Intelligence is about achieving complex goals in complex environments; and it follows that the nature of a specific intelligent system is bound to be highly dependent on the nature of the environment in which it finds itself. Here we explore some of the ways in which human intelligence appears to be dependent on particular broad aspects of the environment in which we evolved, and discuss some possible differences that might be seen in alien intelligences adapted to radically different environments such as worlds comprised entirely of water. As a case in point, possible characteristics of intelligences adapted to complex-fluid-dominated rather than solid-object-dominated environments are discussed in detail.
The dominant trajectory of Enlightenment thought over the last three hundred years has been towards atheism. Most transhumanists are atheists. But some transhumanists, like many of the original Enlightenment thinkers, are attempting to reconcile naturalism and their religious traditions. Some transhumanists even believe that the transcendent potentials of intelligence argue for a new form of scientific theology.
What are the most significant things that happened over the last decade? Did the 2000s live up to expectations? And, what are the predictions for the next decade? KPBS Radio speaks to David Brin and Vernor Vinge about the 2000s and beyond.
Science is implausible to untutored human common sense, but that in no way casts doubt on the correctness of well-established scientific findings. Feelings of transcendence are simply that—feelings—and, as such, have no capacity to reveal truths about a world external to the people who have them.
Dr. J. chats with Gowri Ramachandran, a professor of Law at the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles California, and author of “Against the Right to Bodily Integrity: Of Cyborgs and Human Rights.” MP3
Reason is not self-legitimating. Like all Enlightenment advocates for reason, transhumanists find that the project of Reason erodes all premises including the superiority of reason over unreason. Consequently transhumanists, like Enlightenment advocates in general, need to defend our values with nonrational a prioris. Unfortunately some transhumanists continue to advocate a naïve conception of pure rationality as an end in itself.
After eight years of service—since the founding of the World Transhumanist Association’s Board of Directors in 2001—IEETers Nick Bostrom, James Hughes, George Dvorsky and Mike Treder are stepping down from the Board. IEETers Ben Goertzel and Mike LaTorra will remain on the Board, and Ben will be Chair of the Board in 2010. IEET intern Kristi Scott and IEET fellow Natasha Vita-More are running in the Humanity+ Board election next week.
I’m still reeling from the rather anticlimactic finish to the recent Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen. Like so many others, I was hoping for an internationally binding deal that would, at the very least, compel and motivate the nations of the world to address the climate crisis in a meaningful and precedent setting way.
In a recently concluded poll, IEET readers showed a mix of attitudes toward the “scientific discoveries and technological accomplishments” of the last ten years. Now we want to know what you think about the social and political developments of that same period.
I always like watching movies I haven’t seen in a while. Life changes you and your perspectives, so when you watch a movie again later you bring something new to the viewing experience. Potentially a perspective you didn’t think about the first time you went.
What are the current unresolved issues in transhumanist thought? Which of these issues are peculiar to transhumanist philosophy and the transhumanist movement, and which are more actually general problems of Enlightenment thought? Which of these are simply inevitable differences of opinion among the more or less like-minded, and which need decisive resolution to avoid tragic errors of the past?
I have been lucky enough to swim with dolphins twice in my life. Once it was as a “swim with dolphins” experience in Mexico where I was pushed around by the dolphins in an awesome little display of power and warned not to “pet them on the tummy, or they might get horny, and, by extension, violent.” It is a strange thing to be cautious not to arouse a cetacean.
In recent years, we have witnessed a flood of books, aimed at the popular market, issuing robust challenges to theistic religious belief. A rather puzzling expression, “the New Atheism”, has been applied to this body of work, particularly the contributions of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They, in turn, are sometimes referred to, apparently with affection, as “The Four Horsemen”.
In The Examined Life, Zizek argues that we need to embrace the whole world including our artificial, technological, created self and products. Pastoral romanticism and New Age mysticism are a form of ideological mystification and alienation.