We asked “Should the Obama administration grant amnesty to Edward Snowden?” Of the 144 of you who answered the vast majority (83%) were for the Obama administration granting Edward Snowden amnesty on the grounds that his actions were “legitimate whistle-blowing on government crimes.”
Alan Watts on Socially Responsible Automation and an Unconditional Basic Income Guarantee, published on Nov 9, 2013. It’s like he knew what the main problems of work-cultist capitalism and its socially irresponsible job automation were going to be before the whole mess even got started.
The Green Party of England and Wales has called for a purge of government advisers and ministers who do not share its views on climate change. Published 14 February of 2014.
Any senior adviser refusing to accept “the scientific consensus on climate change” should be sacked, it said.
Party leader Natalie Bennett said the rule must apply to all senior advisers, including those with no responsibility for environmental issues.
David Cameron says he suspects recent storms are linked to climate change.
Speaking recently, the prime minister said that while a single weather pattern could not be attributed to climate change, many scientists were talking of a link between the two and the UK should be prepared for more extreme weather.
But some Tory MPs and peers, Lord Lawson being the most prominent, have cast doubt on scientific theories on climate change which argue human activity is predominately responsible for recent rises in global temperatures.
The Greens are now insisting the government gets rid of any cabinet minister who takes a different view on climate change.
The future of civic education may just lie in the past - the deep past that is. Here at the PEAR Lab we are hard at work weaving a new thread within the acclaimed civics curriculum Project Citizen - to enable to students to explore public policy issues through the lens of Big History. Let me briefly review Why we must do this, How we plan to get it done, and finally, What it is looking like.
Published on Feb 14, 2014 - In the city of Chicago, birthplace of the skyscraper, a new generation of visionary artists, policy makers, and urban scientists is transforming our knowledge of how cities work—and how they can work better. University of Chicago Trustee Daniel L. Doctoroff, JD’84, led a discussion in New York with a panel of experts from the University on creative ideas and innovative and ambitious plans to improve our urban environments. November 14, 2014
Published on Feb 13, 2014 “Most of what people know is BS.” Jan Irvin of Gnostic Media joins Bulletproof Radio to talk The Trivium Method and Transhumanism—amongst other things. To say that Jan constitutes a wealth of information would be a gross understatement. Well known for fact checking and principled verification, Irvin shares his insights on critical thinking, common sense, and psychedelics. Enjoy!
Jan Irvin is an independent researcher, author, and lecturer. He hosts the popular Gnostic Media podcast, and has done much to expose ongoing CIA programs, such as Operation MKULTRA—the reality of which is only now coming to light—40 years on. Jan has done over 200 radio interviews (on other programs), has been featured in several documentaries, and has produced many documentaries and videos himself. He also authored the book The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity; A critical re-evaluation of the schism between John M. Allegro and R. Gordon Wasson over the theory on the entheogenic origins of Christianity presented in The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, 2008.
I hope there will someday be an “International Social Contract” (ISC), based on Enlightenment principles, that allows people who enter into it to live in host countries around the world in a way that is respectful and beneficial to all parties. The goal would be to create explicit agreements that allow members of an ISC to move freely between “International Zones” (IZs) without inflaming right-wing groups or encouraging the abuse of local citizens or indigenous cultures.
As a futurist and H+ enthusiast, I think it wise to have longevity strategies in place. And while future such plans might include mind uploading or radical life extension via other means (and certainly, I hope for both), strategies available to us today are simple enough to embrace.
Why an app that reminds you to text your partner might not be the best idea. If you’re looking to add a digital spark to your relationship this Valentine’s Day, you can download the new app Romantimatic. Romantimatic will send you scheduled reminders to contact your significant other and give you pre-set messages to fire off. The pre-set messages include simple, straightforward classics like “I love you” and “I miss you.”
In this essay, loosely interpreted into English by J. Hughes (who last studied French in 9th grade), IEET Affiliate Scholar Marc Roux explores what the core values and goals should be for transhumanists, and in particular for technoprogressives.
TechNyou explains how a quantum computer works in a totally different way from a classical computer. Quantum bits or ‘qubits’ can exist in a superposition state of both zero and one simultaneously. This means that a set of two qubits can be in a superposition of four states, which therefore require four numbers to uniquely identify the state. So the amount of information stored in N qubits is two to the power of N classical bits. Published on Jun 27, 2013
Berkeley Lab interviews scientists about the Edison supercomputer, published on Feb 6, 2014.
When a supercomputing center installs a new system, users are invited to make heavy use of the computer as part of the rigorous testing. In this video, find out what top scientists have discovered using Edison, a Cray XC30 supercomputer, and how NERSC’s newest supercomputer will accelerate their future research.
