MOORE'S LAW: ADVANCES IN COMPUTING UPLOADING: EXPERIMENTS CHALLENGES: ETHICS
LIMITS: LIMITS OF COMPUTATION SCALABILITY: SELF-UNDERSTANDING CHALLENGES5: LEFT
POWERING: ENERGY/POWER CONSCIOUSNESS: QUALIA CHALLENGES: RIGHT
TEMPLATES OF INTELLIGENCE: CREATING STRONG AI CONSCIOUSNESS: WHO AM I? EXPANDINGLIFE: EXPONENTIAL GROWTH/font>
REVERSE ENGINEERING: SCANNING AND REVERSE ENGINEERING ESCHATOLOGY: PREDICTIONS SETI: SPREADING TO UNIVERSE
BUILDING MODELS: BRAIN REVERSE ENGINEERING CHALLENGES: CHALLENGES INTELLIGENCE: FATE OF UNIVERSE
UPLOADING: UPLOADING CHALLENGES: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PRODUCTIVITY  
MOORE'S LAW: ADVANCES IN COMPUTING
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Self-Assembled, Deterministic Carbon Nanotube Wiring Networks
Diehl, Michael R., et al, "Self-Assembled, Deterministic Carbon Nanotube Wiring Networks." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2002.
Web Site
A room-temperature, minimal-lithography technique for chemically assembling small deterministic crossbars of SWNT ropes.
Spintronics
Awschalom,David D., Flatté, Michael E. and Samarth, Nitin. 2002. "Spintronics", Scientific American. June. pp 67-73.
Web Site
From Scientific American, "Microelectronic devices that function by using the spin of the electron are a nascent multibillion dollar industy - and may lead to quantum microchips."
The Lives and Death of Moore's Law
Tuomi, Ilkka, "The Lives and Death of Moore's Law." First Monday, November 2002.
Web Site
Reviews the various interpretations of Moore's Law and empirical evidence that could support them, and concludes that as semiconductors are becoming important in economy and society, Moore's Law is now becoming an increasingly misleading predictor of future developments.
Moore's Law
Silicon: Moore's Law. Intel Corp. 2003.
Web Site
Chart showing number of transistors for Intel processors, demonstrating Moore's Law
Fate of Moore's Law tops ISSCC agenda
Ohr, Stephan, "Fate of Moore's Law tops ISSCC agenda." EE Times, February 9, 2003.
Web Site
Moore surveys the history and future of his eponymous 1967 rule of thumb for the 50th convocation of the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.
No Exponential is Forever … but We Can Delay ‘Forever’
Moore, Gordon, No Exponential is Forever…but We Can Delay ‘Forever,' , slideshow presentation
Web Site
Graphics and charts demonstrating Moore's Law.
What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Charts: Singularity and its Meanings
Steffen, Alex, "What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Charts: Singularity and its Meanings," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Overview of the issues surrounding the approaching Singularity.
What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Charts: Singularity and its Meanings (Part 2)
Steffen, Alex, "What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Charts: Singularity and its Meanings," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Overview of the issues relevant to the approaching Singularity.
Molecular Compasses and Gyroscopes with Polar Rotors: Synthesis and Characterization of Crystalline Forms
Dominguez, Zaira, et al, "Molecular Compasses and Gyroscopes with Polar Rotors: Synthesis and Characterization of Crystalline Forms." J. AM. CHEM. SOC., March 21, 2003.
Highly convergent synthesis and solid-state characterization of six crystalline "molecular compasses."
Cramming more components onto integrated circuits
Moore, Gordon, "Cramming more components onto integrated circuits." Electronics, April 19, 1965.
Web Site
Moore peers into the future and predicts that integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers.
Long-Term Productivity Mechanisms of the Semiconductor Industry
Goodall, Randal, "Long-Term Productivity Mechanisms of the Semiconductor Industry." American Electrochemical Society Semiconductor Silicon 2002 Proceedings, May 2002.
In addition to the well-known productivity measure, $/transistor, other functional cost metrics are described that play a role in the semiconductor industry’s continued success.
Long-Term Productivity Mechanisms of the Semiconductor Industry
Goodall, Randal, "Long-Term Productivity Mechanisms of the Semiconductor Industry," American Electrochemical Society Semiconductor Silicon 2002 Proceedings, May 2002.
Two charts: "Speed history of microprocessors" and "Bit changes per second trend."
Computing's Big Shift: Flexibility in the Chips
Markoff, John, "Computing's Big Shift: Flexibility in the Chips." New York Times, June 16, 2003.
Web Site
The new adaptive paradigm will allow for faster/lower power/lighter/smaller/cheaper multipurpose chips and faster design cycles.
Construction bugs find tiny work
Pearson, Helen. "Construction bugs find tiny work." Nature, July 11, 2003.
Web Site
Severed bacterial arms do nanoscale building.
International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, 2002 Update
"International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, 2002 Update," ITRS
Web Site
Predicts the main trends in the semiconductor industry spanning across 15 years in the future.
Darpa head expresses skepticism about quantum computing
Wilson, Ron, "Darpa head expresses skepticism about quantum computing." EE Times, August 20, 2003.
Web Site
Following the Moore's Law curve toward an eventual physics-induced train wreck somewhere near 25 nm, Leheny forecast that the computing power on a single die would approach that of the largest "gymnasium-sized machines" available today. Noting that IBM's most recent supercomputer had defeated chess masters, he suggested that before the end of scaling single chips would emerge that would be capable of something approaching human thought.
Expanding Moore's Law, The Exponential Opportunity
Moore, Gordon, Expanding Moore's Law, The Exponential Opportunity, Intel, Fall 2002 update.
Web Site
Good graphics and charts demonstrating Moore's Law.
50 Years of Army Computing: From ENIAC to MSRC
Bergin, Thomas, ed., "50 Years of Army Computing: From ENIAC to MSRC,"Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Ordnance Center & School, September 2000.
Web Site
Historical overview of Army computing efforts beginning with ENIAC.
IT Markets: Success to Succession
Wright, Chris, and Dawood, Issam, "IT Markets: Success to Succession," Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada, September 24, 2003.
The first 50 years of the Information Age are separated into the Hardware and Software Micro-ages. It is suggested that the dawning Wetware Micro-age (i.e. user training oriented) will profoundly affect information markets and practises.
Towards the National Virtual Observatory
"Towards the National Virtual Observatory," National Virtual Observatory Science Definition Team Report, April, 2002
The Virtual Observatory concept represents an organized, coherent approach to the transition to a new, information-rich astronomy for the 21st century.
Exponential or asymptotic?
Hutchinson, Martin, "Exponential or asymptotic?," Bear's Lair, July 8, 2002.
Web Site
The author asserts that the United States is today primarily an asymptotically growing economy.
Internet Data Traffic
Internet traffic growth: Sources and implications, A. M. Odlyzko. Bradbury, Robert, "Optical Transmission Systems and Equipment for WDM Networking II," B. B. Dingel, W. Weiershausen, A. K. Dutta, and K.-I. Sato, eds., Proc. SPIE,, vol. 5247, 2003,
Traffic on Internet backbones in U.S.. For each year, shows estimated traffic in terabytes during December of that year.
Moore’s Law Technology and Economics
Chen, Mung. Moore’s Law Technology and Economics. PowerPoint presentation. Intel Corp. 2003.
PowerPoint presentation by Mung Chen, Manager, New Tech Planning, Technology Manufacturing Group, Intel 6/29/03
Transcending Moore's Law with Molecular Electronics and Nanotech
Jurvetson, Steve, "Transcending Moore's Law with Molecular Electronics and Nanotech" Nanotechnology Law & Business, March 2004
Web Site
Nanotechnology is the next great technology wave and the next phase of Moore’s Law, and a great time to invest in startups.
LIMITS: LIMITS OF COMPUTATION
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Matrioshka Brain Home Page
Bradbury, R. J., "Matrioshka Brain Home Page" (1998).
Web Site
Bradbury references a number of papers authored by himself and others related to the limits on solar system sized computers and some ultimate computing limits.
The Physics of Information Procssing Superobjects: Daily Life Among the Jupiter Brains
Sandberg, A., "The Physics of Information Procssing Superobjects: Daily Life Among the Jupiter Brains", Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol. 5, December 22, 1999
Web Site
Dr. Sandberg discusses some of the most powerful computing structures that can be imagined and some of the limits that the laws of physics place on their computational capabilities.
Blue Gene Project Update
Blue Gene Project Team, "Blue Gene Project Update", IBM, January 2002
Web Site
PDF document that briefly describes IBM's Blue Gene architectures and there importance to various aspects of scientific work.
IBM details Blue Gene supercomputer
Shankland, S. "IBM details Blue Gene supercomputer", CNET news.com, May 2003
Web Site
Details of the plans IBM has for building a computer (Blue Gene/L) to attain 180 to 360 teraflops by the end of 2004. Briefly mentions Blue Gene/P - a petaflop computer.
Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process
Landauer, R. "Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process, "IBM Journal", pp 183-191 (July, 1961).
Discussion about the fundamental limits that irreversible computing and heat generation it causes (by erasing bits) place on speed and random access times.
The Fundamental Physical Limits of Computation
Bennet, C. H., Landauer, R., "The Fundamental Physical Limits of Computation", Scientific American Vol. 253 pp 48-56 (July 1985).
Web Site
Discusses some of the fundamental limits on computational capacity.
Of Chemistry, Love, and Nanobots
Smalley, Richard, "Of Chemistry, Love, and Nanobots," Scientific American, September, 2001
How soon will we see the nanometer-scale robots envisaged by K. Eric Drexler and other molecular nanotechologists? The simple answer is never.
POWERING: ENERGY/POWER
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Sustainable Energy - Uranium, Electricity and Greenhouse
Uranium Information Center, Ltd, "Sustainable Energy - Uranium, Electricity and Greenhouse", (June 2001).
Web Site
A brief summary of greenhouse gases, world energy usage and why switching to uranium as a greater source for our energy needs would be useful
Nanotechnology, S&T Workforce, Energy & Prosperity
Smalley, Richard E., Ph.D., Nanotechnology, S&T Workforce, Energy & Prosperity, Nanotechnology Roundtable and Work Plan Discussion, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, March 3, 2003
Web Site
Slides cover population growth, GDP, and energy supply and demand forecasts.
TEMPLATES OF INTELLIGENCE: CREATING STRONG AI
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How Long Before Superintelligence?
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This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence within this century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance; ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological brains; how difficult it will be neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to make this approach work; and how fast we can expect superintelligence to be developed once there is human-level artificial intelligence.
When Machines Outsmart Humans
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Artificial intelligence is a possibility that should not be ignored in any serious thinking about the world in 2050. This article outlines the case for thinking that human-level machine intelligence might well be appear in that time frame. It then explains four immediate consequences of such a development, and argues that machine intelligence would have a revolutionary impact on a wide range of the social, political, economic, commercial, technological, scientific and environmental issues that humanity will face in the next century.
Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards
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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.
AI and Sci-Fi: My, Oh, My!
  Web Site
A lot of science fiction has been exploring lately the concept of uploading consciousness as the next, and final, step in our evolution, says SF writer Robert Sawyer, who reveals the real meaning of the film 2001: the ultimate fate of biological life forms is to be replaced by their AIs. Paging Bill Joy…
Human Beings as Chaotic Systems
Ives, Crystal. "Humans Beings as Chaotic Systems." Physics.orst.edu, NO DATE.
Web Site
One of the most commonly used metaphors in our society is the human body as a machine. At lunch we "fill our tanks" to "keep our motors running." Our hearts beat like "clockwork." A complex problem sets our "gears turning." Is the body simply a machine, as our reductionist tradition and modern language implies? Can we view ourselves as a conglomeration of replaceable "parts"? Discoveries in chaos theory are leading scientists to believe that this is not the case. The intricacies of the human body have amazed scientists for generations. Innumerable, entwined feedback loops regulate our internal processes, keeping us within the narrow bounds needed for survival. Despite this regulation, our systems are aperiodic and unpredictable in the long term. We are incredibly ordered on several scales of magnitude, but irregularly so. Our bodies conform to a set of non-linear, dynamic rules. The human body is not a simple machine, but an amazingly complex chaotic system.
Genetic Algorithms
Holland, John H. "Genetic Algorithms." Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Undated.
Web Site
The creator of Genetic Algorithms, John Holland, explains how they work and the unexpected behaviors and results that can emerge.
Minds, Machines and Godel
Lucas, J.R. “Minds, Machines and Godel”, Philosophy, Vol. 36, 1961 (Essay quoted in the 20th anniversary edition of GEB, p. 388-389. The last three pages of the chapter entitled, “Minds and Thoughts.”)
Web Site
The central point among all of the many points this essay makes relates to something Turing said about machine intelligence: Self awareness may be a matter of complexity. Current machines may not be able to "close the loop" and reflect upon their own "thinking" because that would require adding another part to the machine to do the reflection and then another part to reflect on the reflection and so on. This isn't the case with us. We reflect upon our own reflections without, apparently, adding any additional hardware. We close the loop. But we may be able to close the loop because of the intense complexity of the brain that results in an emergent behavior that we don't yet understand. The essay also touches upon the question at the heart of Strong AI: Can a machine attain the same capability. Lucas doesn't conclusively prove anything in this passage, but he rasises intriguing questions.
Pigs In Cyberspace
Moravec, Hans. "Pigs in Cyberspace." Dutch Transhumanist Society, May 1992.
