essays collection By Author | A-Z

The Future of Intelligent Technology and Its Impact on Disabilities

March 16, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

Future technologies for sensory impairments will include automatic subtitles on the fly for the hearing-impaired, pocket-sized reading machines, automatic language translators, and intelligent devices sent through the bloodstream. These devices will also augment the senses for the general population.… read more

Molecular Manufacturing and 21st Century Policing

March 29, 2006 by Thomas J. Cowper

Will nanofactories foster global anarchy? Will nations devolve into a technologically-driven arms race, the winner dominating or destroying the planet with powerful molecular-manufacturing-enabled weapons? Or will the world’s Big Brothers grow larger and more tyrannical, using advanced nanotechnology to “protect” their law abiding masses through increasing surveillance, control and internal subjugation? A law-enforcement executive asks the tough questions.… 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

The Senses Have No Future

May 15, 2001 by Hans Moravec

For Hans Moravec, our natural senses will swiftly become obsolete, as brain to computer interfaces become more common. Our physical environment will change as well, into what he calls a “densely connected cyberspace.” Do our senses serve just to exchange information?… read more

Foreword to ‘The Eternal E-Customer’ (book by Bryan Bergeron)

July 26, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How have advances in electronic communications changed power relationships? The toppling of a government provides one not-so-subtle example. Ray Kurzweil talks about those advances in this forward to The Eternal E-Customer, a book that looks at the principles companies must adopt to meet the needs and desires of this new kind of customer.… read more

Intelligence Augmentation

August 6, 2001 by Pattie Maes

Machine consciousness may not be a matter of replicating total human thought capacity–it may come in several small, specialized parts. In this discussion with the Edge’s John Brockman, Pattie Maes discusses IA (Intelligence Augmentation) as opposed to AI.… read more

Remarks on Accepting the American Composers Orchestra Award

November 14, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The Second Annual American Composers Orchestra Award for the Advancement of New Music in America was presented on November 13 to Ray Kurzweil by American Composers Orchestra. Kurzweil reflects on creativity and the jump from the blackboard to changing peoples’ lives.… read more

How will computation and communication change our everyday lives, again?

January 21, 2002 by Rodney Brooks

How will we all be in the world 20 years from now, when we all have direct wireless connections to the Internet of that time with information services as yet unimaginable? Rodney Brooks 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

Intelligence as an Emergent Behavior or, The Songs of Eden

May 2, 2002 by W. Daniel Hillis

Could we build a thinking machine by simply hooking together a large network of artificial neurons and waiting for intelligence to spontaneously emerge? Not likely, but by studying the properties of biological and emergent systems, a carefully constructed network of artificial neurons could be inoculated with thought, similar to yeast’s role in making beer. The clue may be in the “songs” of apes.… read more

Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil, Eric Drexler, and Robert Bradbury

December 3, 2002 by K. Eric Drexler, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Bradbury

What would it take to achieve successful cryonics reanimation of a fully functioning human brain, with memories intact? A conversation at the recent Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler sparked an email discussion of this question. They agreed that despite the challenges, the brain’s functions and memories can be represented surprisingly compactly, suggesting that successful reanimation of the brain may be achievable.… read more

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 2

February 2, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Sander Olson

There are very few diseases or conditions–including infectious diseases–aside from physical brain damage, that cannot be cured using nanomedicine, says nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. He believes nanomedicine’s greatest power will emerge in a decade or two as we learn to design and construct complete artificial nanorobots using diamondoid nanometer-scale parts and subsystems.… 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

It’s a Small, Small, Small, Small World

April 5, 2001 by Ralph C. Merkle

This introduction to nanotechnology by one of its pioneers is an extended version of the article published in the Feb/Mar 1997 issue of MIT Technology Review. It provides greater technical detail.… read more

The Story of the 21st Century

May 31, 2001 by Rebecca Zacks

Raymond Kurzweil created a hubbub with his idea that we will soon be able to “download” ourselves into machines and live forever. Find out what else he’s got up his futuristic sleeve.… read more

Natural Born Cyborgs

August 3, 2001 by Andy Clark

For Andy Clark, the ancient fortress of skin and skull has been breached: as we understand more and more how the brain works, the brains we craft in the future will be extensions of our own. Mindware upgrades and other cognitive upheavals coming soon…… read more

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