vulnerability to destruction of its space-based commercial and military communications infrastructure.… read more


August 13, 2001 by John Searle

Can consciousness be measured scientifically? What exactly is consciousness? John Searle approaches the scientific investigation of consciousness and its possible neurobiological roots from a philosophical perspective.… read more

Why Sleep?

January 21, 2002 by Terrence Sejnowski

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” Terrence Sejnowski asks: why sleep?… read more

The Open Mind Common Sense Project

January 2, 2002 by Push Singh

Push Singh of the MIT MediaLab describes a novel approach to achieving machine intelligence by teaching machines how to reason heuristically.… read more

Technology and Human Enhancement

February 3, 2006 by John Smart

Machines are increasingly exceeding us in the performance of more and more tasks, from guiding objects like
missiles or satellites to assembling other machines. They are merging with us ever more intimately and are learning how to reconfigure our biology in new and significantly
faster technological domains.… read more

What is the Singularity?

February 27, 2001 by John Smart

This introduction to the Singularity includes a brief history of the idea and links to key Web resources.… read more

What is time, and what is the right language to describe change, in a closed system like the universe, which contains all of its observers?

January 21, 2002 by Lee Smolin

Since the observers are inside the universe itself, we must formulate a “background-independent” quantum theory of gravity and cosmology , as well as the notions of time and change, to apply to a system with no fixed background, which contains all its possible observers–perhaps even one in which the laws themselves evolve as the universe does. Lee Smolin responds to Edge publisher/editor John Brockman’s request to futurists to pose “hard-edge” questions that “render visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefine who and what we are.”… read more

The Third-Generation Web is Coming

December 18, 2006 by Nova Spivack

Web 3.0, expected to debut in 2007, will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents.… read more

The Cyclic Universe

January 22, 2003 by Paul J. Steinhardt

Is the universe expanding indefinitely–the Big Bang model–or does it go through cycles of expansion and contraction? Paul Steinhardt, who is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, suggests a cyclic model that could successfully compete with the Big Bang model.… read more

The Last Human

June 5, 2002 by Gregory Stock

We are on the cusp of profound biological change, poised to transcend our current form and character on a journey to destinations of new imagination. The arrival of safe, reliable germline technology will signal the beginning of human self-design. Progressive self-transformation could change our descendants into something sufficiently different from our present selves to not be human in the sense we use the term now. But the ultimate question of our era is whether the cutting edge of life is destined to shift from its present biological substrate — the carbon and other organic materials of our flesh — to that of silicon and its ilk, as proposed by leading artificial-intelligence theorists such as Hans Moravec and Ray Kurzweil.… read more

Artificial Intelligence in the World Wide Web

March 7, 2001 by David G. Stork

The Internet is a new metaphor for the human brain. It makes it possible for hundreds of millions of Web users to teach computers common-sense knowledge, similar to SETI@home’s search for E.T., says Dr. David G. Stork, a leading AI researcher. This can even be accomplished just by playing games on the Net.… 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

If we are lucky, our pets may keep us as pets

January 18, 2002 by Brad Templeton

The first super-intelligent beings may not be based on humans at all, but on apes. Since moral and legal considerations will limit experimentation with human brain uploading, scientists may first turn to apes, and they may quickly enhance themselves. Could they become our overlords, la Planet of the Apes?… 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

Nano-Guns, Nano-Germs, and Nano-Steel

March 29, 2006 by Mike Treder

Within our lifetimes, we are likely to witness battles on a scale never before seen. Powered by molecular manufacturing, near-future wars may threaten our freedom, our way of life, and even our survival. Superior military technology allowed the Spanish to conquer the Incan empire in 1532. Could today’s most powerful civilization, the United States, be just as easily conquered by a nano-enabled attacker?… read more

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