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The hows and whys of what led to us

January 21, 2002 by Keith Devlin

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” Keith Devlin’s question is so fundamental that it is arguably not a scientific question at all: It’s the big how and why question of existence itself.… read more

We Are Becoming Cyborgs

March 15, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The union of human and machine is well on its way. Almost every part of the body can already be enhanced or replaced, even some of our brain functions. Subminiature drug delivery systems can now precisely target tumors or individual cells. Within two to three decades, our brains will have been “reverse-engineered”: nanobots will give us full-immersion virtual reality and direct brain connection with the Internet. Soon after, we will vastly expand our intellect as we merge our biological brains with non-biological intelligence.… read more

Live Moderated Chat: Are We Spiritual Machines?

July 24, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil, Jay W. Richards, William A. Dembski

On July 19, 2001, the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design hosted an online chat with Ray Kurzweil, Jay Richards, and William Dembski, three of the co-authors of the new book, Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. The discussion focused on the nature of consciousness, free will vs. determinism, complexity, and implications of the eroding boundary between humans and intelligent machines.… read more

The Future of Nanotechnology: Molecular Manufacturing

April 14, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

The future generations of nanotechnology will rely on being able to effectively arrange atoms. Molecular manufacturing, and the use of molecular assemblers to hold and position molecules, will be key to the future, controlling how molecules react and allowing scientists to build complex structures with atomically precise control. In this essay, Dr. Drexler discusses the benefits and challenges of future molecular manufacturing.… read more

Revolution in a Box: An Interview with the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology

March 22, 2006 by Mike Treder, Chris Phoenix, Jamais Cascio

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has a modest goal: to ensure that the planet navigates the emerging nanotech era safely. CRN’s founders discuss the promises and perils of nanotechnology, as well as the need for a middle ground between resignation and relinquishment.… 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

Ambiguous Words

May 15, 2001 by George A. Miller

Understanding how humans process the subtlety of language is crucial to recreating the ability to understand natural language in computers. Dr. George Miller investigates the cognitive processes of resolving the vagueness in human language.… read more

Excerpts from The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies

July 26, 2001 by Damien Broderick

Damien Broderick takes us to the edge of a technological Singularity, where the Internet reaches critical mass of interconnectivity and “wakes up,” and mountain ranges may mysteriously appear out of nowhere. Then again, is the rampant techno-optimism surrounding the imminent Singularity just exponential bogosity?… read more

Intelligence Augmentation

August 6, 2001 by Pattie Maes

Machine consciousness may not be a matter of replicating total human thought capacity–it may come in several small, specialized parts. In this discussion with the Edge’s John Brockman, Pattie Maes discusses IA (Intelligence Augmentation) as opposed to AI.… read more

Remarks on Accepting the American Composers Orchestra Award

November 14, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The Second Annual American Composers Orchestra Award for the Advancement of New Music in America was presented on November 13 to Ray Kurzweil by American Composers Orchestra. Kurzweil reflects on creativity and the jump from the blackboard to changing peoples’ lives.… read more

How will computation and communication change our everyday lives, again?

January 21, 2002 by Rodney Brooks

How will we all be in the world 20 years from now, when we all have direct wireless connections to the Internet of that time with information services as yet unimaginable? Rodney Brooks responds to Edge publisher/editor John Brockman’s request to futurists to pose “hard-edge” questions that “render visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefine who and what we are.”… read more

Arguments for a Green AND Gray Future

May 1, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil and Gregory Stock, Director, UCLA Program on Medicine,
Technology and Society, debated “BioFuture vs. MachineFuture” at the Foresight Senior Associate Gathering, April 27, 2002. This is Ray Kurzweil’s presentation.… read more

Whither Psychoanalysis in a Computer Culture?

October 24, 2002 by Sherry Turkle

In the early 1980s, MIT professor Sherry Turkle first called the computer a “second self.” With this essay, she presents a major new theory of “evocative objects”: Wearable computers, PDAs, online multiple identities, “companion species” (such as quasi-alive virtual pets, digital dolls, and robot nurses for the elderly), “affective computing” devices (such as the human-like Kismet robot), and the imminent age of machines designed as relational artifacts are causing us to see ourselves and our world differently. They call for a new generation of psychoanalytic self-psychology to explore the human response and the human vulnerability to these objects.… read more

Thought Experiments: When the Singularity Is More than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil

January 16, 2006 by Cory Doctorow

Is the Singularity a spiritual or a technological belief system? Perhaps it is the melding of both, says science fiction author Cory Doctorow in this dialogue with Ray Kurzweil. “After all, this is a system of belief that dictates a means by which we can care for our bodies virtuously and live long enough to transcend them. It’s no wonder that the Singularity has come to occupy so much of the science fiction narrative in these years. Science or spirituality, you could hardly ask for a subject better tailored to technological speculation and drama.”… read more

Nanoethics and Human Enhancement

March 31, 2006 by Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff

Radical nanotech-based human enhancements such as bionic implants and “respirocyte” artificial red blood cells will become technologically viable in the near future, raising profound ethical issues and forcing us to rethink what it means to be human. Recent pro-enhancement arguments will need to be critically examined and strengthened if they are to be convincing.… read more

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