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Design of a Primitive Nanofactory

December 4, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

Molecular manufacturing requires more than mechanochemistry. A single nanoscale fabricator cannot build macro-scale products. This paper describes the mechanisms, structures, and processes of a prototypical macro-scale, programmable nanofactory composed of many small fabricators. Power requirements, control of mechanochemistry, reliability in the face of radiation damage, convergent assembly processes and joint mechanisms, and product design are discussed in detail, establishing that the design should be capable of duplicating itself. Nanofactory parameters are derived from plausible fabricator parameters. The pre-design of a nanofactory and many products appears to be within today’s capabilities. Bootstrapping issues are discussed briefly, indicating that nanofactory development might occur quite soon after fabricator development. Given an assembler, a nanofactory appears feasible and worthwhile, and should be accounted for in assembler policy discussions.… 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

THE AGE of INTELLIGENT MACHINES | Brother Giorgio’s Kangaroo

February 21, 2001

Scientist-painter Harold Cohen reveals the mystery works behind his famous “artificially” intelligent AARON program, which draws landscapes and portraits. A profound symbiosis of man and machine, as computer imitates art and art imitates life, it demonstrates the growing capacity of technology to reflect the subtlety of human experience. From Ray Kurzweil’s revolutionary book The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990.… read more

How Long Before Superintelligence?

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence within this century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance; ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological brains; how difficult it will be neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to make this approach work; and how fast we can expect superintelligence to be developed once there is human-level artificial intelligence.… read more

Can a Machine Think?

June 26, 2001 by Clinton W. Kelly

There are three ways to create an AI: model the mind, model the brain, and artificial life. Which one will work?… read more

The Paradigms and Paradoxes of Intelligence: Building a Brain

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How to build a brain, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Jim Lehrer News Hour: Interview with Ray Kurzweil

September 27, 2001 by Jim Lehrer News Hour

David Gergen, editor-at-large of U.S. News and World Report, talks with inventor Ray Kurzweil about his prediction that computers will attain the memory capacity and computing speed of the human brain by around 2020.… read more

If we are lucky, our pets may keep us as pets

January 18, 2002 by Brad Templeton

The first super-intelligent beings may not be based on humans at all, but on apes. Since moral and legal considerations will limit experimentation with human brain uploading, scientists may first turn to apes, and they may quickly enhance themselves. Could they become our overlords, la Planet of the Apes?… read more

Microbivores: Artificial Mechanical Phagocytes

April 11, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Nanorobotic “microbivores” traveling in the bloodstream could be 1000 times faster-acting than white blood cells and eradicate 1000 times more bacteria, offering a complete antimicrobial therapy without increasing the risk of sepsis or septic shock (as in traditional antibiotic regimens) and without release of biologically active effluents. They could also quickly rid the blood of nonbacterial pathogens such as viruses, fungus cells, or parasites.… read more

National Inventor Hall of Fame Acceptance Remarks

September 22, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) inducted Ray Kurzweil on Sept. 21, 2002. Sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Hewlett-Packard, the ceremony recognized Kurzweil for the Kurzweil Reading Machine and a lifetime of invention, including the first “omni-font” optical character recognition (OCR), the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first full text-to-speech synthesizer, the first realistic-sounding electronic music synthesizer, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.… read more

Nano-Guns, Nano-Germs, and Nano-Steel

March 29, 2006 by Mike Treder

Within our lifetimes, we are likely to witness battles on a scale never before seen. Powered by molecular manufacturing, near-future wars may threaten our freedom, our way of life, and even our survival. Superior military technology allowed the Spanish to conquer the Incan empire in 1532. Could today’s most powerful civilization, the United States, be just as easily conquered by a nano-enabled attacker?… read more

How the Mind Works

February 21, 2001 by Steven Pinker

In this William James Book Prize Lecture, presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 1999, Steven Pinker, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, attempts to describe how the mind works, using three key ideas: computation, evolution, and specialization.… read more

Kurzweil vs. Dertouzos

March 7, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil, Michael L. Dertouzos

In this Technology Review article, Raymond Kurzweil and Michael Dertouzos debate Bill Joy’s Wired article urging “relinquishment” of research in certain risky areas of nanotechnology, genetics, and robotics.… read more

Consciousness Connects Our Brains to the Fundamental Level of the Universe

May 14, 2001 by Stuart Hameroff

Neurons alone aren’t sufficiently complex to explain consciousness and provide a computational model for thought, according to Stuart Hameroff. He wants to go smaller, into a universe of structures within neurons where quantum mechanics help formulate a physical theory of consciousness.… read more

In Response to

July 25, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Although George Gilder and Richard Vigilante share Ray Kurzweil’s grave concerns about Bill Joy’s apparently neo-Luddite calls for relinguishing broad areas of technology, Kurzweil is critical of Gilder and Vigilante’s skepticism regarding the feasibility of the dangers.… read more

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