It is important that the transhumanist movement establish a consensus on the meaning of life. Failure to do so will result in conflict, the extent of which is difficult to predict. As it stands today, transhumanism is a divided movement of various competing interests promoting values which are contradictory in nature. It seems the only agreement the movement has reached thus far is that the proper course of action is to promote the widespread adaptation of transhumanism.
Two months ago the Washington Post summarized the outcome of the recent Climate Change Conference held in the Peruvian capital in these words: “… the Lima Accord may nudge countries to do better on climate change (but won’t solve the problem)”. It looks like we might have to live with the health impacts of climate change for a while longer than hoped.
The fact that this even needs to be said demonstrates that there’s been a breakdown in the democratic process, but we’ll say it anyway: Our number one priority should be protecting the planet for future generations. That said, green energy makes sense even if we base our thinking on economic considerations alone.
In a previous political posting, we ran through a long list of political addictions – nostrums and catechisms that believers return to decade after decade, despite their having been relentlessly and decisively disproved. Like the notion that a seventy year Drug War can cure chemical dependency, or that a fifty year trade embargo on Cuba ever did a scintilla of good.
Maybe descriptions of Hell are so horrific to keep people from thinking about how hellish popular versions of the Christian Heaven would be—even without Pat Robertson in the mix. Most Westerners are at least vaguely familiar with the popular Christian version of Heaven: pearly gates, streets of gold, winged angels and the Righteous, with their bodies made perfect and immortal, singing the praises of God forever. What’s surprising is how few people have actually thought about what a nightmare this kind of existence would be.
I am a Cyborg. No, I don’t have any technological enhancements just yet, though I plan on doing so very soon with help from my friends within the DIY grinder community. Even then, my “choosing” to identify myself as a cyborg is more than a mere desire for cyborg enhancements, but is an identity that I feel deeply within myself – a longing to express myself in ways that my current biological body cannot.
Human Enhancement Trailblazer — Author of Body by Design: An Innovative Platform Diverse Body. What if we could build platform diverse bodies that could be mind-driven avatars for parlaying our personas within computational systems and telepresence? Streamlined and adaptive, the platform-diverse body design meets the needs of users who enjoy material embodiment and virtual embodiment. This design system supports linear and non-linear time and interfaces with biospheric and cybernetic environments.
Our users are persons who need whole body prosthetics that perform like a docking system for uploading. With this in mind, this body design’s apps and internal and external devices perform as a historical human system, yet provide a seamless connection with cyberspace. Because of its multi-level usability, the design specifies a smooth transition from human to transhuman avatar by adjusting to diverse social behaviors of a connective society. Further, its safeguarding of the continuity of identity is captured in moment-to-moment experiences that form narrative memory and behavioral patterns.
Does the Continuum Hypothesis have an answer? This question is pointed out by professor W. Hugh Woodin. He admits that 15 years ago he thought it was false. Has his opinion changed? You can see from this lecture.
William Hugh Woodin is an American mathematician and set theorist at Harvard University. He has made many notable contributions to the theory of inner models and determinacy. A type of large cardinal, the Woodin cardinal, bears his name.
Professor David Charles McCarty interviewed by Piotr Urbańczyk.
Professor McCarty conducts research on the foundations of mathematics and logic, early analytical philosophy, and on the history of mathematics and logic, especially the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Concerning the foundations of mathematics and logic, he has published on intuitionism, antirealism, realizability, potentially infinite sets, denotational semantics, Church’s Thesis, Markov’s Principle, and the completeness problem for intuitionistic logic.
In the area of history, he has written on Wittgenstein, Carnap, Frege, Hilbert, Brouwer, Dedekind, du Bois-Reymond and on the “Ignorabimus” controversy. In addition to his work in logic and the philosophy of mathematics, McCarty maintains broad interests in and has taught courses on 19th Century German philosophy, cognitive science, philosophy of language, political philosophy, metaethics and aesthetics. To date, he has supervised or is supervising Ph.D. dissertations on such topics as philosophy of language in Wittgenstein’s middle period, formal logics that prove their own completeness theorems, Church’s Thesis and the philosophy of mind, contemporary metaethics, and the philosophy of mathematics in Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus.”
