IEET Fellow David Pearce and PETA scientist who was interviewed by the IEET, Nicholas Genovese, talk about transhumanism, cultured meat, and the future of animal protection.
A future with cheap lab meat could be drastically different – for humans and animals. How would it work? And is the development of this technology good for animals?
Ian talks to Nicholas Genovese, a PETA-funded scientist working on the stem cells that could make up what he calls cultured meat. I ask two vegans, transhuman philosopher David Pearce and activist Jordi Casamitjana, why they are for or against in vitro meat; and I reveal the results of my survey. Will vegans and meat eaters ever be able to get beyond the “ick” factor of cultured meat?
How Disgust Sensitivity relates to Meat Consumption
Disgust seems to be one of the major themes in reactions against in vitro meat and is one of my primary research interests. I spoke a little in the episode about disgust sensitivity, vegetarianism and attitudes towards meat. Here are the references:
Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are winning the war for talent and Silicon Valley office space, encouraging start-ups to go on a global hunt for a new heartland. In Asia, Singapore wants to be the answer. The government has established numerous schemes and initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to set up shop there.
Twenty years ago, while in college and wondering why everyone else in the world wasn't hell-bent on trying to live indefinitely via the promising fields of transhumanist science, I began working on the idea of what mass culture is and if it was holding back people from wanting to maximize their lifespans and human potential. I came up with the concept baggage culture, which is explored in detail in my novel The Transhumanist Wager and its philosophy Teleological Egocentric Functionalism (TEF).
In this more conversational episode, we discuss the abstract dichotomy of wielding technology rather than yielding to it. We discuss this wielding/yielding metaphor with regard to form factors, for example how is using a smart phone different from augmented reality glasses, or what’s the fundamental difference between a high functioning AI assistant that can act for you versus an Intelligence Augmentation technology such as nanobots in the brain that can do your thinking for you. Ultimately we discuss how yielding feels creepier than wielding and how product and societal design can influence whether someone feels more like they are yielding or wielding.
In this week’s podcast we list the top ten living futurists. These are people who are highly influential in the area of futurology, either for being skillful popularizers or originators of major new ideas. Listen and find out if you agree with our choices. And if you think we made any major mistakes (either misguided inclusions or omissions) please let us know via an email or a comment. We may not agree, but if you make a good case we’ll mention you in next week’s podcast.
Public health officials, educators, and parents of teens have reason to party! According to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, American teen pregnancy rates are lower currently than they were back in 1975 when top 40 dance music included “Kung Fu Fighting” and “The Hustle.”
Thomas Friedman recently filed an editorial from, and about, Madagascar. In a new piece for Salon, we point out the flaws in his thinking – flaws that mirror his shortsighted and trend-infatuated view of the domestic economy.
Is strange behavior due to witchcraft or is it a natural occurrence? Is uncanny attitude a diseased manifestation that can be processed through prayers or an occurrence that can be explained without reference to magic and mysticism? British historian, Ronald Hutton, identified uncanniness as one the characteristics of witchcraft that cuts across all cultures. Witchcraft is an uncanny craft. Witches exhibit strange behavior in course of their occult operations. They employ means that are beyond the ordinary, the normal and the natural to cause misfortune and injury. In Namibia, ‘‘uncanny behavior’’ in a school is causing confusion and fueling accusations of witchcraft. Parents are panicking and are asking the authorities to close down the school.
IEET Contributor Adam Ford and IEET Fellow David Pearce talk about the difference between Materialism, Physicalism and Strawsonian Physicalism. Does reductive physicalism entail monistic idealism? A testable conjecture about the nature of the physical world?
Natural science promises a complete story of the world. No “element of reality” should be missing from the mathematical formalism of physics, i.e. relativistic quantum field theory or its more speculative extensions. The Standard Model is extraordinarily well tested. Within its conceptual framework, consciousness would seem not only causally impotent but physically impossible. Hence the “Explanatory Gap” and the Hard Problem of consciousness.
