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
If there’s ever been a case when I just wanted to jump on a plane and go interview someone in person, not because they are famous but because they have created a totally unique and arguably seminal theory, it has to be Danko Nikolic. I believe Danko’s theory of Practopoiesis is that good and he should and probably eventually would become known around the world for it. Unfortunately, however, I don’t have a budget of thousands of dollars per interview which will allow me to pay for my audio and video team to travel to Germany and produce the quality that Nikolic deserves. So, I’ve had to settle with Skype. And Skype refused to cooperate on that day even though both me and Danko have pretty much the fastest internet connections money can buy. Luckily, despite the poor video quality, our audio was very good and I would urge that if there’s ever been an interview where you ought to disregard the video quality and focus on the content – it has to be this one.
During our 67 min conversation with Danko we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his personal journey into psychology and cognitive science; writing a manual for the mind; practopoiesis, AI and learning how to learn; consciousness and free will; the Penrose-Hameroff Quantum Theory of consciousness; the brain-mind distinction; the Human Brain Project, whole brain simulation and mind uploading…
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we’ve spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.
“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use. Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash.
For that, they are turning to nootropics,” writes Jack Smith IV on the cover story for an April 2015 edition of the New York Observer.
If you are one of the millions who have been suffering from glaucoma, then smoking marijuana can help you get the best eyesight and relieve pressure from they eyes. Intraocular pressure can increase in certain individuals, especially those who have diabetes. Glaucoma is serious disease that can cause blindness.
A vomit bucket sat on the old wooden floor in front of me, a roll of toilet tissue to my right, and when the shaman sung that low sinister note of the first icaro I puked until I naively thought that I could puke no more only to immediately puke again in some kind of volcanic eruption.
In return I was greeted by the indistinguishable sounds of whatever surrounded our jungle hut that dark night deep in the Amazon jungle. I thought that I was in a dream—except that this was no dream that I’ve ever had nor will ever want to have again.
Science and art are complementary disciplines. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek explains how, together, they allow us to explore whether the world embodies beautiful ideas.
“What is the world?” That’s a question for science. “What is beauty?” That’s where art, philosophy, and culture come in. And for thousands of years we’ve been seeking out forms of harmony, symmetry, and perspective to help us understand it all, whatever “it all” ultimately means.
Frank Wilczek is an American theoretical physicist, mathematician and a Nobel laureate. He is currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Wilczek, along with David Gross and H. David Politzer, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 for their discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute. His new book is titled A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design.
1. Wealth Gap: The playing field is not level. The median wealth of a white household in the United States is over 13 times that of a black household, and the gap is widening. Most black households have less than $350 in savings. It takes money not just to make money but to get a start, to live near good schools, to live free of lead paint poisoning, or to address the special needs that every person has.
For millennia, Humans have been crafting tools. We don’t hold a monopoly on the trade, but we’ve done it better than any other species. So good, our entire evolution has been crafted around our dependence on them. With our anatomical features and vulnerabilities, it was perhaps predestined that we would not only master tool making, but become dependent upon it. What came first, the human or the tool?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.” Subsequently, 90% of those visually impaired live in low-income settings. What this entails is a two-fold problem in need of serious addressing. Not only a way to help the visually impaired to see, but equally a means of which is affordable to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom, IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach and Affiliate Scholar Seth Baum are Principal Investigators on projects n funded by Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project and administered by the Future of Life Institute.
The great influencers and contributors in the field of AI today can’t help but acknowledge that part of their success comes from ‘standing on the shoulders’ of the thinkers and doers who came before. Dr. Nils J. Nilsson, former Stanford researcher and author of The Quest for Artificial Intelligence, is such a pioneer in the field of AI that he aptly recalls the ‘AI Winter’, a period of time in the late 1970s and early 1980s when funding dwindled and AI research went underground.
Nootropics, more colloquially known as “smart drugs,” are in the zeitgeist. Hollywood productions like Limitless and Lucy to a CNN profile of a tech millionaire - Dave Asprey - spending $300,000 to hack his own body with research chemicals have certainly raised the profile of nootropics in the mainstream.
Review the Future talks about brain-computer interfaces. We discuss the range of available invasive and non-invasive sensor options, the difficulties of processing brain signals, and the wide variety of ways computers might use realtime brain data. While it’s clear that BCIs promise incredible benefits to people who are paralyzed, it’s less clear how extensively BCIs will benefit able-bodied humans. We explore what some of those benefits (and dangers) might be.
Research from the School of Psychology and Counseling at Queensland University of Technology in Australia identified 700 apps associated with “mindfulness” on either iTunes and Google Apps Marketplace. Inclusion criteria was stringent; only apps that cost less than $10 were included.
Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking Fear a Robot Apocalypse. But a Major Physicist Disagrees. All new technology is frightening, says physicist Lawrence Krauss. But there are many more reasons to welcome machine consciousness than to fear it.
The trend toward mainstream,” sanitized” forms of Bitcoin that can be adopted by governments and banks is here to stay, which is not a bad thing. At the same time, it’s also important to preserve important aspects of the original vision of the Bitcoin Founders – a P2P currency that can’t be controlled by banks and governments, and supports untraceable private transactions.