(by Milan M CirkoviÄ‡, Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom) We describe a significant practical consequence of taking anthropic biases into account in deriving predictions for rare stochastic catastrophic events. The risks associated with catastrophes such as asteroidal/cometary impacts, supervolcanic episodes, and explosions of supernovae/gamma-ray bursts are based on their observed frequencies. As a result, the frequencies of catastrophes that destroy or are otherwise incompatible with the existence of observers are systematically underestimated. We describe the consequences of this anthropic bias for estimation of catastrophic risks, and suggest some directions for future work. DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01460.x
Dr. J. chats with Aton Edwards, executive director of the International Preparedness Network (readyforanything.org) and author of Preparedness NOW! They discuss simple steps to prepare for disasters, the types of threats to think about, and technologies that might help mitigate risks. Part 2 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Aton Edwards, executive director of the International Preparedness Network (readyforanything.org) and author of Preparedness NOW! They discuss simple steps to prepare for disasters, the types of threats to think about, and technologies that might help mitigate risks. Part 1 of 2.
At the New York Times site, Ross Douthat makes a pathetic attempt to oppose same-sex marriage as a legal option. It’s not “pathetic” as in unintelligent or ill-informed: on the contrary, Douthat is obviously a smart enough guy, and he makes some sensible concessions. It’s pathetic in the sense of a last-ditch effort doomed to failure. It shows how even the most rational repackaging of the arguments against same-sex marriage relies on assumptions that are now simply untenable.
This may come as a surprise to many, but apparently near the end of last year golfer Tiger Woods found himself in the middle of a sex scandal that was covered extensively throughout almost every news outlet. During all this, a sub-scandal erupted when Fox News correspondent Brit Hume said that Woods should convert from his previous religion of Buddhism to Christianity, as Christianity offers more forgiveness than Buddhism. Woods did not convert and, in fact, during his public apology for all that had happened, discussed his adherence to Buddhism and an intention to reapply himself to its teachings in an effort to change how he was living his life.
Many humans feel that no one loves, cares, or understands them. They deserve a better future. I believe that transhumanists need to annihilate the sad, estranged, socially-disconnected emotion of loneliness by creating an abundance of cures.
Should a person become a transhumanist before he is a humanist or is she to become a humanist first before becoming a transhumanist? A well-crafted question but one that deserves serious thought as to its purpose.
True Blood seems to continuously illustrate all the things that could go wrong with human enhancement. Whether it’s non-humans being taken advantage of by humans, or non-humans being unable to control their powers, it all looks pretty bleak.
Can current approaches to doing science sustain us over the next one hundred years? An increasing reliance on technological fixes to global challenges demands a radical rethink of how we use science in the service of society.
IEET Senior Fellow Jamais Cascio spoke recently at the “Futuro Ã¨ Sostenabilita” (Futures and Sustainability) conference in Rome. He gave a short interview there to discuss the difference between predicting the future and thinking usefully about it.
You can also watch a video recording of his full talk, beginning with Part 1 here.
I’ve now read the full (138 page) judgment in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger. To be candid, just reading it with a degree of care took me quite a bit of time, so I won’t be spending a similar amount of time writing a detailed commentary. Let me make just a few quick points.
In many of the sci-fi futures that we know and love, racism, sexism, and homophobia are often scrubbed out of existence. Caprica/BSG, Star Trek, Torchwood, Mass Effect, even less thoughtful fare like Starship Troopers, depict residents of the future who are less interested in the permutations of human identity and more interested in the qualities of a person’s mind and spirit. Even Futurama’s “Proposition Infinity,” concerning the fake-contentious “robosexual marriage” controversy, spoofs this tendency.
In the 1660s the scientist and philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-1691) revealed the importance of the transhumanist imagination when he penned a wishlist for the Royal Society, one of the first scientific organizations in the world.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jason Beard, a 25 year old man that received a cochlear implant in May of 2009. Jason was hearing impaired from birth but was able to hear some sounds with the help of a hearing aid however he was not able to carry on conversations. With the help of a CI his life has changed.