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Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards

May 29, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom defines a new category of risks that could threaten humanity and intelligent life with extinction: existential risks. The future could be a dangerous place indeed.… read more

Another Formula for Intelligence: The Neural Net Paradigm

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

The neural net approach to artificial intelligence explained, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more

Intelligence, Computer and Human: A Discussion with Howard Gardner

October 2, 2001 by Howard Gardner, Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil and Howard Gardner discuss education, technology, pattern recognition and collecting electronic parts on Canal Street.… read more

How different could life have been?

January 21, 2002 by Richard Dawkins

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.” Richard Dawkins asks: how different could it all have been?… read more

Millennium 3000 Scenarios

March 13, 2002 by Theodore J. Gordon, Jerome C. Glenn

Experts in various areas were asked to speculate on life in the year 3000. Their ideas were compiled into six scenarios by two leading futurists for the Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. “The authors provide some insightful scenarios,” says Ray Kurzweil. “However, I feel that their time frames do not adequately reflect the accelerating pace of progress inherent in what I call the law of accelerating returns. The types of changes they describe for 2050 and 3000 respectively will arrive much earlier in my view, but the issues raised by such developments as femtotechnology and nonbiological intelligence are compellingly described.”… read more

What Shape are a German Shepherd’s Ears?

July 17, 2002 by Stephen M. Kosslyn

There is a gigantic project yet to be done that will root psychology in natural science and providing a better understanding of human nature. Once this is accomplished, you’ll be able to go from phenomenology to information processing to the brain, down through the workings of the neurons, including the biochemistry, all the way to the biophysics and the way genes are up-regulated and down-regulated.… 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

Foresight call to action

December 16, 2003 by Christine Peterson

Despite the revolutionary promise of molecular nanotechnology (MNT), the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) excludes explicit funding for MNT. The recent Drexler-Smalley debate in Chemical & Engineering News offers an opportunity to correct that. Foresight president Christine Peterson suggests how.… read more

THE AGE of INTELLIGENT MACHINES | Knowledge Processing–From File Servers to Knowledge Servers

February 21, 2001

This chapter from The Age of Intelligent Machines (published in 1990) addresses the history and development of AI, and where it was headed, circa 1990.… read more

The Transhumanist FAQ

April 30, 2001 by Nick Bostrom

This FAQ, written by Nick Bostrom (with the help of others—see endnote), outlines the principles of transhumanism and provides definitions of transhumanist terms and resources. This is one of many versions of the “Transhumanist FAQ” that can be found on many websites, per organization or individual.… read more

Techies vs. Neo-Luddites: Progress Action Coalition Formed

June 26, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

The neo-Luddites are out in force to block new technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. The extropians are organizing to defend progress.… read more

The Age of Knowledge

August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An illustration of the second industrial revolution written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal… read more

What is time, and what is the right language to describe change, in a closed system like the universe, which contains all of its observers?

January 21, 2002 by Lee Smolin

Since the observers are inside the universe itself, we must formulate a “background-independent” quantum theory of gravity and cosmology , as well as the notions of time and change, to apply to a system with no fixed background, which contains all its possible observers–perhaps even one in which the laws themselves evolve as the universe does. Lee Smolin responds to Edge publisher/editor John Brockman’s request to futurists to pose “hard-edge” questions that “render visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefine who and what we are.”… read more

Clottocytes: Artificial Mechanical Platelets

April 12, 2002 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Nanorobotic artificial mechanical platelets (“clottocytes”) may allow for complete hemostasis in as little as one second – 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural system and 10,000 times more effective in terms of bloodstream concentration. They could also work internally. Using acoustic pulses, a blood vessel break could be rapidly communicated to neighboring clottocytes, immediately triggering a progressive controlled mesh-release cascade.… read more

Deep Fritz Draws: Are Humans Getting Smarter, or Are Computers Getting Stupider?

October 20, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

The Deep Fritz computer chess software only achieved a draw in its recent chess tournament with Vladimir Kramnik because it has available only about 1.3% as much brute force computation as the earlier Deep Blue’s specialized hardware. Despite that, it plays chess at about the same level because of its superior pattern recognition-based pruning algorithm. In six years, a program like Deep Fritz will again achieve Deep Blue’s ability to analyze 200 million board positions per second. Deep Fritz-like chess programs running on ordinary personal computers will routinely defeat all humans later in this decade.… read more

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