essays collection By Author | A-Z

Kurzweil’s Law (aka “the law of accelerating returns”)

January 12, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

In an evolutionary process, positive feedback increases order exponentially. A correlate is that the “returns” of an evolutionary process (such as the speed, cost-effectiveness, or overall “power” of a process) increase exponentially over time — both for biology and technology. Ray Kurzweil submitted on essay based on that premise to in response to John Brockman’s question: “What’s your law?”… read more

Openness and the Metaverse Singularity

November 7, 2007 by Jamais Cascio

The four worlds of the Metaverse Roadmap could also represent four pathways to a Singularity. But they also represent potential dangers. An “open-access Singularity” may be the answer. The people who have embraced the possibility of a singularity should be working at least as hard on making possible a global inclusion of interests as they do on making the singularity itself happen, says Jamais Cascio.… read more

Foreword to Virtual Humans

October 20, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

By the end of this decade, we will have full-immersion visual-auditory environments, populated by realistic-looking virtual humans. These technologies are evolving today at an accelerating pace, as reflected in the book Virtual Humans. By the 2030s, virtual reality will be totally realistic and compelling and we will spend most of our time in virtual environments. By the 2040s, even people of biological origin are likely to have the vast majority of their thinking processes taking place in nonbiological substrates. We will all become virtual humans.… read more

On genes, memes, bemes, and conscious things

July 4, 2010 by Martine Rothblatt


As human memory, personality, values, and other attributes are increasingly being captured in cybernetic form, they are becoming virtual entities of their own. These “bemes” — units of beingness — are analogous to memes (culturally transmissible ideas) and genes, but go far beyond them. Common sets of bemes will lead to a new “Beme Neural Architecture” (BNA), analogous to DNA. But while DNA expresses matter in a limited way, substrate-independentread more


February 21, 2001

The complexities of the mind mirror the challenges of Artificial Intelligence. This article discusses the nature of thought itself–can it be replicated in a machine? From Ray Kurzweil’s revolutionary book The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990.… read more

Bootstrapping our way to an ageless future

September 19, 2007 by Aubrey de Grey
Figure 1

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey expects many people alive today to live to 1000 years of age and to avoid age-related health problems even at that age. In this excerpt from his just-published, much-awaited book, Ending Aging, he explains how.… read more

Human Body Version 2.0

February 16, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

In the coming decades, a radical upgrading of our body’s physical and mental systems, already underway, will use nanobots to augment and ultimately replace our organs. We already know how to prevent most degenerative disease through nutrition and supplementation; this will be a bridge to the emerging biotechnology revolution, which in turn will be a bridge to the nanotechnology revolution. By 2030, reverse-engineering of the human brain will have been completed and nonbiological intelligence will merge with our biological brains.… read more

A Wager on the Turing Test: The Rules

April 9, 2002 by Mitch Kapor, Ray Kurzweil

An explanation of rules behind the Turing Test, used to determine the winner of a long bet between Ray Kurzweil and Mitch Kapor over whether artificial intelligence will be achieved by 2029.… read more

The Transhuman Singularity

March 27, 2001 by Terry Grossman

Therapeutic human cloning, stem cell therapies, synthetic organs, molecular nanotechnology, and the digital-cerebral interface may allow us to achieve immortality in this century. But keeping bionic transhumans alive until immortalilty is achieved may prove very expensive. And not everyone will want it.… read more

Death is an Outrage

January 10, 2003 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Each year, we allow a destruction of knowledge equivalent to three Libraries of Congress with an average value of about $2 million dollars for each human life lost. The solution: “dechronification”–nanomedicine tools that can arrest biological aging and reduce your biological age.… read more

The (needed) new economics of abundance

May 8, 2006 by Steve Burgess

Molecular manufacturing coupled with AI could bring about a “personal manufacturing” revolution and a new era of abundance. But abundance could be highly disruptive, so we need to design a new economics of abundance so society is prepared for it.… 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

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

Globalization and Open Source Nano Economy

March 30, 2006 by Giulio Prisco

Some of the problems of today’s globalized world could be eliminated or reduced by developing operational worldwide molecular design and manufacturing capabilities. Instead of shipping physical objects, their detailed design specification in a “Molecular Description Language” (MDL) will be transmitted over a global data grid evolved from today’s Internet and then physically “printed” by “nano printers” at remote sites. This would allow communities wishing to remain independent to retain their autonomy.… read more

The Future of Music in the Age of Spiritual Machines

October 13, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

We are moving towards an era of software-based musical instruments, intelligent accompanists, and music as information, says Ray Kurzweil in highlights from his keynote speech at the 2003 Audio Engineering Society convention.… read more

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