essays collection By Author | A-Z

Communicating with the universe

July 4, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

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Over the next million years, a descendant of the Internet will maintain contact with inhabited planets throughout our galaxy and begin to spread out into the larger universe, linking up countless new or existing civilizations into the Universenet, a network of ultimate intelligence. (updated)

Originally published in Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge.

The Earth has already input information to… read more

Congressional hearing addresses public concerns about nanotech

April 13, 2003 by Amara D. Angelica

Concerns about the possible negative consequences of nanotech may stifle vital nanotech research that could otherwise result in medical and other important breakthroughs. Expert witnesses at a congressional hearing recommended wider public debate, greater resources to develop defensive technology, and funding of societal, ethical, and environmental impact studies along with technology forecasting and basic science studies.… read more

Connectivity: What it is and why it is so important

February 11, 2002 by Bob Frankston

The difference between the network and the application is crucial to the future of the Internet. Bob Frankston points out that connectivity is the basic resource, telephony and television are simply applications built on connectivity, and that we should replace complex regulation with the power of the marketplace.… read more

Consciousness

August 13, 2001 by John Searle

Can consciousness be measured scientifically? What exactly is consciousness? John Searle approaches the scientific investigation of consciousness and its possible neurobiological roots from a philosophical perspective.… 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

Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds

June 6, 2002 by Daniel Dennett

AI skeptics offer several reasons why robots could never become conscious. MITs’ humanoid Cog robot project may give them pause.… read more

Consciousness is a Big Suitcase

August 2, 2001 by Marvin Minsky

Is consciousness reducible to a set of mechanisms in the brain acting in concert? In this discussion with the Edge’s John Brockman, Marvin Minsky peers into the suitcase of the mind.… read more

Corporate Cornucopia: Examining the Special Implications of Commercial MNT Development

May 24, 2006 by Michael Vassar

Molecular nanotech is the largest commercial opportunity of all time. But it may also create severe roadblocks and risks, including terrorism, unstable arms races, competitive pricing, restrictive patents, import opposition, economic disruption, and out-of-control AI.… read more

Cultural Dominants and Differential MNT Uptake

March 30, 2006 by Damien Broderick

The impacts of radical and disruptive technologies such as molecular nanotechnology on societies deserve serious study by economists, sociologists and anthropologists. Would civil societies degenerate almost instantly into Hobbesian micro states, where the principal currency is direct power over other humans, expressed at the worst in sadistic or careless infliction of pain and consequent brutalization of spirit in slaves and masters alike?… 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

Cyborg Babies and Cy-Dough-Plasm

May 23, 2001 by Sherry Turkle

The way in which children interact with virtual worlds reveals insights into how we think of ourselves in virtual worlds. Sherry Turkle uses her observations of children to explore issues of consciousness and self in the context of virtual reality.… read more

Dear PC: R.I.P.

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the post-PC future includes nanobots and fully immersive virtual reality.… 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

Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers Getting Stupider?

October 20, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The Deep Fritz computer chess software only achieved a draw in its recent chess tournament with Vladimir Kramnik because it has available only about 1.3% as much brute force computation as the earlier Deep Blue’s specialized hardware. Despite that, it plays chess at about the same level because of its superior pattern recognition-based pruning algorithm. In six years, a program like Deep Fritz will again achieve Deep Blue’s ability to analyze 200 million board positions per second. Deep Fritz-like chess programs running on ordinary personal computers will routinely defeat all humans later in this decade.… read more

Design of a Primitive Nanofactory

December 4, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular manufacturing requires more than mechanochemistry. A single nanoscale fabricator cannot build macro-scale products. This paper describes the mechanisms, structures, and processes of a prototypical macro-scale, programmable nanofactory composed of many small fabricators. Power requirements, control of mechanochemistry, reliability in the face of radiation damage, convergent assembly processes and joint mechanisms, and product design are discussed in detail, establishing that the design should be capable of duplicating itself. Nanofactory parameters are derived from plausible fabricator parameters. The pre-design of a nanofactory and many products appears to be within today’s capabilities. Bootstrapping issues are discussed briefly, indicating that nanofactory development might occur quite soon after fabricator development. Given an assembler, a nanofactory appears feasible and worthwhile, and should be accounted for in assembler policy discussions.… read more

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