Transhumanists have multiple goals - to live longer, to be more intelligent, to enhance the physical body physically. But what about our feelings? Do we want to “upgrade” our emotional capacity? James McLean Ledford believes the primary goal of transhumanism is to “increase our capacity to love.” I interviewed him via email below:
Liz Parrish on Gene Therapy and how to counter the effects of aging. She discusses using being the first patient of BioViva - what was involved in the gene therapy and how she is feeling now - what kinds of test feedback BioViva will be looking for to help determine the efficacy of the gene therapy treatment.
Further she discusses how telomorese maintains healthy telomere length and how telomeres help protect from cell damage, and some of the downstream effects of shortening telomeres. Muscle mass is required to avoid diseases and accidents related to muscular dystrophy - part of her gene therapy is related to rejuvenating healthy muscle tissue. In around four more months, the effects of the gene therapy on Liz’s muscle mass will be tested further.
Media responses to human testing in gene therapy are discussed.
The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination invites you to “The Physics of Free Will” a panel discussion on Thursday, August 6th at 6:00 pm. The event will be a discussion about what modern physics has to say about the concept of free will, including perspectives from the foundations of quantum mechanics, cosmology, and speculations about the role of conscious observers in the cosmos.
Discussants will be Brian Keating (Physics, UC San Diego), Andrew Friedman (Astronomy, MIT), and David Brin (Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Author).
What is universal prosperity? My idea of universal prosperity is that we can lift the living standards of everyone to a really decent level within the next decades. This “prosperity” life standard would include the following:
The West African Ebola outbreak is finally starting to approach manageable levels, after nearly 18 excruciating months and over 11,000 lost lives. Here’s what the current situation on the ground looks like and how the battle against Ebola finally might be won.
This is the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in human history. At its peak, there were 950 confirmed cases each week, prompting fears of a global pandemic. Officials have reported 28,421 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Of these, some 11,300 people have died — a fatality rate of 40%. A total of 881 healthcare workers have been infected; of those, 513 died.
The new film The Visit, is about an event that hasn’t happened yet, the coming of intelligent alien visitors to Earth. Experts delve into the policies and pragmatic measures that global and national organizations actually have in place for alien visitation.
With unprecedented access to space and military experts from the UN and NASA, among others, the film builds up a chillingly believable scenario of alien contact on Earth. The implications unfold within a mind-bending landscape of everyday sights and sounds turned bizarre, as if seen through the eyes of a life form exploring our planet.
In 1997, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov faced off against IBM’s Deep Blue computer for a rematch and lost. Now, developers are changing the way computers play games – they’re not just computing, they’re actually learning!
Okay, when do you ever see some (rational) person take one of Donald Trump’s wild, paranoid rants and declare “he didn’t go anywhere near far enough”?
Well, I am about to do that. He has lately taken flack for being the first prominent figure to (at long last) connect the dots and publicly lay at least partial blame for the 9/11 attacks at the feet of President George W. Bush, the man who was not only captain at the helm, but proximately responsible under any adult standard.
Online petition campaigns were launched this week to stop Wal-Mart from selling Israeli soldier Halloween costumes and to get Wheaties cereal to stop putting U.S. soldiers on its cereal boxes—boxes known for featuring photos of outstanding athletes.
The two campaigns have no relation to each other. Wheaties has not, to my knowledge, indicated the slightest interest in doing what the petition asks it to do.
Robotics promise to enhance human capabilities beyond our imagination, but for whom? Industrialized societies are becoming more unequal, which is bad for our health, our democracies and our economic vitality. One of the culprits in growing inequality is technological innovation. So we should be very concerned about whether the acceleration of emerging technologies, such as robotics and human cyborgization, will make our societies even more unequal.
I suppose nearly everyone reading this blog post is already aware of the flurry of fear and excitement Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has recently stirred up with his book Superintelligence, and its theme that superintelligent AGI will quite possibly doom all humans and all human values. Bostrom and his colleagues at FHI and MIRI/SIAI have been promoting this view for a while, and my general perspective on their attitudes and arguments is also pretty well known.
