essays collection

Bootstrapping our way to an ageless future

September 19, 2007 by Aubrey de Grey
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Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey expects many people alive today to live to 1000 years of age and to avoid age-related health problems even at that age. In this excerpt from his just-published, much-awaited book, Ending Aging, he explains how.… read more

A Wager on the Turing Test: Why I Think I Will Win

April 9, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Will Ray Kurzweil’s predictions come true? He’s putting his money where his mouth is. Here’s why he thinks he will win a bet on the future of artificial intelligence. The wager: an AI that passes the Turing Test by 2029.… 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

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

Max More and Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity

February 26, 2002 by Max More, Ray Kurzweil

As technology accelerates over the next few decades and machines achieve superintelligence, we will encounter a dramatic phase transition: the “Singularity.” Will it be a “wall” (a barrier as conceptually impenetrable as the event horizon of a black hole in space), an “AI-Singularity” ruled by super-intelligent AIs, or a gentler “surge” into a posthuman era of agelessness and super-intelligence? Will this meme be hijacked by religious “passive singularitarians” obsessed with a future rapture? Ray Kurzweil and Extropy Institute president Max More debate.… 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

The Transhuman Singularity

March 27, 2001 by Terry Grossman

Therapeutic human cloning, stem cell therapies, synthetic organs, molecular nanotechnology, and the digital-cerebral interface may allow us to achieve immortality in this century. But keeping bionic transhumans alive until immortalilty is achieved may prove very expensive. And not everyone will want it.… read more

Kurzweil’s Law (aka “the law of accelerating returns”)

January 12, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

In an evolutionary process, positive feedback increases order exponentially. A correlate is that the “returns” of an evolutionary process (such as the speed, cost-effectiveness, or overall “power” of a process) increase exponentially over time — both for biology and technology. Ray Kurzweil submitted on essay based on that premise to Edge.org in response to John Brockman’s question: “What’s your law?”… read more

The Web Within Us: Minds and Machines Become One.

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil’s vision for the 21st century and beyond includes reverse-engineering the human brain and non-biological intelligences.… read more

Human Body Version 2.0

February 16, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

In the coming decades, a radical upgrading of our body’s physical and mental systems, already underway, will use nanobots to augment and ultimately replace our organs. We already know how to prevent most degenerative disease through nutrition and supplementation; this will be a bridge to the emerging biotechnology revolution, which in turn will be a bridge to the nanotechnology revolution. By 2030, reverse-engineering of the human brain will have been completed and nonbiological intelligence will merge with our biological brains.… read more

The (needed) new economics of abundance

May 8, 2006 by Steve Burgess

Molecular manufacturing coupled with AI could bring about a “personal manufacturing” revolution and a new era of abundance. But abundance could be highly disruptive, so we need to design a new economics of abundance so society is prepared for it.… read more

On genes, memes, bemes, and conscious things

July 4, 2010 by Martine Rothblatt

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As human memory, personality, values, and other attributes are increasingly being captured in cybernetic form, they are becoming virtual entities of their own. These “bemes” — units of beingness — are analogous to memes (culturally transmissible ideas) and genes, but go far beyond them. Common sets of bemes will lead to a new “Beme Neural Architecture” (BNA), analogous to DNA. But while DNA expresses matter in a limited way, substrate-independentread more

Globalization and Open Source Nano Economy

March 30, 2006 by Giulio Prisco

Some of the problems of today’s globalized world could be eliminated or reduced by developing operational worldwide molecular design and manufacturing capabilities. Instead of shipping physical objects, their detailed design specification in a “Molecular Description Language” (MDL) will be transmitted over a global data grid evolved from today’s Internet and then physically “printed” by “nano printers” at remote sites. This would allow communities wishing to remain independent to retain their autonomy.… read more

A Wager on the Turing Test: The Rules

April 9, 2002 by Mitch Kapor, Ray Kurzweil

An explanation of rules behind the Turing Test, used to determine the winner of a long bet between Ray Kurzweil and Mitch Kapor over whether artificial intelligence will be achieved by 2029.… read more

Death is an Outrage

January 10, 2003 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Each year, we allow a destruction of knowledge equivalent to three Libraries of Congress with an average value of about $2 million dollars for each human life lost. The solution: “dechronification”–nanomedicine tools that can arrest biological aging and reduce your biological age.… read more

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