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The Intelligent Universe

December 12, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Within 25 years, we’ll reverse-engineer the brain and go on to develop superintelligence. Extrapolating the exponential growth of computational capacity (a factor of at least 1000 per decade), we’ll expand inward to the fine forces, such as strings and quarks, and outward. Assuming we could overcome the speed of light limitation, within 300 years we would saturate the whole universe with our intelligence.… 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?”

Material Progress is Sustainable

February 21, 2001 by John McCarthy

Many people, including many scientists, mistakenly believe that human progress, in the form it has taken in the last few hundred years, is unsustainable,” says Stanford University Professor of Computer Science Dr. John McCarthy. In this article, he presents the scientific case for technological optimism.… read more

Global Space Warfare Technologies: Influences, Trends, and the Road Ahead

July 4, 2010 by Matthew Hoey

The Starfire Optical Range (SOR) is a directed-energy facility based at Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico. Many leaders in the arms control community as well as major news outlets have stated that SOR may be a directed-energy system that can disable space-based systems. The SOR is under the auspices of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is working on numerous space-warfare systems. (The United States Air Force/DOE)

Given how easily information can spread about the globe today, it is inevitable that space warfare technologies will proliferate. Once one country sets its sights on space domination, other countries are sure to follow, spurring a second arms race of sorts. The international community is in a race against time as technologies are evolving faster than ever before and will continue to accelerate exponentially in an almost biological fashion. If this process continues unabated, it will almost certainty result in the deterioration of peaceful collaborations, an increase in the creation of orbital debris, and the risk of an accidental or spasm nuclear event.… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan for Cheating Death

February 3, 2006 by Terry Grossman

A cure for aging may be found in the next fifty years. The trick now is to live long enough to be there when it happens. In his two new books, Ray Kurzweil has painted a clear picture of the future and provided a blueprint for how to get there.… read more

The Computer as a Communication Device

November 9, 2001 by J.C.R. Licklider, Robert Taylor

This landmark 1968 essay foresaw many future computer applications and advances in communication technology, such as distributed information resources and online interactive communities that are commonplace today as Internet chat rooms and peer-to-peer applications.… read more

A Dialogue on Reincarnation

January 6, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

If you were offered physical immortality as a “Wallerstein brain” (a human brain maintained in a jar interfacing to a virtual reality through its sensory and motor neurons), would you accept it? The question came up in an email dialogue about reincarnation between Ray Kurzweil and Steve Rabinowitz, a practicing attorney in New York City (which he says may explain his need to believe in reincarnation).… 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

Promise And Peril

April 9, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Bill Joy wrote a controversial article in Wired advocating “relinquishment” of research on self-replicating technologies, such as nanobots. In this rebuttal, originally published in Interactive Week, Ray Kurzweil argues that these developments are inevitable and advocates ethical guidelines and responsible oversight.… read more

Safe Utilization of Advanced Nanotechnology

January 27, 2003 by Chris Phoenix, Mike Treder

The “gray goo” scenario and other dangers of advanced nanotechnology can be avoided with a centrally controlled, relatively large, self-contained nanofactory, administered by a central authority and with restricted-design software.… read more

How to Build a Virtual Human

October 20, 2003 by Peter Plantec

Virtual Humans is the first book with instructions on designing a “V-human,” or synthetic person. Using the programs on the included CD, you can create animated computer characters who can speak, dialogue intelligently, show facial emotions, have a personality and life story, and be used in real business projects. These excerpts explain how to get started.… read more

Cyber Sapiens

October 26, 2006 by Chip Walter

…We will no longer be Homo sapiens, but Cyber sapiens–a creature part digital and part biological that will have placed more distance between its DNA and the destinies they force upon us than any other animal … a creature capable of steering our own evolution….… read more

The Gray Goo Problem

March 20, 2001 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

In Eric Drexler’s classic “grey goo” scenario, out-of-control nanotech replicators wipe out all life on Earth. This paper by Robert A. Freitas Jr. was the first quantitative technical analysis of this catastrophic scenario, also offering possible solutions. It was written in part as an answer to Bill Joy’s recent concerns.… 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

THE HUMAN MACHINE MERGER: ARE WE HEADED FOR THE MATRIX?

March 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Most viewers of The Matrix consider the more fanciful elements–intelligent computers, downloading information into the human brain, virtual reality indistinguishable from real life–to be fun as science fiction, but quite remote from real life. Most viewers would be wrong. As renowned computer scientist and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil explains, these elements are very feasible and are quite likely to be a reality within our lifetimes.… read more

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