essays collection By Author | A-Z

essay | How to make space great again

December 15, 2016

(Credit: NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts)

By Brent Ziarnick, Peter Garretson, Everett Dolman, and Coyote Smith

President-elect Donald Trump often says that Americans no longer dream and must do so again. Nowhere can dreams be more inspiring and profitable than in space. But today, expanding space enterprise is not foremost on the minds of Americans or military strategists. As a recent CNN special showed, defense thinkers feel embattled in space, focused on protecting our… read more

essay | It may not feel like anything to be an alien

December 23, 2016

arrival-ft

By Susan Schneider

Humans are probably not the greatest intelligences in the universe. Earth is a relatively young planet and the oldest civilizations could be billions of years older than us. But even on Earth, Homo sapiens may not be the most intelligent species for that much longer.

The world Go, chess, and Jeopardy champions are now all AIs. AI is projected to outmode many human professions within the next few decades.… read more

essay | My notes on Eugene Goostman chatbot claiming to pass the Turing test

June 1, 2014

Eugene Goostman chatbot screenshot (credit:

On June 8, 2014, The University of Reading announced that a computer program “has passed the Turing test for the first time.”

University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick, PhD, described it this way:
“Some will claim that the test has already been passed. The words ‘Turing test’ have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However, this event involved more simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently… read more

essay | So you want to build a Death Star? Here’s how to get started

December 16, 2016

Death-Star-ft

By , Space Plasma Physicist, Queen Mary University of London

I’m very excited about seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which tells the tale summarised in the original Star Wars’ opening crawl. This is the story of how the rebels stole the plans to the original “Death Star” – a space station the size of a small moon with a weapon powerful enough to destroy… read more

essay | Spotlight on military + defense

December 14, 2016

K-2SO ft

By , Professor in Robotics, Queensland University of Technology

The latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One [opens Friday Dec. 16], introduces us to a new droid, K-2SO, the robotic lead of the story.

Without giving away too many spoilers, K-2SO is part of the Rebellion freedom fighter group that are tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star, the… read more

Essentials of general intelligence: the direct path to AGI

August 22, 2002 by Peter Voss

Adaptive AI's General Framework

General intelligence comprises the essential, domain-independent skills necessary for acquiring a wide range of domain-specific knowledge — the ability to learn anything. Achieving this with “artificial general intelligence” (AGI) requires a highly adaptive, general-purpose system that can autonomously acquire an extremely wide range of specific knowledge and skills and can improve its own cognitive ability through self-directed learning. This chapter in the forthcoming book, Real AI: New Approaches to Artificial General Intelligence, describes the requirements and conceptual design of a prototype AGI system.… read more

Ethics for Machines

July 5, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

What are the ethical responsibilities of an intelligent being toward another one of a lower order? And who will be lower–us or machines? Nanotechnologist J. Storrs Hall considers our moral duties to machines, and theirs to us.… read more

Every Curriculum Tells a Story

January 22, 2002 by Roger Schank

The traditional classroom lecture and course will be replaced by Internet-based curricula that tell stories, if Dr. Roger C. Schank, one of the world’s leading AI researchers, has his way. The “story-centered curriculum” (SCC) tells a story in which the student “plays one or more roles that he or she might actually do in real life or need to know about, based on the student’s career goals,” he says.… read more

Evolution and the Internet: Toward A Networked Humanity?

February 26, 2001 by Danny Belkin

Integration of human and machine will lead to an interconnected “organism”–the next major evolutionary step forward for humanity, says immunology PhD candidate Danny Belkin.… read more

Excerpts from “One Half of a Manifesto”

July 30, 2001 by Jaron Lanier

Does the optimism of technologists blur the question of quantitative improvements in hardware versus a lack of qualititative improvements in software? Do they point the way towards an eschatological cataclysm in which doom is imminent?… 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

Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards

May 29, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom defines a new category of risks that could threaten humanity and intelligent life with extinction: existential risks. The future could be a dangerous place indeed.… read more

Exploring the ‘Singularity’

June 6, 2003 by James John Bell

The point in time when current trends may go wildly off the charts–known as the “Singularity”–is now getting serious attention. What it suggests is that technological change will soon become so rapid that we cannot possibly envision its results.… read more

Exponential Growth an Illusion?: Response to Ilkka Tuomi

September 13, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil responds to Ilkka Tuomi’s essays, “The Lives and Death of Moore’s Law” and “Kurzweil, Moore, and Accelerating Change,” in which Tuomi challenges Kurzweil’s “law of accelerating returns” and the exponential growth of semiconductor technology.… read more

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness

August 17, 2002 by David Chalmers

The vague term “consciousness” poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. Philosopher David Chalmers presents a nonreductive theory of consciousness based on principles of structural coherence (tied to awareness) and organizational invariance (e.g., a silicon isomorph of a human can be conscious) and a double-aspect view of information (physical and phenomenal aspects).… read more

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