Web Site
A far-flung look into the distant future, how it might unfold and the place artificial intelligence will play in it.
Will Robots Inherit the Earth?
Minsky, Marvin. "Will Robots Inherit the Earth?." Scientific American, October 1994.
Web Site
Everyone wants wisdom and wealth. Nevertheless, our health often gives out before we achieve them. To lengthen our lives, and improve our minds, in the future we will need to change our our bodies and brains. To that end, we first must consider how normal Darwinian evolution brought us to where we are. Then we must imagine ways in which future replacements for worn body parts might solve most problems of failing health. We must then invent strategies to augment our brains and gain greater wisdom. Eventually we will entirely replace our brains -- using nanotechnology. Once delivered from the limitations of biology, we will be able to decide the length of our lives--with the option of immortality-- and choose among other, unimagined capabilities as well. -- Marvin Minsky
When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain
Moravec, Hans. "When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain." Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol.1. 1998.
Web Site
Hans Moravec explains what he feels it takes for a machine to be as intelligent as we are, and why.
Artifical Voice System Says Hello
Graham-Rowe, D. "Artificial Voice System Says Hello." NewScientist.com, May 2, 2001.
Web Site
Researcher Hideyuki Sawada at Japan's Kagawa University is attempting to recreate the physical mechanisms for the way humans talk so that machines will sound and speak more naturally. His system mimics a human lung using an air tank which forces air into a plastic voice-box chamber, where it makes rubber "vocal cords" vibrate (see article's diagram). The basic sounds generated in the voice box are then fed to a flexible tube that imitates a human vocal tract. From the article: "The sound this produces depends on the speed of the airflow, the tension of the rubber vocal cord and the shape of the vocal tract's cross-section. The tract is made from a flexible silicone tube, so that motor- powered rams positioned along it can alter its shape. Our throats and mouths work in a similar way to damp out certain frequencies generated by the vocal cords."
Ethics for Intelligent Machines: A Proposal
Bostrom, Nick. "Ethics for Intelligent Machines: A Proposal." NickBostrom.com, October 2001.
Web Site
This is an ethical and philosophical look at Artificial Intelligence and society in the future. Four scenarios are proposed.
Autonomic Computing Manifesto: IBM's Perspective on the State of Information Technology
Horn, Paul. "Autonomic Computing Manifesto: IBM's Perspective on the State of Information Technology." IBM, 10/01/2001
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The information technology boom can only explode for so long before it collapses on itself in a jumble of wires, buttons and knobs. IBM knows that increasing processor might, storage capacity and network connectivity must report to some kind of systemic authority if we expect to take advantage of its potential. The human body's self-regulating nervous system presents an excellent model for creating the next generation of computing, autonomic computing -- computing systems that regulate themselves and remove complexity from the lives of administrators and users. --Excerpted from IBM's summary
Evolutionary Emergence: The Struggle for Existence in Artificial Biota
Channon, Alastair. "Evolutionary Emergence: The Struggle for Existence in Artificial Biota." Channon.net, November 2001.
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Computational natural selection, in which the phenotype to fitness mapping is an emergent property of the evolving environment and competition is biotic rather than abiotic, is a paradigm that aims towards the creation of open-ended evolutionary systems. Within such an environment, increasingly complex behaviours can emerge. -- Alastair Channon
Computer Crack[s] Funnier Than Many Human Jokes
Knight, Will. "Computer crack[s] funnier than many human jokes." NewScientist.com, December 20, 2001.
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An experiment to uncover the world's funniest jokes has found that some computer-generated gags can be more amusing than those thought up by humans. The Laugh Lab survey is is trying to search out the world's funniest jokes. Researchers at Edinburgh University's computer science laboratory contributed five computer-generated gags. These are characterized by simple word play and most were voted to be very poor, such as "What kind of line has sixteen balls? A pool cue!" However one computer gag: "What kind of murderer has moral fiber? A cereal killer," did surprisingly well, ranking higher than a third of all other jokes. Jason Rutter, a research fellow at Manchester University, says: "Humor is a very interesting way to look at artificial intelligence because at some point something has to have two meanings, which is not easy to do with a computer." Laugh Lab organizer Richard Wiseman, points out that the computers used to create the entries are programmed to play with the meaning of words but are not able to judge funniness themselves. Were a computer able to do this, it could perhaps be considered intelligent." It might be the ultimate Turing test.
Computerizing Common Sense
"Computer boffins pop AI's $60m question." IOL.co.za, June 9, 2002 OR "Computerizing Common Sense." Computerworld , April 8, 2002.
Web Site
Both pieces: The Cyc project, now 18 years old, has been attempting to build an enormous database of commonsense knowledge into a AI system that can begin to approach the kind of commons sense knowldege we take for granted. It codiefies the knowledge contained in a sentence like, "People stop buying things after they die," into formal computer logic.
Architecture for Intelligent Systems
Sowa, J. F. "Architecture for Intelligent Systems." IBM Systems Journal, April 15, 2002.
Web Site
This paper proposes a framework for intelligent systems that consist of specialized components together with logic-based languages that can express propositions then dynamically change the architecture of the system to react to those propositions in three ways: 1: a human knowledge engineer who specifies a script of speech acts that determine how the components interact; 2: a planning component that generates the speech acts to redirect the other components; or 3: by a committee of components, which might include human assistants, whose speech acts serve to redirect one another. The components communicate by sending messages to a blackboard, in which components accept messages that are either directed to them or that they consider themselves competent to handle.
Software Gambler Takes on the Tipsters
Marks, Paul. "Software gambler takes on the tipsters." NewScientist.com, December 11, 2002.
Web Site
Using a neural network, Alan McCabe, an IT researcher at James Cook University in northern Queensland, has developed a software-based results tipster for Australian Rugby League - although it could just as easily be adapted for soccer, baseball or cricket. The program outperforms the best human tipsters.
Evolving Inventions
Koza, John R.,Keane, Martin A., Streeter, Matthew J. "Evolving Inventions." Scientific American, February 2, 2003.
Web Site
John Koza's team has created genetic programs (which are different from genetic algorithms) that have duplicated 15 previously patented inventions, including several that were hailed as seminal in their respective fields when they were first announced. Six of the 15 were patented after January 2000 by major research institutions, an indication that they represent cutting edge technology. Some represent new inventions by duplicating the functionality of the earlier device in a novel way. One is a clear improvement over its predecessor. Says the article: "Genetic programming has also classified protein sequences and produced human-competitive results in a variety of areas, such as the design of antennas, mathematical algorithms and general-purpose controllers. We have recently filed for a patent for a genetically evolved general-purpose controller that is superior to mathematically derived controllers commonly used in industry."
Models of Intelligent Systems. Lecture 4: The Artificial Intelligence Debate. Lecture Notes.
Bird, Dick. "Models of Intelligent Systems. Lecture 4: The Artifical Intelligence Debate: Lecture Notes." Psychology.unn.ac.uk, Feburary 27, 2003.
Web Site
Objective: To give an appreciation of the main issues in the debate about artificial intelligence.
Staring into the Singularity
Yudkowsky, Eliezer S. "Staring into the Singularity." Sysopmind.com, May 27, 2001.
Web Site
Yudkowsky's own words sum up the substance of this essay: "If computing speeds double every two years, what happens when computer-based AIs are doing the research? Computing speed doubles every two years. Computing speed doubles every two years of work. Computing speed doubles every two subjective years of work. Two years after Artificial Intelligences reach human equivalence, their speed doubles. One year later, their speed doubles again. Six months - three months - 1.5 months ... Singularity. Plug in the numbers for current computing speeds, the current doubling time, and an estimate for the raw processing power of the human brain, and the numbers match in: 2021."
Computer Heal Thyself
Fox, Armando; Patterson, David. "Computer Heal Thyself." Scientific American, June 2003
Web Site
Digital computing performance has improved 10,000-fold in the past two decades. That means that what took a year of number crunching in 1983 takes less than an hour nowadays, and a desktop computer from that era can't match the processing power of one of today's pdas. But the article says that increased complexity comes with a price. It means systems tend to break down more often as well as run more sophisticated programs faster. A group of scientists at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley is designing systems that recover rapidly when they break down. They call the approach recovery-oriented computing (ROC).
Nano-optics: Changing the Rules for Optical System Design
Kostal, Hubert. "Nano-optics: Changing the Rules for Optical System Design." Nanopto.com, June 2003.
Web Site
Unlike conventional bulk optics, which operate on a physical scale many times larger than the wavelengths of light used in optical communications, NanoOpto's modular nano-optics feature nano-scale structures much smaller than the wavelengths of light. These tiny structures interact "locally" with light to produce a wide range of optically useful effects, some familiar, others novel and unique to NanoOpto's technology. The revolutionarily small dimensions of nano-optics allow multi-layer integration, yielding complex optical components - on a chip - with a broad range of applications, and create fundamentally new approaches to optical system design.
MadSim - a tool for simulating biological neuronal networks
Mader, W., Ausborn, J., Straub, O., Stein, W., Universität Ulm, Abteilung Neurobiolog, "MadSim - a tool for simulating biological neuronal networks," Göttingen Neurobiology Conference, June 15, 2003
Web Site
A tool for simulating biological, neuronal networks. German researchers have created MadSim, which can pass depolarizing and hyperpolarizing currents through electrical synapses. From the site: "Further features include the selective export of simulation results in ASCII, easy comparison of simulation results, downward compatibility with BIOSIM and export and import of single neurons and selected parts of a network. Furthermore, graphical parameters like color, size and name of a neuron or the appearance of a result window can be modified." An interesting tool for simulating operating neurons in the brain.
Wheelchair Moves at the Speed of Thought
Graham-Rowe, Duncan. "Wheelchair Moves at the Speed of Thought." NewScientist, July 3, 2003.
Web Site
Severely disabled people who cannot operate a motorised wheelchair may one day get their independence, thanks to a system that lets them steer a wheelchair using only their thoughts.
Software Can Investigate Suspicious Deaths
Graham-Rowe, Duncan. "Software can investigate suspicious deaths." NewScientist.com, July 7, 2003.
Web Site
Researchers at the Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning in Edinburgh, UK have programmed a computer to investigate suspicious deaths. It can help detectives distinguish between deaths caused by murder, suicide, accident or natural causes. The idea is to help investigators undertake the difficult task of mentally juggling different crime scenarios. Right now detectives tend to try to confirm a single hypothesis that strikes them as most likely. This can lead to them asking witnesses leading questions rather than looking at all possible scenarios.
Computer Language Translation System Romances the Rosetta Stone
Och, Franz Joseph, "Computer Language Translation System Romances the Rosetta Stone," Information Sciences Institute, USC School of Engineering, July 24, 2003.
Web Site
USC computer scientist Franz Josef Och has developed a single system that can translate between any two languages.
Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorian. 1986. Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. Touchstone Books.
Web Site
A fascinating look at the evolution of the microbes that made us possible, how they have shaped all of life and even the rapidly evolving technologies all around us. Some truly startling insights about the future, especially in the books final chapters. To borrow a phrase from Lweis Thomas: it'll leave you "permanently startled" because it turns so much of our human centric points of view about evolution on theier head.
The Unseen Genome: Beyond DNA
Gibbs, Wayt. W., "The Unseen Genome: Beyond DNA." Scientific American, December 2003.
Web Site
Most organic traits are transmitted by genes in the DNA, but scientists have found a separate code in the genome written in chemical marks outside the DNA sequence that can have a dramatic effect on the health and appearance of oganisms. This epigentic code may explain why some disease skip generations or effect only one in pair of identical twins. This could have an effect on human intelligence and, very likely, the evolution of the brain.
REVERSE ENGINEERING: SCANNING AND REVERSE ENGINEERING
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Artifical Voice System Says Hello
Graham-Rowe, D. "Artificial Voice System Says Hello." NewScientist.com, May 2, 2001.
Web Site
Researcher Hideyuki Sawada at Japan's Kagawa University is attempting to recreate the physical mechanisms for the way humans talk so that machines will sound and speak more naturally. His system mimics a human lung using an air tank which forces air into a plastic voice-box chamber, where it makes rubber "vocal cords" vibrate (see article's diagram). The basic sounds generated in the voice box are then fed to a flexible tube that imitates a human vocal tract. From the article: "The sound this produces depends on the speed of the airflow, the tension of the rubber vocal cord and the shape of the vocal tract's cross-section. The tract is made from a flexible silicone tube, so that motor- powered rams positioned along it can alter its shape. Our throats and mouths work in a similar way to damp out certain frequencies generated by the vocal cords."
Ambitious plan to give sight to the blind
"Ambitious plan to give sight to the blind," press release from Sandia Laboratories, www.sandia.gov, September 5, 2002
Web Site
The idea is to create 1,000 points of light through 1,000 tiny MEMs [microelectromechanical systems] electrodes. The electrodes will be positioned on the retinas of those blinded by diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
Controlling Robots with the Mind
Nicolelis, Miguel A. L. and Chapin, John K., "Controlling Robots with the Mind," Scientific American, September 17, 2002
Web Site
People with nerve or limb injuries may one day be able to command wheelchairs, prosthetics and even paralyzed arms and legs by "thinking them through" the motions.
Cascade Back-Propagation Learning in Neural Networks
Cascade Back-Propagation Learning in Neural Networks, NASA Tech Brief Vol. 27, No. 5, May 1, 2003.
