“The emotionally charged story recounted at the beginning Dr. Paul Zak’s film—of a terminally ill two-year-old named Ben and his father—offers a simple yet remarkable case study in how the human brain responds to effective storytelling. As part of his study, Dr. Zak, a founding pioneer in the emerging field of neuroeconomics, closely monitored the neural activity of hundreds of people who viewed Ben’s story. What he discovered is that even the simplest narrative, if it is highly engaging and follows the classic dramatic arc outlined by the German playwright Gustav Freytag, can evoke powerful empathic responses associated with specific neurochemicals, namely cortisol and oxytocin. Those brain responses, in turn, can translate readily into concrete action—in the case of Dr. Zak’s study subjects, generous donations to charity and even monetary gifts to fellow participants. By contrast, stories that fail to follow the dramatic arc of rising action/climax/denouement—no matter how outwardly happy or pleasant those stories may be—elicit little if any emotional or chemical response, and correspond to a similar absence of action. Dr. Zak’s conclusions hold profound implications for the role of storytelling in a vast range of professional and public milieus.” - Melcher
I want to make some claims about the future of brain cognition that will lead to rational, logical, empathetic thought. The notion of “friendly SAI” and “unfriendly SAI” is a fallacy and should be abandoned, that is, the notion that we can program AI in the SAI setting to be friendly is an attempt to undermine intelligence and the domain of empathy and altruism.
According to the Wikipedia entry on “major religious groups”, 85% of the world’s population subscribes to some kind of religion. While in reality the world is obviously not divided neatly into “religious” and “non-religious”, and while religion and theism are not quite the same thing, this statistic nevertheless shows that the various concepts of the divine continue to hold considerable sway over human thought.
Pre-modern, modern and postmodern societies existing concurrently in dynamic interaction have created a global situation of cultural tension and conflict. This has resulted in clashes between modernists and anti-modernists and has become a major global change agent. All the major religions are pre-modern in origin but not all have adapted to modernity to the same extent and none have done so completely. This is concurrent with the rise of the non-Western World (Asia, Africa, Latin America) as a dominant global religious force. The unevenness of accommodating to modern life constitutes part of the religious/cultural tension within and between faith traditions. This requires constructing future visions that can unite a pluralistic civilization around common goals.
Our Earth feels like a warm and welcoming place for us life forms, but beyond our little planet, the majority of the solar system is too cold for us to live comfortably. But a new study suggests that planets in other solar systems might be more habitable than our own because, on the whole, they would be warmer — up to 25 % warmer.
“Rudy Rucker, a science fiction writer, professor of Computer Science tells TEDxBrussels his vision of the future. As in his novel “Software” where computers ‘preserve’ the human brain, a so-called ‘life box’ database remains which keeps our memories alive.
These machines however cannot substitute humans as our minds perform more physical and biological processes, where artificial intelligence only relies on inferences.
Biomathematics models such as cellular automaton and Belousov—Zhabotinsky simulation come closer to the biological processes.
He describes his idea of this biological computation emerging in the future with beautiful (mostly self-drawn) paintings.” - TEDx
In the Broadway musical Fame, Carmen sings about wanting to live forever. Of course, this is not possible today, but many positive thinkers believe that in the near future, biotech breakthroughs, along with nanomedicine advances, could provide an indefinite lifespan; eliminating most causes of death.
The Technological Singularity, referred to as “the singularity” by transhumanists, signifies a point in time where self-aware self-improving artificial intelligence that could surpass the intelligence of the human brain manifests.
Even though there are no statistics on the economics of religion, we might reasonably assume that if we calculated the aggregate turnover and cash flow of all the religions and religious activities globally – their aggregate buying power and the goods and services they produce and consume – that we are talking about one of the biggest business sectors in the world, if not the biggest. The global economics of organized religion, New Age religiosity and various other ‘spiritual’ practices might run into the trillions of dollars.
Today, large streams of data, coupled with statistical analysis and sophisticated algorithms, are rapidly gaining importance in almost every field of science, politics, journalism, and much more. What does this mean for the future of work?
The more things change, the more they stay the same, with Ray Kurzweil’s talks. At the TEDx Conference in Manhattan on Monday, December 3, he and the biotech pioneer Juan Enriquez were the keynote speakers.
“We ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to technology’s impact on the labor force.”
