Humanity’s merge with its technology, which began shortly after the taming of fire, is still happening today. Many predict that the fine-tuning of our DNA-based biology through stem cell and genetic research will spark a powerful nanotech revolution that promises to redesign and rebuild our bodies and the environment, pushing the limits of today’s understanding of life and the world we live in.
“At first glance, the emergence of a Global Brain and the engineering of advanced Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) systems might seem to be two orthogonal approaches to the origination of intelligence beyond the human level. But closer inspection reveals great synergetic potential. An AGI or community thereof, studying content and activity on the Internet, could serve as the “central conscious theater” of a distributed global brain, allowing a global brain with a more unified and explicitly goal-directed form of cognition.
This would also benefit the AGI, allowing it to increase its own intelligence via leveraging its interactions with the content, software and humans on the Net. Existing proto-AGI architectures such as OpenCog (http://opencog.org) may have potential for use in this sort of way. Eventually such an AGI could serve as a sort of “global AI nanny”, helping society to monitor its own behavior with global safety in mind (although, the caveats as well as the benefits of this sort of application are clear).” - GlobalBrainInstitute
By Prof. Dr. Greg Whitlock on Dr. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner.
In his Menschenwürde nach Nietzsche: Die Geschichte eines Begriffes (Human Dignity according to/after Nietzsche: The History of a Concept), Sorgner conceived a bold plan and executed it remarkably well with noteworthy results. His plan entailed presenting four paradigmatic notions of human dignity; next, presenting Nietzsche’s critical evaluation of the notion of human dignity in relation to the four paradigms; and finally, reflecting on Nietzsche’s criticism in a way that embraced much of it and, consequently, largely rejected the humanist notion of the dignity of man. Sorgner took the additional steps of arguing for a posthumanism to replace the outmoded humanist notion of human dignity, as he had developed it. Each phase of the plan was carried out with care in every detail.
“By the end of this talk, there will be 864 more hours of video on YouTube and 2.5 million more photos on Facebook and Instagram. So how do we sort through the deluge? At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate.” - TED
“In a single year, there are 200-300 million cases of malaria and 50-100 million cases of dengue fever worldwide. So: Why haven’t we found a way to effectively kill mosquitos yet? Hadyn Parry presents a fascinating solution: genetically engineering male mosquitos to make them sterile, and releasing the insects into the wild, to cut down on disease-carrying species.” - TED
“Computational Engineers at the University of Southampton have built a supercomputer from 64 Raspberry Pi computers and Lego.
The team, led by Professor Simon Cox, consisted of Richard Boardman, Andy Everett, Steven Johnston, Gereon Kaiping, Neil O’Brien, Mark Scott and Oz Parchment, along with Professor Cox’s son James Cox (aged 6) who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing.
Professor Cox comments: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”
To read the full story go to:
Experts predict that over the next nine decades, exponential advances in biotech, nanotech, infotech, and cognitive sciences will enable humanity to evolve from a group of self-centered squabbling cultures to become a peaceful global village with amazing technological abilities.
During the last century, researchers unraveled one of humanity’s greatest mysteries: the nature of life. We discovered that the almost magical properties of living things, the ability to grow, heal and reproduce, was brought about by life’s molecular machinery.
Wired’s Kevin Kelly has penned an article in which he argues that we should let robots take our jobs — a welcome development that will help us to “dream up new work that matters.” Moreover, it will be through this process that humanity can liberate itself from dangerous and demeaning work, and allow us to become “more human than we already are.”
“Michio Kaku says this brain-to-brain communication would involve not just the exchange of information, but also the transmission of emotions and feelings, “because these are also part of the fabric of our thoughts.”” - Big Think
“The high performance tyre of the future will be very different to the tyres we drive on today, if the results of a recent design competition are a guide.
A Hankook Tire competition in the US has challenged some of the country’s brightest industrial design students to imagine the role of tyres in automotive design from new angles.
The winning entry by University of Cincinnati student Ben Zavala took the brief somewhat literally, with his Tiltread car tyre rolling into corners at an angle like a motorcycle tyre.
Zavala’s breakthrough idea was to split the tyre into three parallel ring sections, each mounted on a corresponding split section of wheel.
As the wheel turns and leans, the three tyre sections are individually raised or lowered, allowing them all to maintain traction with the road surface.
Tiltread’s wheels are hubless and contain an electric drive motor which varies power to each tyre section, allowing the sections to spin at different rates during cornering.
University of Cincinnati associate professor Ralph Zammit said the competition demonstrated just how great an impact improvement in tyre design could have upon the overall efficiency, ecology and economy of road transportation.
