If you could take a drug that could erase your memories, would you do it? It’s not such a hypothetical question-neuroscientists have identified a drug that can wipe out memory in rats. It’s not something that could be used on humans, but its existence raises a lot of big ethical issues. To sort those out, NOVA talked to Art Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
In this fascinating lecture, IEET Fellow David Eagleman considers some emerging questions relating to law and neuroscience, challenging long-held assumptions in criminality and punishment and predicting a radical new future for the legal system.
One day when I was a young teenager, living out in the countryside in the south of England, a dear old guy I knew drove past me when I was on a long solitary walk. He recognized me and pulled over to ask if I wanted a ride down to the village.
Watch out! The “death panels” are back. They are going to be used by Obama and his horde of federal health reformers to make sure that if you are old, very sick and go into a hospital, you will never return.
The current mainstream narrative is that the easy and cheap availability of data makes greater transparency possible, and this in turn — thanks to the mediation of the well-designed infographic — increases the public’s awareness and control of governments, corporations, and other organizations it would do well to be aware and in control of.
Professor Robert Winston presents his top ten scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years in this BBC special. Tracing these momentous and wide-ranging discoveries, Winston meets a real-life bionic woman, one of the first couples to test the male contraceptive pill, and even some of his early IVF patients. He explores the origins of the universe, probes the inner workings of the human mind and sees the most powerful laser in the world. To finish, Professor Winston reveals the breakthrough he thinks is most significant.
This chapter describes a 4 year research project (2008-2011) to build China’s first artificial brain. It takes an “evolutionary engineering” approach, by evolving 10,000s of neural net modules, (or “agents” in the sense of Minsky’s “Society of Mind” [Minsky 1988, 2007]), and connecting them to make artificial brains. These modules are evolved rapidly in seconds on a “Tesla” PC Supercomputer, and connected according to the artificial brain designs of human “BAs” (Brain Architects). The artificial brain will eventually contain thousands of pattern recognizer modules, and hundreds of decision modules that when suitably combined will control the hundreds of behaviors of a walking, talking robot.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that all during December 2010, we counted down the 31 most popular articles posted on our blog during the previous eleven months. Now, here’s a handy guide for your re-reading pleasure.
Stephen Hawking is arguing that humanity may be putting itself in mortal peril by actively trying to contact aliens (an approach that is referred to as Active SETI). I’ve got five reasons why he is wrong.
It is natural to feel that software development will never get things right. We all feel frustrated by software that doesn’t work as it should. People in industry are constantly bemoaning the lateness and incompleteness of software projects. But the facts are better than they seem, and are improving rapidly.
You want to be a futurist, but you’re afraid of being wrong. Don’t worry. Everyone has that concern at first. But here, I’ve brought together ideas drawn from a number of books and articles that will help you succeed without having to be right. You can be successful, famous, and wrong.
When chatting with a friend about various government systems during a long car drive the other day, it occurred to me that one could perhaps prove something about the OPTIMAL government system, if one were willing to make some (not necessarily realistic) assumptions about resource abundance.
With some people, you just can’t win. Do you engage them in a debate, or do you hold your tongue and save yourself the frustration from beating your head against a brick wall? That is the dilemma I face.
Those who see the possibility of a revolutionary future of abundance and freedom are right, as are those who fear the possibility of catastrophe and extinction. But where they are both wrong is in believing that the future is out of our hands, and should be kept out of our hands. We need an open singularity, one that we can all be a part of.
Dr. J. chats with Nicholas Agar, professor of philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and author of Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement and Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. They discuss Agar’s arguments for a moderate position on human enhancement that embraces some enhancements but rejects the creation of “posthumans.” Part 2 of 2.