Web Site
Neural networks implemented in VLSI chips - major speed breakthrough.
Our Mind Electric?
Tipper, Liezel, "Our Mind Electric?," University of Surrey Press Release, May 17, 2002.
Web Site
Description of McFadden's theory that the mind is an electromagnetic field.
Our minds are radios
Anonymous, "Our minds are radios," HERO, Summer 2003
Web Site
Discussion of Professor Johnjoe McFadden's theory equating the conscious mind with the brain’s electromagnetic (em) field.
Wheelchair Moves at the Speed of Thought
Graham-Rowe, Duncan. "Wheelchair Moves at the Speed of Thought." NewScientist, July 3, 2003.
Web Site
Severely disabled people who cannot operate a motorised wheelchair may one day get their independence, thanks to a system that lets them steer a wheelchair using only their thoughts.
Consciousness - the hardest problem in science
Tipper, Liezel, "Consciousness - the hardest problem in science." University of Surrey Press Release, September 5, 2002.
Web Site
Review of McFadden's 2002 paper “The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (Cemi) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy?”, in which McFadden proposes an answer to the hard problem, claiming that awareness is electromagnetic field information, viewed from the inside.
Optical biopsies on horizon using noninvasive biomedical imaging technique developed by Cornell-Harvard group
"Optical biopsies on horizon using noninvasive biomedical imaging technique developed by Cornell-Harvard group" Cornell News, June 11, 2003
Web Site
An advance in biomedical imaging enables noninvasive microscopy scans through the surface of intact organs or body systems, producing images of diseased tissue at the cellular level with unprecedented detail.
"The Unseen Gene: Gems Among the Junk"
Gibbs, W.Wayt. "The Unseen Gene: Gems Among the Junk" Scientific American. November 2003. Pp. 47 – 53
Web Site
Scientists thought they had nearly fathomed DNA by focusing on the small part that contains blueprints for proteins.The remainder – 98 percent in humans – has often been dismissed as junk. But now rsearchers are discoverting two vast, but largely hidden, layers of information that affect inheritance, development and disease.. These hidden genes work work through RNA , rather than protein. These genes tend to be short and difficult to identify. But some of them play major roles in the health and developments of plants and animals. Active forms of RNA also help to regulate a separate “epigenetic” layer of heritable information that resides in the chromosomes but outside the dna sequence
"Noise boosts nanotube antennas"
Smalley, Eric, "Noise boosts nanotube antennas," Technology Research News, February 11/18, 2004
Web Site
Researchers at USC have shown that the right amount of noise can enable carbon nanotube transistors to detect weak electrical signals. This is the same effect -- stochastic resonance -- that neurons use to communicate in biological brains.
"New optical recording technique can see millisecond nerve impulses in healthy and diseased brains"
Segelken, Roger, "New optical recording technique can see millisecond nerve impulses in healthy and diseased brains," Cornell University press release, February 13, 2004.
Web Site
Combining multiphoton microscopy with specially developed dyes and a phenomenon called second-harmonic generation, biophysicists at Cornell University and Université de Rennes, France, have made high-resolution images of millisecond-by-millisecond signaling through nerve cells.
"C.U. Develops New Neuroscience Tools"
Hoffman, Vanessa, "C.U. Develops New Neuroscience Tools," Cornell Daily Sun, February 24, 2004
Web Site
Second harmonic imaging of membrane potential offers a new opportunity to watch neural circuits functioning in real time.
BUILDING MODELS: BRAIN REVERSE ENGINEERING
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Rapture of the Geeks: Funny Hats, Transcendent Wisdom, and the Singularity
Doctorow, Cory, "Rapture of the Geeks: Funny Hats, Transcendent Wisdom, and the Singularity," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Doctorow compares the Singularity to classic mystical belief systems.
Giving Robots the Gift of Sight
Kahney, Leander, "Giving Robots the Gift of Sight." Wired News, May 15, 2003.
Web Site
Patrick Andrews, managing director of Break-Step Productions, a Cambridge-based consultancy, says he has developed a shape-recognition system called Foveola that closely mimics the human visual system.
Brain Power
Shadbolt, Nigel, "Brain Power," IEEE Intelligent Systems, May/June 2003.
Web Site
Highlights some current key research areas and points out the variability in estimates of total neural connections.
Uniform polarity microtubule assemblies imaged in native brain tissue...
Dombeck, Daniel A., et al, "Uniform polarity microtubule assemblies imaged in native brain tissue...," PNAS Online, June 10, 2003.
Web Site
Second-harmonic generation (SHG) imaging provides a tool to investigate the kinetics and function of Microtubule (MT) ensemble polarity in dynamic native brain tissue structures and other subcellular motility structures based on polarized MTs.
Advanced Neural Implants and Control
Kipke, Daryl R., "Advanced Neural Implants and Control," www.darpa.mil, November 1, 2000
Web Site
Describes the efforts to develop new neural implant technologies to establish reliable, high-capacity, and long-term information channels between the brain and external world.
Unmaking Memories: Interview with James McGaugh
"Unmaking Memories: Interview with James McGaugh," Scientific American, December 22, 2003
In the sci-fi thriller Paycheck, an engineer has his memory erased after completing a sensitive job. Scientific American.com spoke with a leading neurobiologist to find out just how close scientists are to controlling recall.
UPLOADING: UPLOADING
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Notes Concepts on Uploading - Chip Walter
NO CITATION. ORIGINAL IDEAS BY CHIP WALTER.
 
Will Robots Inherit the Earth?
Minsky, Marvin. "Will Robots Inherit the Earth?." Scientific American, October 1994.
Web Site
Everyone wants wisdom and wealth. Nevertheless, our health often gives out before we achieve them. To lengthen our lives, and improve our minds, in the future we will need to change our our bodies and brains. To that end, we first must consider how normal Darwinian evolution brought us to where we are. Then we must imagine ways in which future replacements for worn body parts might solve most problems of failing health. We must then invent strategies to augment our brains and gain greater wisdom. Eventually we will entirely replace our brains -- using nanotechnology. Once delivered from the limitations of biology, we will be able to decide the length of our lives--with the option of immortality-- and choose among other, unimagined capabilities as well. -- Marvin Minsky
The Philosophy and Technology of Brain Uploading
Strout, Joseph. "The Philosophy and Technology of Brain Uploading." scifi-az.com, August 1, 1997.
Web Site
An exploration of the concept of mind uploading.
When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain
Moravec, Hans. "When Will Computer Hardware Match the Human Brain." Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol.1. 1998.
Web Site
Hans Moravec explains what he feels it takes for a machine to be as intelligent as we are, and why.
Levels and Loops: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience
Bell, Anthony. "Levels and Loops: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience." The Royal Society, Interval Research Corporation. 1999.
Web Site
Bell focuses on two things. One: You can't separate the physical from the information, at least in the brain. The two are so intertwined and interfere with one another so fundamentally that they work differently than a computer which uses separate hardware to run the software (information). Two: The brain (unlike a computer) does not work in a "feed-forward" sort of way. Cause does not always lead to effect, at least not in simple ways. Looking closely at the "interferences" within the brain may make it clearer that there are feed-forward effects within loops. We just haven't been able to to look this closely.
Uploading our Virtual Brain, the Possibilities of Simulating the Human Brain on Computers
Scheib, Vincent. "Uploading our Virtual Brain, the Possibilities of Simulating the Human Brain on Computers." scheib.net, February 17, 2000.
Web Site
Charles has always had difficulty remembering things. People's names, their birthdays, the spellings of words, proper grammar, important dates, history facts, et cetera - all are difficult for Charles. Recently, he started using an electronic device to assist him. It also, conveniently, does simple math much faster than Charles does. He cannot help wondering, however, how much better it would be if his mind could interface with a computer directly. What if he was simply aware of a computer, or maybe, what if he lived in a computer as a program? Technology is increasing in power faster than ever, how long could it be before Charles could upload himself into a computer? Would that be possible at all? --Vincent Scheib
Upload Your Mind
Kaufman, Ben. "Upload Your Mind." 2002.
Web Site
A computer can flawlessly recapitulate/capture brain processes. Kaufmann writes that a personal computer routinely performs ten billion operations in a second while a typical cell releases its electrical pulse only ten times in a second. But neurons are many and they operate in parallel. 100 billion brain cells splitting the pulse of each neuron among thousands of different axons. A further factor of 100 might be included to allow any information stored in the shape or amplitude of the pulses to be included. So you have 100 billion neurons, 10 pulses per neuron per second, 1000 signals per pulse, 100 bits of information per signal -- that means the human brain processes roughly one hundred million billion (10^17) operations per second -- 10,000 teraflops. This is a lot. Fast current supercomputers can perform 36 teraflops a second. However, Moore's Law (and the Law of Accelerating Returns) indicates that by 2020 computers will emerge with roughly the same processing speed as the human brain (see figure 1 on web page). Kaufman concludes that "there is no fundamental reason why a neuron couldn't be flawlessly mimicked by a solid-state, transistor-based device... nothing in the laws of physics forbids us from designing a microchip that performs the exact function of a specific neuron (to within, say, the level of thermal noise.)" Kaufman imagines (though he cautions uploading probably won't actually happen this way) that each neuron in an individual brain could someday be replaced by a microchip that perfectly mimics that neuron, all in Less than 1/100 second without any nasty effect on neighboring neurons. Do this 100 billion times, and you have a reverse-engineered digital version of yourself. You don't have to understand how the brain does what it does, you've just copied all of the information and the ways in which that information flows.
Remote Control
Hoag, Hannah, "Remote Control." Nature, June 19, 2003.
Web Site
Excellent survey of current DARPA research in neuroengineering.
Scientists develop technique that uses ultrafast lasers to obtain high-quality images of brain tissue
"Scientists develop technique that uses ultrafast lasers to obtain high-quality images of brain tissue," UCSD Science and Engineering Press Release, July 2, 2003.
Web Site
A new tool to map the production of neurotransmitters and other proteins involved in communication between cells and normal cell function and create a 3-D image of the tissue.
Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorian. 1986. Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. Touchstone Books.
Web Site
A fascinating look at the evolution of the microbes that made us possible, how they have shaped all of life and even the rapidly evolving technologies all around us. Some truly startling insights about the future, especially in the books final chapters. To borrow a phrase from Lweis Thomas: it'll leave you "permanently startled" because it turns so much of our human centric points of view about evolution on theier head.
UPLOADING: EXPERIMENTS
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Center for Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) Research Guide
"Center for Neurobiological Basis of Cognition (CNBC) Research Guide." Joint project of University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
Web Site
This is a site from the Center for the Neural Basis of Consciousness which provides an overview of the work being done there. It focuses on how the brain creates higher cognitive functions; nice combination of bits and molecules.
Brain Networks Laboratory
"Brain Networks Laboratory." Texas A & M University; Department of Computer Science;
Web Site
The Brain Networks Laboratory is affiliated with the Computer Science Division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). Directed by Bruce H. McCormick, the laboratory is part of the Department of Computer Science at Texas A&M University and is located in the H. R. Bright Building on the College Station campus. The predecessor of the laboratory, the Scientific Visualization Laboratory, was established in 1987 as a result of Dr. McCormick's participation as chair of the NSF panel that recommended a national program in scientific visualization. The laboratory was recently renamed to reflect its research focus today on brain mapping and cortical network modeling.
The Molecular Repair of the Brain
Merkle, Ralph C. "The Molecular Repair of the Brain" Merkle.com, January 1, 1994.
Web Site
Ralph Merkle describes a way for the brain to be probed while frozen by systematically removing each molecule, repairing it, if necessary, or replacing it with a new molecule and then returning it to its rightful place.
Brain Backup Report Parts 1 and 2
Bozzonetti, Yvan. "Brain Backup Report." Longevity Books, United Kingdom. October 4, 1994.
Web Site
Report Mission Statement: To debate the issues around the concept of backing up the human brain by scanning and recording the program and data therein, including practical techniques.
Tackling the Brain's Genetic Complexity
Cepko, Constance L. "Tackling the Brain's Genetic Complexity." Nature Neuroscience, November 2001.
Web Site
Neuroscientists will be able to use both SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) and microarrays to make a catalogue of the cell types that comprise the brain. This should take us a good deal closer to uploading.
Mind Uploading Page on the Web
  Web Site
The Mind Uploading home page is dedicated to the putative future process of copying one's mind from the natural substrate of the brain into an artificial one, manufactured by humans. This technology will radically alter society in many ways, as science fiction authors have begun to illustrate. Through this server, explore the science behind the science fiction!
Reverse-engineering the Brain Might Finally Lead to Smarter Computers
Walter, Chip. "Reverse-engineering the brain might finally lead to smarter computers." Discover, Vol. 23 No. 12, December 2002.
Web Site
A look at three efforts to reverse engineer the brain - an artificial retina, destructive brain scanning at 200 nanometers (Texas A&M) and living scans of animal and eventually the human brain using MRI (CalTech).
Goal Directed Magnetic Resonance Brain Micro-Imaging
"Goal Directed Magnetic Resonance Brain Micro-Imaging." The Human Brain Project at Caltech. No date.
Web Site
CalTech (the home of Richard Feynman) is working on mapping the human brain (and others) in detail on three fronts: Analysis of neuronal connectivity; atlases of the developing brain; creating software that will knit all of the imaging together into a high resolution atlas. Designed to combine multiple kinds of imaging and scansinto a master brain map.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience - Awardees
"The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. 2002-2003 Awardees." The McNight Foundation. No date.
