In this second episode of SuchThatCast, I talk to Wendell Wallach, who is a consultant, ethicist, and scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He chairs the Center’s research group on Technology and Ethics and is a member of other research groups on Animal Ethics, End of Life Issues, Neuroethics, and PTSD. Wendell co-authored (with Colin Allen) the influential Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong (Oxford University Press 2009), which maps the new field of machine ethics.
Wallach talks about his extraordinary career, from being a spiritual guru in the 1960s to becoming one of today’s leading authorities on machine ethics. He also discusses his involvement in the transhumanist society, as well as his current project of developing a ‘silent ethics’, grounded in meditation practices.
We love watching the Olympics, and are inspired by athletic and organisational excellence. However, the Olympics are not a neutral venue. Every medal is based on a stream of money, power, genes and deep culture. In this essay  we unpack the political-economy of the Olympics.
John Smart is an advisor in Futures Studies and Forecasting for Singularity University. During our discussion we cover: the Foresight Education and Research Network (FERN); the story of how John got interested in futurism and technology; his Acceleration Studies Foundation as well as the meaning of accelerating change; his totally fascinating idea of STEM compression; the Barrow scale vs the Kardashev scale; cosmology, black holes and different interpretations thereof; Moore’s Law and the limits of Physics.
Ever since Enrico Fermi questioned back in the 1950’s why, if a multitude of civilisations are likely to exist in the Milky Way, no sign of their existence in the form of probes or spacecraft has ever been detected, scientists and critical thinkers have struggled to resolve the problem by supplying a host of inventive arguments with mixed reception.
In their introductory piece, “Well-Being and Enhancement”, to their edited collection Enhancing Human Capacities, Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen, and Guy Kahane attempt to define “enhancement” or “human enhancement”, settling on a conception related to well-being.
Consider this headline. $21 Trillion hoard hidden offshore by global elite. Consider that number and consider my prediction that the world’s middle classes will become radicalized, perhaps in the 2020s, or even sooner.
From the You Heard it Here First department - let me present an idea that sounds patently ridiculous and yet - according to my discussions with the leading researcher in the field - is entirely possible within 20 years - a possibility that I argue - is indeed a probability.
Advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and nuclear energy have turned society into what Dutch ethicist Ibo van de Poel calls a large-scale laboratory for experimenting with the unforeseen consequences of new technologies.
Expect increased nationalism, including the flexing of military muscle, from China between now and 2050. Although I predict a surge in nationalistic sentiment and policy-making, one cannot rule out the possibility that a great new peaceful Chinese civilisation could emerge towards the middle of the century which would benefit, rather than harm, humanity.
There is a new kind of weather to worry about, and it comes from our nearest star. Scientists are expecting a fit of violent activity on the sun which will propel billions of tonnes of superheated gas and pulses of energy towards our planet. They have the power to close down our modern technological civilisation - e.g. in 1989, a solar storm cut off the power to the Canadian city of Quebec. Horizon meets the space weathermen who are trying to predict what is coming our way, and organistions like the National Grid, who are preparing for the impending solar storms.
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the Time Portal. In a few moments, we will beam your minds 10,000 years into the past at a location what is now Russia, where you will experience the sights and sounds of the Neolithic Revolution as humanity transforms from Hunter-Gatherer to Civilization status.
Check out the before-and-after photos. We’re not talking about a small eye-opening or chin-chiseling operation here. We’re talking about techno-miraculously transforming a humdrum wallflower into dazzling hottie.
A humanoid robot system for table tennis playing developed by Zhejiang University, China was recently reported by Chinese media. The system consists of two humanoid robots. Each robot is 55kg in weight, 160cm in height and has 30 Degrees of freedom. This demo shows a rally between these two robots which last 176 strokes(about 2.5 minutes). This video also shows that one humanoid robot can rally with a human player with various ball speed and can strike the ball using either forehand or backhand.
Bastoy Prison is called the world’s nicest prison. It has beachfront sunbathing, fishing, and relaxing saunas on a small Norwegian island dotted with pine trees, rocky coasts, rustic farms and private, wooden cottages.
Buddhism and Jainism believe there is an evolutionary continuity between animals, humans and “gods,” and that all creatures will evolve from animals to a posthuman state. From a Keynote Address delivered at the International Jain Conference at Claremont Lincoln University, August 24-25, 2012.
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