The research of my group mostly concentrates in two main areas: electronic transport theory in mesoscopic and nanoscopic systems and materials physics of nanotechnology. In nanoelectronics research, our work has concentrated on the development of theoretical formalisms and associated computational tools, as well as their applications to nanoscale electronic devices. By combining the Keldysh nonequilibrium Green's function formalism (NEGF) with denisty functional type self-consistent field theory (DFT), our work is aimed at analyzing and predicting nonequilibrium quantum transport properties of nanostructures from atomic first principles. Specific systems we are working on include molecular electronics magnetic tunnel junctions and spintronics, semiconductor field effect devices and solar cells, carbon nanoelectronics, single electron devices and quantum dots, nanowires and nanowire biosensors, interconnects, as well as strongly correlated phenomena in quantum transport.
The basic questions we ask are like: from atomic first principles, how to predict electric current flowing through a molecule connected to the outside world by metallic electrodes? how to predict spin injection from magnetic metal to semiconductors? how to find the best operational principle of nanoscale field effect transistors? what physics is behind these principles? how to predict the time dependent response of quantum circuit? how to understand strongly interacting electrons and their implications to quantum transport? etc. These and many other questions are challenging problems of modern condensed matter theory.
On the technical side, we continue to move forward the development of first principles methods for accurate predictions of nanoelectronic device characteristics including all the important and relevant microscopic physics. For more details of these fundamental developments, please click here. In materials physics, we use both classical and quantum molecular dynamics and the kinetic Monte Carlo methods to study problems associated with bulk, surface, and interfaces of solid state electronic systems. Recently we have focused more on materials properties of nanoelectronic devices under external bias and gate potentials.
The questions we ask are: how to compute mechanical structure of a nanosystem under external fields and during the flow of current? how to predict current-triggered mechanical phenomena? how to understand correlations of mechanical structural change and electrical transport response? how to predict electron-phonon effects and heat generation during the flow of current? etc… These problems are at the heart of the physics that govern properties of nanometer electro-mechanical systems.
In this video Luke Rudkowski talks with Visionary Artists Alex Grey & Allyson Grey about their definition of consciousness and spirituality as well as the spiritual and practical uses of the Cannabis plant.
Alex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953 (Sagittarius), the middle child of a gentle middle-class couple. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged his son’s drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighborhood and bury them in the back yard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture. Alex went to the Columbus College of Art and Design on full scholarship from 1971-3. Grey dropped out of art school and painted billboards for Columbus Outdoor Advertising, 1973-4. Grey then moved to Boston to study with and work as studio assistant for conceptual artist, Jay Jaroslav, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1974-5.
At the Museum School, Alex met his life-long partner, the artist, Allyson Rymland Grey. At their meeting in 1975, an entheogenically induced mystical experience transformed his agnostic existentialism to a radical transcendentalism. The Grey couple continued to take “sacramental journeys” on LSD. For five years, Alex worked in the Anatomy department at Harvard Medical School preparing cadavers for dissection while he studied the body on his own. He later worked for Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Joan Borysenko as a research technologist at Harvard’s department of Mind/Body Medicine, conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies. Alex’s anatomical training prepared him for painting the Sacred Mirrors (see below) and for working as a medical illustrator. Doctors at Harvard saw images of his Sacred Mirrors, and hired Alex for illustration work.
Grey instructed Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and has taught the Visionary Art Intensive and other art workshops with Allyson at The New York Open Center, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. The couple now teach MAGI workshops (Mystic Artists Guild International) at CoSM in Wappinger, New York.
In 1972 Grey began a series of art actions that bear resemblance to rites of passage, in that they present stages of a developing psyche. The approximately fifty performance rites, conducted over the last thirty years move through transformations from an egocentric to more sociocentric and increasingly worldcentric and theocentric identity. In a major performance entitled WorldSpirit, spoken word poetry in musical collaboration with Kenji Williams was released in 2004 as a DVD.
Grey’s unique series of 21 life-sized paintings, the Sacred Mirrors, take the viewer on a journey toward their own divine nature by examining, in detail, the body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors, present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. Begun in 1979, the series took a period of ten years to complete. It was during this period that Alex developed depictions of the human body that “x-ray” the multiple layers of reality, and reveal the interplay of anatomical and spiritual forces. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth, nursing and dying. Grey’s recent work explores the subject of consciousness from the perspective of “universal beings” whose bodies are grids of fire, eyes and infinite galactic swirls.
