Dan Barker, echoing an idea expressed by many atheists, describes theology as “a subject without an object.” Since there’s little reason for thinking a God exists – much less the God of the Bible – the entire field is ultimately vacuous, despite the grandiloquent rigamarole of, as Jerry Coyne puts it, Sophisticated Theologians(TM). Theology studies nothing. Its heart and soul is a phenomenon that almost certainly doesn’t exist.
Within the Anglo-American, and then specifically American political discourse, the dominant paradigm for around two generations right now is that the main guarantor of liberty (defined as the absence of physical force) is the institution of private property, and the main threat against private property and thence liberty is the state. While the purest expression of these sentiments reside amongst Market Libertarian elements, these thoughts have come to dominate a lot of the thinking within political economics in the west, and thence in the world.
Blockchain thinkers or DAC Brains are the notion of having DAO/DAC entities running with smart contracts on blockchains for the purpose of conducting thinking operations. The genesis of blockchain thinkers could be organic or inorganic: human mindfile lifelogs and uploads, and any variety of brain emulations and AI ML/DL algorithms (artificial intelligence machine-learning deep-learning algorithms). One idea is to instantiate your mindfile on the blockchain as a lifelogging tracker and standalone ideation tool: your own mind as an AI DAC.
BioViva‘s CEO Liz Parrish is a fire-starter and probably not everyone’s favorite person. But if your goal is as bold as defeating aging then you’ll have to break some eggs. And so feel as you might but I have to admit that Parrish is definitely one of my favorite people – not only for the scientific work that she does but also because she is a fun, passionate and fully committed individual that inspires me. Thus it was no surprise that, despite some technical difficulties with my set up, I had a total blast interviewing Liz for my Singularity 1on1 podcast.
During our 80 min conversation with Liz Parrish we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: her personal goals and motivations; how she started with the intent to cure childhood disease and ended up in the campaign to defeat aging; BioViva and its mission; being a fire-starter, vegetarian, not everyone’s favorite person and sticking to your choices; the campaign to cure Alzheimer’s Disease; what is gene therapy, how it works and why it is so promising; the definition of aging; the ethics in genetics; medicine and human rights; why telomerase therapy in humans is the most exciting therapy…
My favorite quote from this interview with Elizabeth Parrish is this:
“There is no time like the present. We can’t wait another 20 years… Starting now is the time to start.”
Among transhumanists, Nick Bostrom is well-known for promoting the idea of ‘existential risks’, potential harms which, were they come to pass, would annihilate the human condition altogether. Their probability may be relatively small, but the expected magnitude of their effects are so great, so Bostrom claims, that it is rational to devote some significant resources to safeguarding against them. (Indeed, there are now institutes for the study of existential risks on both sides of the Atlantic.) Moreover, because existential risks are intimately tied to the advancement of science and technology, their probability is likely to grow in the coming years.
Off-license users of modafinil—a drug developed to treat various sleep disorders—have known for some time that it doubles as a surprisingly effective cognitive enhancer, and with very few side effects. A new systematic review shows it’s true, raising some important ethical questions about the use of smart drugs.
Modafinil, which is sold under such brand names as Alertec, Provigil, and Modavigil, is a wakefulness-promoting drug used to treat conditions such narcolepsy, the effects of shift work, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders. But it’s also used off-license by people—especially students—hoping to exploit its nootropic qualities.
Filmmaker Dave Naz’ new hour-long documentary Identity: In & Beyond the Binary interviews trans, genderqueer, butch and queer people on their varied experiences with gender identity, from hormones to employment to growing up.
Imagine the day when we finally receive a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, only to find that there’s a message embedded within. Given that we don’t speak the same language, how could we ever hope to make sense of it? We spoke to the experts to find out.
Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, aka “CETI”, is the branch of SETI concerned with both the transmission and reception of messages between ourselves and an alien civilization. Scientists have been trying to detect signals from an extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) since the 1960s, but haven’t found anything.
We might hope that good arguments will eventually drive out bad arguments – in what Timothy Williamson calls “a reverse analogue of Gresham’s Law” – and we might want (almost?) complete freedom for ideas and arguments, rather than suppressing potentially valuable ones.
Swarthmore College Professor Barry Schwartz just published an op-ed in The New York Times, “Rethinking Work.” The essay begins by noting that a “survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs.” So 9 out of 10 “workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.” But Why?
NREL recently released data showing that next-generation wind turbines could reach an incredible capacity factor of 60% over 2 million square kilometers of the US, or enough to provide roughly 10x as much electricity as the US uses. If true, this would be a game-changer in wind power, as I explain below.
When and how did the universe begin? A global group of astronomers wants to answer that question by peering as far back in time as a large new telescope will let us see. Wendy Freedman headed the creation of the Giant Magellan Telescope, under construction in South America; at TEDGlobal in Rio, she shares a bold vision of the discoveries about our universe that the GMT could make possible.
