Robots are replacing humans on the battlefield—but could they also be used to interrogate and torture suspects? This would avoid a serious ethical conflict between physicians’ duty to do no harm, or nonmaleficence, and their questionable role in monitoring vital signs and health of the interrogated. A robot, on the other hand, wouldn’t be bound by the Hippocratic oath, though its very existence creates new dilemmas of its own.
Topics discussed in this week’s episode include my new strength routine, using Ecstasy to treat autism, cognitive enhancement and potential side-effects, Radiolabs on amnesia and free will, H+ interview with Eric Drexler, New paper by Keith B. Wiley: “The Fermi Paradox, Self-Replicating Probes, and the Interstellar Transportation Bandwidth”, genetically modifying mosquitos to combat diseases (and mosquitos), and how to engineer a zombie virus.
Both Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Nobel prize winning Keynsian economist Paul Krugman have a trait in common. They grew up fervent science fiction fans, especially transfixed by the future-historical speculations of Isaac Asimov. Gingrich wrote about this influence that helped to shape his life.
After six years serving as the IEET’s Chairman of the Board, Nick Bostrom will be stepping down and assuming the role of IEET Senior Fellow. And after three years service as managing director of the IEET, Mike Treder will be stepping down to be an IEET Fellow. IEET Affiliate Scholar Hank Pellissier will be replacing Mike as Managing Director.
This is an interview that I conducted with historian and futurist Warren Wagar in 1998. Wagar was a professor at SUNY Binghamton, an HG Wells scholar, and the author of the technoprogressive classic A Short History of the Future. A special issue of the Journal of World-Systems Research was devoted to commentaries on Warren Wagar’s theory of the forces that are leading to world government. Professor Wagar passed away in 2004.
Just add hydraulic fluids! Marcin Jakubowski and his team of volunteer engineers and inventors run the Open Source Ecology community, and are working to develop and test the Global Village Construction Set, a set of tools to build replicable, open source, modern, off-grid resilient communities.
By weaving open source permacultural and technological cycles together, we intend to provide basic human needs while being good stewards of the land, using resources sustainably, and pursuing right livelihood. With the gift of openly shared information, we can produce industrial products locally using open source design and digital fabrication. This frees us from the need to participate in the wasteful resource flows of the larger economy by letting us produce our own materials and components for the technologies we use. We see small, independent, land-based economies as means to transform societies, address pressing world issues, and evolve to freedom.
Factor e Farm is the land-based facility where we are putting this theory into practice. Here we are testing the prototypes of of Global Village Construction Set, working piece by piece towards self sufficiency. Ultimately, our goal is to make this self sufficiency available to all. To this end, the GVCS is designed to be self-replicable. After the first set is complete, it will be used to fabricate copies of itself from raw materials (for the cost of scrap metal). At that point we will shift to begin developing networks of interconnected self-sufficient villages and homes.
Taken literally, open source means that the goods and knowledge for reproducing the complete product (the “source”) is freely accessible (open), and ecology is the study of living interactions between organisms and their natural environment. From a human perspective, we seek to push our vision of ecology beyond ecological crisis and into ecological harmony and human productivity.
They have 119 videos up documenting their project on a weekly basis here.
Fire all the janitors and make poor kids clean their schools? Zap Korea with an airborne superlaser that’s never worked during testing? Ignore global warming and plan to re-engineer the entire planet with untested technology instead?
On Sunday December 11, 2011 the Turing Church Online Workshop 2.0, explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″, the convergence of science and religion, highly imaginative future science and technologies for resurrection, emerging science and technologies for immortality, social and memetic engineering. The event was organized by Giulio Prisco, a member of the IEET Board of Directors. About thirty people dropped in to the virtual space to listen to the talks and participate in the discussion. IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel’s pre-recorded talk is available here. IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt’s talk about Terasem’s ideas is available here.
A Connecticut-based company is putting Swedish technology to work with a spherical robot called the Guardbot, designed for surveillance and rescue missions. While it’s not yet commercially available, the rolling robot’s developers say it’s already attracting interest from a wide range of customers.
However, this is eerily like “The Rover” balloon in the 1960s series “The Prisoner”:
After much hard work, the editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, Russell Blackford, and IEET Fellow Linda MacDonald Glenn are pleased to announce that the special issue that they have been editing if coming online.
In this episode of the Sentient Developments podcast George Dvorsky discusses primal transhumanism and the seemingly contradictory trend towards ancestral health that’s happening in the futurist community. To that end George addresses the paleo diet, functional fitness, and the importance of sleep. In the second half of the episode he discusses the recent lawsuit launched by PETA in which they accuse SeaWorld of enslaving orca whales. In this suit, PETA claims that the US Constitution backs up their claim as the 13th mention makes no mention of the kinds of persons it’s set up to protect.
The morning-after pill known as Plan B is steeped in controversy again. The Department of Health and Human Services has taken the rare step of overruling the Food and Drug Administration and its science advisors and will not allow the pill to be sold over the counter in drugstores unless a woman can prove she is older than 17.
The new (December 2011/January 2012) issue of Free Inquiry features a set of articles on the prospects of human enhancement, and how these should be viewed by secular people. The positions range across the spectrum from enthusiastic to very resistant, and feature contributions by IEET’s Russell Blackford and James Hughes.
Harvard-MIT-Yale Cyberscholar Working Group: Professor Medina presents material from Cybernetic Revolutionaries, her book-in-progress that tells the history of Chile’s Project Cybersyn. She links this historical case study to present day issues in e-governance, participatory design, and computer surveillance.
Dr. J. chats with theologian Brent Waters, author of This Mortal Flesh: Incarnation and Bioethics and From Human to Posthuman: Christian Theology and Technology in a Postmodern World. Professor Waters teaches Christian Social Ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois. They discuss the importance of the body for Christianity, the ethics of reproductive choice and life extension, and whether human beings are supposed to have a creative role in nature.
(by Robert Bradbury, IEET Fellow Milan Cirkovic, and IEET Board Chair George Dvorsky) We critically assess the prevailing currents in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), embodied in the notion of radio-searches for intentional artificial signals as envisioned by pioneers such as Frank Drake, Philip Morrison, Michael
Papagiannis and others. In particular, we emphasize (1) the necessity of integrating SETI into a wider astrobiological and future studies context, (2) the relevance of and lessons to be learnt from the anti-SETI arguments, in particular Fermi’s paradox, and (3) a need for complementary approach which we dub the Dysonian SETI. It is meaningfully derived from the inventive and visionary ideas of Freeman J. Dyson and his imaginative precursors, like Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, Olaf Stapledon, Nikola Tesla or John B. S. Haldane, who suggested macro-engineering projects as the focal points in the context of extrapolations about the future of humanity and, by analogy, other intelligent species. We consider practical ramifications of the Dysonian SETI and indicate some of the promising directions for future work.