Renowned healers Olga Worral and Rosalyn Bruyere express appreciation for the skillful portrayal of clairvoyant vision his paintings of translucent glowing bodies. Countless teachers and spiritual leaders, including Deepak Choprah, incorporate Alex’s art in their power point presentations. Grey’s paintings have been featured in venues as diverse as the album art of TOOL, SCI, the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, Time and Newsweek magazines, the Discovery Channel, rave flyers and sheets of blotter acid. Exhibited worldwide, Alex’s art has been honored with solo exhibitions at Feature Inc., Tibet House, Stux Gallery, P.S. 1, The NYC Outsider Art Fair, The New Museum in NYC, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. Alex’s art has been featured in several year long exhibitions at the American Visionary Art Museum including a room installation he created with Allyson entitled “Heart Net” (1998-99). A mid-career retrospective of Grey’s works at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego in 1999. A keynote speaker at conferences all over the world including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona and Manaus, the international psychedelic community has embraced Grey as an important mapmaker and spokesman for the visionary realm.
For 2011 an 2012, the Watkins Review named Alex Grey one of the top twenty spiritual leaders alive today, in the company of such towering luminaries as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Eckhardt Tolle, and Oprah Winfrey. The Temple of Understanding awarded and sighted both the Grey’s as two of the world’s top fifty Interfaith leaders.
Grey’s first monograph, the large format art book entitled, Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey, has been translated into five languages with well over one hundred thousand copies. His inspirational book, The Mission of Art, traces the evolution of human consciousness through art history, exploring the role of an artist’s intention and conscience, and reflecting on the creative process as a spiritual path.
Transfigurations, Alex’s second monograph, contains over 300 color and black & white plates of his artwork. The Visionary Artist, a CD of Grey’s reflections published by Sounds True, leads the listener on a journey of art as a spiritual practice. The video, ARTmind incorporates Alex’s images in an exploration of the healing potential of Sacred Art. Grey co-edited the book, Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (Chronicle Books, 2002). In 2004, the VISIONS boxed set contains both earlier monographs of Grey’s artwork plus a portfolio of new works.
Alex Grey’s upcoming book Net of Being, to be released in late November 2012, shows how Alex’s visionary art is evolving the cultural body through icons of interconnectedness. Grey’s latest monograph includes over 200 reproductions of Grey’s artwork, contains spectacular photos of Grey’s collaboration with the cult band TOOL plus his worldwide live-painting performances, and offers Grey’s reflections on how art evolves consciousness with a new symbology of the “networked self.” Alex’s painting “Net of Being”—inspired by a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey—has reached millions as the stage set and the cover and interior of the band TOOL’s Grammy award–winning triple-platinum album,10,000 Days. Net of Being is one of many images Grey has created that have resulted in a chain reaction of uses—from apparel and jewelry to tattoos and music videos—embedding these iconic works into our culture’s living Net of Being.
A five-year installation of Grey’s best loved artworks were exhibited at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, CoSM, in New York City from 2004-9. Alex and Allyson have collaborated on performance art, live-painting on stage throughout the world, and the “social sculpture” called CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, that the Grey’s cofounded in 1996. The Grey’s live at CoSM in Wappinger, New York and in Brooklyn since 1984. Their daughter, Zena Grey, born in 1988, is an accomplished actress and artist living in Los Angeles. - http://alexgrey.com/bio/
The recent study in the journal Science, which suggested that most cancers are due to bad luck rather than lifestyle or environmental factors, generated massive media ripples. To summarize, authors Tomasetti and Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University say the “majority [of cancers] are due to “bad luck,” that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells”.
So much anti-religious dogmatism, so much misrecognized religiosity, so little time. It's a wonder to me that some clearly sophisticated persons can express such unsophisticated opinions about religion. Maybe it's just because we all have vested interests? On the one hand, those who have distanced themselves from tradition seek to justify their choice, as those who have continued to embrace tradition likewise would justify themselves. What's to be made of the strange creatures, arguably not so uncommon now or ever, that reject any notion of the choice being all or nothing or even mutually exclusive?
