April 1: the virtual world Second Life has more than 170.000 “residents”, about a thousand more than yesterday. There are more than 5000 residents online at this moment, and they are spending a lot of real money in the virtual world. In the last 24 hours, residents have spent almost 500.000 US dollars in Second Life. And all these numbers are growing fast.
More than a decade after Neal Stephenson‘s popular science fiction novel Snow Crash (1992), a vision of a future Internet (the Metaverse) based on Virtual Reality (VR), defined many of the Virtual Reality (VR) concepts used today, VR technology is catching up with science fiction literature. In the picture above I am working in my virtual office in Second Life.
Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at
Arizona State University, together with the
Advanced Concepts Group of Sandia National Laboratories
Arizona State University
May 3-5, 2006
IEET Executive Director James Hughes will join invited workshop participants (neuroscientists, bioengineers, neuroethicists, social scientists, relevant entrepreneurs, and people with legislative, executive, and regulatory experience) to address how a converging set of new technologies that promise to give human beings opportunities to develop, heal and alter their cognitive abilities in a variety of ways will impact society. Governments increasingly will be called upon to support, permit, require, or limit, research and application of such cognitive enhancement technologies.
If anyone clicks on my profile, they might notice that I have “disability rights” listed as one of my interests. I think it is necessary to explain my position here. I do consider myself a “transhumanist” because that philosophy is closely in-line with the outlook I’ve developed independently of even learning of transhumanism—but I am not in favor of some of the more eugenic-like aspects of some transhumanist lines of thought.
In part 2 of the interview, we discuss the prospects and reasons for world federalism, managing potential risks wrought by burgeoning technologies, the weaponization of space, and human gene patenting.
IEET Fellow George Dvorsky is a Toronto-based technoprogressive and H+ thinker, who blogs and podcasts on a wide variety of topics, from Battlestar Galactica to bioethics to the fate of the multiverse. He talks here about virtual worlds and veganism. 40min version
I’ve been fascinated for many years by the emergence of virtual worlds. Their attractiveness is obvious to anyone who has read a work of fiction and imagined themselves in that world, either alongside the heroes or off exploring new spaces. Paper and dice role-playing games (such as D&D or Transhuman Space) offered an approximation of virtual existence, but did so through descriptive language (and, often, little lead wizards, goblins and the like). As personal computers grew to have powerful visual capacities and global network connections, however, the opportunity arose to create immersive alternative worlds that could be experienced by anyone, regardless of imagination.
James Lovelock, the environmentalist and deep ecologist who popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, is as infuriating as he is fascinating. I’m still not quite sure what to make of this man, but my gut instinct tells me he’s a bit off his rocker.
I disagree with so many claims that I hear from various of my transhumanist friends that I sometimes wonder why, at the end of the day, I stand with them, rather than the bioconservatives - but there’s no doubt that I do.
I recently interviewed Dr. James Hughes, executive director of the World Transhumanist Association and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. In part 1 of the interview, we discuss Dr. J’s ongoing projects, his future hopes and plans for the WTA and IEET, and current global issues facing techprogressives.
As virtual reality and meat reality begin to blur, future nanomedical reality is merging with current virtual medical therapy. A non-profit company, Hopelab, has released a first person shooter computer game for kids undergoing treatment for cancer.
Natalie Portman’s recent performance in V for Vendetta has me thinking about bald women on the silver screen, particularly in science fiction movies.
Traditional films are quite conservative in the way they portray women’s hairstyles. As an indelible part of their sexuality, filmmakers have been reluctant to mess around with such an integral female attribute. Moreover, until fairly recently, female roles in action movies have been secondary to those of males. Men are supposed to be masculinized on screen and women feminized.
On Thursday morning, March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died quietly in a Florida hospice. The person who Terri Schiavo had been ceased to exist 15 years before, according to the testimony of her husband and many who knew her, as well as the best determination of credible doctors and scientists. The memory of Schiavo will make its home in the lives of the people who actually knew her for years to come. And no doubt the public figure of Schiavo will likewise continue to resonate into the future, condensing into a few flashes of ineradicable imagery what are in fact the endlessly complex and emotionally fraught quandaries of bodies and lives rendered newly questionable in their limits, capacities and social intelligibility by ongoing and emerging technological developments.
Tags: cognitive science, philosophy of mind, theory of time, human enhancement, cognitive enhancement, cosmology, metaphysics, anthropic principle, fine tuning, teleology, cosmological eschatology, anthropic principle, existential risks, disaster prevention, foresight, building gods, reviews, transhumanism, artificial intelligence, technological singularity, futurism, nick bostrom, kevin warwick, hugo de garis, anne foerst, cyberculture, cybers, cybergoth, subcultures, futurism, cyborgs, fashion trends.
Technology changes how art is done and by whom. And it’s only going to get better. Not only will more and more people be able to afford the gadgetry of making art, but the intrinsic ability to create and perform art will be impacted as well.
I happen to think that I have a relatively moderate view about performance enhancement in sport. My initial position is that the doping dilemma is a genuine ethical issue - one which lends itself to no clear resolution, because there are essentially contested concepts at stake. To this extent, I sympathise with many people involved within the anti-doping movement. I listen to their views, I take on board what they say.
Cyberculture is a burgeoning youth subculture that is an intermixture of several scenes, including cyberpunk, goth, rivethead, rave, and clubbing. Individuals in cyberculture identify themselves as “cyber” or “cybergoth,” and are as interested in fashion and dancing as they are in new and future technology. Primarily a cultural phenomenon of the United Kingdom, cybers can also be found in New York and other large metropolitan areas. There’s even a Canadian cybergoth forum.
Cory Doctorow, Robert Katz, Karl Schroeder, Charles Stross, Alicia Kestrel Verlager and Dr. J. discuss tattoos, pacemakers, dental implants and piping the Web directly into our heads at Boskone 2006, on February 19.
A growing suspicion is coalescing among some transhumanists, futurists and cosmologists about how the finely tuned aspects of the universe seem to implying that something great awaits humanity in the future. The sense of there being a cosmologically prescribed mission for intelligences is derived from the eerie results coming out of virtually all the sciences which show how absurdly specific the laws of the universe actually are. Further, technosociological observations like Moore’s Law make it appear as if even humanity’s inventions are part of some cosmologically divined plan.
Human population, extreme and widespread poverty, biodiversity, energy and environment, public health, world economies, global priorities—in so many arenas, humanity has reached a crossroads where decisions of monumental consequence will be made, either proactively or by default.
“The mandate we’ve given ourselves is not how do we get to an idealized future,” said Bob Citron, Executive Director of the Foundation, “but rather, what do the best minds of our current generation see as probable pathways for humanity in the long-term future?”
IEET Fellow and CRN Executive Director Mike Treder has been invited to attend and will make a presentation at this workshop.