essays collection By Author | A-Z

Are We Becoming an Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the Twenty First Century

November 20, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil addresses questions presented at Are We Becoming an Endangered Species? Technology and Ethics in the 21st Century, a conference on technology and ethics sponsored by Washington National Cathedral. Other panelists are Anne Foerst, Bill Joy and Bill Mckibben.… read more

What Have We Learned a Year After NASDAQ Hit 5,000?

January 21, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The current recession reflects failure to develop realistic models of the pace at which new information-based technologies emerge and the overall acceleration of the flow of information. But in the longer-range view, recessions and recoveries reflect a relatively minor variability compared to the far more important trend of the underlying exponential growth of the economy.… read more

The New Humanist

May 14, 2002 by John Brockman

“Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in physics, electricity, genetics, neurobiology, engineering, the chemistry of materials—all are challenging basic assumptions of who and what we are, of what it means to be human. The arts and the sciences are again joining together as one culture, the third culture. Those involved in this effort—scientists, science-based humanities scholars, writers—are at the center of today’s intellectual action. They are the new humanists.”… read more

Technology and Human Enhancement

February 3, 2006 by John Smart

Machines are increasingly exceeding us in the performance of more and more tasks, from guiding objects like
missiles or satellites to assembling other machines. They are merging with us ever more intimately and are learning how to reconfigure our biology in new and significantly
faster technological domains.… read more

Corporate Cornucopia: Examining the Special Implications of Commercial MNT Development

May 24, 2006 by Michael Vassar

Molecular nanotech is the largest commercial opportunity of all time. But it may also create severe roadblocks and risks, including terrorism, unstable arms races, competitive pricing, restrictive patents, import opposition, economic disruption, and out-of-control AI.… read more

Soul of a New Machine

February 21, 2001 by James Daly

Business 2.0 editor James Daly interviews Raymond Kurzweil on what happens when machines become conscious.… read more

Is A Singularity Just Around The Corner?

June 4, 2001 by Robin Hanson

Robin Hanson explores the economics of the Singularity.… read more

May the Smartest Machine Win: Warfare in the 21st Century

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

How technology is changing the ways in which wars are fought, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

We Earth Neurons

September 18, 2001 by Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett on knowledge sharing and the fate of the planet, in which he contrasts individuals and their brains with the trillions of neurons that compose them. The planet has grown its own nervous system: us.… read more

Software, Property and Human Civilization

December 19, 2001 by Jordan Pollack

In this Edge talk, Jordan Pollack discusses a phenomenon that may restrict innovation: the inability to buy products, due to the established model of software licensing. What are the implications for human civilization?… read more

Beating Moore’s 2nd Law: Advances in Nanoengineering and New Approaches to Computing at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the AAAS

February 21, 2002 by Lucas Hendrich, KurzweilAI.net

At the 2002 AAAS Nanotechnology Seminar, leading nanotechnologists presented the building blocks that may overturn current manufacturing processes on a collision course with Moore’s Law.… read more

A Simple Model of Unbounded Evolutionary Versatility as a Largest-Scale Trend in Organismal Evolution

June 25, 2002 by Peter D. Turney

The idea that there are large-scale trends in the evolution of biological organisms, such as increasing complexity, is highly controversial. But Peter Turney presents a simple computational model showing that local adaptation to a dynamic, randomly changing environment results in a global trend towards increasing evolutionary versatility, which implies an accelerating evolutionary pace, and that this trend can continue without bound if there is sufficient ongoing change in the environment.… 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

Drexler Counters

December 1, 2003 by K. Eric Drexler

In this third in a series of letters addressing molecular assemblers, Eric Drexler responds to Prof. Richard Smalley’s response to Drexler’s original open letter. Countering Smalley’s argument that solution-phase chemistry is required, Drexler explains that nanofactories are instead based on mechanosynthesis — “machine-phase” chemistry — and “need no impossible fingers to control the motion of individual atoms within reactants.”… read more

Our Bodies, Our Technologies: Ray Kurzweil’s Cambridge Forum Lecture (Abridged)

March 16, 2006 by Ray Kurzweil

In the 2020s, we’ll see nanobots, blood-cell-sized devices that can go inside the body and brain to perform therapeutic functions. But what happens when we have billions of nanobots inside the capillaries of our brains, non-invasively, widely distributed, expanding human intelligence, or providing full-immersion virtual reality?… read more

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