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Building Gods or Building Our Potential Exterminators?

February 26, 2001 by Hugo de Garis

Hugo de Garis is concerned that massively intelligent machines (“artilects”) could become infinitely smarter than human beings, leading to warring factions over the question: should humanity risk building artilects? Result: gigadeaths. (See the author’s The Artilect War book draft for further details.)… 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

What is the Singularity?

February 27, 2001 by John Smart

This introduction to the Singularity includes a brief history of the idea and links to key Web resources.… read more

The Law of Accelerating Returns

March 7, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.… read more

How to Change the World . . . Quickly

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

Futurist John Petersen describes a powerful tool that organizations can use for making a desirable future happen, called “normative scenarios.”… read more

Kurzweil vs. Dertouzos

March 7, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil, Michael L. Dertouzos

In this Technology Review article, Raymond Kurzweil and Michael Dertouzos debate Bill Joy’s Wired article urging “relinquishment” of research in certain risky areas of nanotechnology, genetics, and robotics.… read more

Artificial Intelligence in the World Wide Web

March 7, 2001 by David G. Stork

The Internet is a new metaphor for the human brain. It makes it possible for hundreds of millions of Web users to teach computers common-sense knowledge, similar to SETI@home’s search for E.T., says Dr. David G. Stork, a leading AI researcher. This can even be accomplished just by playing games on the Net.… read more

Wild Cards: The Nature of Big Future Surprises

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

In the coming years, the world could experience a series of massively transformative events, or “wild cards,” brought on by radical developments in areas such as AI and nanotechnology. Futurist John Petersen suggests strategies for dealing with them proactively.… read more

Bioconvergence: Progenitor of the Nanotechnology Age

March 8, 2001 by Charles Ostman

Advances in genetic engineering, advanced computational processes, nanobiology, and biological metaphors in computing are leading to a “bioconvergence” that will reshape the economies of the world and perhaps even the very definition of life itself.… read more

The Gray Goo Problem

March 20, 2001 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

In Eric Drexler’s classic “grey goo” scenario, out-of-control nanotech replicators wipe out all life on Earth. This paper by Robert A. Freitas Jr. was the first quantitative technical analysis of this catastrophic scenario, also offering possible solutions. It was written in part as an answer to Bill Joy’s recent concerns.… read more

The Virtual Thomas Edison

March 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

As machines exceed human intelligence, will they threaten humanity? How will inventors keep up? Raymond Kurzweil lays out his vision of the future for Time Magazine’s special issue on the future.… read more

Simulating Reality

March 26, 2001 by Mike Weiner

Today’s VR simulators, some using powerful supercomputers, allow us to experience realities that would be impossible in the real world, but their history actually goes back to ingenious mechanical musical instruments of the 19th century.… 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

Robots, Re-Evolving Mind

March 27, 2001 by Hans Moravec

We are re-evolving artificial minds at ten million times the original speed of human evolution, exponentially growing robot complexity. Currently, a guppylike thousand MIPS and hundreds of megabytes of memory enable our robots to build dense, almost photorealistic 3D maps of their surroundings and navigate intelligently. Within three decades, fourth-generation universal robots with a humanlike 100 million MIPS will be able to abstract and generalize–perhaps replace us.… read more

Engineering Humans, Part 1

March 28, 2001 by Rachel Massey

Genetic engineers are starting to modify human genes, using cloning, somatic cell manipulation, germline manipulation. The potential financial and health rewards are huge, but so are the risks.… read more

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