essays collection By Author | A-Z

Ray Kurzweil’s Dangerous Idea: The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion

January 17, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“What is your dangerous idea?” Over one hundred big thinkers answered this question, as part of The Edge’s Annual Question for 2006. Ray Kurzweil’s dangerous idea? We can achieve immortality in our lifetime.… read more

Empowering the Really Little Guys

April 9, 2006 by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

“Individuals are getting more and more powerful,” says author Glenn Reynolds in his insightful new book, An Army of Davids. “With the current rate of progress we’re seeing in biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, it seems likely that individuals will one day–and one day relatively soon–possess powers once thought available only to nation-states, superheroes, or gods. That sounds dramatic, but we’re already partway there”–and nanotechnology may be the “ultimate empowerer of ordinary people.”… read more

Global Cyberspace and Personal Memespace

February 21, 2001 by Bruce Damer

Virtual worlds populated by avatars of real people interacting with each other, bots, agents, and exotic life forms: is this the future face of cyberspace?… read more

Is A Singularity Just Around The Corner?

June 4, 2001 by Robin Hanson

Robin Hanson explores the economics of the Singularity.… read more

Bill Clinton Calls Many Political Leaders Out of Touch with the Acceleration of Technology at Fortune Summit

August 3, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

Bill Clinton calls many political leaders out of touch with the acceleration of technology, recommends Non Zero by Robert Wright and The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil.… read more

Response to Stephen Hawking

September 5, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Stephen Hawking recently told the German magazine Focus that computers were evolving so rapidly that they would eventually outstrip the intelligence of humans. Professor Hawking went on to express the concern that eventually, computers with artificial intelligence could come to dominate the world. Ray Kurzweil replies.… read more

How Does the Brain Generate Computation?

December 19, 2001 by Marc D. Hauser

In this Edge talk, Marc D. Hauser reflects on attempts to answer this question, from Noam Chomsky’s insights to the dance of the honey bee.… read more

Rethinking Science and Culture: P.R. Sarkar’s Reconstruction of Science and Society

February 19, 2002 by Sohail Inayatullah

The ninth chapter of Situating Sarkar: Tantra, Macrohistory and Alternative Futures by Sohail Inayatullah proposes alternatives to the Western conceptions of science, data, and consciousness, as well as the roles science plays within society.… read more

Singularity Chat with Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil

June 13, 2002 by Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil

Vernor Vinge (screen name “vv”) and Ray Kurzweil (screen name “RayKurzweil”) recently discussed The Singularity — their idea that superhuman machine intelligence will soon exceed human intelligence — in an online chat room co-produced by Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine on SCIFI.COM. Vinge, a noted science fiction writer, is the author of the seminal paper, “The Technological Singularity.” Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near book is due out in early 2003 and is previewed in “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” (Note: typos corrected and comments aggregated for readability.)… read more

Personal Fabrication

October 31, 2003 by Neil Gershenfeld

The next big thing in computers will be personal fabrication: allowing anyone to make fully functioning systems — with print semiconductors for logic, inks for displays, three-dimensional mechanical structures, motors, sensors, and actuators. Post-digital literacy now includes 3D machining and microcontroller programming. For a few thousand dollars, a little tabletop milling machine can measure its position down to microns, so you can fabricate the structures of modern technology, such as circuit boards.… read more

Biocosm: Lecture at Hayden Planetarium

February 9, 2006 by James N. Gardner

Why is the universe life-friendly? Columbia physicist Brian Greene says it’s the deepest question in all of science. Cosmologist Paul Davies agrees, calling it the biggest of the Big Questions.… read more

The Third-Generation Web is Coming

December 18, 2006 by Nova Spivack

Web 3.0, expected to debut in 2007, will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents.… read more


February 21, 2001

The “inner light, that private way that it is with you that nobody else can share … is forever outside the bounds of computer science,” argues philosopher Dennett. From Ray Kurzweil’s revolutionary book The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990.… read more

What is Friendly AI?

May 3, 2001 by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

How will near-human and smarter-than-human AIs act toward humans? Why? Are their motivations dependent on our design? If so, which cognitive architectures, design features, and cognitive content should be implemented? At which stage of development? These are questions that must be addressed as we approach the Singularity.… read more

The End of Handicaps, Part 2

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How technology has and will continue to assist the disabled, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

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