Over at the Journal of Evolution and Technology we’ve published a new article by Nicholas Agar, in which he summarises some of the argument from his new book, Humanity’s End, which focuses on and critiques the work of Ray Kurzweil, and the IEET’s Nick Bostrom, James Hughes and Aubrey de Grey.
There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this world, and I’ve got a pretty good list: A loving family, the glittering splendor of the cascading galaxies, Eddie Hinton’s guitar solo on the Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” ... you know, the usual stuff. But here’s something you may not think warrants much gratitude this November: The wisdom and common sense of the American people.
University of Connecticut professor emerita Susan Anderson and her research partner, husband Michael Anderson of the University of Hartford, a UConn alumnus, are teaching machines how to behave ethically.
Would you give up some of the consumer comforts you presently enjoy in order to live in a society that places a very high value on fairness, equality, and social justice? Or are you okay with a certain amount of “bending the rules” so the privileged class can attain more benefits and accumulate much more power and wealth as long as you also enjoy a higher standard of living?
A few weeks ago, The Science Cheerleaders grabbed headlines with their appearance at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, where they cheered for citizen science and science literacy as well as served to provide a new kind of role model for young girls, showing them they can be both cheerleaders and scientists.
It’s 2010 — our 2010 — and an artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful entities on Earth. It manages trillions of dollars in resources, governments shape their policies according to its reactions, and, while some people revere it as literally incapable of error and others despise it as a cathastrophic tyrant, everybody is keenly aware of its existence and power.
Humans are animals that build tools to enhance physiology. It is the use of tools that helped to increase the human brain into a larger, more complex system than that of early hominids. “Tools and bigger brains mark the beginning of a distinctly human line of evolution.” (Kelly 2010, 22) According to Jared Diamond, early hominids lacked innovation: “In short, Neanderthal tools had no variation in either time or space to suggest that most human characteristics, innovation”. (Diamond 2006, 44) What will we do with nanotechnology and AGI?
Doug Rushkoff was interviewed by progressive journalist Laura Flanders for Grit TV about his new book Program or Be Programmed: We need to take control of the new computer networking tools all around us, argues author and thinker Douglas Rushkoff, or else we’ll wind up at the mercy of those who do take control. That’s part of the argument Rushkoff makes in his new book, Program or Be Programmed, out now from our friends at OR Books. With some basic computer and programming literacy, Rushkoff notes, we can take control of our lives, create value for ourselves, and perhaps let the big institutions that think they control us, from banks to media moguls, just wither away.
Peter Dickins has penned a provocative article in the Monthly Review: The Humanization of the Cosmos—To What End? Dickins approaches the subject of space colonization from a decidedly leftist perspective, and is wonders how the process can unfold without the exploitation of humans and the environment.
I am writing this after having responded to a respected friend, a bioethicist with whom I am connected via Facebook. In his photo albums, he has a picture of a protected area for dogs in Thailand. This got me thinking.
Every generation had legends of a coming downfall. Whether you call it The End Times, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Doomsday, Ragnorak, The Population Bomb….we’ve long been fascinated by prophecies of devastation and doom.
Scientist and best-selling novelist David Brin explores the concepts and facts behind end-of-the-world tales, and how modern civilization can start limiting the risk.
In science fiction, when humanity is faced with existential crises, we turn to great minds attached to great hearts. While we aren’t under alien attack or facing sentient machines, our world has its own share of problems. Human cognitive enhancement might just be the solution from which all other solutions are born; or maybe it brings too many risks of its own.
Slate magazine and New America Foundation are holding a seminar on the biology and policy implications of radical life extension today, with help from the IEET’s Sean Hays and with IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey as a speaker.
How old is too old? Some scientists think the body has a metabolic stop-sign at about age 122; others think that through new technologies, genetics, and robotics we can expand our longevity to a quarter millennium. And one man, IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey, thinks immortality is possible â€” that the first human who will reach 1000 years of age has already been born.
But with great age our assumptions of life, family, work, taxes, government, health, sexâ€¦ our humannessâ€¦would change. Are you ready for the long life?
Click here to listen to an interview featuring Aubrey de Grey and Joel Garreau.
What if America lost its knack for making things? IEET Fellow David Brin’s new graphic novel Tinkerers is set in the year 2024, and combines art with history and tech to explore where the U.S. went wrong.