In recent years, a minority of researchers have proposed that the Hard Problem may be an artefact of materialist metaphysics. Contra Kant, but following Schopenhauer, Russell, Lockwood, Strawson, et al., the new idealists conjecture that the phenomenology of one’s mind reveals the intrinsic nature of the physical - the elusive “fire” in the equations about which physics is silent. Our ordinary presupposition that the intrinsic character of the physical is devoid of phenomenal properties is an additional metaphysical assumption. This is hugely plausible, for sure, but not a scientific discovery. Perhaps most tellingly, the only part of the “fire” in the equations to which one ever enjoys direct access, i.e. one’s own consciousness, discloses phenomenal properties that are inconsistent with a materialist ontology.
Untestability cuts both ways. Any conjecture that the world’s fundamental quantum fields - and, presumably, fundamental macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superconductors or superfluid helium - are intrinsically experiential would seem unfalsifiable too: just speculative metaphysics.
Rather surprisingly, we shall see this isn’t the case.
Movement for indefinite life extension (MILE) activist contest II: How would you spend $5,000 to spread information and raise awareness about people, projects &organizations working toward indefinite life extension?
The World Health Organization has released a statement (in full, bottom of blog post) that they are going to convene, early next week, a panel of medical ethicists to “explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” The statement goes on to say that “the recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak.”
Machine ethics is a term used in different ways. The basic use is in the sense of people attempting to instill some sort of human-centric ethics or morality in the machines we build like robots, self-driving vehicles, and artificial intelligence (Wallach 2010) so that machines do not harm humans either maliciously or unintentionally.
The jobless economy: a fully automated, engineered, robotic system that doesn’t need you, or me either. Anything we can do, machines can do better — surgery, warfare, farming, finance. What’s to do? Shall we smash the machines, or go to the beach, or finally learn to play the piano?
Source: Radio Open Source — July 27, 2014 | Christopher Lydon
Economists predict that 50% of US jobs could be automated in a decade or two. Big fun show with tech wizard Ray Kurzweil and the economist Andrew McAfee. We need to hear the worker’s voice, too. Will a machine take your job someday? And in a world without work, what would you do?
Ray Kurzweil: Director of Engineering at Google, futurist, inventor, and author of The Age of Spiritual Machinesand The Singularity Is Near.
Andrew McAfee: Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
Charles Derber: sociologist and author of The Surplus American
Sarah Jaffe: journalist and host of Dissent’s labor podcast “Belabored”
Radio Open Source | There’s a trend in the economy that came up in our show on Thomas Piketty’s inequality tome. Between 2000 and 2014, the median U.S. income has actually dropped: from $55,986 to $51,017.
Over the same period corporate profits have more than doubled. The workforce participation rate in May of this year was 62.8%, the lowest since 1978. The level of investment in equipment and software bounced back to 95% of its historical peak just two years after the same recession that trashed all the jobs that have been so slow to come back.
One of the questions about big gains at the top, stagnation (or worse) at the middle and bottom — is how much is owed to the technology part of the capital, and really the automation of jobs formerly held by human beings.
We know that the number of American routine jobs dropped by 11 percent between 2001 and 2011. And a new study by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne at Oxford University suggest that 47% of U.S. jobs might be vulnerable to loss by automation.
We start the conversation with what McAfee and Brynjolfsson call the “Great Decoupling,” the possibility that machines are beginning to destroy more jobs than they can create.
A public evening lecture held by the Australian philosopher David Chalmers on May 2nd, 2014 in Göttingen.
The Wave Function: In classical physics, systems are described by definite values | A particle’s position is specified by a definite location | In quantum mechanics, systems are described by wave functions | A particle’s position is specified by a wave function, with different amplitudes for different locations.
I have often felt that being located in Toronto, Canada puts me at a bit of a disadvantage with respect to having a futuristic high-tech blog and podcast. Living in Silicon Valley or New York [or a number of cities in Asia and Europe] appears to make it easier to stay at the cutting edge of technology and meet the amazing people pushing it forward. However, after visiting Decentral, I am convinced that there you can meet people who are making things happen and changing the world as we know it. And so I have come to believe that things are changing for the better – not only for Toronto and Canada but also for the world in general.
