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The semantic engineer

April 20, 2004

Daniel Dennett is writing a new book opposing the rise of supernaturalism, to be called “Breaking the spell.”

It will attempt to extirpate supernaturalism. “I have absolutely no doubt that the secular and scientific vision is right and deserves to be endorsed by everybody, and as we have seen over the last few thousand years, superstitious and religious doctrines will just have to give way,” he said.

The Sensor Revolution

August 25, 2003

Sensor networks promise a mammoth extension of the Internet. Within five years, these sensor computers could be shrunk to the size of a grain of sand and deployed over much of the globe, resulting in thousands of new networks.

Look for them to be scattered across farms and battlefields to monitor minute chemical and temperature changes and slapped onto trucks and shipping boxes to trace inventory automatically. Such networks… read more

The sentient office is coming

June 29, 2003

Sentient computing systems are likely to be everywhere within five years –listening and watching, and ready to anticipate their users’ every need.

The Serious Search for an Anti-Aging Pill

July 25, 2002

A pill that mimics the life-prolonging effects of caloric restriction by inhibiting glucose metabolism could enable people to stay healthy longer, postponing age-related disorders — without requiring people to go hungry.

The Sex Singularity: When Machines Surpass Human Hotness

January 2, 2008

A Paul Spinrad short story explores the future of sexbots.

The Shape of Computer Chips to Come

May 2, 2002

As chips continue to shrink, researchers are combining the amazing properties of silicon with communications network research.

News tip: Walter Purvis

The Shape of Robots to Come

March 16, 2006

As robots increasingly migrate from heavy industrial tasks, like welding automobile chassis on assembly lines, to home uses as restless toys and venturesome vacuum cleaners, a fetching personality and appealing appearance become critically important.

The shortest artificial light burst in history

July 2, 2012

Attosecond laser pulse (credit: Imperial College London)

An advanced experimental system that can generate attosecond bursts of extreme ultraviolet light — the shortest controllable light pulses available to science — has been developed by researchers at Imperial College in London.

An attosecond is 10-18 second, or a billionth of a billionth of a second. With these pulses, it’s possible to measure the dynamics of electrons in matter in real-time.

Advances in attosecond science may enable scientists to… read more

The Shuttle’s successors

July 22, 2011

Boeing's CST-100 could serve as a taxi to the International Space Station Boeing's vehicle and also take paying passengers into space (credit: Boeing)

NASA is looking to the private sector to provide a new generation of space vehicles to take on the work of delivering crew and cargo to the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

Five of the possible successors: Boeing’s CST-100, SpaceX’s Dragon, Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser, NASA/Lockheed Martin’s MPCV, and Blue Origin’s Space vehicle.

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The Singularity and schools: an interview with Vernor Vinge

July 24, 2012

(Credit: Vernor Vinge)

John Moravec of Education Futures interviewed mathematician and science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge, noted for his foundational 1993 essay, “The Coming Technological Singularity.

“I’m still where I was in my 1993 essay that I gave at a NASA meeting, and that is that I define the Technological Singularity as being our developing, through technology, superhuman intelligence — or becoming, ourselves, superhuman intelligent through technology,” said Vinge.

“And,… read more

The Singularity and the Fixed Point

September 4, 2009

If one is trying to build an intelligent machine capable of devising more intelligent machines, a few guidelines are essential, says MIT professor Edward Boyden:

- Find a way to build in motivation, and also motivation amplification–the continued desire to build in self-sustaining motivation, as intelligence amplifies.

- Avoid paralysis of decision making from too many choices and a “societal fixed point” outcome that self-reinforces, remaining in the… read more

‘The Singularity Is Near’ now #14 on Amazon

October 2, 2005

Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near is now ranked #14 in sales among all books, #5 among all Non-Fiction books, #1 in Science, #1 in Technology, #1 in Evolution, #1 in Science History and Philosophy, and #1 in Computers and Internet, as of Sunday Oct. 2.

New media coverage of the book includes a review, “Here It Comes,” in the Wall Street Journal, and “Rayread more

The Singularity Is Near ranks in top-selling science and tech books in 2005

December 17, 2005

After an extended run as #1 on the Amazon.com science, technology, and philosophy lists since its publication, Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology ends 2005 as the fourth best-selling science book in 2005, even though published late in the year (September 26).

The book was also selected by the Amazon editors as #6 on their “Best Books of 2005: Science” list.… read more

The Singularity: A Talk With Ray Kurzweil

March 26, 2002

“We are entering a new era. I call it ‘the Singularity,’” says Ray Kurzweil in an interview just published on the Edge Web site.

The interview is available as a video, RealAudio file, and text transcript.

Excerpts from interview

The Singularity: Humanity’s Last Invention?

January 12, 2011

NPR interviewed Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft Research AI researchers for  Tuesday’s “All Things Considered.” (Audio)

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