This series of blog posts is looking at arguments in favour of sousveillance. In particular, it is looking at the arguments proffered by one of the pioneers and foremost advocates of sousveillance: Steve Mann. The arguments in question are set forth in a pair of recent papers, one written by Mann himself, the other with the help of co-author Mir Adnan Ali. Part one clarified what was meant by the term “sousveillance”, and considered an initial economic argument in its favour. To briefly recap, “sousveillance” refers to the general use of veillance technologies (i.e. technologies that can capture and record data about other people) by persons who are not in authority.
Let’s imagine you’re beamed forward to 2025 Gangnam South Korea… You materialize in a party room filled with twenty lovely happy humans smiling flirting laughing but… there’s… something.. .wrong… strange… weird…
In Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution, IEET affiliate scholar Ted Chu, a professor of Economics at New York University in Abu Dhabi and former chief economist for General Motors and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, argues that post-humanity is a logical and necessary evolutionary next step for humanity, and we need a new, heroic cosmic faith for the post-human era. “The ultimate meaning of our lives rests not in our personal happiness but in our contribution to cosmic evolution,” says Chu…
Adam Ford interviews Paul Christiano - (CFAR - SPARC Program Manager) Published on Feb 6, 2014.
Paul Christiano is a Ph.D student in computer science at UC Berkeley; he is fascinated by fundamental problems in algorithmic design, and his work has been presented at top conferences in the field. In 2008 he was one of six students to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad, and he holds a BA in mathematics from MIT.
Paul became interested in rationality while an undergraduate trying to make decisions about his career path and its effect on the world. With CFAR he runs SPARC, which brings together top math students to learn about probability and decision-making, and hopes to encourage high school students to reflect thoughtfully on their own effect on the world.
Socrates of Singulairty 1 on 1 interviews Dr. Gabor Forgacs, Published on Feb 7, 2014.
The first time I saw Dr. Gabor Forgacs was at last year’s fantastic Idea City conference in Toronto and, after his passionate presentation on bio-printed suffering-free leather, I knew that I will have to find a way to get him on my Singularity 1 on 1 podcast.
Dr. Forgacs is a theoretical physicist turned tissue-engineer turned entrepreneur. His companies are pioneering 3D bio-printing technologies that will produce tissues for medical and pharmaceutical uses, as well as for consumption, in the form of meat and leather.
During our 45 min conversation with Gabor we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his journey from theoretical physics into bio-printing and entrepreneurship; the founding and goals behind Organovo and Modern Meadow; bio-printing of human organs, meat and leather; “cultured” vs “in-vitro” vs “Frankenstein” meat; his greatest dream…
My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Dr. Forgacs is:
“Dream, dream, dream! [...] We live in a time when it is really difficult to say: “This is impossible!”"
(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more high-quality episodes like this one please make a donation!)
Who is Gabor Forgacs?
Dr. Gabor Forgacs is a theoretical physicist turned bioengineer turned innovator and entrepreneur. He is the George H. Vineyard Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Executive and Scientific Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University and scientific founder of Organovo, Inc. and Modern Meadow, Inc.
He was trained as a theoretical physicist at the Roland Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary and the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, Moscow, USSR. He also has a degree in biology. His research interests span from topics in theoretical physics to physical mechanisms in early embryonic development.
He is the co-author of the celebrated text in the field, “Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo” (Cambridge University Press, 2005) that discusses the fundamental morphogenetic mechanisms evident in early development. These mechanisms are being applied to building living structures of prescribed shape and functionality using bioprinting, a novel tissue engineering technology he pioneered. He is the author of over 160 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 5 books.
He has been recognized by numerous awards and citations. In particular, he was named as one of the “100 most innovative people in business in 2010” by FastCompany
Company Profile: Organovo
At Organovo, we design and create functional human tissues using our proprietary three-dimensional bioprinting technology. Our goal is to build living human tissues that are proven to function like native tissues. With reproducible 3D tissues that accurately represent human biology, we are enabling ground-breaking therapies by:
Partnering with biopharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers to design, build, and validate more predictive in vitro tissues for disease modeling and toxicology.
Giving researchers something they have never had before: the opportunity to test drugs on functional human tissues before ever administering the drug to a living person; bridging the gulf between preclinical testing and clinical trials.
Creating functional, three dimensional tissues that can be implanted or delivered into the human body to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissues.
In just ten years, many of today’s older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous person?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an amazing mind and memory.
The last decade or so has seen a renaissance is the idea that human beings are something far short of rational creatures. Here are just a few prominent examples: there was Nassim Taleb with his The Black Swan, published before the onset of the financial crisis, which presented Wall Street traders caught in the grip of their optimistic narrative fallacies, that led them to “dance” their way right over a cliff. There was the work of Philip Tetlock which proved that the advice of most so-called experts was about as accurate as chimps throwing darts. There were explorations into how hard-wired our ideological biases are with work such as that of Jonathan Haidt in his The Righteous Mind.