“Automation redefined blue collar employment and reshaped a global economy. Now, technology is replacing higher skilled jobs by augmenting human brainpower the way steam engines augmented human labor. Andrew McAfee braces us for a fundamental transformation in the future of work.” - TEDx
“Every day, governments all over the world violate the fundamental human rights of millions of women. The Center for Reproductive Rights fights on the front lines every day to beat back these assaults—and Meryl Streep, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, Billy Crudup, Audra McDonald, and many more are standing beside us in this call to action in the global battle for reproductive freedom.”
“E V O is a visually daring documentary look at evolutionary theory that comes off like a university course in paleobiology as taught by Marshall McLuhan.” Monday Magazine
E V O is a feature digital essay on questions of Evolution and Consciousness and features eminent Evolutionist/Oxford Professor/Author Dr. Richard Dawkins.
The brainchild of Oliver Hockenhull (Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light), the eerie and often beautiful EVO builds from footage of renowned scholars discussing Darwin’s theories and the famed Burgess Shale… If this seems a tad dry, its treatment verges on the wild: much of the material gets an impressionistic visual treatment as it segues into provocative speculations involving politics, genetics and wormholes.”
On December 1, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association officially approved the final diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The new ‘psychiatric bible’ features a number of important changes to the existing canon, including the elimination and alteration of many familiar disorders. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidebook.
“The Mashable Media Summit 2012 explored the impact that technology has on media, and how digital media affects our lives and changes the world. This one-day conference brought together the brightest minds in media, including content creators, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, social media executives and journalists.”
First some nostalgia for the future! Need that gift for your nerdy sci fi friend? Underbrain offers T-shirts, mugs and caps with all sorts of logos from David Brin’s Uplift Universe - symbols of the Five Galaxies, dolphins & chimps posing for the Uplift Center, and the Terragens Marines patch! And the Eye-Q symbol for the Quantum Eye oracle computer in Existence. Got civilization? This will ensure that you do!
“Open this week’s Entertainment Weekly ( Published on Oct 2, 2012) and you’ll find a live-tweeting ad from CW. But what’s under the hood? Mashable’s tear down found some VERY surprising gear between the pages.”
“Dr. Kaku addresses the question of the possibility of utopia, the perfect society that people have tried to create throughout history. These dreams have not been realized because we have scarcity. However, now we have nanotechnology, and with nanotechnology, perhaps, says Dr. Michio Kaku, maybe in 100 years, we’ll have something called the replicator, which will create enormous abundance.” - bigh think
One of the most challenging tasks for the modern day creationist to is reconcile the belief in a 6,000 year old Earth with the ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence pointing to a vastly different conclusion — namely a universe that’s 13.5 billion years old and an Earth that formed 4.5 billion years ago. So, given these astoundingly dramatic discrepancies, biblical literalists and ‘young Earth creationists’ have had no choice but to get pretty darned imaginative when brushing science aside. Here are 10 arguments creationists have made to counter scientific theories.
The impact of technological progress on jobs has been the topic of countless books: most of them are forgotten because they were so wrong about it. Predicting the future has always been a lucrative business (Delphi’s Oracle, Nostradamus, George Orwell), but rarely a science. If all of them had been right, today we would all be unemployed and, in fact, extinct. Instead, guess what: humans are wealthier than ever in history, the world has never been so peaceful and we all buy machines by the millions. Pistono’s book is the refreshing exception: no, we are not doomed. That, per se, is a good reason to read it.
Last weekend, at the humanity+ conference in San Francisco, Ben Goertzel, live from Hong Kong, via Skype, graced us with his predictions on the future of communication. According to Ben, in the future we will be able to transmit semantic graphs, or chunks of mind, completely bypassing linguistic utterance, that is your tongue, your jaw, vocal cords, throat, breathing apparatus and everything that goes with articulating speech. The first thought that occurred to me was “OMG. I won’t have to do the Theophilus Thistle drill ever again”. Great. But then I thought, “Wait a second. Is content really separate from form?”
“Fon Davis has been working for over two decades in tv and film, creating amazing miniatures, models, production design, drafting, fabrication, and more recently writing and directing. Fon is the creator and a co-writer on MORAV and Lee’s Chinese Robot Shop.
Fon’s first feature film work was Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Since then, he has worked on over 30 feature films including blockbusters like Starship Troopers, Pearl Harbor, and the Star Wars and Matrix series.” - Make Mag
“Chris Normile explains how easy it is to take genetic material from plants and reproduce specimens in jars at home. With many examples on hand at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, onlookers can learn how to become more empowered as gardeners by having more control of the types of plants they choose to cultivate.”