essays collection By Author | A-Z

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The Law of Accelerating Returns

March 7, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.… read more

Singularity Q&A

December 9, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

techno human

Originally published in 2005 with the launch of The Singularity Is Near.

Questions and Answers

So what is the Singularity?

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated… read more

Globa: Accelerating technologies will create a global state by 2050

January 19, 2011 by Hugo de Garis


This essay argues that the exponential rate of technical progress will create within 40 years an Internet that is a trillion times faster than today’s, a global media, a global education system, a global language, and a globally homogenized culture, thus establishing the prerequisites for the creation of a global democratic state, “Globa,” and ridding the world of war, the arms trade, ignorance, and poverty. Whether Globa can coperead more

From cosmism to deism

January 18, 2011 by Hugo de Garis

The rise of artilects (artificial intellects, i.e., godlike massively intelligent machines with intellectual capacities trillions of trillions of times above the human level) in this century makes the existence of a deity (a massively intelligent entity capable of creating a universe) seem much more plausible.

There are now thousands of AI scientists around the world (concentrated largely in the English-speaking countries) who feel that… read more

The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine

February 21, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil predicts a future with direct brain-to-computer access and conscious machines. From Scientific American.… read more

Pattern survival versus gene survival

February 11, 2011 by Randal A. Koene


I decided to write this article after I found that many colleagues and participants whom I  spoke with at the recent Humanity+ (ref. R.A. Koene, 2010b) and Transvision (ref. R.A. Koene, 2010a) conferences were struggling with personal and strategic decisions when they considered what sort of future to strive for.

We are hampered by a historical dearth of attention to the very fundamentals that could support… read more

Can we develop and test machine minds and uploads ethically?

April 25, 2011 by Martine Rothblatt

A fundamental principle of bioethics requires the consent of a patient to any medical procedure performed upon them. A patient will exist the moment a conscious mindclone arises in some academic laboratory, or hacker’s garage. At that moment, ethical rules will be challenged, for the mindclone has not consented to the work being done on their mind. Does this situation create a catch-22 ethical embargo against developing cyber-consciousness?

There… read more

Understanding the Accelerating Rate of Change

May 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil, Chris Meyer

We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.… read more

The new era of health and medicine as an information technology is broader than individual genes

February 4, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

DNA multicolor

Is it time to rethink the promise of genomics? 

There has been recent disappointment expressed in the progress in the field of genomics. In my view, this results from an overly narrow view of the science of genes and biological information processing in general. It reminds me of the time when the field of “artificial intelligence” (AI) was equated with the methodology of “expert systems.” If someone referred to… read more

Femtotech: Computing at the femtometer scale using quarks and gluons

October 29, 2011 by Hugo de Garis

How the properties of quarks and gluons can be used (in principle) to perform computation at the femtometer (10^-15 meter) scale.

I’ve been thinking on and off for two decades about the possibility of a femtotech. Now that nanotech is well established, and well funded, I feel that the time is right to start thinking about the possibility of a femtotech.

You may ask, “What about picotech?”… read more

Memorandum For Members and Affiliates of the Intergalactic Computer Network

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

This memo sent from J.C.R. Licklider to his colleagues in 1963 explores the early challenges presented in trying to establish a time-sharing network of computers with the software of the era–ultimately, this vision would lead to ARPANet, the precursor of the Internet in use today. Will the future iterations lead to an Intergalactic Computer Network?… read more

Communicating with the universe

July 4, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica


Over the next million years, a descendant of the Internet will maintain contact with inhabited planets throughout our galaxy and begin to spread out into the larger universe, linking up countless new or existing civilizations into the Universenet, a network of ultimate intelligence. (updated)

Originally published in Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge.

The Earth has already input information to… read more

Utility Fog: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of

July 5, 2001 by J. Storrs Hall

Nanotech pioneer J. Storrs Hall’s original concept, the Utility Fog, consists of a swarm of nanobots (“Foglets”) that can take the shape of virtually anything, and change shape on the fly. Here he discusses the technical details and feasibility of this nanoconcept.… read more


March 2, 2003 by Peter B. Lloyd

Why, exactly, do the rebels have to enter the Matrix via the phone system (which after all doesn’t physically exist)? And what really happens when Neo takes the red pill (which also doesn’t really exist)? And how does the Matrix know what fried chicken tastes like? Technologist and philosopher Peter Lloyd answers these questions and more.… read more

Is the business cycle in your DNA?

July 4, 2010 by Howard Bloom

From The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism by Howard Bloom, Prometheus Books, 2009. Reprinted with permission.

Why bankers are like bacteria

What has tumbled you and me into the pit of the Great Recession of 2008-2010? What causes boom and bust? Does economic catastrophe come from a perverse monetary system, from capitalism, speculators, overpaid CEO’s and greed? Does it come from conspiracies of… read more

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