A senior American spy chief has released his assessment of the most troubling threats facing the US — a list that includes terrorism, hackers, WMD proliferation, pandemics, extreme weather events — and the militarization of space.
IEET Fellow David Pearce reads his “The Antispeciesist Revolution” published on Feb 7, 2014 by Adam Ford.
When is it ethically acceptable to harm another sentient being? On some fairly modest assumptions, to harm or kill someone simply on the grounds they belong to a different gender, sexual orientation or ethnic group is unjustified. Such distinctions are real but ethically irrelevant. On the other hand, species membership is normally reckoned an ethically relevant criterion. Fundamental to our conceptual scheme is the pre-Darwinian distinction between “humans” and “animals”. In law, nonhuman animals share with inanimate objects the status of property.
As property, nonhuman animals can be bought, sold, killed or otherwise harmed as humans see fit. In consequence, humans treat nonhuman animals in ways that would earn a life-time prison sentence without parole if our victims were human. From an evolutionary perspective, this contrast in status isn’t surprising. In our ancestral environment of adaptation, the capacity to hunt, kill and exploit sentient beings of other species was fitness-enhancing. Our moral intuitions have been shaped accordingly. Yet can we ethically justify such behaviour today?
Naively, one reason for disregarding the interests of nonhumans is the dimmer-switch model of consciousness. Humans matter more than nonhuman animals because (most) humans are more intelligent. Intuitively, more intelligent beings are more conscious than less intelligent beings; consciousness is the touchstone of moral status.
The problem with the dimmer-switch model is that it’s empirically unsupported among vertebrates with central nervous systems, and probably in cephalopods such as the octopus as well. Microelectrode studies of the brains of awake human subjects suggest that the most intense forms of experience, for example agony, terror and orgasmic bliss, are mediated by the limbic system, not the prefrontal cortex. Our core emotions are evolutionarily ancient and strongly conserved. Humans share the anatomical and molecular substrates of our core emotions with the nonhuman animals whom we factory-farm and kill. By contrast, distinctively human cognitive capacities such as generative syntax, or the ability to do higher mathematics, are either phenomenologically subtle or impenetrable to introspection. To be sure, genetic and epigenetic differences exist between, say, a pig and a human being that explain our adult behavioural differences, e.g. the allele of the FOXP2 gene implicated in the human capacity for recursive syntax. Such mutations have little to do with raw sentience…..
Steve Mann (pictured) has been described as the world’s first cyborg, and as a pioneer in wearable computing. He is certainly the latter. I’m not so sure about the former (I believe Mann rejects the title himself). He is also one of the foremost advocates for sousveillance in the contemporary era. Sousveillance is the inverse of surveillance. Instead of recording equipment solely being used by those in authority to record data about the rest of us, sousveillance advocates argue for a world in which ordinary citizens can turn the recording equipment back onto the authorities (and one another). This is thought to be beneficial in numerous ways.
These highly privileged and highly unaware individuals have been inappropriately lionized by society.The cult of the libertarian-minded ultra-weatlhy would make an intriguing anthropological case study. But it would be a case study with a twist: its research subjects increasingly control our economy, our politics, and even our personal lives. We’re dealing with a cohort of highly fortunate, highly privileged and highly unaware individuals who have been inappropriately lionized by society. That lionization has led them to believe that their wealth and accomplishments are their own doing, rather than the fruits of collaborative effort – effort which in many cases was only made possible through government support.
Putting innovation to a vote is never a good idea. Consider the breakthroughs that have improved our lives the most during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Did anyone vote for or ordain the creation of computers, the Internet, smartphones, or tablet computers? No: that plethora of technological treasures was made available by individuals who perceived possibilities unknown to the majority, and who devoted their time, energy, and resources toward making those possibilities real. The electronic technologies which were unavailable to even the richest, most powerful men of the early 20th century now open up hitherto unimaginable possibilities even to children of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Perceptible in the background of the texts and discussions around the reception of evolutionary theory in the United States and Great Britain are attempts to explain how best to understand the relationship between the theory as originally articulated by Charles Darwin and the myriad interpretations and addenda of the theory which have since emerged, all claiming direct descent from Darwin’s work.
IEET Fellow Ramez Naam talks about the next ten years of brain-to-computer-interfaces, published Dec 12, 2013. Over the coming decade, exponential progress in computing power, storage, bandwidth, and the size and price of computing devices will drive intelligence and connectivity into every corner of our planet and our lives—transforming our health, our lifestyles, our governments, and even our planet itself. Welcome to the fully connected world.