essays collection By Author | A-Z

Inventing Modern America: Book Launch and Panel Discussion with Lemelson-Prize Inventors

November 28, 2001 by Lucas Hendrich

At a launch event for the book on November 27, 2001, five of them discussed their influences, dreams, and where future innovation should focus with the book’s author, David E. Brown, and Christopher Lydon, former host of National Public Radio’s call-in talk show “The Connection.”… read more

What Have We Learned a Year After NASDAQ Hit 5,000?

January 21, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The current recession reflects failure to develop realistic models of the pace at which new information-based technologies emerge and the overall acceleration of the flow of information. But in the longer-range view, recessions and recoveries reflect a relatively minor variability compared to the far more important trend of the underlying exponential growth of the economy.… read more

The New Humanist

May 14, 2002 by John Brockman

“Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in physics, electricity, genetics, neurobiology, engineering, the chemistry of materials—all are challenging basic assumptions of who and what we are, of what it means to be human. The arts and the sciences are again joining together as one culture, the third culture. Those involved in this effort—scientists, science-based humanities scholars, writers—are at the center of today’s intellectual action. They are the new humanists.”… read more

The emotion universe

November 21, 2002 by Marvin Minsky

Why have we made limited progress in AI? Because we haven’t developed sophisticated models of thinking, we need better programming languages and architectures, and we haven’t focused on common sense problems that every normal child can solve.… read more

Remarks about Tod Machover In Presenting the 2003 Ray Kurzweil Award of Technology in Music

August 11, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil presented the 2003 Ray Kurzweil Award of Technology in Music to Tod Machover at the Fourth Annual Telluride Tech Festival (August 8-10, 2003). The award was in recognition of Machover’s pioneering research at the MIT Media Lab in music technology, such as “hyperinstruments,” as well as his achievements as composer and performer.… read more

We Are the Web

January 19, 2006 by Kevin Kelly

The planet-sized “Web” computer is already more complex than a human brain and has surpassed the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence as calculated by Ray Kurzweil. In 10 years, it will be ubiquitous. So will superintelligence emerge on the Web, not a supercomputer?… read more

Response to ‘The Singularity Is Always Near’

May 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil


In “The Singularity Is Always Near,” an essay in The Technium, an online “book in progress,” author Kevin Kelly critiques arguments on exponential growth made in Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near. Kurzweil responds.

Allow me to clarify the metaphor implied by the term “singularity.” The metaphor implicit in the term “singularity” as applied to future human history is not to a point of infinity, but rather to the event horizon surrounding a black hole. Densities are not infinite at the event horizon but merely large enough such that it is difficult to see past the event horizon from outside.

I say difficult rather than impossible because the Hawking radiation emitted from the event horizon is likely to be quantum entangled with events inside the black hole, so there may be ways of retrieving the information. This was the concession made recently by Hawking. However, without getting into the details of this controversy, it is fair to say that seeing past the event horizon is difficult (impossible from a classical physics perspective) because the gravity of the black hole is strong enough to prevent classical information from inside the black hole getting out.

Embrace, Don’t Relinquish, the Future

February 21, 2001 by Max More

Extropy Institute head Max More finds Bill Joy’s Wired essay uninformed, unworkable, and even unethical because it will slow down progress in medicine and other vital areas, he believes.… read more

The 10,000-Year Library

April 11, 2001 by Stewart Brand

Much of the information of the past–as well as the present–is endangered or lost forever. Underground rock vaults, “time mail,” and a museum built around a 10,000 year clock are some of the ideas for assuring that vital information survives future crashes of civilizations.… read more

How Nanotechnology Will Work

June 11, 2001

How will nanotechnology change the way goods are manufactured? Learn how nanomachines will manufacture products, and what impact nanotechnology will have on various industries in the coming decades.… read more

The Virtual Village

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How technology quietly topples governments, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Accelerated Living

September 24, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In this article written for PC Magazine, Ray Kurzweil explores how advancing technologies will impact our personal lives.… read more

The Open Mind Common Sense Project

January 2, 2002 by Push Singh

Push Singh of the MIT MediaLab describes a novel approach to achieving machine intelligence by teaching machines how to reason heuristically.… read more

Beating Moore’s 2nd Law: Advances in Nanoengineering and New Approaches to Computing at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the AAAS

February 21, 2002 by Lucas Hendrich,

At the 2002 AAAS Nanotechnology Seminar, leading nanotechnologists presented the building blocks that may overturn current manufacturing processes on a collision course with Moore’s Law.… read more

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

June 24, 2002 by W. Daniel Hillis

Nobel prize winner physicist Richard Feynman played a critical role in developing the first parallel-processing computer and finding innovative uses for it in numerical computing and building neural networks as well as physical simulation with cellular-automata (such as turbulent fluid flow), working with Stephen Wolfram.… read more

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