While traveling to the World Economic Forum meeting in China, I came across a new paper that piques my interest. The paper is by David Keith at the University of Calgary (published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science), and is a theoretical investigation of how injecting large quantities of precisely engineered particles into the upper atmosphere might provide a cost-effective tool for climate intervention - geoengineering.
Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. He is the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. His professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.
Nature’s Nicola Jones asked me to comment on Singularity University for an article she was putting together; that article is now available. She included a couple of brief observations of mine, but I thought it would be useful to show the full context of my thoughts.
Slowly but surely, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is starting to get the picture: if we’re going to find life out there-and that’s a big if-it’s probably not going to be biological.
How is gay marriage in America proceeding down the aisle? This question concerns all transhumanists because persecution of homosexuality is an anti-Enlightenment human rights violation that is rooted in archaic religious superstition and anti-scientific thought. Actively supporting gay marriage is the ethically responsible position for all progressive transhumanists.
The fifth Hart survey of what American adults think about emerging technologies like nanotechnology and synthetic biology has been released by my former colleagues at the Woodrow Wilson Center - the first since I left the group earlier this year.
Nina Paley and Mike Treder debate the merits of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
Why Nina desires the extinction of humanity (04:10)
Why Mike wants people to stick around (04:51)
Humans as exotic invaders (05:01)
In search of feasible methods of population control (12:58)
Do our art, science, and culture make up for our rapaciousness? (13:39)
Nina’s critique of intellectual property (05:07)
I’ll be speaking at the Singularity Summit AU this Sunday afternoon, on the topic “Survival Beyond the Flesh” - which relates to the prospect of “uploading” rather than to anything of a more otherworldly or spiritual kind.
The ongoing debate between PZ Myers and Ray Kurzweil about reverse engineering the human brain is fairly representative of the same debate that’s been going in futurist circles for quite some time now. And as the Myers/Kurzweil conversation attests, there is little consensus on the best way for us to achieve human-equivalent AI.
We are in for a time of major decision-making as the Moore’s Law of Cameras (sometimes called “Brin’s Corollary to Moore’s Law”) takes hold and elites of all kinds are tempted to utilize surveillance in Orwellian/controlling ways, often with rationalized good intentions.
About 30 persons attended the ASIM 2010 Conference, satellite to the Singularity Summit 2010, San Francisco, August 16-17th. Besides the participants in San Francisco, about 25 remote participants attended online in Teleplace.
The videos of ASIM 2010 talks and discussions have been posted to blip.tv:
The world’s population will grow to 9 billion over the next 50 years â€” and only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth. This is the paradoxical answer that Hans Rosling unveils at TED@Cannes using colorful new data display technology (you’ll see).
Back in July, the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) posted a Request For Information in the Federal Register for input to the next NNI strategic plan - to be published later this year. The closing date for comments was a couple of weeks ago now. I got mine in in the nick of time.
The IEET’s Mike Treder recently asked a loaded question: “If you could live in a world that was just the way you wanted it to be, with specifications you’d chosen, customized and personalized to meet your every need and fulfill your fondest desires, would you spend all your time there? Or would you prefer to stay here, in the real world?”
Many scientists around the world believe that we need to focus on ways of making our urban and natural environments more resilient. So what is the idea of resilience science? And how can it help deal with future environmental challenges? An interview with Dr Brian Walker, chair of the Resilience Alliance, Guy Barnett, researcher for Sustainable Ecosystems, and ecologist Paul Ryan.
Also: Future Governance In a world where issues like climate change, population and migration are challenging the way we organise our societies. How should we address some of these issues? And what affect will they have on the future of governance? listen | download (4.4MB)
With the US facing a possible double dip recession, and a resurgent far right political movement poised to sweep into Congress in the Fall elections, I found myself reading two strangely complementary dystopian novels about economic collapse. The first, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by Survivalblog writer James Rawles, is a manual for right-wing survivalist gun-nuts dressed up like a novel. The second, Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, is an example of contemporary literature at its finest. Although from nearly opposite ends of the social universe both novels see the spiraling economic and political crisis in the United States ending in the complete collapse of the Republic as we know it.
Quite a story developing in Chile: the 33 miners who are trapped 700 meters underground will have to wait about four months before they are rescued. That’s obviously not going to be easy on the men who have been trapped for over 18 days already. Keeping it together psychologically, physically and socially for that extent of time will undoubtedly prove challenging.