Like other countries in Africa, Zambia is a very religious nation and has the dubious of distinction of being officially declared a Christian nation by President Federick Chiluba in 1996. One need not look far to see where Chiluba got the political will to establish this Christian nation. Eighty seven percent of the population is Christian and only twelve percent profess other faiths. The number of non-believers is too low to measure. Apparently, Zambia is 100 percent religious and theistic.
Four years ago I wrote a trio of essays that generated a barrage of hate mail. The feedback I received wasn’t 100% venomous, but it was more than 50% negative, with one essay getting a thumbs-down 80% of the time.
Last Thursday was launch day for Pope Francis’s historic anticapitalist revolution, a multitargeted global revolution against out-of-control free-market capitalism driven by consumerism, against destruction of the planet’s environment, climate and natural resources for personal profits and against the greediest science deniers.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about puppets. I know that sounds way too paleo-tech, and weird, but hear me out. Puppets are an ancient technology, which, for all the millennia that passed before, and up until very, very recently, were the primary way we experienced animated art. For the vast majority of human history the way we watched projected figures in front of us playing out some imagined drama was in the form of shadows cast on the walls.
I’ve been thinking a lot about connectivity lately. On many levels. From the fact that Comcast really is just a horrible ISP, to the connection between the ecosystems on Earth, I think it’s safe to say we’re not separate entities. We are intimately connected within webs, both virtually (which is why when we all want to stream Netflix in the neighborhood, our internet slows around here) and materially (which is there is a link between an increase of flesh eating bacteria on our beaches after a major oil spill—those little guys just love a good tarball.)
Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich has been studying extinction for decades; he published Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of Disappearing Species in 1981. Since that time Ehrlich has seen numbers that indicate the rate of extinction - of vertebrates, including mammals - is increasing.
Recently, at each of our church’s worship services, I asked the members of the congregation I serve to indicate, by a show of hands, how many of them believe that they will not die. Not a single person answered in the affirmative. I would venture to guess that my congregation’s response to this question is typical among the vast majority of Christians across the world today. Even so, the eschatological hope of avoiding death that was prevalent in the early of days of Christianity may soon return to the church universal via a seemingly unlikely source – mainly – human technological advancement.
At some point my friends eventually feel compelled to ask me why, as an anarchist, I would want to work as a theoretical physicist—rather than say an AI researcher or a geneticist or a cryptographer or a materials scientist or a restoration ecologist. Those are clearly high-impact professions; developments in these fields can reshape the world, and there is desperate need for more people to work in them.
The answer is simple: I want to make sure I’m right.
The past few decades have seen a substantial and positive shift in attitudes towards women in science and engineering. And yet, they continue to face an uphill struggle against ingrained attitudes and actions that create barriers to having a full, rewarding, equitable, and respected career in fields encompassed by science, technology, engineering and math.
I have found that most of the big supporters of UBI are millennials and younger. This isn’t surprising, as they have the most to lose if we do nothing about the rising costs of being alive in the US, and the least to lose if we do change our economic policies from scarcity to abundance. Millennials have come of age in a terrible job market combined with huge student debt. Many of them live at home, because they lack the basic income needed to launch an adult life. Their earnings-to-debt ratios define them as a group.
Over the course of the next three years, the United States projects that it will continue the reduction of its nuclear arsenal. As it stands, the country currently holds approximately 7’100 nuclear weapons, 2,340 of which are retired and waiting to be dismantled. This leaves approximately 4,760 warheads both in deployment and storage.
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings.”
That was my quote in an article about artificial intelligence and religion, in Gizmodo, a popular global technology site. The UK’s Daily Mail followed that with a feature commentary piece that compared my positive comments on AI to the extremely cautionary remarks of Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.
Soon afterwards, I attended a MeetUp titled, “Enlightened AI”, at Sophia University in Palo Alto. The talk was led by Google researcher, Mohamad Tarifi, PhD. Not only is he a bright engineer working on the next level of artificial intelligence at one of the top companies in the Valley, he’s also very well versed in the philosophies of consciousness. From the Abrahamic traditions, to the Buddhists and Eastern teachings, Tarifi displayed a grasp of the whole of humanity unlike any other technologist I’ve met.
Every major news site is currently packed with dozens of articles on Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic Decathlon winner and openly transgender “hero”, and Rachel Dolezal, the former “white person” who was head of Spokane NAACP, but now she’s a disgraced “villian.”
You think their journeys are different?
Honestly, they look exactly the same to me. Both are after the identical objective, the ability to be who they choose to be, regardless of the role “society” is trying to force them into.
Dr. Roman Yampolskiy has joined the IEET as an Affiliate Scholar. Yampolskiy is a Tenured Associate Professor in the department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at the Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville. He is the founding and current director of the Cyber Security Lab and an author of many books including Artificial Superintelligence: a Futuristic Approach.
There’s a graph making rounds lately showing the comparative EROIs of different electricity production methods. (EROI is Energy Return On Investment – how much energy we get back if we spend 1 unit of energy. For solar this means – how much more energy does a solar panel generate in its lifetime than is used to create it?)
This EROI graph that is making the rounds is being used to claim that solar and wind can’t support an industrialized society like ours.
If there was a drug that meant you never had to sleep again, would you take it? Would those who didn’t need to sleep have special advantages over those who did? All that and a side of zombies, in this week’s episode of Meanwhile in the Future by Rose Eveleth. This week Rose talked to James Hughes and Nancy Kress. Hughes is the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Kress is a science fiction author, who wrote the trilogy Beggars in Spain all about people who are genetically engineered to be incapable of sleeping.
Religious leaders to Obama: Clarify or repeal the Helms Amendment–It’s a matter of compassion!
During violent unrest that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, Jaqueline Mutere, a widowed community organizer and mother of four, was raped.
For women caught in conflict zones or societal breakdown sexual violence can lurk around every corner and behind every gun. A United Nations report lists a dozen countries in which sexual violation is being used as a weapon today. Aggressors may sexually assault either males or females, but girls and women face the additional horrors of sex trafficking, forced marriage, and unwanted pregnancy.
For 140 years, American human male skulls have bashed each other on gridirons in the battle sport that brain-cripples many participants, leaving high schoolers dead, college students comatose, pro pigskin-players mentally-maimed.
This post is a bit of an experiment. As you may know, I have written a series of articles looking at how big data and algorithm-based decision-making could affect society. In doing so, I have highlighted some concerns we may have about a future in which many legal-bureaucratic decisions are either taken over by or made heavily dependent on data-mining algorithms and other artificial intelligence systems. I have even referred to such a future state of governance as being a state of ‘algocracy’ (rule by algorithm).
Seven years, ago when microblogging was still fairly new, I co-launched rakawa.net. Inspired by the work of the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara, (photo below) Rakawa is a tool to document daily accomplishments by entering a response of up to 150 characters to the question “What have you achieved today?” Optionally a picture for illustration can be added.
If we upload our minds to computers, what will it mean for gender and sexual orientation? Topics in this video: transhumanism, mind uploading, reproduction, cloning, sexual orientation, gender identity, “born this way”, hacking sexual orientation, paraphilia, sexual plasticity, post-gender, nanobots, six-armed robots, and having an extra penis.