Topics discussed in this week’s episode of Geoprge Dvorsky’s Sentient Development podcast include the benefits of creatine, Jared Diamond’s 1987 article on how agriculture was the “worst mistake in the history of the human race”, the current state of lab grown meats, computational pathology, a review of the documentary “How to Live Forever”, and a word (or two) on the pernicious de-radicalization of the radical future.
Tracks used in this episode:
Oneohtrix Point Never: “Replica”
The Advisory Circle: “Now Ends the Beginning”
Russian Circles: “309”
Hooray For Earth: “Pulling Back”
In this Sentient Developments Podcast George Dvorsky talks about octopus intelligence, the rise of wrongful birth suits in Israel and elsewhere, and the latest news and findings into autism. George reprises the talk he gave on designer psychologies at the H+ conference at Parson’s University in NYC earlier this year. Lastly, George discusses how religion works as a reproduction control system.
Music used in this episode:
“At Last” by Plaid
“Hours” by Tycho
“Ballad of Gloria Featherbottom” by Mux Mool
Enlightenment values presume an independent self, the rational citizen and consumer who pursues her self-interests. Since Hume, however, Enlightenment empiricists have questioned the existence of a discrete, persistent self. Today, continuing that investigation, neuroscience is daily eroding the essentialist model of personal identity. Transhumanism has yet to come to grips with the radical consequences of the erosion of the liberal individualist subject for projects of enhancement and longevity. Most transhumanist thought still reflects an essentialist idea of personal identity, even as we advance projects of radical cognitive enhancement that will change every element of consciousness. How do ethics and politics change if personal identity is an arbitrary, malleable fiction?
At the 2011 Adelaide Festival of Ideas Julian Savulescu argues we should be using science and technology for moral enhancement, and that the future of humanity depends on it. Julian is the Director of the Oxford Centers for Neuroethics, Practical Ethics, and Science and Ethics.
What are the ways our civilization might collapse, and how might the human race become extinct?
According to sociobiologist Rebecca Costa, the answers are all staring us straight in the face. Just look at current events. Costa writes in her book The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction that human existence is threatened by “a global recession, powerful pandemic viruses, terrorism, rising crime, climate change, rapid depletion of the earth’s resources, nuclear proliferation, and failing education.”
Fortunately, Costa argues we are remarkably equipped to counter these threats today, due to our current understanding of the “biological reasons for the ascension and decline of civilizations.” The problem, as Costa describes it, is that humans are governed by two clocks: the very slow-ticking clock of human evolution and the fast-accelerating clock of technological progress. The result of these two clocks not synching up is the human brain (and the public policy our brains generate) is unable to keep up with the complex environment around us. According to Costa, we’re then left with “paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology.” Put all those in the blender, and look out!
So how do we stave off our collapse? The solution involves what Costa calls the most (surprisingly) controversial word in the English language: evolution. Costa asks why, if Charles Darwin’s theory is “the most important scientific principle governing life on earth,” we don’t utilize it as a relevant tool to solve our problems today? In other words, why is evolution “the greatest discovery you’ve never heard of?”
Dr. J. chats with Joseph Schwartz, Professor of Political Science at Temple University and author of The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States. Prof. Schwartz is a long-time leader in the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest American socialist organization. Part 2 of 2.
Dr. J. chats with Joseph Schwartz, Professor of Political Science at Temple University and author of The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States. Prof. Schwartz is a long-time leader in the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest American socialist organization. Part 1 of 2.
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In this episode of the Sentient Developments podcast George Dvorsky discusses primal transhumanism and the seemingly contradictory trend towards ancestral health that’s happening in the futurist community. To that end George addresses the paleo diet, functional fitness, and the importance of sleep. In the second half of the episode he discusses the recent lawsuit launched by PETA in which they accuse SeaWorld of enslaving orca whales. In this suit, PETA claims that the US Constitution backs up their claim as the 13th mention makes no mention of the kinds of persons it’s set up to protect.
Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.
The NPR arts and culture show Studio 360 profiled Natasha and Greg Stock this week:
Everything we’re able to do today to enhance humans — from genetic engineering to artificial limbs — simply improves on the base model we were born with. But for some people, that doesn’t go far enough. They think we shouldn’t be stuck with the factory-installed settings in our DNA. And they’re not satisfied with a lifespan that tops out at 100 years.
Natasha Vita-More is an artist who imagines a future in which humans are freed from the constructs dictated by nature — a transhumanist. “It seems rather ridiculous that we back up our computers but as far as our minds are concerned, we just leave it up to whatever happens,” she says.
Among her early transhumanist-themed artworks is Primo Posthuman, a prototype human incorporating imagined — but potentially feasible — technological enhancement. The high concept computer-generated image looks a little like the instruction manual to The Bionic Woman, with replaceable genes, enhanced intelligence, and a lifespan listed as “ageless.” A label that points to the kneecap says, “Solar protected skin with tone-texture changeability.”
Dr. J. chats with John Robb, a former USAF pilot in special operations and author of Brave New War. He writes the blog Global Guerrillas at globalguerrillas.typepad.com. (Originally broadcast Dec 19, 2009)
An interview with PETA shows that the group is helping with the destruction of current technologies contributing to the suffering of animals worldwide while embracing emerging technologies that will help the fight for animal rights.
If you could take a pill that would instantly improve your memory or increase your ability to make sense of complex ideas, perhaps even make discoveries worthy of a Nobel prize, would you? What if you could enhance your capacity to assimilate new languages in a fraction of the time than would otherwise be necessary to become fluent? Answers to these questions may now become more urgent as a range of cognitive enhancements are quickly becoming available via pharmaceutical research.
Surfing the Waves of Change is an animation exploring the idea of community resilience using the metaphor of a surfer to explain how communities can make themselves more resilient in these changing times. This project is supported by The Carnegie UK Trust, Comhar Media Fund and Trocaire.
As the fragile global systems we relied on in the last century begin to crumble, community resilience offers a localised and sustainable response to the challenges we face both as individuals and as inhabitants of a shared planet. Get started by downloading a free copy of Carnegie Trust’s Exploring Community Resilience HERE.
A video by Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy about the Robin Hood Tax, a tiny tax on bank transactions that could raise hundreds of billions for public services and to tackle poverty and climate change at home and around the world.
‘Occupy Wall Street’ is furious that the nation’s largest banks grossly mismanaged the citizenry’s funds but were rewarded anyway with a bail-out by the government. Today many of those frivolous financiers are thriving with obscene salaries while millions of their victimized clientele have lost their homes to foreclosure and are under-or-unemployed.
DARPA, the Pentagon’s advanced concepts think-tank, is looking to take propaganda to the next level, and they’re hoping to do so by controlling the very way their targets perceive and interpret the flow of incoming information.
Two Mormons—Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney—are campaigning as Republicans for President of the United States, with Romney currently favored to nab the nomination. In recent days their faith has been derided by some as a “cult.” Although Mormonism is an ‘indigenous’ American creed, and has over 14 million followers internationally, the average American knows little about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
One of the most fascinating developments in science today is the ability to sequence DNA from old bones. Research in this field is called paleogenomics — the study of ancient genomes. Recent data reveals what scientists have long suspected — that our prehistoric ancestors exchanged genes with Neandertals.
This video explains how we met our closest evolutionary relatives, Neandertals, about 50,000 years ago, and what happened next.
The liberation of people through technology, and the liberation of technology from the oppressive forces that want to control it, is part of the pirate DNA. This will be reflected at some point in actual policies of the Pirate Party, the party of the future.
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