Ramez Naam, an IEET Fellow, and a computer scientist who spent 13 years at Microsoft, leading teams working on email, web browsing, search, and artificial intelligence. He’s the author of several books including Nexus, a science fiction thriller set in the near future when humans are linked mind-to-mind by an experimental and illegal nano-drug.
In this conversation with host Vincent Horn, Ramez describes his inspiration for the book and it’s narrative of collectivism and mind-to-mind connection through technology. The two discuss the fact, fiction, benefits, and perils of technology that can connect humanity so intimately, and what that kind of technology could mean to the process of awakening.
Ben Goertzel, an IEET Fellow, in response to some common objections covered in an article on io9 by George Dvorsky (IEET Director) 'You'll Probably Never Upload Your Mind Into A Computer': http://io9.com/you-ll-probably-never-...
Objections are covered in order as they appear in the article:
1. Brain functions are not computable
2. We'll never solve the hard problem of consciousness
3. We'll never solve the binding problem
4. Panpsychism is true
5. Mind-body dualism is true
6. It would be unethical to develop
7. We can never be sure it works
8. Uploaded minds would be vulnerable to hacking and abuse
An interesting and humorous look at a robot taking the job of the “human resource” agent who is hiring it. This video, made by American Public Media also goes into a bit of robot history taking over what was once a human job. Will this be our future?
I often wonder why movies from India don’t really get the serious attention they deserve apart from international admiration for them being colorful ! However, there have been movies from India which have asked just about any other big questions that Hollywood has had to ask about our Postmodern fantasies.
My most recent post was about the worthiness of so-called “demarcation” problems, such as reflections on what distinguishes science from philosophy, the latter from theology, and the former from pseudoscience. My interest in this field has been rekindled because of a long time collaboration with my colleague Maarten Boudry, which has resulted in a forthcoming edited book on the topic, to be published in July by Chicago Press.
News reports tell us that more than 500 people have now died and more than 2,500 were injured in Savar, Bangladesh, while the toll in West, Texas stands at 15 dead and over 200 injured. Behind these two disasters is a common thread of greed - and a common need for unionized resistance.
One benefit to society that neural augmentation brings is an increase in the availability of education. Websites like Wikipedia and databases of scholarly articles already give anyone with access to the Internet access to vast amounts of information on virtually any topic. Excellent schools like MIT, through their OpenCourseWare program, offer free online classes in many subjects. If the human brain is augmented as Kurzweil suggests, this educational benefit will become even more pronounced. People will be able to upload information directly into their minds, and will be able to retain vastly more information than they can now.
Could someone without a business degree become a marketing consultant? Then how is it that people without philosophy degrees are becoming ethics consultants?  Is it that people don’t know that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy just as Marketing is a branch of Business? Doubtful. Is it just the typical male overstatement of one’s expertise?  Perhaps. Is it that people think they already know right from wrong, they learned it as children, there’s really no need for any formal training in ethics? Possible…
Double-amputee Jason Koger used to fly hundreds of miles to visit a clinician when he wanted to adjust the grips on his bionic hands.
Now, he’s got an app.
Koger came to Philadelphia this week to demonstrate the i-limb ultra revolution, a prosthetic developed by the British firm Touch Bionics. Using a stylus and an iPhone, Koger can choose any of 24 grip patterns that best suit his needs.
It’s the latest evolution in equipment for Koger, a 34-year-old married father of three from Owensboro, Ky., who lost his hands in an all-terrain vehicle accident in 2008.
“Five years ago, I couldn’t pull my pants up by myself,” said Koger. “Today, I go hunting and do some of the things that I probably never imagined I could have done five years ago.”
The technology indicates how rapidly the field of prosthetics is changing, benefiting patients from injured military members to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Practitioners say increased government research in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is driving some of the advances.
In Koger’s case, he was shocked by a downed power line. He went into a coma and had no idea until he woke up three days later that doctors had amputated both his limbs at mid-forearm. - Huffpost Healthy Living
Sometimes Facebook mirrors our world a little too well. I go to Facebook to escape—from mounds of laundry waiting to be folded, weeds that are taking over the front yard, the ever burbling saga of minor crises in my extended family, or the frustration of not being able to find the right words for my next article. But lately, things have been reversed. The laundry and weeds have become welcome distractions from the news feed.
Thought experiment: imagine you’ve been taken, somehow, and dropped into a big city in another place, with comparable technological and economic development, somewhere you don’t speak the language. Here’s the twist: it’s also time travel. How long would it take you to notice that you’ve been shifted in time as well as space?
