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…
Towards a governance 2.0 definition of mental illness
Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity or principles of uncertainty, phenomena that determine the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue after we perish. Our lives are not our own — we are bound to others — and through each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.
Looking at the barrage of news on technological unemployment, we may get lucky and avoid the predictable denialism phase altogether. A lot of time gets wasted on denying things that are inescapable. We may get lucky, as in “we might avoid a massively disfunctional dystopian future full of mass-poverty and the consequences thereof“.
For years, the term “Anthropocene” has been used to informally describe the human era on Earth. But new evidence suggests there’s nothing informal about it. We’re a true force of nature — and there’s good reason to believe we’ve sparked a new and unprecedented geological epoch.
A stunt by campaign group ‘Robots for Basic Income’ caused a stir in Davos, Thursday, as the Swiss ski resort hosts the World Economic Forum. One of the group’s members dressed in a robot costume and walked around town. Due to the significant security presence the ‘robot’ was twice stopped and searched by police.
Das humanistische Menschenbild prägte die Entwicklung westlicher Gesellschaften. Doch inzwischen ist der Transhumanismus auf dem Vormarsch. Vertreter dieser neuen ideologischen Strömung beraten westliche Regierungen, Firmen und Entscheidungsträger. Sie streben eine Cyborgisierung des Menschen an. Doch was sind die politischen Folgen?
Deer Antler Velvet is a complex of hormones, growth factors, and minerals extracted from the antlers of a specific deer. It is used for general health and well being, wound and injury recovery, as well as to enhance libido and improve youthful functions. It is surrounded by many arguments and opinions on efficacy.
Michael Fossel‘s dream is to reverse human aging and since 1996 he has been a strong and vocal advocate of experimenting with telomerase therapy as a potential way of intervention in a wide variety of medical conditions related to aging.
This week, two generations after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the U.S., many women will be commemorating the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by speaking openly, some for the first time, about their own abortions. While some live with regrets—as with any important life decision—most say explicitly that they do not. More often they express gratitude that the ability to terminate an ill-conceived pregnancy allowed them to become educated and financially secure and to raise children they love with men they love:
Prof. Chris Hables Gray is someone whose work on both war and the cyborg is a must read for anyone interested in those topics. I have followed Gray’s work for over 10 years and have read at least 3 of his books. So when I discovered that Chris will be one of the speakers for the upcoming ISTAS2013 conference in Toronto, that I can’t wait to attend this June 27-29, I decided to use it as an excuse to get him for an interview on Singularity 1 on 1.
During my conversation with Chris Hables Gray we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: how Chris got interested in issues related to war and cyborg; the definition of cyborg and why the term has been actively avoided by both NASA and the US military; the difference between a drone and a robot; cyborg society and the politics thereof; why cyborgization is as overdetermined as it is a political process; human nature, nurture, competition and cooperation; Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto; mind-reading, mind-control and neuro-marketing; philosophy and death; transhumanism and the technological singularity; artificial intelligence and hubris; Gray’s upcoming book on Infoisms…
My favorite quote that I will take away from this conversation with Chris Hables Gray is:
“We need good citizenship, strong citizenship like Socrates had when he went and risked his life to fight for Athens. […] We can’t be just people who vote. […] We must be really engaged citizens like our hero Socrates and risk all, risk our lives to make the world better – for our children and our friends.”
As a critical posthumanist (with speculative leanings), I found myself always a little leary of transhumanism in general. Much has been written on the difference between the two, and one of the best and succinct explanations can be found in John Danaher’s “Humanism, Transhumanism, and Speculative Posthumanism.
“Scorned by over 500 publishers and literary agents around the world,” says The Transhumanist Wager’s back page blurb, “[Zoltan Istvan’s] philosophical thriller has been called ‘revolutionary’ and ‘socially dangerous’ by readers, scholars, and religious authorities.” Well, surely that ought to whet your appetite!
SPECIAL GUEST: John Danaher. What would the world like it, without work? Take a journey into the SOFALURITY with us, as we’re rejoined by past guest John Danaher. In this episode, we talk #technologicalunemployment, #impactofautomation, #futureofwork, #AI, #algocracy, and #BasicIncome. Recorded on 1/10/2016.
A few weeks back I did a post on religion and violence the gist of which was that it’s far too simplistic to connect religiosity to violence without paying much closer attention to the social context. Religious violence should been seen, I argued, as the response to some real or perceived mistreatment. In addition I also suggested that perhaps what appears to make believers in monotheistic faiths particularly prone to violence is their insistence that they alone possess religious truth.
Did you know that just the thought of money causes your brain to react in ways similar to being high on cocaine? There have been myriad studies conducted over the years on the psychology of money. Here, Sehgal offers a highlight reel of some of the most notable findings.
-A discussion on Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager
Transhumanism is a rising international intellectual movement that seeks to greatly enhance human capacities through emerging science and technologies, with life extension as one of its main goals. However, for many decades, the movement has remained outside of the political mainstream and a large part of it has only been active on the internet.
What does it mean when someone calls you smart or intelligent? According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, it could mean one eight things. In this video interview, Dr. Gardner addresses his eight classifications for intelligence: writing, mathematics, music, spatial, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
Ask pretty much any audiophile their preference between analog vinyl albums and digital compact disks and, odds are, the answer will almost unanimously be record albums produced from analog recordings. However, ask Author and Neuroscientist Dr. Bruce MacLennan about the key to understanding neural information processing and you might be surprised when he answers, “analog computing.”
Yesterday I wrote about the impending death of the great neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. I was particularly struck by this line from Sachs’ public goodbye: “I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential.” This brought to mind the Stoic philosopher Seneca who touched on a similar theme in his short piece, On the Shortness of Life:
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