“Hankook proposed a very challenging assignment that provided the students with real-world insights as to how tyres are currently designed, manufactured and the performance issues they must address,” said associate professor Zammit.
“Students were especially encouraged to consider sustainability needs such as reducing and reusing raw materials.”
Second place in the competition was taken by Mark Hearn who imagined an off-road tyre called Motiv, which features numerous height-variable, non-pneumatic tread blocks that can adapt to extremely rough terrain without risk of blow-out.
Third-placed Miranda Steinhauser’s proposal for an eco-friendly tyre also impressed the competition judges.
The Tessela tyre’s easily removable tread components allow consumers to replace worn-out tread when required, rather than the whole tyre carcass, reducing tyre waste and landfill.
Models of the first, second and third placed tyres were displayed on the Hankook stand at the 2012 SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas.” - HankookTyre
A growing number of cosmologists believe that we are but one of many universes and at least one of these other worlds lies close to ours, possibly only a millimeter away. We can’t see this world because scientists believe it exists in a type of space different from the four dimensions of our everyday reality.
“Inventor Ray Kurzweil hopes to develop ways for humans to live forever, and while he’s at it, bring back his dead father. Behind him is the support of a tech giant. This month, Kurzweil, a futurist, stepped into the role of Director of Engineering at Google, focusing on machine learning and language processing.” - Huffpost
“Alex Huth, first author of our new paper, talks about how visual information about thousands of objects and actions are represented across human visual cortex. For more information, please visit our web site (gallantlab.org) or get the paper: Huth, A.G., S. Nishimoto, A.T. Vu & J.L. Gallant (2012). A continuous semantic space describes representation of thousands of object and action categories across the human brain. Neuron, December 20 2012.
For more information about this paper or our other work please visit our lab web page:
Forty years after the last flight to the Moon, human exploration of outer space seems to have stalled, although a number of options exist for new scientific and technological alternatives, both in goals and the means to achieve them. Public opinion polls fail to look deeply into popular conceptions, and they tend to reveal only weak enthusiasm.
Immaculate doll-face, globulous breasts, teeny waist, slender limbs, vacant ice-blue eyes, long platinum hair - Valeria Lukyanova of Odessa, Ukraine, has re-designed her physical form to resemble Barbie, the plastic Mattel toy. Is the result “beautiful”? Critics screech that she’s “creepy” and “lifeless” with an “uncanny valley” absence of sexuality, but… let’s not kid ourselves here.
I get to do something exciting today and answer a couple of questions that a reader sent me. I’d like to do this more in the future, so if you have a topic you’d like me to discuss, please let me know!
In science fiction novels like River of Gods by Ian McDonald , an artificial intelligence finds a way to boot-strap its own design into a growing super-intelligence. This cleverness singularity is sometimes referred to as FOOM . In this piece I will give an argument that a single instance of intelligence may be self-limiting and that FOOM collapses in a “MOOF.”
I recommend watching the one-hour film Knocking on Heaven’s Door, by George Carey, aired by the BBC in 2011, to all space enthusiasts interested in the history of the Russian space program and our future out there in the universe. The film zeroes in on the powerful role that religion can play in advancing radical scientific visions.
“Whether we like certain foods or not may be something we have no control over. Dr Eileen Gibney discusses how our genes can influence our food choices and how this may determine how healthy our diets really are.” - UCDAlumni1
Science is all about asking questions, exploring problems that confound or intrigue us. However, satisfactory answers can’t always be found in today’s media that far too often focuses on cases of technology gone awry, filling readers with more hopelessness than hope.
Could someone without a business degree become a marketing consultant? No? Then how is it that people without philosophy degrees are becoming ethics consultants?  Is it that people don’t know that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy just as Marketing is a branch of Business? Doubtful.
“Proponents of 3D printing say it has the potential to alter radically a number of industries. Peter Marsh, FT manufacturing editor, talks to one such supporter - Abe Reichental of US-based 3D Systems - to find out how it works and if it really is a ‘disruptive technology’” -FT
Growing old, and having lost hope of finding love again, I read about the Lifemates Co-op and was intrigued. “Mr or Ms Right doesn’t exist in nature. If you want someone that was made for you, come to us.” I made an appointment to visit their office and talk with a salesperson…
Transgendered people are often seen as courageous; they have the guts to take radical steps to become the people they really are. But I don’t see them as any different from people, mostly women, who get nip-and-tuck surgeries, botox, and breast enlargements. After all, they too take radical steps to become the people they feel they really are – youthful and sexually attractive.