essays collection By Author | A-Z

Global Space Warfare Technologies: Influences, Trends, and the Road Ahead

July 4, 2010 by Matthew Hoey

The Starfire Optical Range (SOR) is a directed-energy facility based at Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico. Many leaders in the arms control community as well as major news outlets have stated that SOR may be a directed-energy system that can disable space-based systems. The SOR is under the auspices of the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is working on numerous space-warfare systems. (The United States Air Force/DOE)

Given how easily information can spread about the globe today, it is inevitable that space warfare technologies will proliferate. Once one country sets its sights on space domination, other countries are sure to follow, spurring a second arms race of sorts. The international community is in a race against time as technologies are evolving faster than ever before and will continue to accelerate exponentially in an almost biological fashion. If this process continues unabated, it will almost certainty result in the deterioration of peaceful collaborations, an increase in the creation of orbital debris, and the risk of an accidental or spasm nuclear event.… 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

Transcending Moore’s Law with Molecular Electronics and Nanotechnology

September 27, 2004 by Steve T. Jurvetson

While the future is becoming more difficult to predict with each passing year, we should expect an accelerating pace of technological change. Nanotechnology is the next great technology wave and the next phase of Moore’s Law. Nanotech innovations enable myriad disruptive businesses that were not possible before, driven by entrepreneurship.

Much of our future context will be defined by the accelerating proliferation of information technology·as it innervates society and begins to subsume matter into code. It is a period of exponential growth in the impact of the learning-doing cycle where the power of biology, IT and nanotech compounds the advances in each formerly discrete domain.… read more

Technology in the 21st Century: an Imminent Intimate Merger

May 14, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Foresight Institute “Exploring the Edges” Senior Associate Gathering, April 27, 2002, Ray Kurzweil presented the case of the emergence of biological and machine intelligence, answering the three major challenges: limited resources, inadequate software, and ethical concerns. Here are the presentation slides and audio.… read more

The Intelligent Universe

December 12, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

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

The Future of Life

March 30, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

A coming era of personalized genetic medicine, breakthroughs that radically extend the human lifespan, nanomedicine, and the merger of our biological species with our own technology were among the future visions presented at TIME’s “The Future of Life” conference.… 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

Life Extension and Overpopulation

April 9, 2001 by Max More

The prospect of life extension raises fears of overpopulation. Extropian Max More argues we should focus on reducing births, not on raising or maintaining death, since population growth and pollution are slowing down (from growing wealth) and in the future we can create new habitats in space.… read more

Raymond Kurzweil: Great Inventions

May 31, 2001

Since age 17, Ray Kurzweil has built companies, authored books and advised startups. UPSIDE magazine Editor in Chief Jerry Borrell recently caught up with this innovative thinker.… read more

The End Of Time: A Talk With Julian Barbour

August 3, 2001 by Julian Barbour

In this talk with the Edge’s John Brockman, Julian Barbour takes on the absolute framework of time. And if time truly doesn’t exist, could we, hypothetically, live forever?… read more

Response to Stephen Hawking

September 5, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Stephen Hawking recently told the German magazine Focus that computers were evolving so rapidly that they would eventually outstrip the intelligence of humans. Professor Hawking went on to express the concern that eventually, computers with artificial intelligence could come to dominate the world. Ray Kurzweil replies.… read more

How Does the Brain Generate Computation?

December 19, 2001 by Marc D. Hauser

In this Edge talk, Marc D. Hauser reflects on attempts to answer this question, from Noam Chomsky’s insights to the dance of the honey bee.… read more

Forecasts and Alternative Futures

February 19, 2002 by Sohail Inayatullah

This third chapter from Situating Sarkar:Tantra, Macrohistory and Alternative Futures explores non-Western future visions, where progress can be seen in a more spiritual than materialistic light, through the eyes of poet and visionary Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar.… read more

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

June 24, 2002 by W. Daniel Hillis

Nobel prize winner physicist Richard Feynman played a critical role in developing the first parallel-processing computer and finding innovative uses for it in numerical computing and building neural networks as well as physical simulation with cellular-automata (such as turbulent fluid flow), working with Stephen Wolfram.… read more

Foreword to Electronic Reporting in the Digital Medical Enterprise

June 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Doctors in the year 2012 will have access to full-immersion virtual-reality training and surgical systems, microchip-based protein and gene analysis systems, knowledge-based systems providing automated guidance and access to the most recent medical research, and always-present visual displays of patient data for instant interaction via voice.… read more

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