Here is a brief summary of a piece by B.C. Johnson, “Why Doesn’t God Intervene to Prevent Evil?” It offers a devastating critique of the possibility that there is an all powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving god. Are there any good excuses for someone (or a god) not saving a baby from a burning house if they had the power to do so? It will not do to say the baby will go to heaven, since one suffers by burning to death.
In this episode, philosopher, author and cofounder of H+ David Pearce joins us to discuss his concept of the hedonistic imperative, which is the argument that we have a moral obligation to end the suffering of not just all humanity but all sentient life. We discuss his terms “Hedonic Set Point” and “Hedonic Treadmill” and how these phenomena combine to keep most people at about the same amount of happiness, even if they win the lottery or lose the use of their legs. We discuss the feasibility of using prenatal screening to raise our children’s hedonic set points, and the farther-off possibility of using in-vivo genetic modification or future drug therapies to raise our own. It’s a fun and wide-ranging conversation that we think you’re going to really like. Check it out!
Are there trends in evolution — cosmic, biological, and cultural — that support the claim that life is meaningful, or is becoming meaningful, or is becoming increasingly meaningful? Perhaps there is a progressive direction to evolution, perhaps the meaningful eschatology of the universe will gradually unfold as we evolve, and perhaps we can articulate a cosmic vision to describe this unfolding — or perhaps not.
There is ample opportunity to explore blockchains as a new form of information technology, including what consensus models as a core feature might mean and enable. A key question is “What is consensus-derived information?” that is, what are its properties and benefits vis-à-vis other kinds of information? Is consensus-derived information a different kind or form of information?
In the fall of 2014, a young dying woman, Brittany Maynard, captured the hearts of millions around the world. Now her husband and mother have teamed up with a national advocacy group, Compassion & Choices to honor her final wish—that aid in dying be available to terminally ill Americans in every state.
Over the last years, much has been learned about the neuronal basis of consciousness in the brain. Together with a recently developed Integrated Information Theory of consciousness, this progress raises the possibility that science will soon come to grips with this most ephemeral, yet most fundamental, of all phenomena at the heart of the mind-body problem.
These studies suggest that consciousness is more widespread than usually assumed, including in many animals, but not in computer models of the brain. Christof Koch developed his interdisciplinary approach, which integrates the natural sciences and mathematics with more traditional philosophical concerns, during his years of cooperation with his mentor Francis Crick, the Nobel-winning co-discoverer of the DNA structure. After a 27-year research career at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Koch left academia to become the Chief Scientific Officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Funded by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Seattle-based institute takes a Big Science approach to build Brain Observatories in order to catalogue all the cell types of the cerebral cortex and its complete interconnectivity using quantitative models to understand how it gives rise to behavior, perception, and consciousness.
PETER DIAMANDIS is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org), which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight, the Foundation is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also the co-Founder & Executive Chairman of the Singularity University (www.singularityU.org), a Silicon Valley based institution teaching graduates and executives about exponentially growing technologies and their potential to address humanity’s grand challenges.
Diamandis is coauthor of the New York Times best selling hardcover book Abundance—The Future Is Better Than You Think (www.AbundanceTheBook.com) which was #2 on the NYTimes List and #1 on Amazon.
Diamandis has founded or co-founded many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures. He also counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended MIT where he received degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis’ personal motto is: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!”
- See more at: http://www.diamandis.com/overview/#sthash.0F6zVmGU.dpuf
Dr. Anders Sandberg is James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and Research Associate at the Oxford Neuroethics Center
Abstract: This talk will outline some of the ethical considerations that will need to go into any project aiming at creating brain emulations. In the near future the main issue is the ethical treatment of virtual experimental animals under profound uncertainty about their true moral status. Applying a cautious approach suggests to use methods similar to existing animal welfare methods, but adapted to the peculiarities of software entities. In the mid-term, the case of human emulations raises a number of other ethical challenges, including informed consent, handling of flawed versions, time rate rights, vulnerability, and the change of identity and death. Finally, the long-term effects and importance of brain emulation will be discussed: are there ethical reasons that strongly speak against pursuing it at all, or equally strongly favor a push towards it?
