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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

Review of Nanocosm

June 6, 2003 by Chris Phoenix

The new book Nanocosm reports on exciting advances in nanotech but suffers from numerous technical inaccuracies and distortions of the work of nanotech pioneers.… read more

Foreword to Electronic Reporting in the Digital Medical Enterprise

June 6, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Doctors in the year 2012 will have access to full-immersion virtual-reality training and surgical systems, microchip-based protein and gene analysis systems, knowledge-based systems providing automated guidance and access to the most recent medical research, and always-present visual displays of patient data for instant interaction via voice.… read more

Glitches Reloaded

June 2, 2003 by Peter B. Lloyd

In Matrix Reloaded, how can Neo fly and use telekinesis if the Matrix is supposed to a physics simulation? Peter Lloyd decodes this and other technical enigmas–reverse-engineering the design of the Matrix and the “Meta-Matrix” of the underground Zion. And he delves into the rich philosophical and mythic elements of the film, such as the question of free will and who is the Architect and what does his speech tell us?… read more

Understanding the Accelerating Rate of Change

May 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil, Chris Meyer

We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.… read more

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

Bioterrorism and SARS

April 17, 2003 by Mae-Wan Ho

The world has been whipped up into hysteria over terrorist attacks and “weapons of mass destruction.”
Governments want to ban the publication of sensitive scientific research results, and a group of major life sciences editors and authors has concurred. Some even suggest an international body to police research and publication. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho looks at the current SARS epidemic and argues why all of those measures to control bioterrorism are misplaced, and what’s really needed.… 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

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

Congressional hearing addresses public concerns about nanotech

April 13, 2003 by Amara D. Angelica

Concerns about the possible negative consequences of nanotech may stifle vital nanotech research that could otherwise result in medical and other important breakthroughs. Expert witnesses at a congressional hearing recommended wider public debate, greater resources to develop defensive technology, and funding of societal, ethical, and environmental impact studies along with technology forecasting and basic science studies.… read more

Molecular Manufacturing: Societal Implications of Advanced Nanotechnology

April 10, 2003 by Christine Peterson

The best way to reduce risks from molecular manufacturing would be an open, international R&D program with broad cooperation by the democracies, including a parallel arms control verification project. This requires a decision to pursue the goal and substantial funding. But both of these are currently blocked by the lack of consensus on the technical feasibility of molecular manufacturing. So we urgently need a basic feasibility review by unbiased scientists.… read more

Testimony of Ray Kurzweil on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology

April 8, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Despite calls to relinquish research in nanotechnology, we will have no choice but to confront the challenge of guiding nanotechnology in a constructive direction. Advances in nanotechnology and related advanced technologies are inevitable. Any broad attempt to relinquish nanotechnology will only push it underground, which would interfere with the benefits while actually making the dangers worse.… read more

Smart Heuristics

April 8, 2003 by Gerd Gigerenzer

Many people are ill-equipped to handle uncertainty. But the study of smart heuristics shows that there are strategies people actually use to make good decisions that deal openly with uncertainties, rather than denying their existence.… 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

GLITCHES IN THE MATRIX . . . AND HOW TO FIX THEM

March 2, 2003 by Peter B. Lloyd

Why, exactly, do the rebels have to enter the Matrix via the phone system (which after all doesn’t physically exist)? And what really happens when Neo takes the red pill (which also doesn’t really exist)? And how does the Matrix know what fried chicken tastes like? Technologist and philosopher Peter Lloyd answers these questions and more.… read more

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