IEET Fellow Mike Treder directs the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology which - with the assistance of IEET Fellow Jamais Cascio, who also serves as CRN’s Director of Impacts Analysis - has released eight scenarios for the future development of nanotechnology reflecting a collective scenario process of two dozen people.
This drama illustrates the contribution of free enterprise, technology, and Westinghouse products to the American way of life. The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair pits an anti-capitalist bohemian artist boyfriend against an all-American electrical engineer who believes in improving society by working through corporations. The Middletons experience Westinghouse’s technological marvels at the Fair and win back their daughter from her leftist boyfriend.
Memorable moments: the dishwashing contest between Mrs. Modern and Mrs. Drudge; Electro, the smoking robot; and the Westinghouse time capsule.
In this new three-part series, leading theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku explores the cutting edge science of today, tomorrow, and beyond. He argues that humankind is at a turning point in history. In this century, we are going to make the historic transition from the ‘Age of Discovery’ to the ‘Age of Mastery’, a period in which we will move from being passive observers of nature to its active choreographers. This will give us not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.
1. THE INTELLIGENCE REVOLUTION
In the opening instalment, Kaku explains how artificial intelligence will revolutionise homes, workplaces and lifestyles, and how virtual worlds will become so realistic that they will rival the physical world. Robots with human-level intelligence may finally become a reality, and in the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge our minds with machine intelligence. For the first time on television, see how a severely depressed patient can be turned into a happy person at the push of a button - all thanks to the cross-pollination of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.
Next May, several hundred neurologists and philosophers will gather in the resort of Varadero, Cuba, for the fifth International Symposium on the Definition of Death. At first sight, defining death might not seem like something that requires much scientific or philosophical attention. Look more closely, though, and the line between life and death is rapidly becoming increasingly fuzzy.
It has been obvious to me since my earliest days that the eventually fatal physiological decline associated with getting older is both tragic and potentially preventable by medical intervention. It was, therefore, a matter of some consternation to me to discover in my late twenties that my view on this matter was not universally shared. In this essay I explode various myths and illogicalities that surround the effort to combat (and especially to defeat) aging, with an emphasis on some that are often perpetrated by currently influential commentators.
IEET Fellow Andy Miah and Bettina Hoermann have set up a new email discussion list titled ‘Upstream Nano‘. “We’re aiming to build a special interest group on public engagement and nanoscience and nanotechnology, where an exchange of ideas on the particularities of such work are the focus. Joining the list is simple and information can be found here.” Andy is increasingly being tapped as a nanomedical thinker by the European policy strata.
A few days ago, I was privileged to make a presentation on “Nanotechnology and the Future of Warfare” to a group of senior officers and affiliated civilian researchers at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. We had an enjoyable, wide-ranging, three-hour discussion about molecular manufacturing, climate change, global politics, and the ways in which wars are fought.
Dr. Günter Bachelier is working on a portrait series called “Masterminds of Contemporary Transhumanism.” Using a photograph of each of the subjects, Dr. Bachelier uses a computer program to generate 2000 impressionistic variations of the image.
When I was twelve my Dad gave me a subscription to The Futurist. Mainstream futurology kind of paled for me next to the science fiction I was reading, but at least I knew early on that there were people trying to anticipate and prepare for a radically different future. Imagine my surprise thirty five years later, after a decade of bio-futurist work, to discover that in 1974, one year after I started reading The Futurist, a program for junior futurists was started which today includes more than 250,000 kids in grades 4-12 worldwide.
“SpaceCollective.org: Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Conceived by Rene Daalder in collaboration with Internet designer Folkert Gorter, assisted by editor Aaron Ohlmann, is an attempt at universal broadcasting. SpaceCollective will broadcast to the universe, beaming to outer space a month by month digital time capsule of human civilization.” (Download Volume magazine’s interview with Daalder on SpaceCollective)
Ninaki Priddy writes “I just graduated architecture school, and did this great workshop with the SF director, Rene Daalder. He’s a part of this movement among designers that are designing for space. This is my scenario of women having to give birth in a zero gravity environment. All the video footage is found, and the last bit of the woman in her life pod is what i designed in the 3d program MAYA.”
This Fall I (J. Hughes) taught a course - “Living Healthier and Longer: Opportunities and Challenges” - here at Trinity College on the effects of healthy aging on public policy, and the arguments for a Longevity Dividend/anti-aging research program. This Spring Dale C., Aubrey de G., Anne C., Kristi S. and I will be co-teaching this as a ten-week distance learning course through the IEET for a nominal fee (something like $100).
Many transhumanist ideas are products of fertile and creative imaginations. Some people would add “unhampered by the normal constraints of scientific and philosophical discipline”. Is that so? My answer: NO, or at least not necessarily.
I am fascinated by a few broad concurrent “trends” (to use that awfully abused and debased word of the corporate-militarist Futurological Congress) that seem to me likely to articulate (but never to determine) especially forcefully (but always unpredictably) the politics of technoscientific change, and emerging longevity and modification medicine (so-called) is one of these.