Web Site
Links to scientists who won McKnight awards for groundbreaking neuroscience work. Awardees include Bernardo Sabatini , M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston for developing molecules that emit light when neurons make proteins, and a microscope to view the process deep within the living brain. Karel Svoboda , Ph.D., associate professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, for developing molecular tools to improve the study of brain circuitry.
Automated Reconstruction of Three-dimensional Neuronal Morphology from Laser Scanning Microscopy Images
Rodriguez, Alfredo; Ehlenberger, Douglas; et al. "Automated Reconstruction of Three-dimensional Neuronal Morphology from Laser Scanning Microscopy Images Methods." Science Direct. Methods Volume 30, Issue 1, Pages 1-106. Academic Press. May 2003.
Web Site
Outlines technique for automating reconstruction of 3D brain map using confocal and multiphoton laser scanning. Can represent both global and local structural variations, with enough res for accurate 3D analyses and realistic biophysical modeling. Provides tool for automated digitization and reconstruction of brain area that captures detail on spatial scales spanning several orders of magnitude, and that runs on a standard desktop workstation!
Neuroengineering: Remote control
Hoag, Hannah. "Neuroengineering: Remote control." Nature, June 19, 2003.
Web Site
A survey of current DARPA research in neuroengineering from Nature 19 June 2003. Key ideas: * DARPA allocated US $24 million - almost 10% of DARPA's basic research budget to interface brain and machine * Brain-to-brain communication is ultimate goal: exchange images and sounds directly * Silicon to replace parts of our brain (hippocampus is first) <--- KEY DEVELOPMENT RE UPLOADING * Memory implants, allowing pilots to perform moves they may not actually have learned through traditional training.
Ultrafast Lasers Capture Brain Images
Kleinfeld, David. "Ultrafast Lasers Capture Brain Images." Photonics.com, July 3, 2003.
Web Site
A new technique using ultrafast lasers to slice and record images of brain tissue has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists headed by physicists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The technique provides a new way to automate and modernize the study of tissues at the microscopic level, and map the production of neurotransmitters and other proteins involved in communication between cells and normal cell function, which are produced in different regions of the brain.
SCALABILITY: SELF-UNDERSTANDING
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What are Complex Adaptive Systems?
Fryer, P. "What are Complex Adaptive Systems?" TrojanMice.com.
Web Site
Overview of Complexity theory. Differentiates between the merely complex and complex adaptive systems, those that adjust, evolve and learn (like the brain). Outlines the properties of Complex Adaptive Systems as: emergence, co-evolution, sub optimal performance, requisite variety, connectivity, simple rules, iteration etc...
Genetic Algorithms
Holland, John H. "Genetic Algorithms." Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Undated.
Web Site
The creator of Genetic Algorithms, John Holland, explains how they work and the unexpected behaviors and results that can emerge.
Minds, Machines and Godel
Lucas, J.R. “Minds, Machines and Godel”, Philosophy, Vol. 36, 1961 (Essay quoted in the 20th anniversary edition of GEB, p. 388-389. The last three pages of the chapter entitled, “Minds and Thoughts.”)
Web Site
The central point among all of the many points this essay makes relates to something Turing said about machine intelligence: Self awareness may be a matter of complexity. Current machines may not be able to "close the loop" and reflect upon their own "thinking" because that would require adding another part to the machine to do the reflection and then another part to reflect on the reflection and so on. This isn't the case with us. We reflect upon our own reflections without, apparently, adding any additional hardware. We close the loop. But we may be able to close the loop because of the intense complexity of the brain that results in an emergent behavior that we don't yet understand. The essay also touches upon the question at the heart of Strong AI: Can a machine attain the same capability. Lucas doesn't conclusively prove anything in this passage, but he rasises intriguing questions.
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Hofstadter, Douglas R.; Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; Basic Books, New York, New York, 1979.
Web Site
It comes down to this: How can a "self", a conscious being emerge from inanimate matter to go on to explore itself. Hofstadter explores so many angles, and uses so many creative tools (among them the works and thinking of Godel, Escher and Bach) on his journey, that startling insights are a natural result.
Beautifying Gödel
Hehner, E.C.R.: "Beautifying Godel", chapter 18; Beauty is our Business, a birthday tribute to Edsger Dijkstra, Springer-Verlag, 1990.
A brief paper that lays out Kurt Godel's Incompleteness Theorem in a simple and elegant way without doing damage to the math.
Complexity - The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
Walddrop, M. Complexity - The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, Simon and Schuster, 1992, New York, New York
Web Site
This book was written in the early days of the emergence of complexity theory (1992). Followed on the heels of James Gleick's Chaos and profiles several of the leading thinkers who founded the Sante Fe Institute. A good reference on complexity and the thinkers, including Steve Wolfram, Murray Gell-Mann, Chris Langton and Brian Arthur.
Emergence: From Chaos to Order
Holland, John H.,Emergence: From Chaos to Order, Oxford Univ Press; January 1, 1998
Web Site
This book works to explain how simple rules can beget complex results. Holland (based on reviews I've read, not on reading the book itself) attempts and mostly succeeds at explaining complex systems and how they can emerge from a relatively small set of simple rules (constrained generating procedures - cgp's) from life to brains to human affairs. He also holds that emergence theory can help us build a better world. If scientists can understand and apply the knowledge they gather from studying emergent systems, he wonders if we can use it to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and biological machines as well as control aspects of the world we've found elusive like economies, businesses, ecosystems, life and consciousness.
Complexity Theory
"Complexity Theory", h2g2, British Broadcasting Company Interactive, August 4, 1999.
Web Site
A straightforward description of how complexity emerges from simple systems.
Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination
Edelman, Gerald and Tononi, Giulio; Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination; Penguin Books; New York, New York; 2000.
Web Site
Edelman and Tononi tackle everything in this book. They don't shy away from any of the big questions and attempt, based on current research, to address how the brain delivers to us a sense of self. Theory is backed up with observation and experiments, some conducted at Edelman's Neurosciences Institute. Edelman and Tononi don't resolve everything at any stretch, but the thing about Edelman is he's daring yet rigorous.
CONSCIOUSNESS: QUALIA
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Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Hofstadter, Douglas R.; Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; Basic Books, New York, New York, 1979.
Web Site
It comes down to this: How can a "self", a conscious being emerge from inanimate matter to go on to explore itself. Hofstadter explores so many angles, and uses so many creative tools (among them the works and thinking of Godel, Escher and Bach) on his journey, that startling insights are a natural result.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness
Chalmers, David, J. 1995 "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness." Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3), 1995, pp. 200-219
Web Site
This piece outlines all of the various theories on qualia first, and then shoots them down. There's a lot of "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin" discussion in this piece (as well as other philosophical pieces on qualia) which gets us not very far. Chalmers, after a big wind up, ultimately admits that the so called easy problems of consciousness which he calls "awareness" as opposed to "experience" (qualia) can be, or will be explained, by physical capabilties. These include: "the ability to discriminate, categorize, and react to environmental stimuli; the integration of information by a cognitive system; the reportability of mental states; the ability of a system to access its own internal states; the focus of attention; the deliberate control of behavior; the difference between wakefulness and sleep." Finally, Chalmers argues (in section #6 ) that to develop a theory of experience (qualia) we have to take experience itself as a fundamental feature of the world, just as we take mass, electro-magnetism, and space-time as fundamental. He writes: "A nonreductive theory of experience will add new principles to the furniture of the basic laws of nature. These basic principles will ultimately carry the explanatory burden in a theory of consciousness. Just as we explain familiar high-level phenomena involving mass in terms of more basic principles involving mass and other entities, we might explain familiar phenomena involving experience in terms of more basic principles involving experience and other entities." He hits the nail on the head regarding the problem with developing a solid explanation about qualia when he writes, "There is an obvious problem that plagues the development of a theory of consciousness, and that is the paucity of objective data. Conscious experience is not directly observable in an experimental context, so we cannot generate data about the relationship between physical processes and experience at will." Ultimately Chalmers doesn't resolve the problem and he doesn't take as hard headed an approach as Edelman, but he does seem to agree that qualia are the result of physical interactions. Where he advances the thinking into new territory is when he invokes Shannon's theories about information. That information states exist (extrinsically) in information spaces. That there is a correlation beyween an "it" and a "bit" which means that experience has an objective correlate somehow, a thing that is being experienced, and if that is the case then it is not magical or empheral or beyond explanation - there must be something physical going on that takes that it and transforms it into a bit. But, what then of the thoughts that we ourselves fabricate within our own minds? Are these physical? When we think about ourselves, or our own thinking, do those things about which we have thoughts exist as part of the universe's information system, an in formation state in an information space? Do we transform a bit into an it and back again? This iterative quality of human reflection may be what makes the "hard problem" so hard. It oscillates, like a wave. When machines can do transform bits into its and its into bits again, they will indeed be spiritual.
Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness
Dennett, Daniel C. 1996. "Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness". Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1) (Special Issue - Part 2) 4-6
Web Site
Dennett takes on Chalmers and his assertion that experience (qualia) is the "hard problem" and it can only begin to be explained if you look at it as a fundamental property of the universe like mass and gravity, undeniably there, but still inexplicable (at least so far) scientifically. Dennett says that you can't separate the easy problem (explanations of awareness and perception like seeing and shifting attention) from the hard problem (the redness of red, the feeling of a breeze, sadness felt over a lost one). Dennett holds that detailed explanations of how we become aware, how we perceive (the easy problem) will result in the hard problem evaporating just as explanation of reproduction, growth, metabolism, immunology essentially help resolve the associated hard problem: what is life? It's cleverly done. Dennett's Abstract: The strategy of divide and conquer is usually an excellent one, but it all depends on how you do the carving. Chalmer's attempt to sort the "easy" problems of consciousness from the "really hard" problem is not, a useful contribution to research, but a major misdirector of attention, an illusion-generator. How could this be? Let me describe two somewhat similar strategic proposals, and compare them to Chalmers' recommendation.
Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination
Edelman, Gerald and Tononi, Giulio; Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination; Penguin Books; New York, New York; 2000.
Web Site
Edelman and Tononi tackle everything in this book. They don't shy away from any of the big questions and attempt, based on current research, to address how the brain delivers to us a sense of self. Theory is backed up with observation and experiments, some conducted at Edelman's Neurosciences Institute. Edelman and Tononi don't resolve everything at any stretch, but the thing about Edelman is he's daring yet rigorous.
Are Virtual Photons the Elementary Carriers of Consciousness
Romijn, Herms.2002. "Are Virtual Photons the Elementary Carriers of Consciousness?" Journal of Consciousness Studies Volume 9, No. 1.
Web Site
Abstract: Based on neurobiological data, modern concepts of self-organization and a careful rationale, the hypothesis is put forward that the fleeting, highly ordered patterns of electric and/or magnetic fields, generated by assemblies of dendritic trees of specialized neuronal networks, should be thought of as the end-product of chaotic, dynamically governed self-organization. Such patterns encode for subjective (conscious) experiences such as pain and pleasure, or perceiving colours. Because by quantum mechanical definition virtual photons are the theoretical constituents of electric and magnetic fields, the former hypothesis can be re-formulated as follows: it is the highly ordered patterns of virtual photons that encode for subjective (conscious) experiences. Arguments are then given that consciousness did not emerge during evolution only after neuronal networks had been formed able to generate electric and/or magnetic fields of sufficient complexity but, rather, that subjectivity already existed in a very elementary form as a fundamental property of the omnipresent virtual photons, i.e., of matter. The contribution of neuronal networks to consciousness was to generate highly ordered patterns of germs of subjectivity (virtual photons), so allowing complex subjective (conscious) experiences. Due to the omnipresence of virtual photons, it follows finally that the whole universe must be imbued with subjectivity. An experimental strategy is proposed to test the hypothesis.
ARE THERE NEURAL CORRELATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
NoĂ, Alva and Thompson, Evan. 2003. ARE THERE NEURAL CORRELATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS? Forthcoming in the Journal of Consciousness Studies
Pretty exhaustive look at the science and philosophy behind efforts to link the the brain to the mind. Multiple points of view prrsented.
Thinking About Thought
Scaruffi, Piero, 2003. Thinking about Thought.iUniverse.
Web Site
A survey of big thinking about the mind and consciousness heavily influenced by Scaruffi's believe that consciousness and menory is (in varying degrees) a property of all matter, living or not. he argues, for example that a piece of paper has a memory of sorts. If you bend it enough ot will fold and begin to "remember" the bending.
Qualia
Tye, Michael. "Qualia." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy., June 6, 2003.
Web Site
Summary and definition of qualia and key questions relating to it. What is it. Where does it come from. Can it be reduced to an anatomical explanation. History etc. A good primer.