Until now, there’s been no way to restore the heart’s function once it fails. But a trial in London that will inject healthy DNA into patients’ hearts to reinvigorate the dying cells could transform patients’ lives. Researchers at Imperial College London are working on understanding the gene that controls calcium levels in heart cells.
Warfare is no stranger to world history. It has become a byproduct of life itself, though is becoming less of a presence as greater activities emerge, i.e. new developing markets, scientific research, and exponentially growing technologies. For what’s left of warfare in our modern age is being coupled with the growing market of new advanced technologies, particularly that of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka: drones.
James Hughes Ph.D.,Executive Director of The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies talked on the Colin McEnroe WNPR show about privacy and technology in the 2030s at the Watkinson School in Hartford Connecticut on April 29, 2013
Click Here to download or listen to the recorded audio.
Two-year-old Emma wanted to play with blocks, but a condition called arthrogryposis meant she couldn’t move her arms. So researchers at a Delaware hospital 3D printed a durable custom exoskeleton with the tiny, lightweight parts she needed.
Prosthetic devices have helped restore functionality in humans who suffer from diseases requiring amputation or from limbs lost in battle for over three thousand years. I will begin this paper by explaining some of that historical journey. Next, I will highlight a few of the prosthetic devices available today to demonstrate that much, but not all, of that functionality can now be restored. Then I will explain what the future of prosthetic devices might look like if they faithfully adhere to Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns.
Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology.
In this video we get an updated view of IDA Ireland’s push for nanotech research, from pharmaceuticals, medical, and electronics industries. IDA Ireland is the agency responsible for industrial development in Ireland.
Once again women’s health and autonomy is being compromised for politics. The Obama administration had the mandate and information they needed to make a science-based decision that put women’s health as top priority, and once again they failed to do so. In 2011 the FDA said that emergency contraception like Plan B and Next Choice should be available over the counter to all who seek it.
Because of a close friend with mysterious yet serious medical problems, I’ve spent more time in hospitals over the last few months than my entire earlier life. This experience has heightened my suspicions of sanguine visions that present indefinite lifespans as within our reach. While I find these dreams as appealing as ever, I recommend transhumanists pay greater attention to social rather than technological methods for ameliorating physical frailty. Against the U.S. government’s obsessive focus on preventing spectacular violence via organized coercion, I offer freedom, equality, and community as ways to cope with vulnerability. As Wesley Strong argues, improving the human condition starts right now and doesn’t require nanotech genies.
On the internet and in the media there has been growing discussion of technological unemployment. People are increasingly concerned that automation will displace more and more workers—that in fact there might be no turning back at this point. We may be reaching the end of work as we know it.
Abstract: Transhumanism is a modern expression of ancient and transcultural aspirations to radically transform human existence, socially and bodily. Before the Enlightenment these aspirations were only expressed in religious millennialism, magical medicine and spiritual practices. The Enlightenment channeled these desires into projects to use science and technology to improve health, longevity and human abilities, and to use reason to revolutionize society. Since the Enlightenment techno-utopian movements have dynamically interacted with supernaturalist millennialism, sometimes syncretically, and often in violent opposition.
Aubrey de Grey, an IEET Fellow, is a biomedical gerontologist and the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. His research targets the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair or obviate them. His comprehensive plan breaks aging down into seven major classes and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.
Optimism is so out of fashion these days, on both the left and the right, that - ironically - a guarded optimism has become the natural state for any genuine contrarian. I could try to ignore that reflex and stay true to my natural dour cynicism. But facts are lining up with those who see light at the end of the tunnel. For example, I often cite Professor Steven Pinker's proof (The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined) that on average, per capita levels of violence have declined steeply (if unevenly) around the world every decade since 1945.
Of course, no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, but by combining present day knowledge with anticipated advances, we can make plausible guesses about what life might be like in the 2040s. Over the coming decades, healthcare research will wield huge benefits for humankind. By 2040, stem cells, gene therapy, and 3-D bio printing promise to cure or make manageable most of today’s diseases. Regenerative medicine breakthroughs are appearing almost daily. Experts now predict that the rise in health discoveries will help us achieve our dreams of indefinite lifespan as we wind through the 2040s.
We are changing the way we build machines, so we may soon be able to build machines that are more like us. In the movie Prometheus, a work set in the future supposedly about our search for our own beginnings, one of the characters is an android named David. David is a lot more human in many ways than the human characters in the film.
Thanks to genetic research, we may soon see people with the money to do so making sure their kids are born-to-succeed – parents paying to guarantee their kids have the right stuff. I’m not talking about a straightened spine or a functional optic nerve. I’m talking about designer kids: those made with healthy bodies, intelligent minds, and perhaps a certain specific ability to boot.