One of the people behind this change is Arthur Traviss Corry. And so I was very excited to visit Arthur aboard his sail-boat – The Dialectic, and interview him about his work, his passion and the future. During our 40 min conversation with Corry we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: Decentral as start up accelerator, investment fund and mentorship space; exciting ventures in residence such as Buttercoin and Ethereum; the pros and cons of decentralized apps; 51% attack and other vulnerabilities; bitcoin and its potential for good and bad; anarchy and the role of the state; regulation and the potential for backlash; AI and transhumanism…
My favorite quote that I will take away from this conversation with Arthur Traviss Corry is:
“Software development is an art and these are the artists creating it… It is probably the most important art of our time.”
[Help produce more high-quality episodes by sending bitcoin 1gnjsmU3TzWF1LXNFrm3egYYuh3ZJrJ7F or old-fashioned money! Also, don't miss the secret bonus footage after the credits ;-]
Who is Arthur Traviss Corry?
Arthur T. Corry has been helping tech companies structure, raise capital, and launch since the beginning of internet commerce. His experience comes from Canada’s West coast and Silicon Valley. Three years ago, Arthur founded Toronto’s first true Startup Accelerator, building a thriving portfolio of 18 tech startups. Arthur’s tech accelerator program was listed by government studies as one of Canada’s top 6 such programs in 2013, which led to Arthur’s nomination by the Toronto Board of Trade for the Business Excellence Award, as one of the region’s top 30 most influential entrepreneurs. Arthur’s company Rockcorry Venture Partners now creates acceleration programs and curriculums of due diligence for organizations, such as investment firms and angel groups. Arthur is also a managing director and partner in an entirely new kind of venture capital fund, called Decentral. It’s focus is on financial technology and the new paradigm of decentralized tech, such as peer-to-peer apps, and bitcoin services.
I just finished a thrilling little book about the first machine war. The author writes of a war set off by a terrorist attack where the very speed of machines being put into action,and the near light speed of telecommunications whipping up public opinion to do something now, drives countries into a world war. In his vision whole new theaters of war, amounting to fourth and fifth dimensions, have been invented. Amid a storm of steel huge hulking machines roam across the landscape and literally shred human beings in their path to pieces. Low flying avions fill the sky taking out individual targets or help calibrate precision attacks from incredible distances beyond. Wireless communications connect soldiers and machine together in a kind of world-net…
I consider myself to be pretty self-aware. It’s an illusion of course, but one I am usually blissfully ignorant of. Until some insightful reporter shatters it! This was me a few days ago. I was talking with a journalist about science communication and the perils and pitfalls faced by young scientists. As I got into my groove talking about scientists and communication, she interrupted me and asked, “do you think there many scientists that hold such unusual views?” (or words to that effect).
No one birth control method fits everyone, but today young women have better options than ever before. Across the United States, from New York to South Carolina to Texas to Oregon, health advocates and providers are scrambling to get the word out about long-acting yet easily reversible contraceptive methods that are now approved for use by teenagers and well liked by most who use them. (See this earlier Sightline series, Twenty Times Better Than the Pill.)
Transhumanists as a rule may prefer to contemplate implants and genetic engineering, but few if any violations of morphological freedom exceed being torn to pieces by shrapnel or dashed against concrete by an overpressure wave. In this piece I argue that the settler-colonial violence in occupied Palestine relates to core aspects of modernity and demands futurist attention both emotionally and intellectually.
More than 80 percent of teen pregnancies are accidents. A girl with other hopes and dreams—or maybe a girl who is floundering, who hasn’t even begun to explore her hopes and dreams—finds herself unexpectedly slated for either an abortion or 4,000 diapers. Given the shame and stigma surrounding abortion in many American subcultures, that can seem like a choice between the proverbial rock and hard place. The exciting news that launched this Sightline series is that teen pregnancy is in decline across the United States and across all major ethnic groups. Fewer and fewer young women are facing hard decisions after the fact.
Our long national nightmare is over – for the moment. Congress has adjourned for summer recess after a session that can safely be described as “historic,” both for its historic lack of accomplishment and the historically low regard in which it is now held by the public.
