Experts were asked to describe normative (preferred) scenarios for technology, human development, and politics/economics in the year 2050. Their ideas were compiled into three 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 will arrive much earlier in my view.”… read more
April 9, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil ponders the issues of identity and consciousness in an age when we can make digital copies of ourselves.… read more
An addendum to predictions that appeared in The Age of Intelligent Machines, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in The Library Journal.
One of the advantages of being in the futurism business is that by the time your readers are able to find fault with your forecasts, it is too late for them to ask for their money back. Like the sorcerer who predicted he would live forever, he was never proven wrong – at least not during his lifetime.
Nonetheless, I like to monitor the progress of my predictions. I take satisfaction when projections that seemed so startling when first proposed become progressively less so as the world accommodates ever accelerating change.
June 4, 2002 by David Chalmers
Computation is central to the foundations of modern cognitive science, but its role is controversial. Questions about computation abound: What is it for a physical system to implement a computation? Is computation sufficient for thought? What is the role of computation in a theory of cognition? What is the relation between different sorts of computational theory, such as connectionism and symbolic computation? This article develops a systematic framework that addresses all of these questions. A careful analysis of computation and its relation to cognition suggests that the ambitions of artificial intelligence and the centrality of computation in cognitive science are justified.… read more
September 27, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil
In preparation for the New York Times article, “In the Next Chapter, Is Technology an Ally?,” Ray Kurzweil engaged in a conversation with computer scientist Peter Neumann, science fiction author Bruce Sterling, law professor Lawrence Lessig, retired engineer Severo Ornstein, and cryptographer Whitfield Diffie, addressing questions of how technology and innovation will be shaped by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.… read more
If you were offered physical immortality as a “Wallerstein brain” (a human brain maintained in a jar interfacing to a virtual reality through its sensory and motor neurons), would you accept it? The question came up in an email dialogue about reincarnation between Ray Kurzweil and Steve Rabinowitz, a practicing attorney in New York City (which he says may explain his need to believe in reincarnation).… read more
August 6, 2001 by Ray Kurzweil
An explanation of the recursive approach to artificial intelligence, written for “The Futurecast,” a monthly column in the Library Journal.… read more
In a recent Red Herring magazine article, writer Geoffrey James said “pundits can’t stop hyping the business opportunities of artificial intelligence” and described AI as a “technological backwater.” Ray Kurzweil challenges this view, citing “hundreds of examples of narrow AI deeply integrated into our information-based economy” and “many applications beginning to combine multiple methodologies,” a step towards the eventual achievement of “strong AI” (human-level intelligence in a machine).… 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