essays collection

Finishing the Unfinished Revolution

February 21, 2001 by Michael L. Dertouzos

In this manifesto, Dr. Dertouzos introduces a radical vision of human-centered computing intended to make computers more usable, based on natural interaction (such as speech recognition), automation, individualized information access, collaboration, and customization. MIT’s Oxygen project, a prototype to test these concepts, is summarized in this excerpt from The Unfinished Revolution (HarperCollins, 2001),… read more

Tearing Toward the Spike

May 7, 2001 by Damien Broderick

We will live forever; or we will all perish most horribly; our minds will emigrate to cyberspace, and start the most ferocious overpopulation race ever seen on the planet; or our machines will transcend and take us with them, or leave us in some peaceful backwater where the meek shall inherit the Earth. Or something else, something far weirder and… unimaginable.… read more

What I want to be when I grow up, is a cloud

July 6, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

Uploading doesn’t necessarily mean consciousness on a chip. What if you could be anything: a lion or an antelope, a frog or a fly, a tree, a pool, the coat of paint on a ceiling? Nanotechnology may pave the way.… read more

The Future of Libraries, Part 3: The Virtual Library

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

A look at the virtual library, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

A.I.: Kurzweil Says Thumbs Up

November 2, 2001 by Wired News Radio

Wired gets Ray Kurzweil’s take on the Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg film “A.I.” prior to its wide release.… read more

Is the universe a quantum computer?

January 21, 2002 by Seth Lloyd

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.” Seth Lloyd asks: Is the universe a quantum computer?… read more

National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors: Brochure Statement

September 22, 2002

On Sept. 21, 2002, Ray Kurzweil presented an award to Ezra Rapoport at the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors ceremony. Rapoport, an 18-year-old inventor and part-time employee of KurzweilAI.net, was recognized for his invention of a speech-compression method that transmits speech clearly and reliably over phone lines using only 3 Kbps, allowing for 20 conversations over a single phone line.… read more

What the Future Will Bring

June 15, 2005 by Ray Kurzweil

“Follow your passion,” Ray Kurzweil advised graduates in a commencement address on May 21 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, one of the nation’s earliest technological universities. “Creating knowledge is what will be most exciting in life. To create knowledge you have to have passion, so find a challenge that you can be passionate about and you can find the ideas to overcome that challenge.” Kurzweil also described the three great coming revolutions-genetics, nanotechnology and robotics-and their implications for our lives ahead.… read more

Nanoethics and Human Enhancement

March 31, 2006 by Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff

Radical nanotech-based human enhancements such as bionic implants and “respirocyte” artificial red blood cells will become technologically viable in the near future, raising profound ethical issues and forcing us to rethink what it means to be human. Recent pro-enhancement arguments will need to be critically examined and strengthened if they are to be convincing.… read more

The Virtual Thomas Edison

March 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

As machines exceed human intelligence, will they threaten humanity? How will inventors keep up? Raymond Kurzweil lays out his vision of the future for Time Magazine’s special issue on the future.… 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

Taming the Multiverse

August 7, 2001 by Marcus Chown

In Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, physicist Sir Roger Penrose is paraphrased as suggesting it is impossible to perfectly replicate a set of quantum states, so therefore perfect downloading (i.e., creating a digital or synthetic replica of the human brain based upon quantum states) is impossible. What would be required to make it possible? A solution to the problem of quantum teleportation, perhaps. But there is a further complication: the multiverse. Do we live in a world of schizophrenic tables? Does free will negate the possibility of perfect replication?… read more

Arthur C. Clarke Offers His Vision of the Future

December 3, 2001 by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Kurzweil

The science fiction visionary behind HAL offers his predictions of salient events to come in this century.… read more

Review of Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas

January 24, 2002 by Lucas Hendrich, KurzweilAI.net

The fertile ground of the Internet has led to countless innovations, eliminating physical barriers and allowing a borderless, transparent source of information to flourish. How will the story of the Internet be played out in the 21st Century?… read more

Technotopia and the Death of Nature

May 22, 2002 by James John Bell

There is something missing from the discussion of the technological singularity, says James Bell: the true cost of progress will mean the unprecedented decline of the planet’s inhabitants — an ever-increasing rate of global extinction, some warn.… read more

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