With the integration of human beings and technological enhancement, the ideal of what is morally just becomes increasingly ambiguous, referencing the seemingly endless scenarios of mechanical, electrical, and bio engineering enhancements that have propelled individuals of our kind to mature well beyond the centennial of exploration.
Teleportation, cloaks of invisibility, smell-o-vision, 3D printing, and even holograms, were all ideas first imagined in science fiction—and now are real products and technologies in various stages of development by scientists. While this is common in fields like experimental physics, it isn’t as often that cognitive neuroscience and applied psychology score insights from this fantasy genre.
By 2045, says author, inventor, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, we’ll have expanded the intelligence of our human machine civilization a billionfold. That will result in a technological singularity, a point beyond which it’s hard to imagine.
Scientific American reports about research at Cornell’s Computational Synthesis Laboratory intended to give robot minds a degree of “self-awareness.” Is this a signpost on the road to machine consciousness?
Savage-Rumbaugh’s work with bonobo apes, who can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology—and how much by cultural exposure.
As with most mainstream technologies, pop culture in the West no doubt views the toilet as a useful invention. Effective in its disposal of human waste, the greatest stink created by this set-diameter bowl is the occasional need for a good scrub or available plumber.
My initial reaction to reading about IBM’s “Watson” supercomputer and software was a big fat ho-hum. OK, I figured, a program that plays Jeopardy! may be impressive to Joe Blow in the street, but I’m an AI guru so I know pretty much exactly what kind of specialized trickery they’re using under the hood. It’s not really a high-level mind, just a fancy database lookup system.
You can always tell when you’ve got a bona fide crackpot idea. You’ll hear one or more of the following responses: A) They’ll never let you do that. B) That’ll never work. C) They’ll put you in jail. D) You’re gonna get us all killed.
“Girl Fight! Girl Fight!” This shrill cry on our primary school playground always stampeded us to the spectacle of young females scratching, kicking, biting, slapping and pulling hair. With luck—we boys hoped—a blouse might get ripped and we’d see a bra.
It wasn’t that long ago that listing transhumanism, human enhancement, the Singularity, technology-driven evolution, existential risks, and so on, as academic interests on one’s CV might result in a bit of embarrassment.
You may have heard of Peter Thiel, the right-wing “libertarian” co-founder of Paypal and early investor in Facebook. He seems to be a magnet for controversy and intrigue, with his penchant for casual misogyny and exoticphilanthropicendeavors. So, who or what is he really?