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Technology Fear Factor

July 21, 2002 by Daintry Duffy, Sari Kalin

Three futurists — George Gilder, Ray Kurzweil, and Jaron Lanier — agree that emerging dangerous technologies will require smarter defenses, such as standards diversity, decentralized systems, a transparent society, better communications between factions, and mutually beneficial collaboration of business leaders.… 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

Some Challenges And Grand Challenges For Computational Intelligence

July 15, 2003 by Edward Feigenbaum

The Turing Test is a very ambitious Grand Challenge. The “Feigenbaum Test” is more manageable: focus on natural science, engineering, or medicine with conversation in the jargonized and stylized language of these disciplines. There are two other grand challenges in achieving Computational Intelligence: Build a large knowledge base by reading text, reducing knowledge engineering effort by one order of magnitude; and the “Grand Vision”: distill from the WWW a huge knowledge base, using ontologies and building a system of “semantics scrapers” that will access the semantic markups, integrate them appropriately into the growing knowledge base, and set up the material for the scrutiny of an editorial process.… read more

There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom

April 17, 2001 by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman at Caltech giving his famous lecture he entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom."  (credit: California Institute of Technology)

This visionary speech that Richard Feynman gave on December 29th, 1959, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology helped give birth to the now exploding field of nanotechnology.

I imagine experimental physicists must often look with envy at men like Kamerlingh Onnes, who discovered a field like low temperature, which seems to be bottomless and in which one can go down and down.

Such a man is then a leader and has some temporary monopoly in a scientific adventure. Percy Bridgman, in designing a way to obtain higher pressures, opened up another new field and was able to move into it and to lead us all along. The development of ever higher vacuum was a continuing development of the same kind.

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

Robot: Child of God

May 9, 2001 by Anne Foerst

Sometimes computers act as if they are possessed–does that mean they may have souls? Probably not right now, but Anne Foerst explores the possibility of soulful robots.… 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

Rethinking Operating Systems

February 11, 2002 by Bob Frankston

We know hardware has become exponentially faster, cheaper and smaller since the advent of the operating system, yet the interface hasn’t changed much. In this draft of an essay, Bob Frankston proposes a rethink of the assumptions that went into user interface design thirty years ago.… 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

Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe

August 26, 2003 by James N. Gardner

James N. Gardner’s Selfish Biocosm hypothesis proposes that the remarkable anthropic (life-friendly) qualities that our universe exhibits can be explained as incidental consequences of a cosmic replication cycle in which a cosmologically extended biosphere provides a means for the cosmos to produce one or more baby universes. The cosmos is “selfish” in the same sense that Richard Dawkins proposed that genes are focused on their own replication.… read more

Intelligence, Computer and Human: A Discussion with Howard Gardner

October 2, 2001 by Howard Gardner, Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil and Howard Gardner discuss education, technology, pattern recognition and collecting electronic parts on Canal Street.… read more

It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind

February 2, 2007 by James N. Gardner

A new book, The Intelligent Universe, proposes that the universe might end in intelligent life, one that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole.… read more

The Physical Constants as Biosignature: An anthropic retrodiction of the Selfish Biocosm Hypothesis

February 28, 2006 by James N. Gardner

Two recent discoveries have imparted a renewed sense of urgency to investigations of the anthropic qualities of our cosmos: the value of dark energy density is exceedingly small but not quite zero; and the number of different solutions permitted by M-theory is, in Susskind’s words, “astronomical, measured not in millions or billions but in googles or googleplexes.”… read more

Who Owns Intelligence?

September 24, 2001 by Howard Gardner

Before intelligence can be enhanced or artificially created, it has to be defined; this excerpt from Howard Gardner’s Intelligence Reframed ponders the different ways in which intelligence is quantified and conceived.… read more

Answering Fermi’s Paradox

May 22, 2001 by Hugo de Garis

Does a vast array of superintellligences already exist? Hugo de Garis thinks that SETI is shortsighted in their search for extraterrestrial intelligence. They should set their scopes on artilects.… read more

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