Thanks to advances in neuroscience, we are closer to a true definition of creativity — those seemingly inexplicable moments of clarity and invention — than ever before. Creativity is a quality of the mind, not an inherent characteristic or specific activity. Put differently, there are some very creative accountants just as there are some very uncreative painters — it all depends on the person doing the work. So what does it take to be creative?
As a proponent of attaining indefinite human longevity through the progress of medical science and technology, I am frequently asked to address key questions about the effects that indefinite life extension would have on human incentives, behaviors, and societies. Here, I offer my outlook on what some of these impacts would be.
Douglas Rushkoff joins the rank of French economist Thomas Piketty in expressing skepticism about free market capitalism in the digital age. Groundbreaking companies like Google, Amazon, and Uber operate using a “scorched Earth” method of value creation, says Rushkoff, which resembles 13th century colonialism. To make money, they extract value from communities rather than create it, much like conquistadors would extract precious metals from South American nations. If that sounds like a hyperbolic statement to you, you are probably not alone.
Steven Hawking’s protege, Christophe Galfard, says there are only two events in the universe that defy the laws of physics: black holes and the Big Bang, and while scientists try to explain them both, black holes may be eating up crucial evidence that helps explains the Big Bang. Black holes, Galfard explains, may destroy matter that is gravitationally attracted to them such that scientists cannot use it to learn about the early the moments of the universe.
What can scientists know about love by looking at your brain? Quite a lot, says psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz. When individuals recall experiencing different kinds of love — romantic, maternal, etc. — brain scan machines (fMRIs) show which regions of the brain activate. As different regions are responsible for the release of different hormones, it is possible to establish biological similarities between romantic love and other emotional states that activate the brain in similar ways. The results are not what you might expect.
Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of catastrophes—both natural and self-inflicted—that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population. It’s a real buzzkill of a report and it says that any of these catastrophes could happen within the next five years.
A single shale oil field in the United States is responsible for a significant upsurge in global atmospheric levels of ethane, a dangerous gas that has been linked to climate change and pollution. It’s yet more evidence that fracking is screwing up our planet.
For four billion years, what lived and died on Earth depended on two principles: natural selection and random mutation. Then humans came along and changed everything — hybridizing plants, breeding animals, altering the environment and even purposefully evolving ourselves. Juan Enriquez provides five guidelines for a future where this ability to program life rapidly accelerates.
I’ve long urged folks to go have another look at one of the founders of the Western-Pragmatic Enlightenment, Adam Smith. Lately, Smith has been picked up by ever more economists and thinkers seeking to understand how we’ve gone astray.
Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join Hammond’s quest to fight a disease that affects us all.
(Disclaimer – I’m not a medical doctor. For more info on these topics consult an M.D.)
I was thinking about a friend who quit smoking about 10 years ago with the help of nicotine gum. She eventually kicked the nicotine gum habit too, although she claimed that it was about as difficult to quit the gum as it was the cigarettes. She did notice that her ability to deal with anxiety was reduced after quitting the gum, and she also became more depressed. As a result, she has considered starting to chew gum again.
Humans do not experience life as a linear narrative, but storytellers from journalists to script writers typically tell us stories that way. 3D virtual reality is an opportunity to live stories the way we live life.
Headlines this past week claimed that for the first time ever more than half of poll respondents around the world said they saw themselves more as a global citizen than as a citizen of a country. What did they mean in saying that?
The history of industrialization is the separation of workers from their labor, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff. And it continues today in the digital marketplace where online companies seek to replace human labor with algorithms. IEET Follow Douglas Rushkoff explains:
En 2014 et 2015, de nombreuses personnalités ont exprimé leurs craintes quant aux dangers de l’intelligence artificielle (IA) : Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates… Depuis, ce sujet est devenu très présent dans les médias.
Online businesses were originally measured by how much they sold. Makes sense, right? That’s how economics is taught. But today, the largest online companies depend on an “economy of likes” to make money, says media theorist and IEET Fellow Douglas Rushkoff. Valuations for companies like Facebook depend largely on their user base, he says, rather than their actual profits. An interesting case in point is Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung.
This is the second in a two-part series (read Part I here)looking at the ethics of intimate surveillance. In part one, I explained what was meant by the term ‘intimate surveillance’, gave some examples of digital technologies that facilitate intimate surveillance, and looked at what I take to be the major argument in favour of this practice (the argument from autonomy).
There are a few topics here at Healthcare Triage that just won’t seem to go away. Vaccines and autism. Diet and exercise. Survival rates. But the one that trumps them all is supplements. Americans seem obsessed with them.
David Chalmers is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University. Chalmers is interested in the relationship between mind, brain and reality. He is best known for formulating the “hard problem” of consciousness and for his arguments against materialism.
Last year when I wrote a review of E.O. Wilson’s book The Meaning of Human Existence I felt sure it would be the then 85 year old’s last major work. I was wrong having underestimated Professor Wilson’s already impressive intellectual stamina. Perhaps his latest book Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life is indeed his last, the final book that concludes the trilogy of The Social Conquest of Earth and the Meaning of Human Existence.
Advancements in virtual reality are not only technology driven, but actions within virtual environments implicate numerous issues in policy and law. For example, are virtual images copyrightable? Is the speech produced by a virtual avatar afforded rights under the U.S. and other Constitutions? How does criminal law relate to actions performed within virtual environments, or contract law apply to the lease and sale of virtual objects? These and other questions form the theme for this special issue. Legal scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and other jurisdictions are encouraged to submit.
A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is a monthly stipend sufficient to provide the necessities of life. While there is disagreement even amongst friends of BIG as to how much is sufficient, we will work with a figure of $833 a month, $10,000 a year. BIG has been in the news in the last few years with a Swiss referendum on the matter and a pilot program in the works for Finland. Arguments from the left for BIG tend to appeal to social justice considerations. One line suggests that in a wealthy country like the U.S., no one should go hungry or be homeless, and BIG is an efficient means to ensure this minimal standard of care.
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