The World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland just wrapped up its annual gathering. It isn’t hard to make fun of this yearly coming together of the global economic and cultural elites who rule the world, or at least think they do.
What happens when we teach a computer how to learn? Technologist Jeremy Howard shares some surprising new developments in the fast-moving field of deep learning, a technique that can give computers the ability to learn Chinese, or to recognize objects in photos, or to help think through a medical diagnosis. (One deep learning tool, after watching hours of YouTube, taught itself the concept of “cats.”) Get caught up on a field that will change the way the computers around you behave … sooner than you probably think.
Terry Hyland is an expert on Buddhism who was interviewed by IEET for a previous article, in August 2015. He is Emeritus Professor at University of Bolton, UK and Lecturer in Philosophy at Free University of Ireland, teaching courses in mindfulness. He has written over 150 articles, 19 book chapters and 6 books.
My life is filled with trivial, time-wasting tasks. As an academic, teaching and research are the most valuable* activities I perform. And yet as I progress in my career I find myself constantly drawn away from these two things to focus on administrative tasks. While efficient administration is important in large organisations (like universities), it feels like a major time-sink to someone like me because (a) I am not ultimately rewarded for being good at it (career progression depends far more research and, to a lesser extent, teaching) and (b) I don’t have any aptitude for or interest in it.
A decade ago, US law said human genes were patentable — which meant patent holders had the right to stop anyone from sequencing, testing or even looking at a patented gene. Troubled by the way this law both harmed patients and created a barrier to biomedical innovation, Tania Simoncelli and her colleagues at the ACLU challenged it. In this riveting talk, hear the story of how they took a case everybody told them they would lose all the way to the Supreme Court.
Dernière partie dédiée à la réflexion sur “Le choix d’une vie très longue en bonne santé : pourquoi?” Préserver et renforcer la part de l’économie non marchande L’accroissement d’abord progressif, puis éventuellement considérable de la durée de vie en bonne santé a commencé depuis longtemps par se traduire par une augmentation de la quantité d’activité fournie par des personnes curieusement qualifiées par les statistiques françaises de « non-actives ».
I cannot understand the markets’ panic over lower oil prices. Sure, it hurts if you own Exxon or drilling-fracking services companies, or work for one, or if you are Saudi or Venezuela or Russia or Iran. But for most of the world, it amounts to a spectacular tax cut and cost discount for all manufacturers, transportation and consumers of almost anything. See this article on much cheaper airline deals.
Pepper spray, tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets — these “non-lethal” weapons are being used by more and more local police forces, as well as military forces brought in to control civilian crowds and other situations. Despite their name, non-lethal weapons have been known to cause deaths ... and as Stephen Coleman suggests, there are other, more insidious hazards as well. He explores the complex ethics — and the unexpected consequences — of using non-lethal weapons to control civilians.
Ray Kurzweil is an author, inventor, futurist, and currently Director of Engineering at Google. He is involved in fields such as optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments; he is the author of several books on health, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism; and he may be the most prominent spokesman in the world today for advocating the use of technology to transform humanity.
George Pitcher is emeritus professor of philosophy at Princeton where he was a member of the philosophy department from 1956-1981. His 1984 article, “The Misfortunes of the Dead,” addresses the question of whether the dead can be harmed.
What is it like to be the Buddha? What, for that matter, would it be like to live as a posthuman? In this text I’m going to argue that the two could be symbiotic, mirroring each other in terms of exotic fluidity and personal transformation. In particular, I’m going to focus upon one particular brand of Buddhism - that of Vajrayana, more commonly know as tantra.
Extinction of Democracy and the Current Global Economy as a Result of Sovereign Debt and how to Prepare for the Future Economy. Martin Armstrong is an American economist best known for discovering the relationship between pi and the business cycle, expressed in his Economic Confidence Model.His latest and largest project – Socrates – is an AI system that monitors the entire global market by tracking international capital flows.
Perhaps at no other time in the present generation has prison reform been so close to the surface of our political consciousness. The “tough on crime” policies and mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines of the 1990s have created a pattern of overly harsh punishments and a glut of private prisons, all but abandoning the rehabilitative function of the penal system. Today, that is slowly changing. In prohibiting juvenile solitary confinement in federal prisons, President Barack Obama follows the advice of prison experts like Marie Gottschalk. Here she explains the “degrading and dehumanizing” harm caused by extreme isolation.
Marie Gottschalk is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in American politics, with a focus on criminal justice, health policy, race, the development of the welfare state, and business-labor relations.
