essays collection By Author | A-Z

Grasping the Future: Comparing Scenarios to Other Techniques

May 9, 2001 by Max More

It has become a commonplace to hear that change is accelerating. Mention of Moore’s Law is now likely to elicit a bored yawn. We have become so used to rapid and accelerating technological and cultural change that it’s hard to find it shocking. If we still suffer future shock, we are probably too used to it to notice. Yet it has never been more important to confront the fact of accelerated change for anyone constructing strategy in the information economy.… read more

The coming superintelligence: who will be in control?

July 25, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

At some point in the next several decades, as machines become smarter than people, they’ll take over the world. Or not. What if humans get augmented with smart biochips, wearables, and other enhancements, accessing massive knowledge bases ubiquitously and becoming supersmart cyborgs who stay in control by keeping machines specialized? Or what if people and machines converge into a mass-mind superintelligence?… read more

Learning in the Age of Knowledge

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An overview of how education is changing with technology, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

How Ray Kurzweil Keeps Changing the World

November 7, 2001 by John Williams

The inventor whose amazing devices have transformed the lives of the disabled pursues a new dream: Making paraplegics walk again.… read more

What’s the neurobiology of doing good and being good?

January 21, 2002 by Robert Sapolsky

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.” Roger Sapolsky asks: what’s the neurobiology of doing and being good?… 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

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

Ray Kurzweil’s Dangerous Idea: The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion

January 17, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

“What is your dangerous idea?” Over one hundred big thinkers answered this question, as part of The Edge’s Annual Question for 2006. Ray Kurzweil’s dangerous idea? We can achieve immortality in our lifetime.… read more

Response to ‘The Singularity Is Always Near’

May 3, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

Technium

In “The Singularity Is Always Near,” an essay in The Technium, an online “book in progress,” author Kevin Kelly critiques arguments on exponential growth made in Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near. Kurzweil responds.

Allow me to clarify the metaphor implied by the term “singularity.” The metaphor implicit in the term “singularity” as applied to future human history is not to a point of infinity, but rather to the event horizon surrounding a black hole. Densities are not infinite at the event horizon but merely large enough such that it is difficult to see past the event horizon from outside.

I say difficult rather than impossible because the Hawking radiation emitted from the event horizon is likely to be quantum entangled with events inside the black hole, so there may be ways of retrieving the information. This was the concession made recently by Hawking. However, without getting into the details of this controversy, it is fair to say that seeing past the event horizon is difficult (impossible from a classical physics perspective) because the gravity of the black hole is strong enough to prevent classical information from inside the black hole getting out.

Raymond Kurzweil at ACM1

May 23, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil speaks at ACM1: Beyond Cyberspace about a future in which computers will appear to be conscious and the distinction between humans and machines will gradually disappear.… read more

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

Streams

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 Electronicmusic.com

January 29, 2002 by Paul Clark, Robert Moog

Electronicmusic.com 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

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