essays collection By Author | A-Z

Robots, Re-Evolving Mind

March 27, 2001 by Hans Moravec

We are re-evolving artificial minds at ten million times the original speed of human evolution, exponentially growing robot complexity. Currently, a guppylike thousand MIPS and hundreds of megabytes of memory enable our robots to build dense, almost photorealistic 3D maps of their surroundings and navigate intelligently. Within three decades, fourth-generation universal robots with a humanlike 100 million MIPS will be able to abstract and generalize–perhaps replace us.… 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

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?”… 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

Tangible Nanomoney

July 9, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

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

Richard A. Clark’s Breakpoint: the future of terrorism?

May 18, 2007 by Richard A. Clarke

breakpoint

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

Lunch with Mikhail Gorbachev

April 19, 2005 by Ray Kurzweil

With only 53,000 engineering graduates a year compared to Russia’s 200,000, the U.S. needs to “communicate the importance of science in today’s world,” Mikhail Gorbachev told Ray Kurzweil in a luncheon discussion that ranged from blogs to nuclear disarmament and longevity.… read more

Reprogramming your Biochemistry for Immortality: An Interview with Ray Kurzweil by David Jay Brown

March 8, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

Scientists are now talking about people staying young and not aging. Ray Kurzweil is taking it a step further: “In addition to radical life extension, we’ll also have radical life expansion. The nanobots will be able to go inside the brain and extend our mental functioning by interacting with our biological neurons.”… read more

Kinds of Minds

May 30, 2007 by J. Storrs Hall
Figure 15.1

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

The 21st Century: a Confluence of Accelerating Revolutions

May 15, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In this keynote given at the 8th Annual Foresight Conference, Raymond Kurzweil discusses exponential trends in various technologies, and the double-edged sword accelerating technologies represent.… read more

2050 Global Normative Scenarios

March 15, 2002 by Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon

Experts were asked to describe normative (preferred) scenarios for technology, human development, and politics/economics in the year 2050. Their ideas were compiled into three scenarios by two leading futurists for the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. “The authors provide some insightful scenarios,” says Ray Kurzweil. “However, I feel that their time frames do not adequately reflect the accelerating pace of progress inherent in what I call the law of accelerating returns. The types of changes they describe for 2050 will arrive much earlier in my view.”… read more

The Age of Virtuous Machines

June 1, 2007 by J. Storrs Hall

In the “hard takeoff” scenario, a psychopathic AI suddenly emerges at a superhuman level, achieving universal dominance. Hall suggests an alternative: we’ve gotten better because we’ve become smarter, so AIs will evolve “unselfish genes” and hyperhuman morality. More honest, capable of deeper understanding, and free of our animal heritage and blindnesses, the children of our minds will grow better and wiser than us, and we will have a new friend and guide–if we work hard to earn the privilege of associating with them.… read more

Online Chat with Ray Kurzweil and European Schoolnet

November 9, 2005 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil introduced 300 secondary-school students across Europe to robotics and AI in an interactive Internet chat set up by Xplora, the European gateway to science education.… read more

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