This summer True Blood, now in its third season, continues to explore the issues that it has in the past, such as personhood and the coexistence of humans with a species that has many advantages over humans. However, with the introduction of werewolves and the greater focus on shapeshifters, this year there are even better opportunities to relate True Blood to morphological freedom.
Ten days ago, Boston was taken over by the transhumanists, for the gathering of the 2010 Humanity Plus (H+) Summit at Harvard University. The H+ Summit was two glorious days of information loading, idea sharing, and networking—among scientists, techno-geeks, and futurists from all domains—with one common goal: to enhance the human condition.
Dr. J. chats with Alana Sveta, who is a child conceived with the assistance of donor sperm, and a participant in a study by the conservative Institute for American Values called “My Daddy’s Name is Donor.” They discuss the psychological consequences of biological ties between parents and children. MP3
Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things—from alien abductions to dowsing rods—boils down to two of the brain’s most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.
In this talk Alexey Turchin argues that the program of the search of extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a source of extinction risk. The main idea is that passive SETI is much more dangerous activity than messaging to stars because we could download Alien AI (that is a scheme of a computer and program to it) which will use the Earth to send its copies further. The following is based on two premises:
First is that extraterrestrial civilizations do exist in the distances which allow radio communication, but do not allow interstellar travel (which is from one thousand to one million light years).
Second is that artificial intelligence is possible as a self-evolving classic computer program.
Alexey Turchin was born in Moscow, Russia in 1973. Alexey studied Physics and Art History at Moscow State University and actively participated in the Russian Transhumanist Movement. He has translated many foreign Transhumanist works into Russian, including N. Bostrom and E.Yudkowsky. He is an expert in Global Risks and wrote the book “Structure of the Global Catastrophe: Risks of Human Extinction in the XXI Century,” as well as several articles on the topic. Since 2010, he has worked at Science Longer Life where he is writing a book on futurology.
Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships, and how we act in the world.
Ray Kurzweil didn’t cover much new this afternoon. As one wag said on Twitter, “Shouldn’t Ray’s five year-old stump speech be 10,000 times more interesting and only five minutes long?” But Ben does his best to summarize. By the way, check out Kurzweil, J. Hughes, and a cast of thousands in this New York Times story on the Singularity University - J.
We’re here for day 2 of the H+ Summit: Rise of the Citizen Scientist. Ray Kurzweil will be keynoting at the end of the day, but first we’ll hear talks from a bunch of other great speakers, including the IEET’s George Dvorsky, Aubrey de Grey, James Hughes, Patrick Lin, and Natasha Vita-More.
The IEET will be providing coverage of the H+ Summit today. We’re a few minutes away from Alex Lightman’s opening speech. I’m here with James Hughes and we’ll posting updates after every few talks. The first day is packed with exciting speakers. [Watch the conference live]
Nowhere have I seen a clearer example of the perils of corporatism playing out than in the current handling of the BP oil spill. If only Obama understood the context of the decisions he’s about to make, he might be able to use this as an opportunity to turn all this around, and put people and the planet before profits. (Will someone please tell him to read my book Life Inc?)
Transhumanism is the idea of guiding and improving human evolution with intention through the use of technologies and culture. If those technologies are not robotic and cybernetic but, instead, genetic and organic, then so be it.
What could be more fascinating than discovering life that had evolved entirely independently of life here on Earth? Many people would also find it heartening to learn that we are not entirely alone in this vast cold cosmos. IEET Chair Nick Bostrom thinks otherwise in this chat with Robert Lawrence Kuhn on Closer to the Truth.
Dr. J. chats with Russell Jacoby, professor of history at UCLA, and author of Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age (2005), The End of Utopia (1999), and The Last Intellectuals (1987). They talk about the decline of both public intellectualism and utopianism, and the prospects for a return of both. MP3