Left-right, up-down, back-forth: These are the dimensional directions we’re able to perceive. Theoretical physics posits that additional dimensions could exist beyond our perceptive reach. In this video, string theorist and World Science Festival chairman Brian Greene dives head-first into the search for extra dimensions.
Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films
IEET Fellow David Brin has co-edited (with Matthew Woodring Stover) a book published on November 3, 2015, titled: Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time
A mini-documentary on possible modes of being in the future – Ben Goertzel talks about the Singularity and exploring Altered States of Consciousness, Stelarc discusses Navigating Mixed Realities, Kent Kemmish muses on the paradox of strange futures, and Max More compares Transhumanism to Humanism
The main problem with any proposed religious answer to the question of the meaning of life is that, in general, religious beliefs are probably false. After all, there is no convincing evidence for the gods, an afterlife, or other supernatural phenomena that persuades most philosophers. (Only a small minority of professional philosophers are theists.)
Most boundaries have their origin in our fears, imposed in a vain quest of isolating what frightens us on the other side. The last two centuries have been the era of eroding boundaries, the gradual disappearance of what were once thought to be unassailable walls between ourselves and the “other”. It is the story of liberation the flip-side of which has been a steady accumulation of anxiety and dread.
When you think of researchers working on nanotechnology, you probably picture scientists and engineers manipulating incredibly small structures in a state-of-the-art lab. But there are many others who are also interested in the future of this technology, including community planners, political scientists, urban designers—maybe even your next door neighbor.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University is engaging the public and a wide range of experts to think deeply about where nano and other emerging technologies are headed and how to make them work effectively for everyone. Recent and ongoing activities include the Futurescape City Tours, the Phoenix 2050 Design Studio, the Nano Around the World card game and the Life Cycle Assessment for Responsible Innovation workshop.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF awards #0937391 and #0531194, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University.
(Transcript of the speech presented at Lincoln Center, New York, at the conference Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution.)
I am going to discuss whole brain emulation, about what it takes to reverse engineer a mind. This is a topic that you’ve heard mentioned a few times over, that term at least (at least during the conference), and several of the speakers that you saw today - and more that are coming up - are going to be talking about technologies, or have talked about technologies, that address a specific part of that. But I want to show: How does all this come together? How could you reverse engineer a mind? And I wanted to show: How do you actually determine the goals for something like that?
If you’ve watched any James Bond movie with an underwater scene, you’ve likely seen 007 menaced by some form of the villains’ sinister undersea robots. In 2015, thanks to the efforts of Author, Biomimetics Researcher, and Neurophysiology Professor Joseph Ayers, undersea robots are a reality, and the future applications of his RoboLobster are far from evil.
IEET Contributing writer Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings. She is actively engaged in dialogue that aims to find common ground between theists and freethinkers, in particular by focusing on humanity’s shared moral core. She is a founder of WisdomCommons.org, an interactive site that allows users to discuss virtues that emerge repeatedly across secular and religious wisdom traditions. Her “TrustingDoubt” channel on Youtube offers tips and insights for recovering fundamentalists.
In early 2014, Richard Loosemore published a paper called “The Maverick Nanny with a Dopamine Drip: Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation“, which criticized some thought experiments about the risks of general AI that had been presented. Like many others, I did not really understand the point that this paper was trying to make, especially since it made the claim that people endorsing such thought experiments were assuming a certain kind of an AI architecture – which I knew that we were not.
The recent news that womb transplants will be trialled in the UK has sparked much debate regarding the desirability of this and other future infertility interventions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea of artificial wombs has been brought into this discussion, complete with the usual concerns about women’s reproductive liberty.
The political left has long been oriented toward the future. This is clear in its revolutionary ethos: the utopia of the revolutionary is, after all, always just around the corner. But in orienting itself toward the future, the left has not always been actively futurist in its outlook. Many leftists are uncomfortable with technology and science, viewing them as insidious and malign capitalistic projects. As a result, their utopian dreams often end up looking to a mythic historical Golden Age for inspiration.
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