essays collection By Author | A-Z

My Question for Edge: Who am I? What am I?

January 14, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Since we constantly changing, are we just patterns? What if someone copies that pattern? Am I the original and/or the copy? Ray Kurzweil 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

On the Search for the Neural Correlate of Consciousness

June 26, 2002 by David Chalmers

There’s a variety of proposed neural systems associated with conscious experience, but no way to directly observe or measure consciousness. Chalmers suggests though that there may be a “consciousness module” — a functional area responsible for the integration of information in the brain, with high-bandwidth communication between its parts.… read more

The Future of Life

March 30, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

A coming era of personalized genetic medicine, breakthroughs that radically extend the human lifespan, nanomedicine, and the merger of our biological species with our own technology were among the future visions presented at TIME’s “The Future of Life” conference.… read more

From ENIAC to Everyone: Talking with J. Presper Eckert

February 23, 2006 by Alexander Randall 5th

J. Presper Eckert reveals the inside story of the invention of ENIAC, the first practical, all-electronic computer, and debunks some myths in this forgotten interview. “It is shocking to have your life work reduced to a tenth of a square inch of silicon,” he said.… read more


February 7, 2007 by Sir Arthur C. Clarke

The Golden Age of space travel is still ahead of us. Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will gain access to the orbital realm — and then, to the Moon and beyond, says Sir Arthur, 89.… read more

Grasping the Future: Comparing Scenarios to Other Techniques

May 9, 2001 by Max More

It has become a commonplace to hear that change is accelerating. Mention of Moore’s Law is now likely to elicit a bored yawn. We have become so used to rapid and accelerating technological and cultural change that it’s hard to find it shocking. If we still suffer future shock, we are probably too used to it to notice. Yet it has never been more important to confront the fact of accelerated change for anyone constructing strategy in the information economy.… read more

The coming superintelligence: who will be in control?

July 25, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

At some point in the next several decades, as machines become smarter than people, they’ll take over the world. Or not. What if humans get augmented with smart biochips, wearables, and other enhancements, accessing massive knowledge bases ubiquitously and becoming supersmart cyborgs who stay in control by keeping machines specialized? Or what if people and machines converge into a mass-mind superintelligence?… read more

Are You Ready for a Virtual Reality?

November 2, 2001 by Joyce A. Schwartz

“If you work on technologies, you need to anticipate where technologies are going,” Kurzweil said at the 2000 ACM Siggraph in New Orleans.… read more

What is the missing ingredient — not genes, not upbringing — that shapes the mind?

January 21, 2002 by Steven Pinker

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.” Steven Pinker’s question: what shapes the mind?… read more

Why I Think I Will Win

April 9, 2002 by Mitch Kapor

Will a computer pass the Turing Test (convincingly impersonate a human) by 2029? Mitchell Kapor has bet Ray Kurzweil that a computer can’t because it lacks understanding of subtle human experiences and emotions.… read more

Encompassing Education

September 17, 2002 by Diana Walczak

Students in the 2020s will explore knowledge in customized, full-immersive, 3-D learning environments, able to see, hear, smell, and touch simulated objects and interact with synthespians to foster a heightened sense of curiosity, says Diana Walczak, Artistic Director and Cofounder, Kleiser-Walczak.… read more

Foreword to Electronic Reporting in the Digital Medical Enterprise

June 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Doctors in the year 2012 will have access to full-immersion virtual-reality training and surgical systems, microchip-based protein and gene analysis systems, knowledge-based systems providing automated guidance and access to the most recent medical research, and always-present visual displays of patient data for instant interaction via voice.… 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

Ripples and Puddles

February 21, 2001 by Hans Moravec

Roboticist Hans Moravec advocates a combination of reasoning Programs, neural modeling and perception programs in building intelligent machines. He visualizes a future generation of robots that think like primates, followed by a humanlike generation capable of reason.… read more

Raymond Kurzweil at ACM1

May 23, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil speaks at ACM1: Beyond Cyberspace about a future in which computers will appear to be conscious and the distinction between humans and machines will gradually disappear.… read more

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