Jamais Cascio and Dr. J. talk about the concept of geo-engineering as a possible solution to climate change, but also as a possibly offensive weapon in geostrategy. Who would stand to benefit from unstopped warming, and who would benefit from warming slowed by man-caused volcanic eruptions or other kinds of human intervention? Also Tom Smith’s song Dead Again, from the Podsafe Music Network. (MP3)
A majority of you think yes. Of the 320 respondents to the poll, almost 60% said that (post)human colonization of the galaxy was likely. One if five thought the prospects of galactic colonization were dim because of vast distances. One in six thought the prospects bad because of x-risks to the future of human civilization.
China is often depicted by the traditional media as a nation with a booming economy, a thriving middle class, and an unlimited future. We’re led to expect that it soon will become the world’s unchallenged economic and geopolitical superpower.
Most discussions of the benefits of technologies like molecular manufacturing tend to focus either on broad social advances (engineered by helpful governments, NGOs, or businesses) or individual desires that transformative technologies may be able to satisfy. These are surely useful ways of thinking about a nanotech-enabled world. But what if this model misses another category, one that may be less noticeable precisely because we pay so much attention to its opposite?
Cameron Reilly, voice of “G’Day World,” on Australia’s Podcast Network, listened to “The Chorus”—the scenario jamais had constructed for the Futurist’s Sandbox panel at SXSW—and was thoroughly disturbed by the story it told. Disturbed enough, it turns out, to ping him to do an interview for his podcast on where we seem to be going with social media technologies, and just what it might mean to opt out.
For all I know, Ben Stein may be Apollo’s gift to the professions of acting and gameshow hosting, and to some of the other odd activities that have come his way from time to time in a long career that’s more varied than the Galapagos finches.
An IEET White Paper by By George Dvorsky and James Hughes.
Abstract: Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without “mothers” and “fathers,” and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression.
(Via Ectoplasmosis) As Ross notes, this video of a boy, a dog and a robot is a portent of the displacement of humanity by automation. “Our time left on this planet is short and one day — no doubt sooner rather than later — mechanized monstrosities will cleanse us from this sapphire spheroid in a wave of robotic fury, probably with lasers in their eyes….”
Hopefully some of you noticed that the IEET website was down for three days, and that our email lists are still down. That is because the servers in London that host the IEET, the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the World Transhumanist Association and a variety of other like-minded groups was brought down by a hack attack last week. The servers have now been rebuilt, but our email list is still inexplicably down. We’re working on it, and hopefully will have it fixed shortly. We have no idea whether the attack was ideologically motivated or not.
Austin Dacey and Dr. J. chat about his new book The Secular Conscience. Dr. Dacey is representative to the United Nations for the secularist Center for Inquiry, and on the editorial staff of Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry magazines.
So, you want to take over the Galaxy. A good career move. Ultimately, you’re hoping to communicate with extraterrestrials, colonize entire sets of star clusters, and eventually lord it over the entire Milky Way.
Abstract The future of humanity is often viewed as a topic for idle speculation. Yet our beliefs and assumptions on this subject matter shape decisions in both our personal lives and public policy – decisions that have very real and sometimes unfortunate consequences. It is therefore practically important to try to develop a realistic mode of futuristic thought about big picture questions for humanity. This paper sketches an overview of some recent attempts in this direction, and it offers a brief discussion of four families of scenarios for humanity’s future: extinction, recurrent collapse, plateau, and posthumanity.
Mindfulness meditation, one type of meditation technique, has been shown to enhance emotional awareness and psychological flexibility as well as induce well-being and emotional balance. Scientists have also begun to examine how meditation may influence brain functions. This talk will examine the effect of mindfulness meditation practice on the brain systems in which psychological functions such as attention, emotional reactivity, emotion regulation, and self-view are instantiated. We will also discuss how different forms of meditation practices are being studied using neuroscientific technologies and are being integrated into clinical practice to address symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
Philippe is a research scientist and heads the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience group in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University. He spent 6 years in India and Nepal studying various languages, Buddhist philosophy and debate at Namgyal Monastery and the Dialectic Monastic Institute, and serving as an interpreter for various Tibetan Buddhist lamas. He then returned to the U.S. to complete a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Rutgers University. His NIH-funded clinical research focuses on (a) functional neuroimaging investigations of cognitive-affective mechanisms in adults with anxiety disorders, (b) comparing the effects of mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy on brain-behavior correlates of emotional reactivity and regulation, and (c) training children in family and elementary school settings in mindfulness skills to reduce anxiety and enhance compassion, self-esteem and quality of family interactions.
“Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies love: its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society. She outlines the three stages of love (lust, infatuation and long-term attachment), shedding light on eternal questions like why we love, and why we cheat. She also discusses the natural talents of women, and their new significance in the modern world. She ends with a warning about the widespread use of antidepressants—and a truly hilarious story of romantic pursuit.”