Qualia
Tye, Michael, "Qualia", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2003 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
Web Site
A very solid explanation and discussion of qualia. What it is, examples, arguments regarding irriducibility. There are some nice thought experiments here (see section 4 ("Functionalism and Qualia") - the China-body thought experiment). From the article: Section 5: "Qualia and the Explanatory Gap." This sums up SOME of the theories on qualia and how we explain it (mostly from a philosophical point of view. "This is the famous "explanatory gap" for qualia (Levine 1983, 2000). Some say that the explanatory gap is unbridgeable and that the proper conclusion to draw from it is that there is a corresponding gap in the world. Experiences and feelings have irreducibly subjective, non-physical qualities (Jackson 1993, Chalmers 1996). Others take essentially the same position on the gap while insisting that this does not detract from a purely physicalist view of experiences and feelings. What it shows rather is that some physical qualities or states are irreducibly subjective entities (Searle 1992). Others hold that the explanatory gap may one day be bridged but we currently lack the concepts to bring the subjective and objective perspectives together. On this view, it may turn out that qualia are physical, but we currently have no clear conception as to how they could be (Nagel 1974). Still others adamantly insist that the explanatory gap is, in principle, bridgeable but not by us or by any creatures like us. Experiences and feelings are as much a part of the physical, natural world as life, digestion, DNA, or lightning. It is just that with the concepts we have and the concepts we are capable of forming, we are cognitively closed to a full, bridging explanation by the very structure of our minds (McGinn 1991). "Another view that has been gaining adherents of late is that there is a real, unbridgeable gap, but it has no consequences for the nature of consciousness and physicalist or functionalist theories thereof. On this view, there is nothing in the gap that should lead us to any bifurcation in the world between experiences and feelings on the one hand and physical or functional phenomena on the other. There aren't two sorts of natural phenomena: the irreducibly subjective and the objective. The explanatory gap derives from the special character of phenomenal concepts. These concepts mislead us into thinking that the gap is deeper and more troublesome than it really is. "
Towards a Biology of the Mind
Noe, Alva, "Towards a Biology of the Mind," Nature, June 19, 2003.
Web Site
Review in Nature of "Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy" by Patricia Smith Churchland.
A Neurocomputational Perspective
Churchland, P. M. 1989. A Neurocomputational Perspective. MIT Press.
Web Site
From a review: This is philosophy of mind at its best. Not for the intellectually timid, the ideas presented threaten to thoroughly revolutionize our understanding of mind and its place in the world, if only we are sufficiently daring to explore them. Churchland writes in a clear, compelling and entertaining style; his theses fit together to form an elegant overall perspective, and are always carefully argued. Well-informed about the relevant empirical research, he also has a confident command over the deep and complex philosophical issues involved.
Consciousness Explained
Dennet, Daniel, C. 1991. Consciousness Explained. Little, Brown and Company.
Web Site
Dennet tackles everything in this book with characteristic wit and audacity. The chapter that matters regarding the question of qualia begin on page 369 to 411, "Qualia Disqualified." Qualia, Dennett holds, can be explained by physical interactions that we turn into subjective experience. If all humans were color blind, then there would be no such thing as green and red, only gred, and only the experience of gred, although Martians who are not color blind could see red and green. It's all in the mind (and experience) of the beholder, but the information that causes the experience isn't. In this sense he's not all that far from Chalmers. From Amazon's review: "Dennett argues against the myth of the Cartesian theater--the idea that consciousness can be precisely located in space or in time. To replace the Cartesian theater, he introduces his own multiple drafts model of consciousness, in which the mind is a bubbling congeries of unsupervised parallel processing. Finally, Dennett tackles the conventional philosophical questions about consciousness, taking issue not only with the traditional answers but also with the traditional methodology by which they were reached."
Artificial Minds
Franklin, Stanley, P. 1995. Artificial Minds.MIT Press.
Web Site
From Booklist: "Franklin's tour of contemporary thought on human, animal, and artificial minds introduces creative theories, models, and prototypes of artificial intelligence. After citing the scoffers' arguments regarding the improbability of fashioning artificial minds, Franklin examines some systems that do, in fact, exhibit aspects of intelligence. Next is a debate on the potential usefulness of symbolic AI computer models of cognition versus the connectionism brain model of intelligence."
A Universe of Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination
Edelman, Gerald.M., Tononi, Giulio. 2000. A Universe of Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination. Penguin Books.
Web Site
In this book Tononi and Edelman devote a whole chapter to the issue of qualia. They call it the most daunting problem of consciousness. Four concepts underpin their belief that qualia can be explained by physical processes in the brain and body, although they are highly complex and science cannot yet explain everything. The four concepts: 1. You have to have a body and brain to experience qualia. No objective description of qualia no matter how complete is the same as the experience itself. 2. Each experience, whether it’s a thought, mood, sensation or image is separate from every other one, even if on reflection the experiences seem to combine into one. 3. You can trace each quale down to specific groups of neurons that are creating the experience. These groups integrate through highly complex reentrant interactions that further connect them to what E and T call the brain’s dynamic core (a system more than a physical space). 4. The earliest qualia are the result of multi-modal discriminations carried out even before birth by the proprioceptive, kinesthetic and autonomic systems, largely in the brain stem so they are very ancient and very deep. All other qualia, no matter how complex, are built on these foundations. E and T tackle the problem by first looking at how we experience color. This is a quale that many believe has defied explanation, but T and E look at current research to explore how the visual cortex and eyes create the experience of color by looking precisely at what neurons fire when someone perceives the color red and which ones do not when they say they do not. They use this as a basis for further explaning how qualia emerge from a neural reference space that is linked closely with the dynamic core. This means that while different experiences can be isolated or differentiated by looking at the activity in the brain, the experience of any given quale must also be tightly linked to the constant reentrant activity of the "dynamic core" for it to be a conscious experience. Otherwise we are unaware of it.
In Reply
Humphrey, Nicholas. 2000. Journal of Consciousness Studies"In Reply."
Much of Humphrey's target paper is based on his book History of the Mind. Here's a summary of that from Publisher's Weekly: "In a highly stimulating, unorthodox inquiry that cuts across many disciplines, experimental psychologist Humphrey argues that raw sensation, not thought, is the central fact of consciousness. Furthermore, he claims, mental activities other than the five senses enter consciousness only when accompanied by "reminders" of sensation, as with mental imagery. He posits two separate channels of the mind--one for sensation or subjective feelings, another for perception or objective knowledge of the external world. These two channels ... employ very different styles of information processing: "analog" processing of sensations leads to pictorial images, while "digital" processing of perception yields propositions."
Naturalizing Consciousness: A Theoretical Framework
Edelman, Gerald, M. 2003. "Naturalizing Consciousness: A Theoretical Framework." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 100 | no. 9 | 5520-5524.
Web Site
Consciousness has a number of apparently disparate properties, some of which seem to be highly complex and even inaccessible to outside observation. To place these properties within a biological framework requires a theory based on a set of evolutionary and developmental principles. This paper describes such a theory, which aims to provide a unifying account of conscious phenomena." For Edelman qualia embraces all subjective experience -- memories, images, emotions, not just the experience of the color red or a warm breeze on your face. He believes that consciousness is the result of evolutionary selective pressures that brought it into existence, but that the selections weren't for consciousness itself but for an increasingly refined ability to descriminate enormous amounts of internal and external input at the same time. Consciousness was an unitended consequence. In effect (this is me talking), and emergent behavior. He puts it this way: "If, as I have suggested, the neural systems underlying consciousness arose to enable highorder discriminations in a multidimensional space of signals (8), qualia are those discriminations. Differences in qualia correlate with differences in the neural structure and dynamics that underlie them. Thus, for example, olfactory neurons and their circuits differ from retinal neurons and circuits, and such differences seem sufficient to account for differences in their respective qualia. These reflections apply as well to complex scenes, and I have stressed that it is the distinctions among the entire set of experienced qualia that allow the specific defining property of each quale to appear (8). -- Abstract summary
Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy
Noë, Alva, "Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy by Patricia Smith Churchland," NATURE VOL 423, June 19, 2003
Review of Brain-Wise, in which Patricia Smith Churchland provides an introduction to what she calls ‘neurophilosophy’ —philosophy as it is being transformed by advances in neuroscience.
CONSCIOUSNESS: WHO AM I?
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Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Hofstadter, Douglas R.; Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; Basic Books, New York, New York, 1979.
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It comes down to this: How can a "self", a conscious being emerge from inanimate matter to go on to explore itself. Hofstadter explores so many angles, and uses so many creative tools (among them the works and thinking of Godel, Escher and Bach) on his journey, that startling insights are a natural result.
Hybrid Cognition
Worden, R.P. 1999. "Hybrid Cognition." The Journal of Consciousness Studies. 6 (1),pp., 70-90
Web Site
N/A (see comments above)
Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination
Edelman, Gerald and Tononi, Giulio; Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination; Penguin Books; New York, New York; 2000.
Web Site
Edelman and Tononi tackle everything in this book. They don't shy away from any of the big questions and attempt, based on current research, to address how the brain delivers to us a sense of self. Theory is backed up with observation and experiments, some conducted at Edelman's Neurosciences Institute. Edelman and Tononi don't resolve everything at any stretch, but the thing about Edelman is he's daring yet rigorous.
ARE THERE NEURAL CORRELATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
NoĂ, Alva and Thompson, Evan. 2003. ARE THERE NEURAL CORRELATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS? Forthcoming in the Journal of Consciousness Studies
Pretty exhaustive look at the science and philosophy behind efforts to link the the brain to the mind. Multiple points of view prrsented.
Thinking About Thought
Scaruffi, Piero, 2003. Thinking about Thought.iUniverse.
Web Site
A survey of big thinking about the mind and consciousness heavily influenced by Scaruffi's believe that consciousness and menory is (in varying degrees) a property of all matter, living or not. he argues, for example that a piece of paper has a memory of sorts. If you bend it enough ot will fold and begin to "remember" the bending.
Lives of a Cell
Thomas, Lewis. 1975. Lives of a Cell - Notes of a Biology Watcher"Lives of a Cell." pp 3-5. Penguin Books.
Web Site
A common theme of Lewis Thomas, one of the great scientific essayists to ever come down the pike, is "selfness." In the title essay, Thomas deals with the biological issue of what is me and what isn’t as well as cooperation as a force as powerful in evolution as competition. These issues beg questions about viruses, parasites and symbiotic relationships (which relates to Jaron Lanier’s "Circle of Empathy" – isn't such a circle really a network of psychologically symbiotic (sometimes parasitic) relationships? Isn’t all of society? It even redefines the concept of technology and biology (is technology simply biology by another name?) We see these trends in the cyber world as well. Tom Ray’s Tierra project turned up naturally occurring digital parasites in the first five minutes of running the program. What’s more he discovered that the elimination of parasites seemed to stunt the evolutionary diversity of the system. More evidence that parasitism and symbiosis (it’s sometime hard to know the difference) are important factors in evolution on multiple levels.
The Origin of Consciousnessin the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, "Consciousness" Chapter 2
Jaynes,Julian. 1976. "Consciousness." The Origin of Consciousnessin the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Houghton Mifflin Company
Web Site
In this chapter, beginning on page 59, Jaynes outlines the features of consciousness. Three of them specifically apply to the question of "Who am I?" "The analog "I"; "The Metaphor "Me"; and "Narratization." But the whole chapter is thought provoking. He essentially sees consciousness as an analog the what we are experiencing in the world with ourselves as the main character. he sees our sense of self as a metaphor, a kind of symbol that we can use to move around in throught worlds we create.
Metamagical Themas
Hoftstadter, Douglas,R. 1985. Metamagical Themas. Basic Books. Chapter 25, "Who Shove Whom Around Inside the Careenium? or, What Is the Meaning of the Word "I"?" March 1981.
Web Site
Hofstadter's famous philosophical duo from Gödel, Escher, Bach,Achilles and the Tortoise join in a fascinating conversation about the most perplexing question of all: "Who am I?" (And, therefore, who is asking that question in the first place, and how?)
Waking Up from the Boolean Dream
Hofstadter, Douglas, R. 1985. Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern,Chapter 25 "Waking Up from the Boolean Dream."
Most discussions and theories about artificial intelligence focus on logical, conscious events and sysems that are supposed to result in intelligence. Douglas Hofstadter lays into one of the big questions that so many scientists avoid when considering strong AI and the possibility that machines may someday become conscious: the subconscious. What is the substrate, the unconscious processes out of which consciousness itself emerges? He doesn't answer the question, but at least he raises it.
"A New Kind of Cell"
Margulis, Lynn. 1984. Early Life. Jones and Bartlett Publishing. "A New Kind of Cell," pp. 75-106."
Web Site
In this chapter Margulis outlines how difficult it is to know precsiely the difference between what is us and what isn't as she describes the ancient evolution of the cell out of which nearly every living thing on eath consists, including us. A fascinating look at the importance of cooperation and symbiosys in evolution which has interesting applications now in the digital world.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Ha
Sacks, Oliver. 1985. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatTouchstone Books; Simon and Schuster
Web Site
Like Anthropologist on Mars, this earlier book written by Sacks tells the personal stories of people with minds different from most of us and in the process illuminates how ours work.
Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorian. 1986. Microcosmos - Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. Touchstone Books.
Web Site
A fascinating look at the evolution of the microbes that made us possible, how they have shaped all of life and even the rapidly evolving technologies all around us. Some truly startling insights about the future, especially in the books final chapters. To borrow a phrase from Lweis Thomas: it'll leave you "permanently startled" because it turns so much of our human centric points of view about evolution on theier head.
A Neurocomputational Perspective
Churchland, P. M. 1989. A Neurocomputational Perspective. MIT Press.
Web Site
From a review: This is philosophy of mind at its best. Not for the intellectually timid, the ideas presented threaten to thoroughly revolutionize our understanding of mind and its place in the world, if only we are sufficiently daring to explore them. Churchland writes in a clear, compelling and entertaining style; his theses fit together to form an elegant overall perspective, and are always carefully argued. Well-informed about the relevant empirical research, he also has a confident command over the deep and complex philosophical issues involved.
