essays collection By Author | A-Z

From ENIAC to Everyone: Talking with J. Presper Eckert

February 23, 2006 by Alexander Randall 5th

J. Presper Eckert reveals the inside story of the invention of ENIAC, the first practical, all-electronic computer, and debunks some myths in this forgotten interview. “It is shocking to have your life work reduced to a tenth of a square inch of silicon,” he said.… read more

Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery

February 13, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

The ability to build complex diamondoid medical nanorobots to molecular precision, and then to build them cheaply enough in sufficiently large numbers to be useful therapeutically, will revolutionize the practice of medicine and surgery.… read more

Sander Olson Interviews Ray Kurzweil

February 10, 2006 by Sander Olson, Ray Kurzweil

Nonbiological intelligence is multiplying by over 1,000 per decade. Once we can achieve the software of intelligence, which we will achieve through reverse-engineering the human brain, non-biological intelligence will soar past biological intelligence. By the 2040s, nonbiological intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than the 10^26 computations per second that all biological humanity represents.… 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

Ray Kurzweil Responds to Richard Eckersley

February 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“Eckersley bases his romanticized idea of ancient life on communication and the relationships fostered by communication. But much of modern technology is directed at just this basic human need.”… read more

Techno-Utopia and Human Values

February 3, 2006 by Richard Eckersley

It is our preordained fate, Ray Kurzweil suggests, to advance technologically “until the entire universe is at our fingertips.” The question then becomes, preordained by whom or what? Biological evolution has not set this course for us. Is technology itself the planner?… read more

Nanofactories, Gang Wars, and “Feelies”

February 3, 2006 by Damien Broderick

In 30 years, a new intelligent species might share the planet with us and
dirt-cheap molecular manufacturing may end poverty and strife. But there exists a risk that a world of lotus-eaters will degenerate into gang wars among those for whom life
retains no discipline or meaning.… read more

Runaway Artificial Intelligence?

February 3, 2006 by J. Storrs Hall

Synthetic computer-based artificial intelligence will become available well before nanotechnology makes neuron-level brain scans possible in the 2020s — it’s already a short step to computer systems that make better decisions than corporate managers do, says J. Storrs Hall.… 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

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan for Cheating Death

February 3, 2006 by Terry Grossman

A cure for aging may be found in the next fifty years. The trick now is to live long enough to be there when it happens. In his two new books, Ray Kurzweil has painted a clear picture of the future and provided a blueprint for how to get there.… read more

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 2

February 2, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Sander Olson

There are very few diseases or conditions–including infectious diseases–aside from physical brain damage, that cannot be cured using nanomedicine, says nanomedicine pioneer Robert A. Freitas Jr. He believes nanomedicine’s greatest power will emerge in a decade or two as we learn to design and construct complete artificial nanorobots using diamondoid nanometer-scale parts and subsystems.… read more

Interview with Robert A. Freitas Jr. Part 1

February 2, 2006 by Sander Olson, Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Robert A. Freitas Jr. has written pioneering books on nanomedicine,
nanorobots, and molecular manufacturing. What’s next? The last two books in the Nanomedicine series and a book on fundamentals of nanomechanical engineering, extending Eric Drexler’s classic Nanosystems, he reveals in this interview.… read more

How To Make a Nanodiamond: A Simple Tool for Positional Diamond Mechanosynthesis, and its Method of Manufacture

January 27, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Robert A. Freitas Jr. has filed the first known patent application on positional mechanosynthesis, which is also the first on positional diamond mechanosynthesis. The “Freitas process” — more fully described here — is a method for building a tool for molecularly precise fabrication of physical structures. Methods of making diamondoid structures are detailed here, but the same toolbuilding process can be extended to other materials, mechanosynthetic processes, and structures. And those tools can be used to create bigger structures, which ….… read more

We Are the Web

January 19, 2006 by Kevin Kelly

The planet-sized “Web” computer is already more complex than a human brain and has surpassed the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence as calculated by Ray Kurzweil. In 10 years, it will be ubiquitous. So will superintelligence emerge on the Web, not a supercomputer?… read more

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

close and return to Home