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
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?”
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
Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke’s BREAKPOINT novel, set in the year 2012, is based on emerging technologies. “Globegrid,” a high-speed global network, links supercomputers worldwide. Combined with advanced AI software, it promises to reverse-engineer the brain, revolutionize genomics, enable medical breakthroughs, develop advanced human-machine interfaces, and allow for genetic alterations and even uploading consciousness. But it spurs a terrorist-fundamentalist Luddite backlash against transhumanists, as hackers take down the power grid, and destroy vital international data and telecom links, communications satellites, and biotech firms.… read more
Robert Freitas, author of the recently-published groundbreaking technical book Nanomedicine, reflects on how we might pay for very advanced medicine — or indeed, pay for anything at all — in a world where artificial molecular machine systems are commonplace. Hint: Perhaps we’ll be using coins made of tantalum or ununquadium!… read more
In Beyond AI, published today, J. Storrs Hall offers “a must-read for anyone interested in the future of the human-machine civilization,” says Ray Kurzweil. In this first of three book excerpts, Hall suggests a classification of the different stages an AI might go through, from “hypohuman” (most existing AIs) to “hyperhuman” (similar to “superintelligence”).… read more
Originally published 1993 as an academic paper: Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University. The version that appears on Vernor Vinge’s website can be read here.
Vernor Vinge is a retired San Diego State University math professor, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, Rainbows End, Fast Times at Fairmont High, and The Cookie Monster, as well as for… read more