Discussions about whether or not to legalize assisted suicide often fail to take into account the fact that unassisted suicide is already legal. (Although once considered a crime, it’s now legal in the United Kingdom and in all fifty United States.) Failure to consider this fact means that unless there is a significant difference between assisted suicide and unassisted suicide that justifies prohibiting the former while permitting the latter, one must either accept inconsistency or reconsider.
Robots with even limited sensitivity to ethical considerations and the ability to factor those considerations into their choices and actions will open up new markets. However, if robots fail to adequately accommodate human laws and values in their behaviour, there will be demands for regulations that limit their use. Over the next twenty years, advances in robotics will converge with neurotechnologies and other emerging technologies. We will be confronted with not just monitoring and managing individual technologies that are each developing rapidly, but also with the cultural transformations arising from the convergence of many technologies. Technological development can overheat or may even stagnate. The central role for ethics, law, and public policy in the development of robots and neurotechnologies will be in modulating their rate of development and deployment. Compromising safety, appropriate use, and responsibility is a ready formulation for inviting crises in which technology is complicit.
A tribute to Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1927). Cyborg Woman is a song from IEET Fellow Riccardo Campa’s new album “The Italian Way” (Space Sound Records, New York, 2011). Music by A. Cofrancesco and R. Campa; arranged and mixed by A. Cofrancesco; mastered by D. Lipinski, produced by M. Kolodynski. Film editing by M. Paccardi. Dedicated to Cryonica.
Leading social and tech experts present their visions for Facebook’s future impact on society. Some believe Facebook will become pervasive plumbing for the social web, others argue it could simply fizzle. Contributors include Kevin Kelly (What Technology Wants, founder Wired), David Kirkpatrick (author The Facebook Effect), Howard Rheingold (author Smart Mobs), Nova Spivack (web innovator, co-founder Bottlenose), futurist Jamais Cascio, Doug Rushkoff (author Program or Be Programmed), Doc Searls (Berkman Center, author The Cluetrain Manifesto), social network research pioneer Valdis Krebs, cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, web anthropologist Stowe Boyd, innovation strategist Chris Arkenberg, Suzanne Fischer (curator Henry Ford Museum). Narrated by Alvis Brigis. Produced by the futureoffacebook.com open foresight team.
The 21st century has been referred to as “the urban century”. By 2050, over 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. The rate of urbanisation is staggering: more than 400 million people in China and 215 million people in India will migrate to cities by 2015. Today’s cities can barely handle the burden of their current populations: core services like energy, water, communications, transportation and public safety are inefficient and increasingly decrepit. The burden on the environment is also profound: cities only occupy 2 per cent of the earth’s landmass, but account for over 75 per cent of our resource consumption. Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai will be stretched to breaking point.
Are we ready for global-wide sexual liberation? Is accelerated social and technical progress possible without it? VenusPlusX commits itself to these provocative questions. Founded by independent activist-partners Dan Massey and Alison Gardner in September, 2011, the duo is devoted to ushering in “The New Age of Sexual Freedom” - a world free, in it’s words, from the “global culture of racial, sexual and gender oppression and violence driven by governments, religions, corporations and social customs.”
IEET Fellow Douglas Rushkoff is releasing A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division, a gripping graphic novel about a group of elite gamers who are also teen idols, reality TV stars, carefully developed corporate assets… and some things they haven’t been told. Like all the best SF, ADD will tell you much more about the present than any hundred news sites would.
Despite its many failures, “austerity economics” keeps remaking—and unmaking—the global economy. The only disagreement at this weekend’s Republican debate was over which candidate would push austerity more aggressively. And austerity dominated the political agenda last year—“Deficit Commission,” anyone?—until Occupy came along.
In this week’s episode I talk about my renewed focus on diet and exercise now that the Christmas season is now over. In addition, I rank the most powerful forces in the universe, I discuss the recent work done by a Dutch lab to modify the bird flu, and I offer an alternative perspective on the potential for complete nuclear disarmament.
On Friday afternoon, January 13, 2012, at noon, a new journal dedicated to the promotion of unlimited life-extension (“Let Us From Now On”), in cooperation with the Israeli Transhumanist community, will hold a demonstration by the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv, against Deathism, and for Life-Extension.
Are we hurting our noggins? Internationally, are there social customs, diseases, pollutants, school policies, parental choices, drugs, diets and philosophies that cause, or are correlated with, decreased intelligence? Here are fourscore-and-a-trio of the mind-mangling menaces. A preponderance of the fearsome factors have undergone scientific scrutiny, with statistics filed in the massive archives of pubmed.gov.
Human beings like being part of a tribe. For example, my younger sister refused to go to a school that required school uniforms. Why? Already, she was consistently wearing the same clothes to school everday… the same clothes as every other member of her particular “tribe.” The problem with the school uniform was not the requirement to wear it, but that it belonged to the wrong tribal group.
Wednesday on the Opinion Pages of The New York Times, the renowned Vinton Cerf - computer scientist, “father of the Internet”, Turing Award winner, and Google’s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist - published an article titled Internet Access Is Not A Human Right. It could be argued that the key word here is “access”, but before I address access again, I should start with the definition of the internet.
While there is a great deal of bad, indeed, horrendous, news in the world - global warming, terrorism, the global financial crisis, water shortages, worsening inequity - there are also signs of positive change.
Synthetic biology is a field of science that has been emerging in the last few years and could have a significant future impact with the potential to pro-actively manage biology and reshape many industrial sectors.
Specifically, synthetic biology or bioengineering is the creation of living systems from nonliving chemicals designed on a computer; the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, or the redesign of existing biological systems.
Cory Doctorow’s keynote at the 28C3, the Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin, entitled “The coming war on general computation.”
The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.
The world of science fiction is known for its absence of cultural diversity. While history texts are still recovering from the conspicuous absence of the contributions of non-European cultures across the world and in America, there’s an equal need to claim the future as well.
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