In recent years, machines have grown increasingly capable of listening, communicating, and learning—transforming the way they collaborate with us, and significantly impacting our economy, health, and daily routines. Who, or what, are these thinking machines? As we teach them to become more sophisticated, how will they complement our lives? What will separate their ways of thinking from ours? And what happens when these machines understand data, concepts, and behaviors too big or impenetrable for humans to grasp? We were joined by IBM’s WATSON, the computer Jeopardy! champion, along with leading roboticists and computer scientists, to explore the thinking machines of today and the possibilities to come in the not-too-distant future.
Christopher Barnatt talks about mind uploading, cryonics, AI, nanotechnology, landless states, aquaponics, and being a futurist! He answers “What is the most exciting or frightening future technology?” which he asked his viewers to help him pick a topic: that topic: Mind Uploading…. What will happen when we share our thoughts by linking all our brains via BCIs or minduploading?
At the end of the documentary Transcendent Man, Ray Kurzweil says, “Does God exist? Well, not yet.” I agree. It certainly brings up a topic that isn’t easily understood, nor well received by those dictated under dogmatic belief systems. Does God exist? Not yet. Do angels exist? Not yet. Do ghosts exist? Not yet. These questions are long-term byproducts of a single question in general: What exists and when?
Did you know that there are only 138 mutations that play the major role in making a cell cancerous? Well, 138 found so far, however, the number of these driver mutations inside the genes won’t grow significantly, at least that’s not anticipated. Obviously there are thousands of mutations in cancer cells, but not all of them give the selective grow advantage.
IEET Fellow Andy Miah talks about doping, body, and mind enhancement. Doping has been a controversial issue for years in sports. But how will athletes evolve over time? How far will we go to make sure that people are not “enhanced”?
Many people are concerned about our size and status in the universe. The universe is mind-bogglingly big, old, empty, and largely inhospitable to life; we are small, short-lived and confined to a remote and humdrum corner of it. This difference in scale is often thought to have some philosophical implications. In particular, it is thought to rob us of significance, meaning and value. But is this right?
If your daily routine took you from one homegrown organic garden to another, bypassing vast fields choked with pesticides, you might feel pretty good about the current state of agriculture. If your daily routine takes you from one noncommercial progressive website to another, you might feel pretty good about the current state of the Internet. But while mass media have supplied endless raptures about a digital revolution, corporate power has seized the Internet—and the anti-democratic grip is tightening every day.
Quantum levitation by trapping a magnetic field inside a superconductor. Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally very broad, including fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc. The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale.
Berkeley Engineering Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center
Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold.
In a robot lab at TEDGlobal, Raffaello D’Andrea demos his flying quadcopters: robots that think like athletes, solving physical problems with algorithms that help them learn. In a series of nifty demos, D’Andrea show drones that play catch, balance and make decisions together—and watch out for an I-want-this-now demo of Kinect-controlled quads.
A lot of people would like to live forever, or at least for much longer than they currently do. But there is one obvious impediment to this: our biological bodies break down over time and cannot (with current technologies) be sustained indefinitely. So what can be done to avoid our seemingly inevitable demise? For some, like Aubrey de Grey, the answer lies in tweaking and re-engineering our biological bodies. For others, the answer lies in the more radical solution of mind-uploading, or the technological replacement of our current biological bodies.
For Valentine’s Day, Dr. J. talks with Katherine Gates, author of Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex, and founder of Gates of Heck Press, about the boundary between sexual variation and psychopathology, the political correctness of S&M, the market for erotic genetic engineering, and the joying of blowing up and popping balloons. (Originally broadcast February 14, 2004)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is about everything. Life, the Universe, everything. If you’ve read these amazing books, you know the answer is 42, but what’s the question? To find out what the question was, they built a giant computer we call Earth. And though it seems silly, perhaps Douglas Adams was correct, and that not just earth, but the WHOLE UNIVERSE is an incredibility complex computational system, processing the answer to some unknown question. The universe IS made up of information, similar to a computer, and physics (you know, the basis of the universe) certainly is based on computational principles. But is it running some grand program? Will the answer be 42? Make sure you have your towel, and watch the episode!
Reading List: —An Introduction to Digital Philosophy, Edward Fredkin, International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 42, No. 2, February 2003 ( C ° 2003) - Edward Fredkin1 —The Computable Universe, edited by Hector Zenil —Information, Physics, Quantum: The Search for Links, by John Archibald Wheeler —Against Digital Ontology - Luciano Floridi
Let us know what sorts of crazy ideas you have, about this episode and otherwise:
Tweet at us! @pbsideachannel (yes, the longest twitter username ever)
Email us! pbsideachannel [at] gmail [dot] com
Idea Channel Facebook! http://Facebook.com/pbsideachannel
Hosted by Mike Rugnetta (@mikerugnetta)
Made by Kornhaber Brown (http://www.kornhaberbrown.com)
Continuing the mission of the first four AGI conferences, AGI-12@Oxford gathers an international group of leading academic and industry researchers involved in scientific and engineering work aimed directly toward the goal of artificial general intelligence. Appropriately for this Alan Turing centenary year, this is the first AGI conference to be held in the UK.
The AGI conferences are the only major conference series devoted wholly and specifically to the creation of AI systems possessing general intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond. By gathering together active researchers in the field, for presentation of results and discussion of ideas, we accelerate our progress toward our common goal.
