essays collection

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

Ray writings | the Library Journal:

January 1, 2000

The future of book technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal… read more

What is the Singularity?

March 30, 1993

Vernor Vinge

Originally published 1993 as an academic paper: Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University. The version that appears on Vernor Vinge’s website can be read here.

Vernor Vinge is a retired San Diego State University math professor, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, Rainbows End, Fast Times at Fairmont High, and The Cookie Monster, as well as forread more

The Library Journal | The virtual book revisited

February 1, 1993

An addendum to predictions that appeared in The Age of Intelligent Machines, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in The Library Journal.

One of the advantages of being in the futurism business is that by the time your readers are able to find fault with your forecasts, it is too late for them to ask for their money back. Like the sorcerer who predicted he would live forever, he was never proven wrong – at least not during his lifetime.

Nonetheless, I like to monitor the progress of my predictions. I take satisfaction when projections that seemed so startling when first proposed become progressively less so as the world accommodates ever accelerating change.… read more

close and return to Home