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How to Build a Virtual Human

October 20, 2003 by Peter Plantec

Virtual Humans is the first book with instructions on designing a “V-human,” or synthetic person. Using the programs on the included CD, you can create animated computer characters who can speak, dialogue intelligently, show facial emotions, have a personality and life story, and be used in real business projects. These excerpts explain how to get started.… read more

How to Change the World . . . Quickly

March 7, 2001 by John Petersen

Futurist John Petersen describes a powerful tool that organizations can use for making a desirable future happen, called “normative scenarios.”… read more

How to Live in a Simulation

January 14, 2002 by Robin Hanson

If you might be living in a simulation then all else equal you should care less about others, live more for today, make your world look more likely to become rich, expect to and try more to participate in pivotal events, be more entertaining and praiseworthy, and keep the famous people around you happier and more interested in you.… read more

How To Make a Nanodiamond: A Simple Tool for Positional Diamond Mechanosynthesis, and its Method of Manufacture

January 27, 2006 by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Robert A. Freitas Jr. has filed the first known patent application on positional mechanosynthesis, which is also the first on positional diamond mechanosynthesis. The “Freitas process” — more fully described here — is a method for building a tool for molecularly precise fabrication of physical structures. Methods of making diamondoid structures are detailed here, but the same toolbuilding process can be extended to other materials, mechanosynthetic processes, and structures. And those tools can be used to create bigger structures, which ….… read more

How to stop commercial air hijackings without inconveniencing air travelers

October 4, 2001 by Steve Kirsch

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch has an idea for preventing skyjacking: we install panic buttons that put the plane on forced autopilot, randomly select one of the nearest airports capable of accommodating that plane type, and automatically land the aircraft.… read more

How will computation and communication change our everyday lives, again?

January 21, 2002 by Rodney Brooks

How will we all be in the world 20 years from now, when we all have direct wireless connections to the Internet of that time with information services as yet unimaginable? Rodney Brooks 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

Human Body Version 2.0

February 16, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

In the coming decades, a radical upgrading of our body’s physical and mental systems, already underway, will use nanobots to augment and ultimately replace our organs. We already know how to prevent most degenerative disease through nutrition and supplementation; this will be a bridge to the emerging biotechnology revolution, which in turn will be a bridge to the nanotechnology revolution. By 2030, reverse-engineering of the human brain will have been completed and nonbiological intelligence will merge with our biological brains.… read more

Human Cloning is the Least Interesting Application of Cloning Technology

January 4, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Cloning is an extremely important technology–not for cloning humans but for life extension: therapeutic cloning of one’s own organs, creating new tissues to replace defective tissues or organs, or replacing one’s organs and tissues with their “young” telomere-extended replacements without surgery. Cloning even offers a possible solution for world hunger: creating meat without animals.… read more

Human Cloning is the Least of It

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

In this message posted to the WIRED Future List, Raymond Kurzweil asserts that cloning–replicating animals, organs, and cells–has profound implications for health and well-being of both humans and animals, including a possible solution for world hunger. He also sees no problem with human cloning.… read more

Humans and Machines Converge at ACM1

May 8, 2001 by Amara D. Angelica

Humanoid robots aren’t perfect, but they may have a thing or two to teach computers.… read more

I am the very model of a Singularitarian

January 17, 2006 by Amara D. Angelica

Charlie Kam has written and recorded a humorous Singularitarian version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General,” from the Gilbert & Sullivan opera, “The Pirates of Penzance.”… 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

If Uploads Come First

June 5, 2001 by Robin Hanson

What if we obtain the ability to upload our minds to an artificial medium? What if we can copy ourselves? In this 1994 essay, Robin Hanson looks at the possible social impacts of this question and how human values may evolve.… read more

If we are lucky, our pets may keep us as pets

January 18, 2002 by Brad Templeton

The first super-intelligent beings may not be based on humans at all, but on apes. Since moral and legal considerations will limit experimentation with human brain uploading, scientists may first turn to apes, and they may quickly enhance themselves. Could they become our overlords, la Planet of the Apes?… read more

Immortality

April 26, 2001 by Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda attempts to answer the question: are we mortal or immortal? If we are mortal, no further questions need be asked. But if we are immortal, what are the logical arguments that support this idea and what is it that endures after death? From his talk delivered over one hundred years ago.

What question has been asked a greater number of times, what idea has led men more to search the universe for an answer, what question is nearer and dearer to the human heart, what question is more inseparably connected with our existence, than this one, the immortality of the human soul? It has been the theme of poets and sages, of priests and prophets; kings on the throne have discussed it, beggars in the street have dreamt of it. The best of humanity have approached it, and the worst of men have hoped for it. The interest in the theme has not died yet, nor will it die so long a human nature exists. Various answers have been presented to the world by various minds. Thousands, again, in every period of history have given up the discussion, and yet the question remains fresh as ever. Often in the turmoil and struggle of our lives we seem to forget it, but suddenly some one dies — one, perhaps, whom we loved, one near and dear to our hearts, is snatched away from us — and the struggle, the din and turmoil of the world around us, cease for a moment, and the soul asks the old question, “What after this? What becomes of the soul?”

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