In a recent interview the ever insightful and expansive Vernor Vinge laid out his thoughts on possibility and the future. Vinge, of course, is the man who helped invent the idea of the Singularity, the concept that we are in an era of ever accelerating change, whose future, beyond a certain point,- we cannot see. For me, the interesting thing in the Vinge interview is just how important a role he thinks imagination plays in pulling us forward into new technological and social possibilities.
There is an argument in popular culture that claims science fiction authors have over the past century routinely predicted the development of new technologies and new social problems. Proponents of this argument cite supposed predictions of geosynchronous satellites, the internet and artificial intelligence as proof. The issue with these predictive claims, aside from supposing that a science fiction authors possess extraordinary clairvoyant powers, is that such arguments ignore the scores of failed predictions. However, the basic question is still interesting to futurists. Can science fiction be used to predict the future?
One of the most common arguments made against Transhumanism, Technoprogressivism and the transformative potentials of emerging, converging, disruptive and transformative technologies may also be the weakest: technical infeasibility. While some thinkers attack the veracity of Transhumanist claims on moral grounds, arguing that we are committing a transgression against human dignity (in turn often based on ontological grounds of a static human nature that shan't be tampered with) or on grounds of safety, arguing that humanity isn't responsible enough to wield such technologies without unleashing their destructive capabilities, these categories of counter-argument (ethicacy and safety, respectively) are more often than not made by people somewhat more familiar with the community and its common points of rhetoric.
Cognitive Architectures & Cognitive Modelling Panelists (from left to right): Helgi Helgason, Joscha Bach, Alessandro Oltramari, Peter Lane, Pei Wang. Continuing the mission of the first four AGI conferences, AGI-12@Oxford gathers an international group of leading academic and industry researchers involved in scientific and engineering work aimed directly toward the goal of artificial general intelligence. Appropriately for this Alan Turing centenary year, this is the first AGI conference to be held in the UK.
The structure of many African economies is unbalanced and unable to deliver labor intensive and inclusive growth. Most African economies are characterized by both excessive dependence on export revenues from a few commodities and external financial flows (FDI, aid and remittances) and a weak industrial base and predominance of subsistence agriculture.
Zoltan IstvanThe Transhumanist Wager is an epic story of radical libertarian ideas, their enemies, and the violent global conflict that ensues, painted in strong saturated colors with little room for intermediate shades and character development. After reading cover to cover, and then reading it more carefully, I have mixed love/hate feelings about this novel.
Whether you believe it, or think it’s just too bizarre to be true, this most hyped science of all time – molecular nanotech – promises a utopian future with scarcity-free lifestyles for everyone on the planet; and healthcare miracles that could one day push human lifespan to the edge of immortality.
Combine medieval theology, million-dollar paychecks, taxpayer subsidies and what’s the result?
A constitutional crisis where the Catholic bishops control almost half of Washington’s health care system, using your tax dollars to assert their “moral authority” and make crucial decisions about your health care.
Think you have the right to Death with Dignity? The right to an abortion? The right to contraception? The right to say No to decades on a feeding tube after a devastating accident?
The Catholic bishops think otherwise and they’re working hard to deny you these rights today.
Join host Valerie Tarico, IEET Contributor, and guest Monica Harrington, founder of CatholicWatch.org, for a discussion about religion and health care, why Washington State is poised to become the first state in the Union where the bishops edicts rule, and what you can do to fight back.
First: Sad News - Though expected, the passing of author Iain Banks came as a shock and a blow. I first met Iain in London, where I lived in the mid-1980s, when we were both brash young newcomers. I've always respected his literary fiction, but even more deeply admired his science fiction, especially the last two decades. His Culture Universe was among the few to confront straight-on the myriad hopes, dangers and raw possibilities that might be faced by a humanity-that-succeeds….
It should be self-evident that recent NSA revelations bring up some grave concerns about civil liberties. But they also raise other profound and troubling questions – about the privatization of our military, our inflated expectations for digital technology, and the increasingly cozy relationship between Big Corporations (including Wall Street) and Big Defense.
I was quick to tweet and post on Facebook about the Guardian and the Washington Post’s stories about the NSA’s PRISM program – a program described as giving the NSA access to the data of hundreds of millions of internet users via direct access to servers at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other internet companies.
You enter the supermarket, grab an electronic cart that recognizes you from your touch, toss in some bags and begin shopping. The monitor on your ‘smart cart’ displays products, price, and total amount spent; and subtracts items returned to the shelf.
Roger Howard presents plausible scenarios regarding the geopolitical dangers of peak oil. Equally plausible scenarios could envision some positive impacts, because countries dependent on natural resources are often poor and undemocratic, while countries dependent on human resources are often rich and democratic.
IEET Contributor Colin Farrelly, Dept of Political Studies at Queen’s Univ. talks about the gab between humanity and social sciences and natural sciences. Farelly spoke on May 2, 2013 at the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology 10th Annual Symposium.
The Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology is an institutional collaboration of the Biology Departments at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. OCIB members have significant expertise in fish physiology, botany, entomology, computational biology, and toxicology. The OCIB facilitates interdisciplinary research collaboration between the two universities and external partners.
Each spring the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff and guest speakers gather for the Annual OCIB Symposium. This year, the 10th Annual OCIB Symposium will be held at Carleton University May 2-3, 2013. We are excited to announce this years theme as “bridging the gap.” This year’s theme intends to address topics such as bridging the gap between biology and other areas of study, as well as between scientific research and the community through the use of media.