The story of Ivan Ilyich indicates an inseparable connection between death and meaning. The precise connection is unclear, but surely it depends in large part on whether death is the end of our consciousness. While beliefs in immortality have been widespread among humans, such beliefs are extremely difficult to defend rationally.
The necessity to create various remedies for degenerative age-related diseases is beyond any doubts. But this process is somewhat like a Sisyphean task, because the aging of each person only deepens over time, persistently destroying the results of treatment. Pharma is forced to deal with the countless consequences, rather than with their cause. The primary cause of aging is still deeply buried in gerontological terra incognita. Meanwhile, a growing and imminent new threat for humankind is becoming increasingly apparent. This threat is the increasing aging of the human population as a whole.
Dr. Chris Hables Gray is a contributor here at IEET. Below you can watch his lecture for WSA Global Futures
Culture, including art, is natural. Since humans are makers this means art is fundamentally a techno-social, hybrid system of the mental, the biological, the machinic and the inert. New understandings allow for new technosciences which produce new social conditions that lead to new understandings, all the while this dance means the creation of new artistic practices (artivism, maktivism, prefiguration, performing cyborg citizenship, sousveillance, hypernatural) and theoretical claims (cyborg art, hybrid art, bioart, eco art, infoart, inhuman art, symbiotic art, digital art, inorganic agency).
If someone were to ask you nearly 30 years ago what your future car will be by 2016, I’d assume that you would base your ideas on Back to the Future Part II. The flying car would almost always come to mind. But then, despite the fact that flying cars do exist in 2016, they’re incredibly expensive and not very popular. What Back to the Future didn’t expect were cars that could drive themselves, were connected to online systems, and were increasingly abandoning fossil fuels.
As someone with bipolar affective disorder, I’m constantly at a loss as to the gulf that separates between the technoprogressive vision that I aspire to and the severe depression that has a life-long history of suicide attempts, from my teens all the way up until my current mid-forties. It should be apparent that I’m not very skilled at it.
Philosophy could be an important conceptual resource in the determination of human-technology interactions for several reasons. First, philosophy concerns the topics of world, reality, self, society, aspirations, and meaning, all of which we are hoping to reconfigure and accentuate in our relations with technology. Improving human lives is after all one of the main purposes of technology. Second, philosophy relates to thinking, logic, reasoning, and being, which are the key properties of what we would like our technology entities to do.
John Danaher, IEET Affiliate Scholar, recently had the privilege of being a guest on the Social Network Show podcast. The show is hosted by Dr Jane Karwoski and deals with the impact of technology, particularly social networking technology, on society. Dr Karwoski invited him on to talk about the Borg-likeness of the modern world. Regular readers of the blog will know that this is a topic John is quite interested in, having written a couple of posts about it, and he was pleased to be given the opportunity to talk about it on the podcast.
Walk into any health food store and you’re sure to find a variety of teas and remedies that offer to soothe your mind or provide an energy boost. In the future, these offerings may seem almost archaic in the wake of advancing brain machine interface (BMI) technologies. According to engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Isy Goldwasser, anyone can stimulate their mental activity through the use of a BMI, and the potential of cranial stimulation of the mind through this technology is just now being unlocked.
Epictetus (c. 55 – 135 CE) was born as a slave in the Roman Empire, but obtained his freedom as a teenager. He studied Stoic philosophy from an early age, eventually lecturing on Stoicism in Rome. He was forced to leave the city in 89 CE, after the Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from Italy. He then established his own school at Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast in Greece, where he taught and lectured until he died around 135. Today he is regarded as one of the preeminent Stoic philosophers.
John Danaher had a flurry of podcast interviews to start the new year. One of them was an interview on Powerful Nonsense. This is a very interesting podcast hosted by Cem Yildiz and Wayne Ingram which gives advice to young people about work and fulfillment in the new economy. They invited John Danaher on to talk about meaning in an age of automation. The conversation ended up being quite wide-ranging.
I think metaphors are important. They can help to organise the way we think about something, highlighting its unappreciated features, and allowing us to identify possibilities that were previously hidden from view. They can also be problematic, biasing our thought in unproductive ways, and obscuring things that should be in plain view. Good metaphors are key.
Growing old, and having lost hope of finding love again, I read about
the Lifemates Co-op and was intrigued. “Mr or Ms Right doesn’t exist
in nature. If you want someone that was made for you, come to us.” I
made an appointment to visit their office and talk with a salesperson…
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