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An Inventive Author

May 25, 2001 by Harriet Barovic

A look at Raymond Kurzweil’s roots and beginnings in becoming an innovator.… read more

Interview with Michael Behar for a story in WIRED on Tactical Mobile Robots

February 26, 2002 by Michael Behar

Ray Kurzweil discusses how robots will think on their feet with the help of virtual reality and other technological advances.… 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

Exploring the ‘Singularity’

June 6, 2003 by James John Bell

The point in time when current trends may go wildly off the charts–known as the “Singularity”–is now getting serious attention. What it suggests is that technological change will soon become so rapid that we cannot possibly envision its results.… read more

Technotopia and the Death of Nature

May 22, 2002 by James John Bell

There is something missing from the discussion of the technological singularity, says James Bell: the true cost of progress will mean the unprecedented decline of the planet’s inhabitants — an ever-increasing rate of global extinction, some warn.… read more

Is the business cycle in your DNA?

July 4, 2010 by Howard Bloom

From The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism by Howard Bloom, Prometheus Books, 2009. Reprinted with permission.

Why bankers are like bacteria

What has tumbled you and me into the pit of the Great Recession of 2008-2010? What causes boom and bust? Does economic catastrophe come from a perverse monetary system, from capitalism, speculators, overpaid CEO’s and greed? Does it come from conspiracies of… read more

Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards

May 29, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom defines a new category of risks that could threaten humanity and intelligent life with extinction: existential risks. The future could be a dangerous place indeed.… read more

How Long Before Superintelligence?

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence within this century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance; ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological brains; how difficult it will be neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to make this approach work; and how fast we can expect superintelligence to be developed once there is human-level artificial intelligence.… read more

Nanoethics and Technological Revolutions: A Precis.

May 5, 2006 by Nick Bostrom

If we believe that nanotechnology will eventually amount to a technological revolution, and if we are going to attempt nanoethics, we should consider some of the earlier technological revolutions that humanity has undergone and how our moral principles and technology impact assessment exercises would have fared.… read more

The Transhumanist FAQ

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This FAQ, written by Nick Bostrom (with the help of others—see endnote), outlines the principles of transhumanism and provides definitions of transhumanist terms and resources. This is one of many versions of the “Transhumanist FAQ” that can be found on many websites, per organization or individual.… read more

When Machines Outsmart Humans

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

Artificial intelligence is a possibility that should not be ignored in any serious thinking about the world in 2050. This article outlines the case for thinking that human-level machine intelligence might well be appear in that time frame. It then explains four immediate consequences of such a development, and argues that machine intelligence would have a revolutionary impact on a wide range of the social, political, economic, commercial, technological, scientific and environmental issues that humanity will face in the next century.… 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

Singularities and Nightmares

March 28, 2006 by David Brin

Options for a coming singularity include self-destruction of civilization, a positive singularity, a negative singularity (machines take over), and retreat into tradition. Our urgent goal: find (and avoid) failure modes, using anticipation (thought experiments) and resiliency — establishing robust systems that can deal with almost any problem as it arises.… read more

Beyond Computation: A Talk with Rodney Brooks

June 7, 2002 by John Brockman

Rodney Brooks is trying to build robots with properties of living systems. These include self-reproducing and self-assembling robots and one inspired by Bill Joy that wanders around the corridors, finds electrical outlets, and plugs itself in. His students’ edgy projects include real-time MRI imagery, virtual colonoscopies, programs that create DNA for E. coli molecules that act as computers, and eventually, self-organizing smart biomaterials that grow into objects, such as a table.… 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

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