Consciousness Explained
Dennet, Daniel, C. 1991. Consciousness Explained. Little, Brown and Company.
Web Site
Dennett explains who we are this way: We are a Center of narrative Gravity, a series of connected stories we tell about our behavior (inside and outside). All of the phenomena of human consciousnessare"explicable as 'just' the activities of a virtuial machinerealized in the astronomically adjustable connections of the human brain," P. 431. We are, he effectively says, the program, the software that runs on the computer that is the human brain. Is this the same as being the emergent behavior that results from the complex interactions of the human brain and body and the world we experience as well as the interactions within the the brain that we create?
Beyond Humanity: CyberEvolution and Future Minds
Paul, Gregory,S. and Cox, Earl D. 1996. Beyond Humanity: CyberEvolution and Future Minds.
Web Site
Gregoiry Paul and Earl Cox look at the cyber future, artifical intelligence, the singularity, human consciousness and everything in between as they gamely and often entertainingly attempt to outline a future where evolution makes cyberleaps that will lead to immortality and godlike powers. A very readable introduction to the concepts of the singularity to those not very familiar with them.
An Anthropologist on Mars
Sacks, Oliver. 1996.An Anthropologist on Mars. Vintage Books.
Web Site
Sack's humanistic, yet scientifically solid, explorations of "other minded" people shed light (and cause us to question) our own conscious experiences. Stories include an autistic author who relates to animals better than humans, a surgeon whose Tourette's Syndrome subsides when he begins to operate, a man who lost his memory in 1968 and lives perpetually in a present that is actually a receding past. An artist who loses his ability to see color, but grows to love it 9and the night). These stories help illustrate how strongly our experience is shaped by the physical procesess of the brain and calls into question traditional views of who we are.
Formal Theories of Consciousness
Scaruffi, Piero 1997. Formal Theories of Consciousness.
Web Site
An overview of the most clearly reasoned theories of consciousness by several important thinkers in the firled of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, neurobiology and philosophy.
The Emergent Ego: Complexity and Coevolution in the Psychoanalytic Process
Palombo, Stanley R. and Kauffman, Stuart. 1999 The Emergent Ego: Complexity and Coevolution in the Psychoanalytic Process.
Web Site
N/A
The Conscious and the Unconsciouss
Edleman, Gerald, M. and Tononi, Giulio. 2000. A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. "The Conscious and the Unconsciouss." Chapter 14. Penguin Books.
Web Site
This chapter of Edelman and Tononi's book explains that while the thalamocortical system operates by reentrant interactions of enormous amounts of information, subconscious processing of information works by moving it from the thalamocortical system to the basal ganglia or cerebellum (and probably other structures in the brain) in parallel loops that are open in only one direction. These then move information back to the thalamus which then has an effect on conscious thought. As an analogy, the authors imagine that many diplomats are in a room in high level, crisis discussions. Their thrashing out of the issues represents conscious thought. But often each diplomat needs to have separate, private discussions with the leaders of her particular country. The other diplomats are not privy to these discussions. Nevertheless, the private talks have a huge impact on the subsequent discussions that the diplomats have with one another, and therefore on the decisions they arrive at. In many ways this chapter attempts a rigorous scientific answer to the question raised by Douglas Hofstatder in his essay, "Waking Up from the Boolean Dream."
In Reply
Humphrey, Nicholas. 2000. Journal of Consciousness Studies"In Reply."
Much of Humphrey's target paper is based on his book History of the Mind. Here's a summary of that from Publisher's Weekly: "In a highly stimulating, unorthodox inquiry that cuts across many disciplines, experimental psychologist Humphrey argues that raw sensation, not thought, is the central fact of consciousness. Furthermore, he claims, mental activities other than the five senses enter consciousness only when accompanied by "reminders" of sensation, as with mental imagery. He posits two separate channels of the mind--one for sensation or subjective feelings, another for perception or objective knowledge of the external world. These two channels ... employ very different styles of information processing: "analog" processing of sensations leads to pictorial images, while "digital" processing of perception yields propositions."
The Mind's Past
Gazzaniga, Michael. 2000. The Mind's PastUniversity of California Press.
Web Site
In this book Gazzaniga proposes a couple of unconventional, even startling ideas. One, that the mind really consists of many minds which operate as the analogs for various modular sections of the brain which have evolved over time. Tjough we have many modules, only one, the "interpreter" in the left hemisphere usually and associated with the speech centers of the brain, makes up stories to explain why we do and feel and think the things we do. (This is his second unconventional theory.) In other words, thought doesn't create speech, it follows it. We don't plan behavior, but the interpreter explains it, rationailzes it. From a review by Joao Teixeira at the philosophy department at Sheffield University. "Such an interpreter is not a "self" nor "part of a self" but - as the author points out - a brain device that accounts for a reconstruction of our past experiences, thus "weaving its story in order to convince itself and you that it is in full control" (p.25). Furthermore, by providing us with some kind of personal story or an experience of an ongoing narrative the interpreter or "what amounts to a spin doctor in the left brain" (p.26) gives us the sensation that the "self" exists, detached from the brain. Such a "detached self" is, nonetheless, illusory - a sheer by-product of brain activity attempting to gather the multifarious output of cortically based automatic systems working outside of conscious awareness. " (See URL above.) Another interestring point: Gazzaniga suggests memory is an interpretation of the past rather than a record of it and used mainly to fill in blanks. It's accuracy is highly suspect.
How conscious experience and working memory interact
Baars, Bernard, J. and Franklin, Stan. 2003. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. "How Conscious Experience and Working Memory Interact." In press exact date of publication unknown.
Web Site
Quoting the article's abstract: "Active components of classical working memory are conscious, but traditional theory does not account for this fact. Global Workspace theory suggests that consciousness is needed to recruit unconscious specialized networks that carry out detailed working memory functions. The IDA model provides a fine-grained analysis of this process, specifically of two classical workingmemory tasks, verbal rehearsal and the utilization of a visual image. In the process, new light is shed on the interactions between conscious and unconscious aspects of working memory."
Unifying Consciousness with Explicit Knowledge
Perner, Josef and Dienes, Zoltan. 2003. The unity of consciousness: binding, integration, and dissociation.Cleeremans, A. (Ed.) "Unifying Consciousness with Explicit Knowledge."Oxford University Press
Web Site
The final section of this piece illustrates how we may feel that we have one self simply because we tell ourselves we do and keep our beliefs consistent within that one self. But we may be capable of more than one self as hypnosis (and multiple personality disorder) illustrate. The end of the piece also illustrates that we may often have knowledge that we don't have knowldege that we have. In other words, a lot of knowledge may be subconscious (implicit),
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Broadway Books (Random House), 2003. pp. 320-303.
In this exploration of microbes, viruses and invisible animals, Bryson illustrates how we rely on quadrillions of single-celled organisms to keep each of us healthy and operating. They reside inside and outside of us, on our teeth, in our eyes, wherever you can imagine. We can't live without them so is it possible to say they really are us as much a part of us as our skin, muscle and blood cells?
ESCHATOLOGY: PREDICTIONS
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Eschatology
Hooker, Richard. "General Glossary - Eschatology." 1/01/1996.
Web Site
A brief, but useful outline of the meaning of eschatology and a summary of major religious eschatologies and their connection with scientific and cultural thought. Additional links lead to additional, interesting thinking.
Eschatology
"Eschatology." Wikipedia -- The Free Encyclopedia.
Web Site
This entry in Wikipedia outlines the meaning of eschatology. provides and overview of the eschatologies of several relgions and provides multiple links to other sites that explore the eschatologies of everything from Norse and Aztec 'end of the world" myths to modern day religions. Some links are more satisfying than others.
Eschatology
"Eschatology." Transmillenial.com.
Web Site
This site provides multiple links to multiple articles and books that explore mainly Christian eschatological issues.
CHALLENGES: CHALLENGES
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Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards
  Web Site
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.
Genetic Programming: A TCC 200R Project
Darling, Benjamin; Hallen, Benjamin; Pennock, Michael. "Genetic Programming: A TCC 200R Project" cti.itc.virginia.eduUndated.
Web Site
This slide show explore genetic programming (as opposed to genetic algorithms), a type of programming developed by John Koza at Stanford. Among the areas it explores are the dangers and implications of a kind of programming that can continue to program and improve itself.
Engines of Destruction
Drexler, Eric, K. 1987. "Engines of Destuction." Chapter 11: Engines of Creation Anchor Books.
Web Site
Eric K. Drexler, the man who really created the concept and tackled much of the science behind nanotechnology addresses the destructive side of the technology. Issues he raises here are just now beginning to be seriously debated.
"Living Together" From Zen and the Art of Creating Life
Ray, Thomas. "Living Together" From Zen and the Art of Creating LifeAugust 3, 1995.
Web Site
The creator of artificial life programs looks at all side of the question of evolving software, including the dark side. Tom Ray puts it this way regarding the dangers of genetically evolving software: "Imagine however, the problems that could arise if evolving digital organisms were to colonize the computers connected to the major networks. They could spread across the network like the infamous internet worm. When we attempted to stop them, they could evolve mechanisms to escape from our attacks. It might conceivably be very difficult to eliminate them. However, this scenario is highly unlikely, as it is probably not possible for digital organisms to evolve on normal computer systems. While the supposition remains untested, normal machine languages are probably too brittle to support digital evolution."
Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations
Freita, Robert A. "Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations" foresightsintitute.org. April 1, 2000.
Web Site
In a dense scientific piece Freitas tackles how we might best control runaway nano devices that could destroy everything. He writes: "The maximum rate of global ecophagy by biovorous self-replicating nanorobots is fundamentally restricted by the replicative strategy employed; by the maximum dispersal velocity of mobile replicators; by operational energy and chemical element requirements; by the homeostatic resistance of biological ecologies to ecophagy; by ecophagic thermal pollution limits (ETPL);  and most importantly by our determination and readiness to stop them. .. All ecophagic scenarios examined appear to permit early detection by vigilant monitoring, thus enabling rapid deployment of effective defensive instrumentalities."
Negotiating Gene Science Ethics
Philipkoski, Kristen. "Negotiating Gene Science Ethics." Wired News, Jun. 26, 2000.
Web Site
This piece followed announcements that the human genome had been mapped. It explores some of the ethical issues we face as the work of understanding what the map has toi tell us gets underway. Will we wreally want to know what are genetic make-up is? Itcould be scary if it predicts you have certain diseases or predilictions. Who else should know your genetic make-up. Could insurance companies use the information against you. How much do we get to play with our genes? Is it okay to not only use the information to cure disease, but change our looks, improve our intelligence, develop tailor-made babies? Who owns the genetic information? Can it be patented? These questions indicate the deep complexity of the questions that advances in nanotechnology and artifcial intelligence will place on the world's table.
Why Robots Won't Rule the World
Malcolm, Chris. "Why Robots Won't Rule the World" November 25, 2000.
Web Site
Chris Malcolm is a lecturer at the University of Ediburgh's Schoolof Informatics. This website pulls together a broad view of the history of AI and robotics together with considerations about the nature of AI, its potential future effects and some interesting insightsabout we have to fear, or not, from the evolution of artificially intelligent machines. He strikes a middle road between strong and weak AI proponents.
Nanotechnology - Scientific American
Scientific American. September 1. 2001.
Web Site
In this issue of Scientific American nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler outlines his view of the future. Nobel prize winner Richard Smalley explains why he feels nano-assemblers won't work.
Don't Fear Science You Can't See
McGee, Patrick. "Don't Fear Science You Can't See." Wired News.December 1, 2001.
Web Site
Technology law expert Glen Reynolds warns that there will be an anti-nanotech movement, just as there is an anti-biotech movement. He suggests that instead of regulating technology, society should focus on keeping it out of the hands of the wrong people. "Nanobots don’t kill people; people kill people," he says.
The search for perfection - The debate
"The search for perfection - The debate." NewScientist.com. April 30, 2002. Web site: Graham-Rowe, Duncan. "Artificial voice system says hello."
Web Site
New Scientist's summary: "As a new age of genetics looms, how free should we be to design our children? Should we eliminate defects and tweak embryos to enhance intelligence? Or should society do what it failed to do with cosmetic surgery--clamp down hard from the start? This was the theme of the second public debate organised by New Scientist and Greenpeace last week. On the panel were John Harris, a philosopher from the University of Manchester, Tom Shakespeare, a sociologist from Outreach in Newcastle who was born with the genetic condition achondroplasia, Kathy Phillips, health and beauty director at Vogue, and Donald Bruce, from the Church of Scotland's Project on Science and Technology. Suzi Leather, head of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority was referee."
Can Science Be Directed - The Debate
"Can Science Be Directed - The Debate." NewScientist.com. April 30, 2002.
Web Site
New Scientist"s Introductio to this debate: Does it matter that we spend billions on genetically-modified food and only a fraction of that on understanding our ecology? Who cares if technology benefits the rich far more than the poor? Should ordinary people be given a serious stake in making decisions about science? These were some of the key issues at the fourth public debate organised by New Scientist and Greenpeace. The panel members were Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and author of Our Cosmic Habitat, Steve Fuller, professor of sociology at the University of Warwick and author of The Governance of Science, William Stewart, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a former government chief scientist, and Vandana Shiva, physicist and director of the new International College for Sustainable Living in Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh. Crispin Tickell, warden of Green College, Oxford, needed all the diplomatic skills he gained as environmental adviser to three successive PMs to keep the show on the road ."
