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How the Mind Works

February 21, 2001 by Steven Pinker

In this William James Book Prize Lecture, presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 1999, Steven Pinker, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, attempts to describe how the mind works, using three key ideas: computation, evolution, and specialization.… 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

Consciousness Connects Our Brains to the Fundamental Level of the Universe

May 14, 2001 by Stuart Hameroff

Neurons alone aren’t sufficiently complex to explain consciousness and provide a computational model for thought, according to Stuart Hameroff. He wants to go smaller, into a universe of structures within neurons where quantum mechanics help formulate a physical theory of consciousness.… read more

In Response to

July 25, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Although George Gilder and Richard Vigilante share Ray Kurzweil’s grave concerns about Bill Joy’s apparently neo-Luddite calls for relinguishing broad areas of technology, Kurzweil is critical of Gilder and Vigilante’s skepticism regarding the feasibility of the dangers.… read more

The Economics of Innovation

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An examination of the changing nature of wealth, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Are We Becoming An Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the 21st Century

November 8, 2001 by Washington National Cathedral

Are We Becoming an Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the 21st Century will bring together a panel of leading experts on November 19 at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. to explore the ethics of technological advances, especially as they relate to genetic engineering, nanotechnology and robotics. The panelists are Bill Joy, author, and co-founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, Ray Kurzweil, author, inventor and president of Kurzweil Technologies, Anne Foerst, visiting professor for Theology and Computer Science at St. Bonaventure University and Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist and visiting scholar at Middlebury College.… read more

What does it mean to have an educated mind in the 21st century?

January 21, 2002 by Roger Schank

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.” Roger Schank asks: what is an educated mind in the 21st Century?… read more

A Computational Foundation for the Study of Cognition

June 4, 2002 by David Chalmers

Computation is central to the foundations of modern cognitive science, but its role is controversial. Questions about computation abound: What is it for a physical system to implement a computation? Is computation sufficient for thought? What is the role of computation in a theory of cognition? What is the relation between different sorts of computational theory, such as connectionism and symbolic computation? This article develops a systematic framework that addresses all of these questions. A careful analysis of computation and its relation to cognition suggests that the ambitions of artificial intelligence and the centrality of computation in cognitive science are justified.… read more

The Cyclic Universe

January 22, 2003 by Paul J. Steinhardt

Is the universe expanding indefinitely–the Big Bang model–or does it go through cycles of expansion and contraction? Paul Steinhardt, who is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, suggests a cyclic model that could successfully compete with the Big Bang model.… read more

Molecular Manufacturing: Start Planning

October 9, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular nanotechnology manufacturing is coming soon. The economic value–and military significance–of a nanofactory will be immense. But if a well-designed plan is not in place, serious risks will very likely lead to military destruction, social or economic disruption or unnecessary human suffering on a large scale. Here’s what needs to be done.… read more

Technology and Human Enhancement

February 3, 2006 by John Smart

Machines are increasingly exceeding us in the performance of more and more tasks, from guiding objects like
missiles or satellites to assembling other machines. They are merging with us ever more intimately and are learning how to reconfigure our biology in new and significantly
faster technological domains.… read more

Are We Enlightened Guardians, Or Are We Apes Designing Humans?

May 22, 2006 by Douglas Mulhall

Thanks in part to molecular manufacturing, accelerated developments in AI and brain reverse-engineering could lead to the emergence of superintelligence in just 18 years. Are we ready for the implications — like possible annihilation of Homo sapiens? And will we seem to superintelligence what our ape-like ancestors seem to us: primitive?… read more

Why Cryosuspension Makes Sense

April 3, 2001 by Terry Grossman

We’re all genetically programmed to die, but advances in nanomedicine are expected to allow for “radical life extension” by 2050. Meanwhile, there’s cryostasis–freezing the body immediately after death with a view toward resuscitation in the future.… 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 Fast, How Small and How Powerful? Moore’s Law and the Ultimate Laptop

August 2, 2001 by Seth Lloyd

A laptop that looks like a thermonuclear explosion inside of a liter bottle of coca cola? Or a black hole? Read Seth Lloyd’s follow up to a Nature article that pushes Moore’s Law to the limit.… read more

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