essays collection

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

Evolution and the Internet: Toward A Networked Humanity?

February 26, 2001 by Danny Belkin

Integration of human and machine will lead to an interconnected “organism”–the next major evolutionary step forward for humanity, says immunology PhD candidate Danny Belkin.… 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

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

The Twenty Laws of the Telecosm

February 21, 2001 by George Gilder

This excerpt from Telecosm (Free Press/Simon & Shuster) encapsulates futurist George Gilder’s grand vision of the age of the telecosm–in which infinite bandwidth will revolutionize the world.… read more

Toward Teleportation, Time Travel and Immortality

February 21, 2001 by Raj Reddy

Universal access to instant information and entertainment, personal images captured in 3D (a la Star Wars), telemedicine, and clones with downloaded experiences that live forever are among AI pioneer Reddy’s predictions for the next 50 years.… read 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

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

February 21, 2001 by John McCarthy

What exactly is “artificial intelligence” (AI)? Stanford University Professor of Computer Science Dr. John McCarthy, a pioneer in AI, answers this question in depth for beginners.… read more

How the Mind Works

February 21, 2001 by Steven Pinker

In this William James Book Prize Lecture, presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 1999, Steven Pinker, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, attempts to describe how the mind works, using three key ideas: computation, evolution, and specialization.… 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

Words and Rules

February 21, 2001 by Steven Pinker

An important problem in AI in understanding how language works. In this paper, presented in his Colin Cherry Memorial Lecture on March 23, 1999 at Imperial College, London, Dr. Steven Pinker suggests that we use a combination of memory and grammatical rules to convey information.… read more

Not Your Father’s Internet

February 21, 2001 by Bill Gates

Bill Gates envisions the next-generation Internet as a single, unified interface to information instantly available to you anywhere, any time.… read more

Global Cyberspace and Personal Memespace

February 21, 2001 by Bruce Damer

Virtual worlds populated by avatars of real people interacting with each other, bots, agents, and exotic life forms: is this the future face of cyberspace?… read more

Letter from Hans Moravec

February 21, 2001 by Hans Moravec

In this March 25, 1999 Letter to New York Review of Books, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Hans Moravec counters John Searle’s “Chinese Room” argument, which attempts to show that machines cannot be conscious.… read more

Human Cloning is the Least of It

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In this message posted to the WIRED Future List, Raymond Kurzweil asserts that cloning–replicating animals, organs, and cells–has profound implications for health and well-being of both humans and animals, including a possible solution for world hunger. He also sees no problem with human cloning.… read more

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