Life: The Ultimate Technology The concept of ‘living technology’ calls attention to the fact that modern science is increasingly capable of engineering systems whose power is based on the core features of life (ISSP, online). My research investigates the development of ‘living materials’, a particular example of living technology, which exploits the energetics inherent in terrestrial matter to create design solutions for the built environment that are ‘programmable’ using chemistry and physics. Many of these properties are regarded as characteristic of ‘life’ but do not infer ‘aliveness’ on the system. The particular system that I am investigating is a dynamic oil in water droplet system, which is capable of emergent behaviour and demonstrates some complex properties that can be thought of as architectural: shedding skins, motility, modification of the environment, population scale behaviour and the production of complex structures. Speculative proposals for applications of these ‘living materials’ in the built environment are explored, particularly with respect to environmental interventions such as, the development of carbon fixing surfaces, reclaiming the city of Venice by growing an artificial limestone reef underneath it, oil producing solar panels and water producing claddings.
Ex nihilo nihil fit – from nothing, nothing comes, – so the saying goes. It is, however, conventional wisdom that hinges on the very definition of “nothing”, and a “self-evident” truth which, upon closer examination, turns out to be not only deeply controversial, but perhaps even beyond human comprehension..
Buddhists and Jains believe there is moral and evolutionary continuity between animals, humans and “gods,” and that all creatures can evolve from animal to posthuman. This places them closer to the progressive optimist and posthumanist aspects of European Enlightenment thought, than followers of the Abrahamic faiths. The Buddhist emphasis on anatta or no-self is also close to neuroscientific reductionism. From a Keynote Address delivered at the International Jain Conference at Claremont Lincoln University, August 24-25, 2012.
Everyone can see that North Korea is trapped in a tragic time-warp, a kind of living museum of 1950s style Cold War socialism. Its political bubble of unreality is likely to burst open with great force well before mid-century.
During our conversation we cover a wide variety of topics such as: how Giulio got interested in transhumanism and the singularity; the inspirational role of science fiction in general and Arthur C. Clarke in particular; the many definitions of the technological singularity; transhumanism and why he is a singularitiarian who doesn’t believe in the singularity; happiness as the ultimate motivation; religion, spirituality, unreligion and science; the Order of Cosmic Engineers; The Turing Church; hope and resurrecting the dead. My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Giulio Prisco is: “The end is not the end. Future science and technology may be able to resurrect us.”
Last week, as I was driving a carload of middle-schoolers to a movie, the kids started talking about their teachers. I couldn’t help overhearing, “ . . . He’s a great science teacher, but he doesn’t believe in evolution.”
Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. She makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology—and invents ways to keep itself alive
Here on the internet, we love us some memes. But where do they come from? Yes we know, they are user generated. But to an internet layman, they seem to just appear, in HUGE quantities, ready for cultural consumption. Are they a sign of a “cultural singularity”? Memes follow rules and code, are varied, self-referential, and seem to multiply at an ever increasing rate. It may seem like science fiction, but we’re close to a world where culture automatically and magically creates infinitely more culture.
Let us know what sorts of crazy ideas you have, about this episode and otherwise:
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An international group of prominent scientists has signed The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness in which they are proclaiming their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are — a list of animals that includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus.
Behrokh Khoshnevis is a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and is the Director of Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California (USC). He is active in CAD/CAM, robotics and mechatronics related related research projects that include the development of novel Solid Free Form, or Rapid Prototyping, processes (Contour Crafting and SIS), automated construction of civil structures, development of CAD/CAM systems for biomedical applications (e.g., restorative dentistry, rehabilitation engineering, haptics devices for medical applications), autonomous mobile and modular robots for assembly applications in space, and invention of technologies in the field of oil and gas. His research in simulation has aimed at creating intelligent simulation tools that can automatically perform many simulation functions that are conventionally performed by human analysts. His textbook, “Discrete Systems Simulation”, and his simulation software EZSIM benefit from some aspects of his research in simulation. He routinely conducts lectures and seminars on invention and technology development.
A funny thing happens when I film with biotech scientist and telomere expert Bill Andrews: I run a lot. This trend continued when I arrived in the Himalayas in Northern India to film Andrews racing in an impossibly cruel 138-mile ultramarathon at 18,000 feet.
IEET Contributor Travis James Leland offers the first chapter of his current work-in-progress, about the world’s first posthuman being and how he impacts the world. In this selection, we meet Alpha and his online girlfriend, ‘Loo. They are attracted to each other online. Should they risk a meat-meeting?
A few weeks ago, there began organizing efforts to create longevity parties in several parts of the world – in Russia, the US, Israel and Europe – dedicated to political promotion of life-extension research and practice.
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