Technology: Taking the good without the bad? - The Debate
"Technology: Taking the Good With the Bad? The Debate." NewScientists.com.
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New Scientist's summary: "Very soon, unimaginably powerful technologies will remake our lives. This could have dangerous consequences, especially because we may not even understand the basic science underlying them. How will we defend ourselves if bio, nano or infotech go wrong? Should we give in to the seduction of the androids? Will we have to invent new politics to deal with the unknown? These were some of the key issues at the third public debate organised by New Scientist and Greenpeace last week. On the panel were Ian Pearson, a futurologist at BTexact, Brian Aldiss, science fiction writer and author of the story behind the movie AI, Robin Grove-White, professor of science and society at Lancaster University and chair of Greenpeace in Britain, and Jon Turney, head of science and technology studies at University College London. Julia King, a director of engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce, ensured fair play."
Impact of Technology on Society
Hinds, Larry. (Ed.) "Impact of Technology on Society." mt.sopris.netJanuray 1, 2003. (Continuously updated.)
Web Site
This site features quotes on the impact of technology on human society from minds like Bertrand Russell, Arthur Koestler, Richard Feynman, Francis Crick, even Margaret Thatcher. Right, left or center ... a wide variety of insights and opinions.
Mind the Gap: Science and Ethics in Nanotechnology
Mnyusiwalla, Anisa; Daar, Abdallah S and Singer, Peter A. "Mind the Gap: Science and Ethics in Nanotechnology." Nanotechnology, February 17, 2003,
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Nanotechnology scientific development is out running efforts to explore and understand this powerful new technology's impact on policy, ethics, law and governance. First world nations are spending enormous sums of money on nanotechnolgy research, but paying little attention to potential ethical issues. Important questions to explore? Who will benefit from NT advances. Will this accelrate or slow the gap known as the digital divide between the world's haves and have nots? How will NT effect the precarious 21st century balance between privacy and security. (Remember the iris scanners in Minority Report?) Environmental issues. The Gray Goo question. How acceptable will technologies such as implantable cells and sensors be for the general population? Suggest learning from mistakes made when the Humane Genome Project got underway and better fund the study or ethical and social issues now from an interdisciplinary point of view and weave the questions throughour curricula and resaerch.
Dangers of Molecular Nanotechnology
Phoenix, Chris. "Dangers of Molecular Nanotechnology" Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. crnano.org. April 21, 2003.
Web Site
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology explores the damage that could result if fully developed molecular nanotechnology is improperly exploited. Among the risks: Economic disruption from an abundance of cheap products Economic oppression from artificially inflated prices Personal risk from criminal or terrorist use Personal or social risk from abusive restrictions Social disruption from new products/lifestyles Unstable arms race Free-range self-replicators (gray goo) Collective environmental damage from unregulated products Black market in nanotech (increases other risks) Competing nanotech programs (increases other risks) Attempted relinquishment (increases other risks)
Making the Future Safe-Notes from the World Transhumanist Association's annual conference
Bailey, Ronald. "Making the Future Safe-Notes from the World Transhumanist Association's annual conference." resononline.comJuly 2, 2003
Web Site
Ronald Baily analyzes the debate between Gregory Stock, director of the University of Calfornia's Program on Medicine, Technology and Society and George Annas, a Boston University professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at the Transhumanist Society's Transvision 2003 held at Yale to explore the future evolution of the huamn race.
Machines that Reproduce May be Reality
Martin, Mike "Machines that Reproduce May be Reality." www.newsfactor.com July 10, 2003.
Web Site
Canadian and European researchers (Peter Turney and Arnold Smith from the National Research Council of Canada and Robert Ewaschuk from the University of Waterloo) have created a digital primordial soup in which digital cellular automata spontaneously form self-replicating patterns not unlike DNA. The T-shaped "codons" swim in a computer-generated virtual liquid forming single, double, and even triple strands. The researchers think the self-genrating coding might be useful in developing programs for nanotechnology. The issue of how to control the self-replication is mentioned but not resolved. The project is called JohnnyVon.
Cyborg Liberation Front
Baard, Erik. "Cyborg Liberation Front" www.villagevoice.com. July 30, 2003.
Web Site
Baard covers and then muses on the meaning and direction of the Transhumanist Movement and a recent conference held at Yale that addresses what the future may hold, should hold for the evolution of humans and machines. He explores concerns about transhumanist goals from both the right and the left.
A Technical Commentary on Greenpeace's Nanotechnology Report
Phoenix, Chris. "A Technical Commentary on Greenpeace's Nanotechnology Report" September 1, 2003.
Web Site
Chris Phoenix, Director of Research at the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, addresses the special issues involved with safely developing Molecular Nanotechnology that envisions molecule-sized assemblers that will mechanize chemical reeactions and the assembly of all types of harware. Also discusses Smalley's objections to molecular nanotechnology and explores what the paper calls Limited Molecular Nanotechnology (LMNT)>
New Anthrax Vaccine Protects on Two Fronts
Graham, Sarah. "New Anthrax Vaccine Protects on Two Fronts" scientificamerican.comSeptember 02, 2003.
Web Site
A new vaccine has been developed that protects against toxins not attacked by current antibiotics. Scientists at Harvard and Bringham's and Women's hospital found that mice treated with the new drug survived exposure to anthrax that killed control animals within 24 hours. The authors conclude that the vaccine design "may be widely applicable against infectious diseases and provides additional tools in medicine and biodefense."
FOOD FEARS - The threat of agricultural terrorism spurs calls for more vigilance
Dupont, Daniel "FOOD FEARS - The threat of agricultural terrorism spurs calls for more vigilance." Scientific American.com. October 2003.
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Genetic or parasitic contamination of any nation's food supply could cripple it's economy as well as its people. Terrorists could infiltrate the systems that create and deliver food with little trouble, say critics and it's time to figure out how to protect against the devastating possibility.
The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World
Rifkin, Jeremy. 1998. The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the WorldPutnam.
Web Site
Jeremy Rifkin looks at genetic engineering (and other technologies) and asks, "Should we be slowing things down?"
Nanotechnology: U.S. Congress Testimony, Prepared Written Statement and Supplemental Material
Smalley, R.E. 1999. "Nanotechnology: U.S. Congress Testimony, Prepared Written Statement and Supplemental Material."
Chemist and Nobel Laureate, Richard Smalley outlines needs, impact and some concerns regarding the development of nanotechnologies in the US.
The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story
Preston, Richard. The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story. 2002. Random House.
Web Site
Preston takes an unflinching look at lethal diseases and pathogens we've attempted to eradicate at the same time we have worked secretly to turn them into powerful weapons which could destroy millions. A harbinger of problems we will face as we develop genetically engineered microbes and nanothechnologies, not to mention smarter software and machines.
Self-Replicating Machines in Continuous Space with Virtual Physic
Smith, Arnold, Turney, Peter, Ewaschuk, Robert (Corresponding author). "Self-Replicating Machines in Continuous Space with Virtual Physics" Artificial Life. 2002.
This experiment called JohnnyVon places self-replicating machines in continuous two dimensional space. Two types of particles drift about in a virtual liquid. The particles are automata with discrete internal states but continuous external relationships. Their internal states are governed by finite state machines but their external relationships are governed by a simulated physics that includes brownian motion, viscosity, and springlike attractive and repulsive forces. The particles can be assembled into patterns that can encode arbitrary strings of bits. We demonstrate that, if an arbitrary “seed” pattern is put in a “soup” of separate individual particles, the pattern will replicate by assembling the individual particles into copies of itself. We also show that, given sufficient time, a soup of separate individual particles will eventually spontaneously form self-replicating patterns. We discuss the implications of JohnnyVon for research in nanotechnology, theoretical biology, and artificial life.
Future Technologies, Today's Choices - A Report for the Greenpeace Environmental Trust
Arnall, Alexander. 2003. "Future Technologies, Today's Choices." A Report for the Greenpeace Environmental Trust. The Greepeace Environmantal Trust.
Web Site
Following a series of debates co-sponsored with New Scientist magazine, Greepeace decided to commission a study that looked at powerful emerging technologies to spur public discussion now, before the technologies are upon us. They see the emergence of, nanotechnology, for example as a great opportunity to get issues on the table before a crisis could develop. The acceptance, and direction, of technologies in the past often have to do with social understanding and acceptance of them, says the report. Greepeace points out two: the resistance to genetically modified foods in Europe, but the wide acceptance of cell phones. The report endeavors to address questions like: • Who is in control? • Where can I get information that I trust? • On what terms is the technology being introduced? • What risks apply, with what certainty, and to whom? • Where do the benefits fall? • Do the risks and benefits fall to the same people (e.g. mobile phones are popular, while mobile phone masts are not)? • Who takes responsibility for resulting problems?
CHALLENGES: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PRODUCTIVITY
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Technological Singularity
Vinge, Vernor, "Technological Singularity," Whole Earth, Winter 1993.
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Vernor Vinge's speculations on the possibilities of the approaching Singularity.
CHALLENGES: ETHICS
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The Genetic Revolution: Ethical Issues
Young, Ernlé W.D. "The Genetic Revolution: Ethical Issues." Access Excellence@The National Health Museum. Undated.
Web Site
This talk explores genetic engineering issues related to privacy, cloning, eugenics and genetic enhancement. Many of these general topics are among those we'll be addressing as AI and nanotechnology rapidly advance.
Genetic Programming: A TCC 200R Project
Darling, Benjamin; Hallen, Benjamin; Pennock, Michael. "Genetic Programming: A TCC 200R Project" cti.itc.virginia.eduUndated.
Web Site
This slide show explore genetic programming (as opposed to genetic algorithms), a type of programming developed by John Koza at Stanford. Among the areas it explores are the dangers and implications of a kind of programming that can continue to program and improve itself.
COLOSSUS: The Forbin Project - 1969
Parks, Kelly. "COLOSSUS: The Forbin Project - 1969" Feoamante's Horror Homepage. Undated
Web Site
A summary and review of the grandaddy of strong AI disasters. The technology in the movie is antiquated, but the themes are still relevant.
"Living Together" From Zen and the Art of Creating Life
Ray, Thomas. "Living Together" From Zen and the Art of Creating LifeAugust 3, 1995.
Web Site
The creator of artificial life programs looks at all side of the question of evolving software, including the dark side. Tom Ray puts it this way regarding the dangers of genetically evolving software: "Imagine however, the problems that could arise if evolving digital organisms were to colonize the computers connected to the major networks. They could spread across the network like the infamous internet worm. When we attempted to stop them, they could evolve mechanisms to escape from our attacks. It might conceivably be very difficult to eliminate them. However, this scenario is highly unlikely, as it is probably not possible for digital organisms to evolve on normal computer systems. While the supposition remains untested, normal machine languages are probably too brittle to support digital evolution."
Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle
Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle
Web Site
Given the limitations of science to address emerging environmental problems, such as endocrine disruption, there is a significant need for the development of new public policy approaches to anticipate and prevent harm to human health and the environment. The question of what society should do in the face of uncertainty regarding cause and effect relationships is necessarily a question of public policy, not science. Several policy analysts confronted with this problem have proposed a concept called the "precautionary principle" or the "precautionary approach" (Cameron and Abouchar, 1991 and Dethlefsen, 1993). At the center of the precautionary principle is the concept of taking anticipatory action in the absence of complete proof of harm, particularly when there is scientific uncertainty about causal links (Jackson, 1993). The precautionary principle states that decision-makers should act in advance of scientific certainty to prevent harm to humans and the environment (O'Riordan and Jordan, 1995). It addresses many of the limitations of current decision-making methods, such as type II errors, problems of cumulative effects, and limitations of science. Precautionary approaches are goal oriented, lending themselves to technology innovation, pollution prevention, and facility planning.
Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations
Freita, Robert A. "Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations" foresightsintitute.org. April 1, 2000.
Web Site
In a dense scientific piece Freitas tackles how we might best control runaway nano devices that could destroy everything. He writes: "The maximum rate of global ecophagy by biovorous self-replicating nanorobots is fundamentally restricted by the replicative strategy employed; by the maximum dispersal velocity of mobile replicators; by operational energy and chemical element requirements; by the homeostatic resistance of biological ecologies to ecophagy; by ecophagic thermal pollution limits (ETPL);  and most importantly by our determination and readiness to stop them. .. All ecophagic scenarios examined appear to permit early detection by vigilant monitoring, thus enabling rapid deployment of effective defensive instrumentalities."
The Next Big Thing Is Small
Longman, Phillip J. "The Next Big Thing Is Small" U.S. News and World Report July 3,2000.
Web Site
US News and World Report explores the military's reasearch into anti-biological warfare agent "nano-bombs." Note an interview with a scientist who responds to the recent calls for limits to the research by arguing 'we are compelled to keep going, it is just so cool.'
Attitudes Towards Biotech
"Attitudes Towards Biotech" National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation. October 3, 2001.
As part of the NPR radio talk show "Talk of the Nation" Author Jeremy Rifkin and Harvard geneticist Philip Leader debate the need to put on the brakes where gentic engineering and research are concerned.
Objective Force Warrior (OFW).
"Objective Force Warrior (OFW)." US Army Soldier Systsems Center.2003.
