essays collection

One Half of An Argument

July 31, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A counterpoint to Jaron Lanier’s dystopian visions of runaway technological cataclysm in “One Half of a Manifesto.”… read more

Turing’s Prophecy

August 8, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil’s history of the computer from the year 2040 is presented in this joint keynote address with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres at the Annual International Conference on Personal Computing, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 25, 1995.… read more


December 4, 2001 by David Gelernter

How will peoples’ sense of time change when software and computing technology evolves into new paradigms? In this Edge article, David Gelernter explores space, time and the next generation of computing.… read more

Bob Moog, Interviewed by

January 29, 2002 by Paul Clark, Robert Moog talks with synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog about how he radically changed the way music is made, and the tools he used to do it.… read more

A Computational Foundation for the Study of Cognition

June 4, 2002 by David Chalmers

Computation is central to the foundations of modern cognitive science, but its role is controversial. Questions about computation abound: What is it for a physical system to implement a computation? Is computation sufficient for thought? What is the role of computation in a theory of cognition? What is the relation between different sorts of computational theory, such as connectionism and symbolic computation? This article develops a systematic framework that addresses all of these questions. A careful analysis of computation and its relation to cognition suggests that the ambitions of artificial intelligence and the centrality of computation in cognitive science are justified.… read more

Biocosm: Lecture at Hayden Planetarium

February 9, 2006 by James N. Gardner

Why is the universe life-friendly? Columbia physicist Brian Greene says it’s the deepest question in all of science. Cosmologist Paul Davies agrees, calling it the biggest of the Big Questions.… read more

It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind

February 2, 2007 by James N. Gardner

A new book, The Intelligent Universe, proposes that the universe might end in intelligent life, one that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole.… read more

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

February 21, 2001 by John McCarthy

What exactly is “artificial intelligence” (AI)? Stanford University Professor of Computer Science Dr. John McCarthy, a pioneer in AI, answers this question in depth for beginners.… read more

A Second Wave of Network Technologies

June 21, 2001 by Tomaso Poggio

MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Professor Tomaso Poggio explores how the Internet can become “smarter”–how intelligent technologies will prevent us from drowning in an ocean of data.… 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

Millennium 3000 Scenarios

March 13, 2002 by Theodore J. Gordon, Jerome C. Glenn

Experts in various areas were asked to speculate on life in the year 3000. Their ideas were compiled into six scenarios by two leading futurists for the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. “The authors provide some insightful scenarios,” says Ray Kurzweil. “However, I feel that their time frames do not adequately reflect the accelerating pace of progress inherent in what I call the law of accelerating returns. The types of changes they describe for 2050 and 3000 respectively will arrive much earlier in my view, but the issues raised by such developments as femtotechnology and nonbiological intelligence are compellingly described.”… read more

Technology Fear Factor

July 21, 2002 by Daintry Duffy, Sari Kalin

Three futurists — George Gilder, Ray Kurzweil, and Jaron Lanier — agree that emerging dangerous technologies will require smarter defenses, such as standards diversity, decentralized systems, a transparent society, better communications between factions, and mutually beneficial collaboration of business leaders.… read more

An Open Letter to Richard Smalley

April 16, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

Dr. Richard Smalley has voiced criticisms of Dr. Eric Drexler’s concept of molecular assemblers, which could be used to implement self-replicating nanobots. Smalley, who discovered “fullerenes” (aka “buckyballs”), is Chairman of the Board of Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. and former director of Rice University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Drexler, who coined the term “nanotechnology” and is Chairman of the Board of Foresight Institute, responds to these criticisms.… read more

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