From the days of the Acheulean hand-axe on, humans have always had a symbiotic relationship with technology. How far will that relationship go? One haunting vision of the future is provided by the Borg — one of the main villains of the Star Trek universe.
Your brain creates all the narratives in your life, from fear to loneliness to anxiety, etc. But it’s possible to train your brain through mindfulness to transcend its innate urge to storify everything. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a respected medical researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, explains what years and years of study have taught us about the taming of the brain.
When someone is asked to name one thing they’d like to change about themselves, rarely do they answer, “I’d like to change my brain.” But changing the way your brain works is possible, according to Author and Neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, and ongoing research into the inner workings of the human brain will have a profound effect on today’s younger generation and many more generations to follow.
Being the ex-Buddhist that I am, who studied and practiced Zen for three years before migrating to the Tibetan tantric tradition, I guess it’s only to be expected that I would have some criticisms of Michael LaTorra’s perspective. However, bear in mind that these are my criticisms alone, so should in no way be taken as authoritative.
There’s an irony in trying to get people to do their best work—but particularly to try new things and to innovate—in that very often the kind of characteristics that are common to someone who will have a good new idea have no overlap with the characteristics that are common to someone who’s really good at presenting in meetings. So it’s kind of like the difference between like sales and R&D, right? So the people that are in your sales or marketing division in a company are very different kinds of person than the people you have in R&D or something else like that.
I’ve been playing catch-up since my tenure application and my class preps for the Spring semester, but I’ve finally been able to re-engage with my usual sites, and all of the fantastic content in my Google+ communities. One thing that’s been coming up in various iterations is the concept of the “internet of things.” In a nutshell, the term loosely (and, I think perhaps a little misleadingly) refers to a technological interconnectivity of everyday objects: clothes, appliances, industrial equipment, jewelry, cars, etc, now made possible by advancements in creating smaller microprocessors.
Transhumanism, a tech-centric philosophy of humanity, has grown so rapidly in popularity in recent years, it even boasts its own 2016 presidential candidate. But what does Transhumanism truly aspire to? What is the core of the transhumanist manifesto? According to philosopher, futurist, and overall cool guy Jason Silva, Transhumanism is all about harnessing technology to overcome the limitations of humanity. For example, our lives are limited by the mortality of our physical bodies. Transhumanists would therefore support the creation of technology that transfers your consciousness into an immortal coil, like software being run on better hardware. At the core of this philosophy is the idea that there isn’t really anything that separates the natural from the artificial, that technology is not something external from our experience. Technology is us. And why wouldn’t we want to use it to upgrade humanity to the next level?
Mascot Information and Technology Solutions held the maiden edition of Nigeria ICT Fest on December 4, 2015 at Magrellos fast food, Festac Town, Lagos, and December 5, 2015 at Radisson Blu Anchorage hotel at No. 1A, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos, to bridge the technology gap between Nigeria and the developed world.
In today’s #TuesdaysWithBill, Charlie comes to Bill with a question about the balance between the ethics of scientific concepts and those same scientific concepts in and of themselves. In response, the Science Guy demonstrates how the two ideas — an idea and its ethical implications — are innately inseparable. Bill also delves into a popular thought experiment involving a burning building: If you could only save one person, who would you save: your child or your grandchild? The correct answer makes ethical and biological sense for the same reason, and Bill explains why.
This post is the second in a short series looking at the arguments against the use of fully autonomous weapons systems (AWSs). As I noted at the start of the previous entry, there is a well-publicised campaign that seeks to pre-emptively ban the use of such systems on the grounds that they cross fundamental moral line and fail to comply with the laws of war. I’m interested in this because it intersects with some of my own research on the ethics of robotic systems. And while I’m certainly not a fan of AWSs (I’m not a fan of any weapons systems), I’m not sure how strong the arguments of the campaigners really are.
Generally obviously OpenAI is a super-impressive initiative. I mean — a BILLION freakin’ dollars, for open-source AI, wow!!
So now we have an organization with a pile of money available and a mandate to support open-source AI, and a medium-term goal of AGI … and they seem fairly open-minded and flexible/adaptive about how to pursue their mandate, from what I can tell…
“Education is far less about a set of facts than a way of thinking,” says the professor and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. “And therefore what I always think should be the basis of education is not answers but questions.”
The effective altruism (EA) movement has been gaining quite a lot of notoriety recently. Although EA ideas have been common in academic circles for years, two major books have been published in the past year presenting the central tenets of the movement to the wider public. The first was from the movement’s godfather, Peter Singer, and was called The Most Good You Can Do. The second was from the movement’s precocious young figurehead Will MacAskill and was called Doing Good Better. MacAskill’s book in particular received widespread media coverage, no doubt in part fueled by the impressive resume of its young author.
Wael Ghonim helped touch off the Arab Spring in his home of Egypt ... by setting up a simple Facebook page. As he reveals, once the revolution spilled onto the streets, it turned from hopeful to messy, then ugly and heartbreaking. And social media followed suit. What was once a place for crowdsourcing, engaging and sharing became a polarized battleground. Ghonim asks: What can we do about online behavior now? How can we use the Internet and social media to create civility and reasoned argument?
Blackford describes the book as “a short monograph of about 45,000 words. That’s not a long read, but its long enough for me to explain my positive views about the nature and role of morality in a reasonably complete way.”
Opinions expressed by Hawking, Gates, and Musk about the dangers of artificial intelligence rang loud and clear in 2015, and continue to echo into the new year. Since then, there have been plenty of predictions of humanity’s doom at the hands of autonomous machines. But there have been leading thinkers in the AI space who have also come out from behind the curtain to play devil’s advocate and make clear opposing positions.
Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.
Le 31 Mars dernier, une première conférence de présentation sur le transhumanisme a été donnée à l’université de Yaoundé 1 par Armand NGAKETCHA, philosophe et bioéthicien. Nous lui avons demandé de nous donner ses impressions sur la manière dont la question lui semblait avoir été reçue.
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