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Technology in the 21st Century: an Imminent Intimate Merger

May 14, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Foresight Institute “Exploring the Edges” Senior Associate Gathering, April 27, 2002, Ray Kurzweil presented the case of the emergence of biological and machine intelligence, answering the three major challenges: limited resources, inadequate software, and ethical concerns. Here are the presentation slides and audio.… read more

Building Gods or Building Our Potential Exterminators?

February 26, 2001 by Hugo de Garis

Hugo de Garis is concerned that massively intelligent machines (“artilects”) could become infinitely smarter than human beings, leading to warring factions over the question: should humanity risk building artilects? Result: gigadeaths. (See the author’s The Artilect War book draft for further details.)… read more

Who Will Rule the 21st Century?

May 25, 2008 by Jack Welch

Straight-line extrapolation shows that China and India, with their faster growth rates, will eventually catch up to the U.S. in terms of pure economic size. But America has a final competitive advantage: its confluence of bright, hungry entrepreneurs and flush, eager investors; and its stable, highly adaptable system.… read more

Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe

August 26, 2003 by James N. Gardner

James N. Gardner’s Selfish Biocosm hypothesis proposes that the remarkable anthropic (life-friendly) qualities that our universe exhibits can be explained as incidental consequences of a cosmic replication cycle in which a cosmologically extended biosphere provides a means for the cosmos to produce one or more baby universes. The cosmos is “selfish” in the same sense that Richard Dawkins proposed that genes are focused on their own replication.… 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

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

The Drexler-Smalley debate on molecular assembly

December 1, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler and Rice University Professor and Nobelist Richard Smalley have engaged in a crucial debate on the feasibility of molecular assembly. Smalley’s position, which denies both the promise and the peril of molecular assembly, will ultimately backfire and will fail to guide nanotechnology research in the needed constructive direction, says Ray Kurzweil. By the 2020s, molecular assembly will provide tools to effectively combat poverty, clean up ourread more

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 (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

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

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