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Man-Computer Symbiosis

December 11, 2001 by J.C.R. Licklider

Written in 1960, this essay foresaw the growing dependence upon computers for more and more intelligent functions, and an age of human/computer interdependence in which the distinction between the two becomes increasingly blurred.… read more

Rethinking Operating Systems

February 11, 2002 by Bob Frankston

We know hardware has become exponentially faster, cheaper and smaller since the advent of the operating system, yet the interface hasn’t changed much. In this draft of an essay, Bob Frankston proposes a rethink of the assumptions that went into user interface design thirty years ago.… read more

Live Moderated Chat: Are We Spiritual Machines?

July 24, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil, Jay W. Richards, William A. Dembski

On July 19, 2001, the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design hosted an online chat with Ray Kurzweil, Jay Richards, and William Dembski, three of the co-authors of the new book, Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. The discussion focused on the nature of consciousness, free will vs. determinism, complexity, and implications of the eroding boundary between humans and intelligent machines.… 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

Revolution in a Box: An Interview with the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology

March 22, 2006 by Mike Treder, Chris Phoenix, Jamais Cascio

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has a modest goal: to ensure that the planet navigates the emerging nanotech era safely. CRN’s founders discuss the promises and perils of nanotechnology, as well as the need for a middle ground between resignation and relinquishment.… read more

Quantum Computing with Molecules

May 1, 2001 by Isaac L. Chuang, Neil Gershenfeld

By taking advantage of nuclear magnetic resonance, scientists can coax the molecules in some ordinary liquids to serve as an extraordinary type of computer.… read more

The Storm Before the Calm

July 2, 2001 by Robert Wright

Are we on the verge of an apocalyptic era? Robert Wright applies game theory to evolution, illustrating how the interdependence and competition between organisms lead to biological, cultural and technological evolution, with chaos and upheaval thrown in the mix.… read more

The Paradigms and Paradoxes of Intelligence, Part 2: The Church-Turing Thesis

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An exploration of the Church-Turing Thesis, originally written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Identifying Terrorists Before They Strike

October 4, 2001 by Steve Kirsch

Brain fingerprinting, a technique proven infallible in FBI tests and US Navy tests and accepted as evidence in US courts, could accurately identify trained terrorists before they strike. Had it been in place on September 11, it would have prevented all of the attackers from boarding the planes, says Infoseek founder Steve Kirsch.… read more

The hows and whys of what led to us

January 21, 2002 by Keith Devlin

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.” Keith Devlin’s question is so fundamental that it is arguably not a scientific question at all: It’s the big how and why question of existence itself.… read more

We Are Becoming Cyborgs

March 15, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The union of human and machine is well on its way. Almost every part of the body can already be enhanced or replaced, even some of our brain functions. Subminiature drug delivery systems can now precisely target tumors or individual cells. Within two to three decades, our brains will have been “reverse-engineered”: nanobots will give us full-immersion virtual reality and direct brain connection with the Internet. Soon after, we will vastly expand our intellect as we merge our biological brains with non-biological intelligence.… read more

Arguments for a Green AND Gray Future

May 1, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil and Gregory Stock, Director, UCLA Program on Medicine,
Technology and Society, debated “BioFuture vs. MachineFuture” at the Foresight Senior Associate Gathering, April 27, 2002. This is Ray Kurzweil’s presentation.… 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

Thought Experiments: When the Singularity Is More than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil

January 16, 2006 by Cory Doctorow

Is the Singularity a spiritual or a technological belief system? Perhaps it is the melding of both, says science fiction author Cory Doctorow in this dialogue with Ray Kurzweil. “After all, this is a system of belief that dictates a means by which we can care for our bodies virtuously and live long enough to transcend them. It’s no wonder that the Singularity has come to occupy so much of the science fiction narrative in these years. Science or spirituality, you could hardly ask for a subject better tailored to technological speculation and drama.”… 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

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