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How to Build a Virtual Human

October 20, 2003 by Peter Plantec

Virtual Humans is the first book with instructions on designing a “V-human,” or synthetic person. Using the programs on the included CD, you can create animated computer characters who can speak, dialogue intelligently, show facial emotions, have a personality and life story, and be used in real business projects. These excerpts explain how to get started.… read more

Cyber Sapiens

October 26, 2006 by Chip Walter

…We will no longer be Homo sapiens, but Cyber sapiens–a creature part digital and part biological that will have placed more distance between its DNA and the destinies they force upon us than any other animal … a creature capable of steering our own evolution….… 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

Respirocytes

May 20, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

An artificial nanomedical erythrocyte, or “respirocyte” — intended to duplicate all of the important functions of the red blood cell — could serve as a universal blood substitute, preserve living tissue, eliminate “the bends,” allow for new sports records, and provide treatment for anemia, choking, lung diseases, asphyxia, and other respiratory problems.… read more

The Virtual Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The changing library, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

A Wager on the Turing Test: Why I Think I Will Win

April 9, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Will Ray Kurzweil’s predictions come true? He’s putting his money where his mouth is. Here’s why he thinks he will win a bet on the future of artificial intelligence. The wager: an AI that passes the Turing Test by 2029.… read more

Review: Vernor Vinge’s ‘Fast Times’

September 5, 2002 by Hal Finney

Vernor Vinge’s Hugo-award-winning short science fiction story “Fast Times at Fairmont High” takes place in a near future in which everyone lives in a ubiquitous, wireless, networked world using wearable computers and contacts or glasses on which computer graphics are projected to create an augmented reality.… read more

The Intelligent Universe

December 12, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Within 25 years, we’ll reverse-engineer the brain and go on to develop superintelligence. Extrapolating the exponential growth of computational capacity (a factor of at least 1000 per decade), we’ll expand inward to the fine forces, such as strings and quarks, and outward. Assuming we could overcome the speed of light limitation, within 300 years we would saturate the whole universe with our intelligence.… read more

Immortality

April 26, 2001 by Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda attempts to answer the question: are we mortal or immortal? If we are mortal, no further questions need be asked. But if we are immortal, what are the logical arguments that support this idea and what is it that endures after death? From his talk delivered over one hundred years ago.

What question has been asked a greater number of times, what idea has led men more to search the universe for an answer, what question is nearer and dearer to the human heart, what question is more inseparably connected with our existence, than this one, the immortality of the human soul? It has been the theme of poets and sages, of priests and prophets; kings on the throne have discussed it, beggars in the street have dreamt of it. The best of humanity have approached it, and the worst of men have hoped for it. The interest in the theme has not died yet, nor will it die so long a human nature exists. Various answers have been presented to the world by various minds. Thousands, again, in every period of history have given up the discussion, and yet the question remains fresh as ever. Often in the turmoil and struggle of our lives we seem to forget it, but suddenly some one dies — one, perhaps, whom we loved, one near and dear to our hearts, is snatched away from us — and the struggle, the din and turmoil of the world around us, cease for a moment, and the soul asks the old question, “What after this? What becomes of the soul?”

The Future of Libraries, Part 1: The Technology of the Book

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The future of book technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal… read more

Transcending Moore’s Law with Molecular Electronics and Nanotechnology

September 27, 2004 by Steve T. Jurvetson

While the future is becoming more difficult to predict with each passing year, we should expect an accelerating pace of technological change. Nanotechnology is the next great technology wave and the next phase of Moore’s Law. Nanotech innovations enable myriad disruptive businesses that were not possible before, driven by entrepreneurship.

Much of our future context will be defined by the accelerating proliferation of information technology·as it innervates society and begins to subsume matter into code. It is a period of exponential growth in the impact of the learning-doing cycle where the power of biology, IT and nanotech compounds the advances in each formerly discrete domain.… 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

Ray Kurzweil Q&A with Darwin Magazine

December 3, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Machine consciousness is the subject of this dialog with Darwin Magazine.… read more

Human Cloning is the Least Interesting Application of Cloning Technology

January 4, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Cloning is an extremely important technology–not for cloning humans but for life extension: therapeutic cloning of one’s own organs, creating new tissues to replace defective tissues or organs, or replacing one’s organs and tissues with their “young” telomere-extended replacements without surgery. Cloning even offers a possible solution for world hunger: creating meat without animals.… read more

Biocyberethics: should we stop a company from unplugging an intelligent computer?

September 28, 2003 by Martine Rothblatt, Amara D. Angelica

Attorney Dr. Martine Rothblatt filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent a corporation from disconnecting an intelligent computer in a mock trial at the International Bar Association conference in San Francisco, Sept. 16, 2003. The issue could arise in a real court within the next few decades, as computers achieve or exceed the information processing capability of the human mind and the boundary between human and machine becomesread more

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