Dr. Anders Sandberg
Cognitive Enhancement Theorist — Philosopher at the Future of Humanity Institute. Editor of the Whole Brain Emulation Roadmap.
Investigated social and ethical impact of cognitive enhancement and feasibility of whole brain emulation. James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.
Studies questions of human enhancement, emerging technologies, global catastrophic risks and applied epistemology.
Computational Neuroscience degree from Stockholm University, on the modeling of memory systems. Joined Oxford University in 2006 in the ENHANCE project investigating human enhancement.
Research Associate with the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology and the Oxford Neuroethics Center.
Scientific producer of a major neuroscience exhibition. Co-founder and writer for EU think tank Eudoxa.
Regular noted participant in the international public debate on humanity’s future.
Around one in every 10 people will suffer from depression. Brain regions that control mood are often disrupted in depression. Antidepressant drugs or behavioral therapy can offer some relief. By understanding the brain better, our ability to treat depression should also get a boost.
Professor Stough is on the advisory panel for the International Society for Intelligence Research and editorial board for the journal Intelligence. Professor Stough is a leading researcher in the area of natural drugs, cognition, mood and the brain. He co-founded the Herbal and Nutraceutical Research Unit at Swinburne University and is the new Director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) collaborative research centre of neurocognition and herbal medicines. The focus of this unit has been to study the efficacy of cognitive enhancing natural drugs.
He has key publications and grants with several natural substances such as Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monniera, DHA and fish oils, St John’s Wort, Pycnogenol, multi vitamins, rye grass, pine needle extract and patented combinations of smart drugs amongst many others. More recent work has been in establishing the Swinburne Centre for Healthy Aging and the development of large pharmacological trials for the prevention of cognitive and brain aging and supplementary treatments for abnormal aging such as Alzheimer’s Dementia. He has also been working with Vicroads in the area of illicit drugs, driving and cognition and currently holds a large government grant in the area of ecstasy, amphetamines, cognition, road-side saliva testing and driving. Professor Stough with Ben Palmer co-developed the Genos Emotional Intelligence Test and has an expensive network of colleagues and students studying how emotional intelligence relates to important work related behaviours and organizational outcomes such as leadership, workplace behaviours, occupational stress, cross-cultural aspects and the biological basis of emotional intelligence.
Many futurists are fond of projecting historical trends into the future. Ray Kurzweil is perhaps the most prominent champion of making bold claims about what the future holds based on what the past has held, but he’s not the only one. Interestingly, though, few have applied this predictive methodology to the phenomenon of existential risks. For the purposes of this paper, I’ll define an existential risk as a catastrophe that’s terminal in intensity, transgenerational in temporal scope, and global in spatial scope, and which affects either our current population (Homo sapiens) or some future population that we value. (See this article for details and criticism of other definitions, such as Nick Bostrom’s.)
When I first learnt of the idea to genetically modify mosquitoes (GMMs) as a strategy for controlling the diseases transmitted by these much-maligned insects, I thought it was refreshingly innovative. Little did I know that scientists had been fiddling with mosquitoes, and other insects, for the same reason long before I was born.
Should parents be able to walk into a clinic and choose specific traits, abilities, and disease proclivities of their future child? The dawning age of “designer babies” is full of important ethical questions. But as molecular geneticist George Church, neurologist Robert C. Green, and National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins explain, the answers aren’t yet clear.
History is littered with dead gods. The Greek and Roman gods, and thousands of others have perished. Yet Allah, Yahweh, Krishna and a few more survive. But will belief in the gods endure? It will not. Our descendents will be too advanced to share such primitive beliefs.
By producing complex multifunctional fibers that could be less than the width of a hair, MIT researchers have created a system that could deliver optical signals and drugs directly into the brain, along with a simultaneous electrical readout to continuously monitor the effects of the various inputs.
A general rule that rarely fails is: “Be wary of books written by multiple authors”. Multiple authors tend to amplify each other’s crap instead of edit it down, and the results are often embarrassing ideological pamphlets, no matter how smart the premise.The premise here is interesting. The digital age has changed the world in which we live in not only from the point of the consumers but also from the point of the producers. We live in the age of Web platforms that were not designed top-down but sprung up bottom-up. The future may be more of it, and faster.