Web Site
An overview of where the soldier of the future is headed. The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT (http://web.mit.edu/isn/aboutisn/index.html) will be developing key nanotechnologies over the next five years to make the Objective Force Warrior possible. What are the ethics of developing advanced technologies for war? Military research brought us the ICBM, atomic weapons, biological warfareand any number of weapons. But they also gave us radar, atomic energy, rockets for space exploration and any number of breakthroughs in computer science and engineering? Where do we draw the line? DO we draw a line? Will future technologies turn human soldiers into battle hardened warrior cyborgs?
Ethical Issues In Advanced Artificial Intelligence
Bostrom, Nick, "Ethical Issues In Advanced Artificial Intelligence," International Institute of Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics, 2003.
Web Site
This paper surveys some of the unique ethical issues in creating superintelligence, and discusses what motivations we ought to give a superintelligence, and introduces some cost-benefit considerations relating to whether the development of superintelligent machines ought to be accelerated or retarded.
Genetics Privacy and Legislation:Recommendations for Future Legislation
"Genetics Privacy and Legislation:Recommendations for Future Legislation." Human Genome Project Information. 2003. Note" also see "Why Legislation is Needed Now."
Web Site
Thise working on the Human Genome Project outline suggestions for federal guidlines on the use of personal genetic information in the future to avoid compromising individual privacy and discrimination by employers or insurers toward those who may have markers for genetic afflictions.
Old Genies in New Bottles: How to prevent a Singularity from happening, Part 1
Sterling, Bruce, "Old Genies in New Bottles: How to prevent a Singularity from happening," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Sterling muses on placing boundaries on exploring new technologies.
Old Genies in New Bottles: How to prevent a Singularity from happening, Part 2
Sterling, Bruce, "Old Genies in New Bottles: How to prevent a Singularity from happening," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Sterling muses on placing boundaries on exploring new technologies.
Dangers of Molecular Nanotechnology
Phoenix, Chris. "Dangers of Molecular Nanotechnology" Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. crnano.org. April 21, 2003.
Web Site
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology explores the damage that could result if fully developed molecular nanotechnology is improperly exploited. Among the risks: Economic disruption from an abundance of cheap products Economic oppression from artificially inflated prices Personal risk from criminal or terrorist use Personal or social risk from abusive restrictions Social disruption from new products/lifestyles Unstable arms race Free-range self-replicators (gray goo) Collective environmental damage from unregulated products Black market in nanotech (increases other risks) Competing nanotech programs (increases other risks) Attempted relinquishment (increases other risks)
Sci-fi War Put Under the Microscope
Hearst, David. "Sci-fi war put under the microscope." The Guardian UnlimitedMay 20, 2003
Web Site
Will the battles of tomorrow be fought by bio bugs, robots and nano killers? The first section of this Guardian article outlines some thinking scientists are doing about the uses of nanotechnology in war. If we are concerned now about atomic weapons proliferation, how concenred should we be about the possibility in the future of nano weapons proliferation?
Future Technologies, Today?s Choices: Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; A technical, political and institutional map of emerging technologies.
Arnall, Alexander Huw. "Future Technologies, Today's Choices: Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; A technical, political and institutional map of emerging technologies." Environmental Policy and Management Group, Imperial College
Web Site
A report for the Greenpeace Environmental Trust. Greenpeace has entered the debate over the impact of nanotechnology and AI on the environment and society with a study that calls for the industry to "demonstrate a commitment to (environmental concerns) by funding the relevant research on a far greater scale than currently witnessed." Greenpeace explores the idea that "quantum dots, nanoparticles, and other throwaway nanodevices may constitute whole new classes of non-biodegradable pollutants that scientists have very little understanding of."
Future Technologies, Today's Choices
Arnall, Alexander, "Future Technologies, Today's Choices." Greenpeace Environmental Trust, July 2003.
Web Site
A technical, political, and institutional map of emerging technologies: nanotechnology, artificial intelligence,and robotics.
Making the Future Safe-Notes from the World Transhumanist Association's annual conference
Bailey, Ronald. "Making the Future Safe-Notes from the World Transhumanist Association's annual conference." resononline.comJuly 2, 2003
Web Site
Ronald Baily analyzes the debate between Gregory Stock, director of the University of Calfornia's Program on Medicine, Technology and Society and George Annas, a Boston University professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at the Transhumanist Society's Transvision 2003 held at Yale to explore the future evolution of the huamn race.
Machines that Reproduce May be Reality
Martin, Mike "Machines that Reproduce May be Reality." www.newsfactor.com July 10, 2003.
Web Site
Canadian and European researchers (Peter Turney and Arnold Smith from the National Research Council of Canada and Robert Ewaschuk from the University of Waterloo) have created a digital primordial soup in which digital cellular automata spontaneously form self-replicating patterns not unlike DNA. The T-shaped "codons" swim in a computer-generated virtual liquid forming single, double, and even triple strands. The researchers think the self-genrating coding might be useful in developing programs for nanotechnology. The issue of how to control the self-replication is mentioned but not resolved. The project is called JohnnyVon.
CRN Offers Qualified Endorsement of Greenpeace Nanotech Report
Treder, Mike, "CRN Offers Qualified Endorsement of Greenpeace Nanotech Report," Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Press Release, July 30, 2003.
Web Site
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology offers its conditional support of the Greenpeace report, "Future Technologies, Today's Choices," about the risks, benefits, and current status of nanotechnology.
Cyborg Liberation Front
Baard, Erik. "Cyborg Liberation Front" www.villagevoice.com. July 30, 2003.
Web Site
Baard covers and then muses on the meaning and direction of the Transhumanist Movement and a recent conference held at Yale that addresses what the future may hold, should hold for the evolution of humans and machines. He explores concerns about transhumanist goals from both the right and the left.
Scientific Community Struggles to Balance Openness, Security
Munro, Neil "Scientific Community Struggles to Balance Openness, Security" National Journal  September 05, 2003.
Web Site
Biologists are trying to balance need for scientific openness with concerns that their research might aid bioterrorists. The outcome of this debate will also shape the way the United States and the world manage such high-impact endeavors as human clinical trials, genetic engineering, cloning, nanotechnology and strong AI, each of which carries potential benefits and risks.
In the Mind of the Machine: The Breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence
Warwick, Kevin. In the Mind of the Machine: The Breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence. 1998. Arrow Books.
Web Site
Kevin Warwick has created robots with the brain power of a wasp, and may soon have built robots which are not only more intelligent than humans in some ways, but also superior in their practical skills. In this book he argues that humans may be at the mercy of these life forms, and be treated in the same way as humans treat animals today. He proposes that there is an urgent need for an anti-proliferation treaty to prevent these and other even more horrifying scenarios.
Future War: From Ethnic Pathogens To `Nano-Frankensteins
Lowe, Christian "Future War: From Ethnic Pathogens To `Nano-Frankensteins'" Defense Week March 22, 2000
Web Site
Genetically altered diseases that can pinpoint a specific ethnic group, miniaturized "nanotechnologies" that can boost a soldier's performance and biological armor that can heal itself if a soldier is hit-these are among the technologies that will radically transform future war, a new study says.
Self-Replicating Machines in Continuous Space with Virtual Physic
Smith, Arnold, Turney, Peter, Ewaschuk, Robert (Corresponding author). "Self-Replicating Machines in Continuous Space with Virtual Physics" Artificial Life. 2002.
This experiment called JohnnyVon places self-replicating machines in continuous two dimensional space. Two types of particles drift about in a virtual liquid. The particles are automata with discrete internal states but continuous external relationships. Their internal states are governed by finite state machines but their external relationships are governed by a simulated physics that includes brownian motion, viscosity, and springlike attractive and repulsive forces. The particles can be assembled into patterns that can encode arbitrary strings of bits. We demonstrate that, if an arbitrary “seed” pattern is put in a “soup” of separate individual particles, the pattern will replicate by assembling the individual particles into copies of itself. We also show that, given sufficient time, a soup of separate individual particles will eventually spontaneously form self-replicating patterns. We discuss the implications of JohnnyVon for research in nanotechnology, theoretical biology, and artificial life.
Another Knowledge, Another World
Another Knowledge, Another World Mae-Wan Ho Newsletter No. 26 February 2003 Scientists for Global Responsibility.
Web Site
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, the Director of the Institute of Science in Society asks if we look at science less as a way to control the world, perhaps we can create a better one.
Chaotics: An Agenda for Business and Society in the 21st Century
Anderla, Georges; Dunning, Anthony, Forge, Simon. 1997. Chaotics: An Agenda for Business and Society in the 21st Century.Greenwood Publishing Group
Web Site
In the words of one of the authors, self organization is the quintessence of chaotics. This view that the future emerges in the same way that beehives and brains and rain forests emerge, can have a big effect on the way we look at problems, analyze and solve them and prepare for the rapid change headed our way.
CHALLENGES5: LEFT
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What Keeps Jaron Lanier Awake at Night
Steffen, Alex, "What Keeps Jaron Lanier Awake at Night," Whole Earth, Spring 2003.
Web Site
Lanier discusses Artificial Intelligence, Cybernetic Totalism, and the Loss of Common Sense.
CHALLENGES: RIGHT
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Return of the Fleece
Lehrman, Sally. "Return of the Fleece" ScientificAmerican.comOctober 2003.
Web Site
Scientific studies that investigate areas that conservative politicians find offensive of unnecessary are coming under increasing fire. Critics of the trend fear this could chill free inqury and turn the public against science.
EXPANDINGLIFE: EXPONENTIAL GROWTH
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Coatings and Arrays Help Put Medication Where it's Needed
Mason, Jack, "Coatings and Arrays Help Put Medication Where it's Needed," Small Times, June 27, 2003.
Web Site
Small tech is helping medicinal molecules such as proteins, peptides, genes and vaccines reach the right destination with greater precision, speed and control.
Nanomedicine
Fountain, Henry. "Nanomedicine." New York Times, July 1, 2003.
Web Site
Scientists from several Japanese universities have created hollow "nanocages" of proteins that can hold a few molecules of a drug (or a gene, for use in gene therapy) and bring them straight to the liver.
Secret to Longer Life May Lie in the Mediterranean Diet
"Secret to Longer Life May Lie in the Mediterranean Diet " youngagain.200.com.
Web Site
Harvard researchers report that compounds found in red wine and certain vegetables may be the key to a longer, healthier life.Researchers discovered that red wine and grape juice contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which prompts the body to produce sirtuins, enzymes that help repair cells and perhaps extend life. Scientists think that sirtuins may help plants and animals deal with stress and that those properties tend to reduce the effects of oxidants in the body that accelerate aging.
SETI: SPREADING TO UNIVERSE
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Where Are They?
Crawford, Ian. "Where Are they? - Maybe We Are Alone in the Galaxy After All." Scientific American. July 2000. pp 38-42.
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Crawford explores the Fermi Paradox and wonders why we haven’t come into contact with at least some advanced civilizations in the Milky Way when there seem to be millions of possibilities. There is also a nice sidebar piece included with this article by Andrew LePage which explores where extraterrestrials from less-than-super civilizations may be hiding.
The Stars of Project Phoenix: The Best Are Not Always the Brightest
Backus, Peter, "The Stars of Project Phoenix: The Best Are Not Always the Brightest." Project Phoenix Observations, April 17, 2003.
Web Site
Description of Project Phoenix, which unlike other SETI programs targets individual stars rather than scanning the sky.
Information in the Holographic Universe
Bekenstein, Jacob D., "Information in the Holographic Universe." Scientific American, August 2003.
Web Site
Theoretical results about black holes suggest that the universe could be like a gigantic hologram.
The High Frontier
O'Neill, G. K., The High Frontier, Space Studies Institute Press, Princeton, New Jersey (1976)
Web Site
An exploration of how one might build near Earth space colonies and how they could contribute to solving
The Biological Universe
Dick, S. J., The Biological Universe, Cambridge University Press (1996)
Web Site
Dick is perhaps the world expert on the history of SETI. He works at U.S. Naval Observatory which has a long astronomical history. There are more than 20 pages about the history of the Fermi Paradox as well as a number of pages on interstellar travel.
Where is Everybody?
Webb, S., Where is Everybody?, Copernicus Books (2002)
Web Site
Discusses 50 solutions to the Fermi Paradox. Spreading into the universe should probably not be discussed without reading many of these.
Counting on Distant Worlds: Math as an Interstellar Language
Vakoch, Douglas, "Counting on Distant Worlds: Math as an Interstellar Language," SPACE.com May 8, 2003.
Web Site
Because we cannot count on the universality of mathematics for interstellar communication, we will need to invent languages allowing for some kind of mapping which allows us to understand ‘vaguely’ rather than with certainty.
Intergalactically Speaking
Swenson, George W. Jr. Intergalactically Speaking. Scientific American, July 2000; pp 43-47.
A hard headed look at and analysis of the kinds of technologies needed to improve the likelihood of making contact with extraterrestrial life ... if it’s out there. The vastness and vagaries of intergalactic space will force interstellar correspondents to be extremely creative in the technologies they use to make contact.
INTELLIGENCE: FATE OF UNIVERSE
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"Time Without End in the Universe"
Dyson, F. J., "Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 51, No. 3, p. 447-460, (July 1979). Also in "Selected Papers of Freeman Dyson", American Mathematical Society, pp. 529-542 (1996)
Web Site
One of the first papers that postulated that one may be able to survive for an infinite amount of time in an expanding universe.
The Five Ages of the Universe
Adams, F. & Laughlin, G., The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity, Touchstone Books (January 15, 2000)
Web Site
The definitive reference for the evolutionary and computational environments the Universe may go through as it ages.