People are often mildly to severely intoxicated when they have sex. This creates a problem. If someone signals consent to sex whilst voluntarily intoxicated, should that consent be treated as morally/legally valid? I have been very slowly working my way through Alan Wertheimer’s excellent paper on this topic (cleverly entitled ‘Intoxicated Consent to Sexual Relations’). So slow has been my progression that I have actually written threepreviousposts examining the complex web of moral claims associated with it. But in doing so I have yet to share Wertheimer’s own view. Today, I finally make up for this deficit.
Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.
Future Grind podcast host Ryan O’Shea discusses the future of business with writer B.J. Murphy, an experienced futurist working with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Serious Wonder, Planetary Resources, & more.
Biohacking and transhumanist advances (including nootropics, extended longevity, cybernetic implants, better behavioral and genetic self-understanding) will materially advance our quality of life and productivity in the coming decade, but we need to be thoughtful about the potential social and ethical pitfalls as we transform. Google Trends shows a marked uptick in searches for “nootropics” and related biohacking fields, so now is the time to have the conversation about the direction we’re headed.
About a year from today, Americans will line up at the polls to vote for the 45th President of the United States. Whether Zoltan Istvan will represent the Transhumanist Party on that ballot remains to be seen, but it seems likely that he’ll be the first Transhumanist candidate to run for office.
Fringe political parties are not new, though ‘Transhumanist’ does have a novel ring to it. In a recent TechEmergence interview, I asked Zoltan, why is this the time, the 2016 election, for the Transhumanist party to make an entrance?
What would you say if I told you that aging happens not because of accumulation of stresses, but rather because of the intrinsic properties of the gene network of the organism? I’m guessing you’d be like: o_0.
So, here’s the deal. My biohacker friends led by Peter Fedichev and Sergey Filonov in collaboration with my old friend and the longevity record holder Robert Shmookler Reis published a very cool paper.
Most people are casually familiar with bipolar disorder, although few understand the colossal strain it can have on the lives of sufferers and their loved ones. It’s vital for people diagnosed as bipolar to open themselves up to treatment and for people close to them to be aware of the illness’ ramifications. What’s most important is to understand that no one chooses to be bipolar; you must learn to be calm and patient with people who suffer from it. It’s not their fault that they lack mental wellness and their behavior during manic episodes is not reflective of who they really are.
Dr. Nicole Foubister is a professional psychiatrist with a background in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry, as well as board certified forensic psychiatrist. She is currently on faculty at NYU School of Medicine and has been an attending psychiatrist at the NYU Medical Center, where she served three years as the Director of the Young Adult Unit. Dr. Foubister has extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of many areas of concern including but not limited to anxiety, OCD, depression, attentional disorders, acting out behaviors as well as issues concerning relationships, career and identity.
In 1560 the French ambassador in Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain, sent newly discovered seeds to the French king. These seeds would grow a plant that we today know as tobacco, or more properly Nicotiana Tabacum (named after the ambassador).
Although it would take a while for the hobby of smoking tobacco to catch on in the old world, it was already a popular practice amongst the native inhabitants in the western hemisphere.
There has been emerging a tradition by longevity researchers and activists around the world to organize events dedicated to promotion of longevity research on or around October 1 – the UN International Day of Older Persons.
This day is sometimes referred to in some parts of the longevity activists community as the “International Longevity Day”. As this is the official UN Day of Older Persons, this provides the longevity research activists a perfect opportunity, perhaps even a perfect “excuse”, to emphasize the importance of aging and longevity research for the development of effective health care for the elderly, in the wide public as well as among decision makers.
Soon, perhaps in less than 50 years, something we’ll call a “digital stroke” will be commonplace around dinner tables. As our consciousness rapidly becomes more reliant on the smart technology we hold so dear, our naturally functioning brains will suffer the consequences.
“The most fundamental assumption on which this thesis depends is that the human mind and its conscious experiences are purely a computational phenomenon…Although in principle there may be some deep flaw in this analogy between a human and a mechanical robot, it is an analogy that rests at the core of all of our research in cognitive science, neuroscience, and even biology itself.”
“Humanity [...] is an extruder of technological material. We take in matter that has a low degree of organization; we put it through mental filters, and we extrude jewelry, gospels, space shuttles. This is what we do.” - Terence McKenna
Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday.
By learning everything there is to know about you and your online habits, social network ETER9 promises a kind of digital immortality wherein an artificially intelligent agent continues to post on your behalf long after you’re dead. The future is creepier than we ever imagined.
Last time I attempted to grapple with R. Scott Bakker’s intriguing essay on what kinds of philosophy aliens might practice and remaining dizzied by questions.
Luckily, I had a book in my possession which seemed to offer me the answers, a book that had nothing to do with the a modern preoccupation like question of alien philosophers at all, but rather a metaphysical problem that had been barred from philosophy except among seminary students since Darwin; namely, whether or not there was such a thing as moral truth if God didn’t exist.
Although largely ignored by the mass media and traditional intellectuals, a major drama began in 2013 when Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, posted a blog attacking the American Psychiatric Association for the self-serving stupidity of the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual