Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters’ demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn’t be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.
Even the sympathizers don’t always get it. I’m sure I get a lot of things wrong too, but here’s one thing I do understand: Change doesn’t begin with policy. It begins with perception. And you don’t change things by asking. You change them by acting.
While watching the Occupy Wall Street movement gain momentum and challenge the status quo, we in the transhumanist and technoprogressive communities should take note of differences between this movement and those earlier in the 20th century that were in direct opposition to some set of conservative policies.
The longer a telescope spends looking at a target, the more sensitive the observations become, and the deeper we can look into space. But to get the full picture of what’s happening in the Universe, astronomers also need observations at a range of different wavelengths, requiring different telescopes. These are the key ideas behind the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey, or GOODS for short.
Robots and computers have made astonishing progress at acquiring what we’ve long considered fundamentally human capabilities. Machines are beginning to understand language. They can listen, they can speak, they can read, and they may even be able to write. They’re getting better at visual pattern recognition; computers can tell the difference between your face and your dad’s face, and they may be able to look at a biopsy slide and tell the difference between a cancerous cell and a healthy one. Computers might even be able to “reason” the way humans can. Perhaps they’ll soon sit in judgment when you appeal your traffic ticket.
We’ve seen robots take over many jobs that require routine activities and manual labor, but what impact will they have on high-skilled workers, including medical professionals, lawyers, scientists, and journalists? Which jobs are most vulnerable to the “robot invasion,” and which jobs will the robots be unable to touch? (Hint: not many.) Should we be happy about the robots—after all, they’ll probably make our jobs easier—or should we be worried? And if the robots are coming, should we try to stop them?
At this September 2011 event, Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo and a panel of experts explored these questions and more.
For more about this event, visit: http://www.newamerica.net/node/57814/edit
Sloan Churman’s husband captured her reaction the first time her new hearing device, Envoy Medical’s Esteem Implant, was turned on. On her Youtube page she says “I had an implant put in 8 weeks ago called The Esteem Implant by Envoy Medical. I was born deaf and have worn hearing aids from the age of 2, but hearing aids only help so much. I have gotten by this long in life by reading lips. This was taken as they were activating the implant.”
IEET’s Kyle Munkittrick debated human enhancement with Brad Allenby, author of The Techno-Human Condition, and Nick Agar, author of Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Life Enhancement, over at Slate. Check out the fascinating results.
More than 80 transhumanist avatars stormed the virtual world of Second Life for a community event organized by Humanity+ on September 15. This has been by far the largest virtual transhumanist event that I have seen, and I believe I have seen them all.
A time-lapse video taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night.
This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries, and landmarks include (in order): Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix; multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico; Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador; lightning over the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon.
Economists pronounce with great confidence in the media and blind us with maths and jargon so that most of us switch off and leave it to the ‘experts’—but are we wise to do so when the evidence of the last four years suggests they do not know what they are doing? The voter who votes in ignorance forges the chains that bind him.
In this essay I would like to reflect on Eastern and Western philosophy, their definition of enlightenment, and their connection to transhumanist thinking. How may Buddhist concepts like ‘Bodhi’ and the ‘Maitreya’ relate to the Western ‘Enlightenment’, human enhancement, and post/transhumanism?
It has been suggested that the whole Earth is a giant organism rapidly progressing toward sentience, and that humankind is the principal agent of this evolution. Such a belief requires that we go beyond the role of being stewards and take a more proactive stance as it relates to the Earth’s future.
Dr. J. chats with Erik Olin Wright, professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a foremost scholar of class analysis, and author of many books including Class, Crisis and the State, Class Structure and Income Determination, and Classes, Class Counts and Deepening Democracy. (Originally broadcast Apr 2, 2005).