When you think of the ideal creative environment, what comes to mind? We may imagine a place where you have freedom of expression, a place that encourages breaking convention, somewhere that is abundant in resources that are readily accessible for innovative development of technology, and exposure to many different cultures for inspiration and collaboration.
Hungry? Want to devour a monstrous meal of chicken, pork, beef, orange juice, soybeans, coffee, corn, bananas, and chocolate [cacao & sugar]? Scoop it out of your iron skillet while wiping your saliva with a cotton napkin? And afterwards… relax with some tobacco and a drive in your ethanol-powered auto?
People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the “liquid networks” of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.
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 now.
Martine Rothblatt gave an ASIM Expert Series talk in Teleplace on â€œReconstructing Minds from Software Mindfilesâ€ on Saturday September 18, 2010.
Abstract: â€œI do think, however, there is a (natural) tendency to way overestimate the importance of copying our brain structure to copying our minds. I think our minds will be uploadable in good enough shape to satisfy most everyone by reconstructing them from information stored in software mindfiles such as diaries, videos, personality inventories, saved google voice conversations, chats, and chatbot conversations. The reconstruction process will be iteratively achieved with AI software designed for this purpose, dubbed mindware.â€œ
Some questions and comments from the audience have been of a philosophical nature and related to preservation of self (whatever that is), but most of those who attended the talk were already prepared to accept that, depending on the amount of information stored and the accuracy of the reconstruction process, the upload copy may be (and feel like) a valid continuation of the original self. The talk and the discussion have been more focused on actual technologies and technical issues: How to extract enough information? How to prove that the information extracted is enough? How to quantify a critical treshold? How to make sure that nothing really important is left behind? How to reconstruct a thinking and feeling mind from a database? Martine gave a detailed presentation of the preliminary implementation of software mindfiles in her twin projects CyBeRev and LifeNaut (similar, but kept separate mainly as a fail-safe measure) and their forthcoming mobile clients and integration with social networks.
Nearly 70% of those who answered an IEET poll question say the human libido is here to stay. Though it may become adjustable and even optional, enhanced humans or posthumans are likely to retain some form of the libido for its social bonding function “” not to mention its pleasure factor!
While traveling to the World Economic Forum meeting in China, I came across a new paper that piques my interest. The paper is by David Keith at the University of Calgary (published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science), and is a theoretical investigation of how injecting large quantities of precisely engineered particles into the upper atmosphere might provide a cost-effective tool for climate intervention - geoengineering.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.
Nature’s Nicola Jones asked me to comment on Singularity University for an article she was putting together; that article is now available. She included a couple of brief observations of mine, but I thought it would be useful to show the full context of my thoughts.
Slowly but surely, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is starting to get the picture: if we’re going to find life out there-and that’s a big if-it’s probably not going to be biological.
How is gay marriage in America proceeding down the aisle? This question concerns all transhumanists because persecution of homosexuality is an anti-Enlightenment human rights violation that is rooted in archaic religious superstition and anti-scientific thought. Actively supporting gay marriage is the ethically responsible position for all progressive transhumanists.
The fifth Hart survey of what American adults think about emerging technologies like nanotechnology and synthetic biology has been released by my former colleagues at the Woodrow Wilson Center - the first since I left the group earlier this year.
Nina Paley and Mike Treder debate the merits of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
Why Nina desires the extinction of humanity (04:10)
Why Mike wants people to stick around (04:51)
Humans as exotic invaders (05:01)
In search of feasible methods of population control (12:58)
Do our art, science, and culture make up for our rapaciousness? (13:39)
Nina’s critique of intellectual property (05:07)
I’ll be speaking at the Singularity Summit AU this Sunday afternoon, on the topic “Survival Beyond the Flesh” - which relates to the prospect of “uploading” rather than to anything of a more otherworldly or spiritual kind.
The ongoing debate between PZ Myers and Ray Kurzweil about reverse engineering the human brain is fairly representative of the same debate that’s been going in futurist circles for quite some time now. And as the Myers/Kurzweil conversation attests, there is little consensus on the best way for us to achieve human-equivalent AI.
We are in for a time of major decision-making as the Moore’s Law of Cameras (sometimes called “Brin’s Corollary to Moore’s Law”) takes hold and elites of all kinds are tempted to utilize surveillance in Orwellian/controlling ways, often with rationalized good intentions.
About 30 persons attended the ASIM 2010 Conference, satellite to the Singularity Summit 2010, San Francisco, August 16-17th. Besides the participants in San Francisco, about 25 remote participants attended online in Teleplace.
The videos of ASIM 2010 talks and discussions have been posted to blip.tv:
The world’s population will grow to 9 billion over the next 50 years â€” and only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth. This is the paradoxical answer that Hans Rosling unveils at TED@Cannes using colorful new data display technology (you’ll see).
Back in July, the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) posted a Request For Information in the Federal Register for input to the next NNI strategic plan - to be published later this year. The closing date for comments was a couple of weeks ago now. I got mine in in the nick of time.
The IEET’s Mike Treder recently asked a loaded question: “If you could live in a world that was just the way you wanted it to be, with specifications you’d chosen, customized and personalized to meet your every need and fulfill your fondest desires, would you spend all your time there? Or would you prefer to stay here, in the real world?”