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The Inflationary Universe

May 1, 2003 by Alan Harvey Guth

What happened before the Big Bang and why is the universe uniform and flat? The inflationary model offers an explanation. It also predicts the observed non-uniformities of the cosmic background radiation based on wild ideas about quantum fluctuations at 10^-35 seconds. Next step: the intersection between cosmology and particle physics.… read more

The Human Machine Merger: Why We Will Spend Most of Our Time in Virtual Reality in the Twenty-first Century

August 29, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil’s keynote address delivered at the 2000 ACM SIGGRAPH conference in New Orleans.… read more

THE HUMAN MACHINE MERGER: ARE WE HEADED FOR THE MATRIX?

March 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Most viewers of The Matrix consider the more fanciful elements–intelligent computers, downloading information into the human brain, virtual reality indistinguishable from real life–to be fun as science fiction, but quite remote from real life. Most viewers would be wrong. As renowned computer scientist and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil explains, these elements are very feasible and are quite likely to be a reality within our lifetimes.… read more

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

The Gray Goo Problem

March 20, 2001 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

In Eric Drexler’s classic “grey goo” scenario, out-of-control nanotech replicators wipe out all life on Earth. This paper by Robert A. Freitas Jr. was the first quantitative technical analysis of this catastrophic scenario, also offering possible solutions. It was written in part as an answer to Bill Joy’s recent concerns.… 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

The Future of Music in the Age of Spiritual Machines

October 13, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

We are moving towards an era of software-based musical instruments, intelligent accompanists, and music as information, says Ray Kurzweil in highlights from his keynote speech at the 2003 Audio Engineering Society convention.… 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

The Future of Libraries, Part 3: The Virtual Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at the virtual library, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

The Future of Libraries, Part 2: The End of Books

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at what may replace books, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

The Future of Intelligent Technology and Its Impact on Disabilities

March 16, 2004 by Ray Kurzweil

Future technologies for sensory impairments will include automatic subtitles on the fly for the hearing-impaired, pocket-sized reading machines, automatic language translators, and intelligent devices sent through the bloodstream. These devices will also augment the senses for the general population.… 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

The End of Handicaps, Part 2

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How technology has and will continue to assist the disabled, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

The End of Handicaps, Part 1

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at how technology has assisted the blind, written for “The Futurecast” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

The emotion universe

November 21, 2002 by Marvin Minsky

Why have we made limited progress in AI? Because we haven’t developed sophisticated models of thinking, we need better programming languages and architectures, and we haven’t focused on common sense problems that every normal child can solve.… read more

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