A few weeks ago, I was one of the headlined speakers at Freedom Fest, the big libertarian convention in Las Vegas. Do I seem an odd choice, given my past thorough and merciless dissections of Ayn Rand? In fact I’ve done this before, showing up to suggest that a movement claiming to be all about freedom might want to veer away from its recent, mutant obsession — empowering and enabling the kind of owner-oligarchy that oppressed humanity all across the last 6000 years. Instead, I propose going back to a more healthy and well-grounded libertarian rootstock — encouraging the vast creative power of open-flat-fair competition…...a word that libertarians scarcely mention, anymore. Because it conflicts fundamentally with their current focus — promoting inherited oligarchy.
Robot cars and military robots have more in common than you’d think. Some accidents with self-driving cars will result in fatalities, and this may be troubling in ways that human-caused fatalities are not. But is it really worse to be killed by a robot than by a drunk driver—or by a renegade soldier?
This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas.
This is the fourth post of my series on Nick Bostrom’s recent book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. In the previous post, I started my discussion of Bostrom’s argument for an AI doomsday scenario. Today, I continue this discussion by looking at another criticism of that argument, along with Bostrom’s response.
I’ve been off discussing the future at the World Future Society this month. It’s a topic I engage in fairly regularly online and other places. This is the most important conversation we can have a society. Perhaps telling your family that you love them or walking your dog and chatting with neighbors is more important on some daily soul-building level. But I believe that dinner and water cooler and political conversations should be at least partly consumed by the tsunami of change we’re riding.
The SCN9A gene belongs to a family of genes that provide instructions for making sodium channels. These channels, which transport positively charged sodium atoms (sodium ions) into cells, play a key role in a cell's ability to generate and transmit electrical signals.
The SCN9A gene provides instructions for making one part (the alpha subunit) of a sodium channel called NaV1.7. NaV1.7 sodium channels are found in nerve cells called nociceptors that transmit pain signals. Nociceptors are part of the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and spinal cord to cells that detect sensations such as touch, smell, and pain. Nociceptors are primarily involved in transmitting pain signals. The centers of nociceptors, known as the cell bodies, are located in a part of the spinal cord called the dorsal root ganglion. Fibers called axons extend from the cell bodies, reaching throughout the body to receive sensory information. Axons transmit the information back to the dorsal root ganglion, which then sends it to the brain. NaV1.7 sodium channels are also found in olfactory sensory neurons, which are nerve cells in the nasal cavity that transmit smell-related signals to the brain.
== ADRA2B - Alpha-2B adrenergic receptor - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-2B…
In October 2013 researchers from the University of British Columbia confirmed this and further reported that the variant predisposed those people who had it to focus more on negative aspects of a situation. Prof. Rebecca Todd claimed "This is the first study to find that this genetic variation can significantly affect how people see and experience the world.” http://news.ubc.ca/2013/10/10/genes-p…
== MDMA / Ecstasy / UTOPIAN PHARMACOLOGY http://www.mdma.net/ Mental Health in the Third Millennium
MDMA and Beyond
Can safe, sustainable analogues of MDMA be developed? There is an urgent need for non-neurotoxic empathogens and entactogens suitable for lifelong use. Alas no single "magic bullet" yet exists that replicates the subjective effects of MDMA on a long-term basis. Hence most of us are doomed to display the quasi-psychopathic indifference to each other characteristic of the MDMA-naïve state.
In the long run, genomic medicine can underwrite mental and physical superhealth for everyone. For in principle, lifelong well-being can be genetically hardwired from conception. In the short run, better-designed research tools and therapeutic agents can probe, and then repair, our damaged minds. As chemical stopgaps go, MDMA is a magical revelation. It's perhaps the best aid to insight-oriented psychotherapy ever synthesized. Tragically, when MDMA is used to excess the outcome can be harmful, not healing. So as a weekend club drug, MDMA is seriously flawed. Today, of course, empathogens and entactogens are outlawed for any purpose. The altered states of consciousness they induce are criminalised. People who take such agents are stigmatised as "drug abusers". Yet some MDMA users feel, rightly or wrongly, they've been granted a tantalising glimpse of what true mental health may be like in centuries to come; and an insight into what the rest of us are missing. http://www.mdma.net/