Biodiversity loss. Land use. Freshwater use. Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Stratospheric ozone. Ocean acidification. Climate change. Chemical Pollution. Aerosol loading in the atmosphere.
A team of 30 scientists across the globe have determined that the nine environmental processes named above must remain within specific limits, otherwise the “safe operating space” within which humankind can exist on Earth will be threatened.
I spent the last three days at the Kennedy Space Center, for the inaugural meeting of the LAUNCH organization. We talked water, and saw some pretty interesting—and occasionally remarkable—innovations and proposals.
The history of our belief in progress is a complicated one. This belief first arose during the eighteenth century Enlightenment and became a central feature of the Western worldview until circa the mid-twentieth century, when the first anthropogenic “existential risk” was introduced. Although progressionism suffered a serious blow with the inauguration of the Atomic Age, a renewed belief in the goodness and historical reality of techno-progress has reemerged within the transhumanist movement.
(with co-author M. Heather Dragoo) Abstract: As a genre, science fiction provides a uniquely fertile medium from which we can extrapolate the defining characteristics of personhood, explore our future potentials, and project our current selves onto tomorrow. One such example is the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.
By an overwhelming majority, respondents to a recently concluded poll said they expect the pace of development in emerging technologies to remain swift over the next two decades, but they are divided over how strong the opposition will be to human enhancements.
Early last month, the now-famous paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield that supposedly linked vaccines to the onset of autism, was formally retracted by the Lancet, the journal that published it back in 1998. This was a monumental decision, considering it was the conclusions drawn from this paper that launched the firestorm of debate around the safety of vaccines, and likely the cause of the current vaccine crisis.
For active online gamers, real life is broken. It doesn’t make any sense. Effort isn’t connected to reward. The path forward is confused, convoluted, and contradictory. Worse, there’s a growing sense that the entire game is being corrupted to ensure failure. So why play it?
One of the biggest letdowns for me about the film Wall-E was that all of the robots, save the evil navigator, were in some way visually anthropomorphic. They had hands, eyes, voices, that were unmistakably humanish. Pixar’s great mascot, Luxo Jr., managed to be lovable without these traits. There is a certain extra level of magic involved in making a great character that is utterly unrecognizable as human.
Yesterday in Shanghai, a woman miscarried. The child that wasn’t born would have led a unified China to attack and defeat India, Russia, and finally Europe, resulting in a Chinese empire that ruled the world from 2050 to 2100. Instead, China wilted under internal political strife caused by economic and environmental pressures, and became a second-rate power in the 21st century.
We tend think about compassion on the level of individual selves and minds: Bob feels compassionate toward Jim because Jim lost his wife, or his wallet, etc. Bob sympathizes with Jim because he can internally, to a certain extent, “feel what Jim feels.”
After a yearlong hiatus, I thought it was about time that I got back on the nano-horse and giddy-upped into some new thoughts and understandings regarding that tiny little thing we call “nanotechnology.”
On February 23, 2010 the Commonwealth Club of California hosted a panel of Ken Caldeira, Greg Dalton, Albert Lin and David Whelan to discuss geoengineering. What is technically feasible? How could new tactics be tested? Does the mere possibility of geoengineering diminish efforts to reduce carbon pollution? Our speakers share their distinct perspectives on this passionate environmental topic.
Ken Caldeira - Ken Caldeira is an atmospheric scientist who works at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. He researches ocean acidification, climate effects of trees, intentional climate modification, and interactions in the global carbon/climate system. He also works as a staff scientist for Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based invention and patent company headed up by Nathan Myhrvold. Caldeira’s work was featured in a November 2006 article in The New Yorker, entitled “The Darkening Sea.” In 2007, he contributed two op-ed pieces on the subject of global warming to The New York Times. He was named a “Hero Scientist of 2008” by New Scientist magazine.
Greg Dalton - Gregory Dalton is chief operating officer at the Commonwealth Club of California and Director of The Club’s Climate 1 Initiative. He previously was international editor at The Industry Standard magazine, an editor for the Associated Press in New York, and a correspondent in China and Canada for the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper. Proficient in both Mandarin and Cantonese, he is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Albert Lin - Albert Lin is Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law. His special interests include environmental law, natural resources, and evidence.
David Whelan - Dr. David Whelan is the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Chief Scientist and Vice Presidentâ€”General Manager, Deputy to the President of IDS Advanced Systems. Whelan has responsibility to create, seek out and explore new technology and business growth vectors for the Boeing Company. Boeing’s technology and systems span a wide range of government missions ranging from space systems to airborne systems to ground systems to undersea system. Both manned and unmanned systems have been developed to solve Boeing’s customer challenges. Leveraging his in-depth knowledge of science, technology, systems and future customer requirements Whelan enables Boeing to find new solutions to world’s most challenging problems.
IEET Managing Director Mike Treder and CUNY Professor Massimo Pigliucci debate the pros and cons of the transhumanist agenda.
Is transhumanism fatally optimistic? (06:10)
Massimo’s ethical qualms with life extension (12:21)
The dangers of rapid technological advance (03:21)
Massimo vs. Mike on whether it’s possible to upload your mind (10:44)
Is the Turing Test a behaviorist blunder? (15:44)
Pesky limitations imposed by human biology (07:15)
(Featuring Dr. J. and Jamais Cascio.) This is the one conversation we’re going to have today that will be held in 2010. The concept for today’s show came out of one of the dangerous meetings we have where we try to think of ideas we can’t easily do. We decided to assemble a show that takes place in the year 2030. At first, this seemed like a funny idea, mainly, but this being WNPR, we started talking to actual futurists, the people who try to figure out, decade by decade, what the real drivers for change are and what they’re most likely to do our collective reality. Global warming. The rise of China. The fall of China. The Rise of India, Brazil, Indonesia. The effects of total, ubiquitous connectivity, gene tweaking, crop changes, human migrations, transhumanism ...the people you hear on the show today are the real futurists of 2010.
But we invited them to go time traveling with us. See you in 20 years.
The Flobots are from Denver, Colorado, formed in 2000 by lead MC Jonny 5, aka Jamie Laurie. Their 2008 hit “Handlebars” is off their 2007 album Fight with Tools. Also check out their political activism site flobots.org, and their webcomic series Rise of the Flobots: Architects of Change featuring SF-ish stories inspired by fans and the music of the Flobots.
You can make an argument that the quality of health care in the United States is as good as anywhere in the world (if you can afford it)—but the system we use to allocate and pay for that care is obviously broken and needs to be fixed.
A lot of things keep me up at night – everything from the trivial (“did I remember to brush my teeth?”) to the to the profound (“does it matter?”). But recently, I’ve been plagued more than usual in the wee small hours by the challenge of developing sustainable and resilient technologies.