essays collection By Author | A-Z

After the Singularity: A Talk with Ray Kurzweil

March 27, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

John Brockman, editor of Edge.org, recently interviewed Ray Kurzweil on the Singularity and its ramifications. According to Ray, “We are entering a new era. I call it ‘the Singularity.’ It’s a merger between human intelligence and machine intelligence that is going to create something bigger than itself. It’s the cutting edge of evolution on our planet. One can make a strong case that it’s actually the cutting edge of the evolution of intelligence in general, because there’s no indication that it’s occurred anywhere else. To me that is what human civilization is all about. It is part of our destiny and part of the destiny of evolution to continue to progress ever faster, and to grow the power of intelligence exponentially. To contemplate stopping that–to think human beings are fine the way they are–is a misplaced fond remembrance of what human beings used to be. What human beings are is a species that has undergone a cultural and technological evolution, and it’s the nature of evolution that it accelerates, and that its powers grow exponentially, and that’s what we’re talking about. The next stage of this will be to amplify our own intellectual powers with the results of our technology.”… read more

A myopic perspective on AI

September 2, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

In a recent Red Herring magazine article, writer Geoffrey James said “pundits can’t stop hyping the business opportunities of artificial intelligence” and described AI as a “technological backwater.” Ray Kurzweil challenges this view, citing “hundreds of examples of narrow AI deeply integrated into our information-based economy” and “many applications beginning to combine multiple methodologies,” a step towards the eventual achievement of “strong AI” (human-level intelligence in a machine).… read more

Exponential Growth an Illusion?: Response to Ilkka Tuomi

September 13, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil responds to Ilkka Tuomi’s essays, “The Lives and Death of Moore’s Law” and “Kurzweil, Moore, and Accelerating Change,” in which Tuomi challenges Kurzweil’s “law of accelerating returns” and the exponential growth of semiconductor technology.… read more

Are We Enlightened Guardians, Or Are We Apes Designing Humans?

May 22, 2006 by Douglas Mulhall

Thanks in part to molecular manufacturing, accelerated developments in AI and brain reverse-engineering could lead to the emergence of superintelligence in just 18 years. Are we ready for the implications — like possible annihilation of Homo sapiens? And will we seem to superintelligence what our ape-like ancestors seem to us: primitive?… read more

Wild Cards: The Nature of Big Future Surprises

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

In the coming years, the world could experience a series of massively transformative events, or “wild cards,” brought on by radical developments in areas such as AI and nanotechnology. Futurist John Petersen suggests strategies for dealing with them proactively.… read more

Ambiguous Words

May 15, 2001 by George A. Miller

Understanding how humans process the subtlety of language is crucial to recreating the ability to understand natural language in computers. Dr. George Miller investigates the cognitive processes of resolving the vagueness in human language.… read more

Excerpts from The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies

July 26, 2001 by Damien Broderick

Damien Broderick takes us to the edge of a technological Singularity, where the Internet reaches critical mass of interconnectivity and “wakes up,” and mountain ranges may mysteriously appear out of nowhere. Then again, is the rampant techno-optimism surrounding the imminent Singularity just exponential bogosity?… read more

The Rights of Robots: Technology, Culture and Law in the 21st Century

August 6, 2001 by Sohail Inayatullah, Phil Mcnally

Robot rights are already part of judiciary planning–can sentient machines be far off? This discussion of robot rights looks in-depth at issues once reserved for humans only.… read more

The Computational Perspective

November 19, 2001 by Daniel Dennett

What does computation mean? Daniel Dennett discusses information architecture beyond the mechanized causation in computers and frames the question in terms of the organization of matter itself. What do models of computation tell us about the material world?… read more

How can a small number of genes build a complex mental machine?

January 21, 2002 by Gary F. Marcus

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” Gary F. Marcus asks: how can genes build a mental machine?… read more

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