Artificial meat could significantly improve the world. It offers a way to drastically cut greenhouse emissions, save energy and water, feed the world’s growing population, and eat meat without killing animals. However it may be appealing, though, there is good reason to suspect that artificial meat will be met with great resistance and be slowly adopted.
Most of our holidays look backward, honoring past victories, dead presidents or long-standing traditions. How about a day that looks forward, toward thinking creatively about building a better tomorrow? The brand new Future Day (originally proposed by Ben Goertzel at Humanity+) will be March 1. How would you (productively) observe such a day, particularly to inspire the next generation?
“Every time I played Mass Effect 2, I always cherished the idea of bringing Miranda and Jack closer to each other, and in order for that to happen, I always took Miranda with me when doing Jack’s loyalty mission, so that she could see what horrors Jack had gone through, and I also took Jack with me to Illium, on Miranda’s loyalty mission, so that she could see that Miranda is not a “Cerberus bitch”, but instead, a sensitive woman who cares about her sister. Anyway, I tried to add something that the developers left out from the game. This was my first attempt to make this romance come true. It didn’t really come out as good as I hoped it would, but maybe (a big maybe!) I’ll try to make a better version later.”
Mass Effect is epic. It’s the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and more with a protagonist who could be the love-child of Picard, Skywalker, and Starbuck. It’s one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation. Mass Effect goes so far beyond other fictional universes in ways that you may not have yet realized. It is cosmic in scope and scale.
Dr. J. chats with David Koepsell about his book Innovation and Nanotechnology: Converging Technologies and the End of Intellectual Property. Koepsell is an author, philosopher, attorney, and educator who teaches at the Delft University of Technology. He is also author Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes.
Topics discussed in this week’s episode: Moral enhancement and cognitive enhancement (featuring insights from Peter Singer and Allen Buchanen), progressivism and the potential for transhumanism (featuring clips from James Hughes and Robert Sawyer), and an update on PETA’s case against SeaWorld.
PETA may have lost its case against Sea World, but it marks an important step forward in the struggle to recognize highly sapient animals as persons. This is not going to happen overnight, and it’s through cases like these that the idea of nonhuman persons will be normalized in society.
I condemn in no uncertain terms the recent passage by the Nigerian Senate of the the anti-gay marriage bill. The passage of this bill once again demonstrates how disconnected Nigerian politicians and lawmakers are from the realities of the 21st century. It has confirmed that our lawmakers indeed prefer to fiddle while our social, political and economic house, called Nigeria, burns.
Suffocation induces a sense of extreme panic. It’s a comparatively rare experience in contemporary human life, although panic disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks, is extremely unpleasant and quite common. Whatever its cause, the experience of suffocation is horrific. One’s lungs feel as though they will burst at any second. There is a loss of control of bodily functions. There is no psychological “coping mechanism”, just an all-consuming fear, as witnessed by the traumatic effects of the waterboarding torture practised by the CIA; the entangled piles of bodies of victims in the Nazi gas chambers frantically clawing over each other to gasp in the last traces of breathable air; and the death-agonies of millions of herbivores every day in the wild.
David Pearce is an independent researcher and vegan animal activist based in Brighton UK. In 1995, he wrote an online manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative, advocating the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout the living world.
Eating Wheaties for breakfast? Keeping Fluffy’s litter box clean? Gulping down cholesterol-lowering medication? If you think these activities are healthy, sorry… reports suggest all these habits contain the potential to poison your brain.
The combination of longer lives, lower fertility, relatively low economic mobility, and high correlation between economic and political power, has left the United States in the novel situation of being (at least partially) a sort of partially gerontocratic democracy in which the 1940’s and 1950’s excert a degree of political influence over 2012 which the 1910’s and 1920’s did not have over the 1980’s.
Philippe Goldin - research scientist and head of the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience group in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University - discusses Mindfulness meditation, which 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.
Comedian Russell Brand talks about how he is “very grateful to be involved” with the launch of David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness, which offers the Transcendental Meditation technique to veterans suffering with PTSD.
One of the catastrophic risks that technoprogressives take more seriously than most policy analysts is the emergence of self-willed artificial intelligence and robotics. We are skeptical of the focus on “hard take-off” scenarios, which tend to lead to fatalistic or magical thinking approaches to risk mitigation, and we emphasize instead the importance of incremental steps such as regulation of computing to avoid the creation of self-willed machine minds until we have a better handle on how to safely integrate them. In this short story Alex imagines one way that the tension between human control and the self-awareness of machine minds might play out.
Science and meditation are two things that one might initially regard as having no more in common with each other as Chinese calligraphy and Italian pasta. Science, however, has recently examined the eastern tradition to answer the longstanding question: how does meditation work? Is anything actually happening or is it “all in the head?”
For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation. Published in early February, 2012 by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over the next few years in terms of their economic and social impact.
Professor Renate Loll (Utrecht University) talks about the question ‘What is time?’ from the perspective of theoretical physics. Often contra-intuitive but always fascinating, Loll reveals the secrets of a quantum theory of time.
On a long drive to my mom’s house earlier this weekend, my son Zar and I got into a long conversation about the nature of causality, which got me thinking about the old puzzle of where the feeling of the directionality of time comes from…
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