Dr. J. continues his chat with historian, novelist, and journalist Philipp Blom about his delightful history of the French philosophers of the eighteenth century, A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. Part 2 of 2. Also includes “Pester Power” by Cory Doctorow.
While individual productivity has soared in areas like manufacturing and services, healthcare and education remain stubbornly stuck in the 20th century. If anything, as of late technological innovation seems to have decreased, rather than increased, wellbeing-per-dollar and education-per-dollar productivity metrics.
The philosophy of mind is important for popular transhumanist topics. Many desire to accelerate the development of some sort of -higher consciousness’, sometimes in virtual reality. Although this issue may be approached with the most serious input of specific fields, for example cutting edge neuroscience, it is nevertheless often handled in a philosophically naÃ¯ve way.
Robert Bradbury passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend of a massive hemorrhagic stroke. His passing was the kind of thing that barely registered anywhere except among his immediate group of family and friends—and among a group of dedicated and niche scientists, futurists and technologists. For them, Bradbury’s premature passing represented a monumental blow to inspired and imaginative scientific inquiry.
Animals rescue people all the time, but not like this. Jim Eggers is a 44-year-old man who suffers from a problem that not only puts his life at risk—it jeopardizes the safety of everybody around him. But with the help of Sadie, his pet African Grey Parrot, Jim found an unlikely (and seemingly successful) way to manage his anger.
In this short radio program, African Grey Parrot expert Irene Pepperberg helps us understand how this could work, and shares some insights from her work with a parrot named Alex.
With the integration of human beings and technological enhancement, the ideal of what is morally just becomes increasingly ambiguous, referencing the seemingly endless scenarios of mechanical, electrical, and bio engineering enhancements that have propelled individuals of our kind to mature well beyond the centennial of exploration.
Teleportation, cloaks of invisibility, smell-o-vision, 3D printing, and even holograms, were all ideas first imagined in science fiction—and now are real products and technologies in various stages of development by scientists. While this is common in fields like experimental physics, it isn’t as often that cognitive neuroscience and applied psychology score insights from this fantasy genre.
By 2045, says author, inventor, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, we’ll have expanded the intelligence of our human machine civilization a billionfold. That will result in a technological singularity, a point beyond which it’s hard to imagine.
Scientific American reports about research at Cornell’s Computational Synthesis Laboratory intended to give robot minds a degree of “self-awareness.” Is this a signpost on the road to machine consciousness?
Savage-Rumbaugh’s work with bonobo apes, who can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology—and how much by cultural exposure.
As with most mainstream technologies, pop culture in the West no doubt views the toilet as a useful invention. Effective in its disposal of human waste, the greatest stink created by this set-diameter bowl is the occasional need for a good scrub or available plumber.
My initial reaction to reading about IBM’s “Watson” supercomputer and software was a big fat ho-hum. OK, I figured, a program that plays Jeopardy! may be impressive to Joe Blow in the street, but I’m an AI guru so I know pretty much exactly what kind of specialized trickery they’re using under the hood. It’s not really a high-level mind, just a fancy database lookup system.
You can always tell when you’ve got a bona fide crackpot idea. You’ll hear one or more of the following responses: A) They’ll never let you do that. B) That’ll never work. C) They’ll put you in jail. D) You’re gonna get us all killed.
“Girl Fight! Girl Fight!” This shrill cry on our primary school playground always stampeded us to the spectacle of young females scratching, kicking, biting, slapping and pulling hair. With luck—we boys hoped—a blouse might get ripped and we’d see a bra.
It wasn’t that long ago that listing transhumanism, human enhancement, the Singularity, technology-driven evolution, existential risks, and so on, as academic interests on one’s CV might result in a bit of embarrassment.