You've probably heard the dictum that most people expect too much change in the short term and too little change in the long term. That has been true generally, I think, and it may be why we hear complaints about 'No flying cars yet!' and so on.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, have friends or loved ones who do, or simply enjoy the various products and services to be found around these parts, take heed: When the Big One hits, it won’t be pretty.
Steve Jones, head of the department of genetics, evolution and environment at the University College London, says the forces driving evolution, such as natural selection and genetic mutation, “no longer play an important role in our lives.”
As the world reels from the financial crisis on Wall Street and the taxpayer-funded $700 billion bailout, we spend the hour with Naomi Klein on the economy, politics and “disaster capitalism.” The Shock Doctrine author recently spoke at the University of Chicago to oppose the creation of an economic research center named after the University’s most famous economist, Milton Friedman. Klein says Friedman’s economic philosophy championed the kind of deregulation that led to the current crisis. Real Video Stream - Real Audio Stream - MP3 Download
Dr. J. chats with Ron Lindsay Ph.D., J.D., author of Future Bioethics, and director of the Center for Inquiry, a humanist thinktank. We talk about stem cells, biopolitics under the Obama administration, and whether we should be able to torture aliens. (MP3)
IEET Fellow Mike Treder reports: Tonight I am flying from New York to Rhodes, Greece, to attend and participate in the World Public Forum’s “Dialogue of Civilizations,” an annual event that brings together experts, politicians, public and religious dignitaries from all the continents of the world.
A study published in this week’s Nature magazine reveals that the likelihood that a senior citizen will be so disabled that they require high-cost nursing and medical care is fairly constant up till age 100. In other words, increased longevity will not drive up costs related to disability and dependency. But with progress supporting healthy aging with longevity therapies seniors could live even healthier and more able lives. Silke Fauve considers the demographic and economic arguments against increasing longevity.
Okay, hang onto your hats. We’re clearly in for a bumpy ride over the next couple of years; even discounting the worst-case scenarios (I’m a happy pessimist: I always need something to worry about) it looks like we’re in for a recession that will be at least as bad as the 1990-92 one, and possibly much worse.
By definition, distant (long-term) problems are those that show their real impact at some point in the not-near future; arbitrarily, we can say five or more years, but many of them won’t have significant effects for decades. Our habit, and the institutions we’ve built, tend to look at long-term problems as more-or-less identical: Something big will happen later. For the most part, we simply wait until the long-term becomes the near-term before we act.
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The mortgage and credit crisis wasn’t merely predictable; it was predicted. It all started to make sense to me when I attended Learning Annex’s Wealth Expo earlier this year. These courses all promised to teach the properly motivated American how to find homeowners down on their luck and approaching foreclosure, as well as how to buy those homes from under them and resell them at a great profit. What made the spectacle doubly outrageous were not the dancing girls or indoor fireworks; it was the fact that most of the participants were themselves desperate former homeowners, whose illnesses, divorces, fires, and floods had put them in to foreclosure, too. Get it? They were paying to learn how to feed on people just like themselves.
Mike Treder reports: Tomorrow I’ll be spending the afternoon with a select group of U.S. Navy captains being groomed for admiralty at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. This is the third year in a row I’ve been invited to meet with members of the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG), which “generates revolutionary naval warfare concepts.”
A friend of mine believes that all this talk about “accelerating change” and approaching the Singularity is bullshit—in part because he doesn’t see things advancing all that amazingly exponentially rapidly around him.
You were all pretty pessimistic, or perhaps optimistic, about the prospects for employment in 2050 in Europe and N. America. The mean response was about 50% adult employment, while a quarter of you predict less than 25% employment. This poll was open for the last two months by the way, so it doesn’t just reflect the current market turbulence.
The IEET and the editors of the Journal of Evolution and Technology (JET) are pleased to announce the publication of two special issues of JET, one brought together by Sky Marsen with the intention of publishing a book on transhumanism, and the other a collection of papers from the IEET’s May 2006 Human Enhancement Technology and Human Rights conference at Stanford University. Together they represent the wide array of issues at play in the debate over human enhancement and our transhuman future, from the daily lived experience of pushing to maximize one’s potential, to the legal, political and philosophical arguments we will need to secure universal access to safe enhancement technologies. Enjoy!