The increasing ‘liveliness’ of machines and accessibility to the virtual world has raised questions about whether it is possible to uncouple the mind from the body in through a host of different strategies. The basic idea is that if we are able to escape the ties of our own flesh then we can upgrade them and even replace them with immortal ones.
After a breakfast bagel feast on the ground floor Green Room of NYU’s Silver Building, the early-Sunday morning audience trooped up to the 7th floor auditorium to hear the final day’s lecturers. Here’s the better-brain information I gleaned:
Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how—if we see it in time—we can prevent it.
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.
Day Two of the Moral Brain conference at New York University, co-sponsored by the IEET, is largely devoted to a review of the last ten years of research on the neuroscience of moral sentiments and decision-making, with talks by Jonathan Haidt among others.
Day Two of the Moral Brain conference at New York University, co-sponsored by the IEET, is largely devoted to a review of the last ten years of research on the neuroscience of moral sentiments and decision-making, with talks by Paul Bloom among others.
Cyborgs, brain uploads and immortality - How far should science go in helping humans exceed their biological limitations? These ideas might sound like science fiction, but proponents of a movement known as transhumanism believe they are inevitable.
In this episode of The Stream, George Dvorsky, Robin Hanson, a research associate with Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute; and Ari N. Schulman, senior editor of The New Atlantis, talk about the ethical implications of transhumanism.
Scores of women in Pakistan are severely disfigured by acid attacks every year. Pakistan’s Acid Survivors Foundation recorded 48 cases last year and countless others are likely to have gone unreported.
The IEET is a co-organizer of the Moral Brain conference that started today at New York University. IEET Executive Director J. Hughes, IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach and IEET Affiliate Scholar Patrick Hopkins are speaking on Sunday in the moral enhancement part of the conference, and IEET Managing Director Hank Pellissier and IEET Affiliate Scholar Kyle Munkittrick are blogging. The Friday and Saturday sessions are a review of the last ten years of research on the neuroscience of moral sentiments and decision-making, and were organized by the NYU Center for Bioethics and, Duke Kenan Institute for Ethics. The IEET and Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics organized the moral enhancement panels for Saturday and Sunday, adding the praxis to the science.
The search for Earth-like planets is reaching a fever-pitch. Does the evidence so far help shed light on the ancient question: Is the galaxy filled with life, or is Earth just a beautiful, lonely aberration? If things dont work out on this planet Or if our itch to explore becomes unbearable at some point in the future Astronomers have recently found out what kind of galactic real estate might be available to us. Well have to develop advanced transport to land there, 20 light years away. The question right now: is it worth the trip?
A recent census shows India is becoming an increasingly male-dominated society. With the birth of a son considered more financially lucrative, unborn baby girls are falling victim to gender-selected abortions. And as RT’s Priya Sridhar reports, this ‘gendercide’ could have a devastating effect on the country’s future.
Last year I predicted that the Chinese bubble will burst soon, and that it’s unlikely that China will become the biggest economy in the world any time soon, contrary to what most analysts predict (See The great illusion?). Now it looks like India might also disappoint, although for completely different reasons.
Forbes blogger Alex Knapp, who often covers advanced technology and futurist topics, recently wrote a post titled Ray Kurzweil’s Predictions for 2009 Were Mostly Inaccurate... Some of Knapp’s posts are annoyingly opinionated and closed-minded, but this one was well-put together, and I made a lengthy comment there, which I repeat here.
Martine Rothblatt. J.D., Ph.D., author, producer, entrepreneur and Founder/President of Terasem Movement, Inc., contemplates manners in which the legal system will accommodate multiple versions of our future selves, be it a single or multiple versions or across multiple substrates of the originating, conscious person.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not currently regulate cryonics facilities. Because cryonics facilities do not engage in “standard transactions,” they are not included within the definition of Covered Entity. However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule only regulates a few activities that cryonics facilities are likely to engage in, and so would not likely impose much of a burden upon cryonics facilities if they were required to comply with it. Additionally, because of the special nature of cryonics and the potentially same motivations that allow patient PHI to be disclosed fifty years after legal death do not apply to patients who are cryopreserved, the proposed disclosure rule ought to be altered to continue protecting a cryonics patient PHI throughout the patient’s period of suspended animation. The harm that could possibly come from over protecting a cryonics patient PHI is far outweighed by the benefit to patients who are eventually revived from suspended animation and have not had their PHI publically disclosed.
In a state-of-the-art submersible, National Geographic explorer-in-residence and filmmaker James Cameron reached the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, breaking a world record for the deepest solo dive.
Let’s build a Dyson sphere! By enveloping the sun with a massive array of solar panels, humanity would graduate to a Type 2 Kardashev civilization capable of utilizing nearly 100% of the sun’s energy output.
A tech company called Envia Systems has announced that it is able to produce rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion, i.e., the standard kind of rechargeable batteries that go in everything from phones to electric cars) with a world-record energy density of 400 Watt-hours per kilogram! (Gigaom has lots of info, and useful background material.) Cool, right?
Sometimes, the creation is better than its creator. Robots today perform surgeries, shoot people, fly planes, drive cars, replace astronauts, baby-sit kids, build cars, fold laundry, have sex, and can even eat (but not human bodies, the manufacturer insists). They might not always do these tasks well, but they are improving rapidly. In exchange for such irresistible benefits, the Robotic Revolution also demands that we adapt to new risks and responsibilities.
“We are now armed by physics to face the nonentity which is theology.” Professor Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author of the God Delusion, The Magic of Reality, the Selfish Gene and many other great books, addresses the 38th national convention of American Atheists. He encourages nonbelievers to ask the difficult questions of those claiming to be believers.
If global warming melts the Earth’s ice caps, New York City could be awash in water. WSJ’s Robert Lee Hotz reports how a possible rise in sea levels is putting New York at risk and what engineers are proposing to protect the populous city.
The notion of gun-propelled launch goes back to Jules Verne. Such Mass Drivers have been envisioned in numerous Sci Fi tales, including Earthlight, by Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Heart of the Comet by Benford & Brin. We’ve also seen them portrayed in Buck Rogers, Babylon 5 and Halo. Now, two researchers propose that a space-capable mass driver may be feasible.
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