Ordinarily when I write articles I have some point that I’m trying to make. Not this time – this article is all questions. The broad questions are these: How should people who have a sincere, deeply held belief about a radically different future behave in the present?
For the purposes of this paper, I will only address one potential regulatory scheme, and only in conjunction with prosthetic enhancement available in the near future ( less than 10 years) that augments slightly, but not significantly, human biological capabilities. I will not address the convergence of technology and the regulatory scheme needed to address that.
One benefit to society that neural augmentation brings is an increase in the availability of education. Websites like Wikipedia and databases of scholarly articles already give anyone with access to the Internet access to vast amounts of information on virtually any topic. Excellent schools like MIT, through their OpenCourseWare program, offer free online classes in many subjects. If the human brain is augmented as Kurzweil suggests, this educational benefit will become even more pronounced. People will be able to upload information directly into their minds, and will be able to retain vastly more information than they can now.
Prosthetic devices have helped restore functionality in humans who suffer from diseases requiring amputation or from limbs lost in battle for over three thousand years. I will begin this paper by explaining some of that historical journey. Next, I will highlight a few of the prosthetic devices available today to demonstrate that much, but not all, of that functionality can now be restored. Then I will explain what the future of prosthetic devices might look like if they faithfully adhere to Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns.
University of Nevada J.D. Candidate, John T. Niman, explores the criteria of cognitive abilities within the complexities of personhood in not only human beings, but also animals and artificial intelligences.
It has been a while since I last talked about prosthetic devices. For reference, see here, here, and here. This is part one in a several part series, but I intend to put out the whole series over the next week. What are the hottest new things to come out in the last year or so? Let’s start from the top, make our way down, and pretend this is Deus Ex.
Manny Ramirez. Mark McGwire. Barry Bonds. Baseball is no stranger to superstars using steroids. Sprinter Ben Johnson was disqualified from an Olympic victory decades ago. More likely than not, every sport has players who use ‘performance enhancing drugs’ – it’s just that the player’s performance is not generally enhanced to superstar status. Now Lance Armstrong has admitted to doping, and once again the world is shocked.
For several months now, I’ve wanted to put together a post talking about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and particularly in the context of food. I’ve had several debates with my friends – I tend toward the pro-GMO camp and several of my friends are anti-GMO. I maintained that if they simply looked at the science, reviewed the research, and avoided sources with an agenda that often post incorrect information that they would come around to my way of thinking.
I get to do something exciting today and answer a couple of questions that a reader sent me. I’d like to do this more in the future, so if you have a topic you’d like me to discuss, please let me know!
If you’re anything like me, you grew up on Transformers, or maybe Gundam Wing; big battling robots that carved swaths of destruction wherever they went. While we’re not quite there yet, the military has been pouring a lot of money into robots, and the results might surprise you. The military has been pouring a lot of money into robots, and the results might surprise you. Let’s see what happens when the military gets into the robot game.
“Right now, a Masai warrior on a mobile phone in the middle of Kenya has better mobile communications than the president of the United States did 25 years ago. If he’s on a smartphone using Google, he has access to more information than the president did just 15 years ago.” – Peter Diamandis
How are we going to power the future? Energy is a huge concern, so lets examine recent advances in solar energy. It is difficult to discuss energy generation (solar in particular) without hearing the same tired objections. Therefore, a little myth busting is in order:
Today I’m going to focus on medical technologies that are available or being researched now that can be implanted into (or onto) humans. Specifically, I am going to talk about tech that promises to restore (and one day replace) faulty biological systems. We will start at the top:
Today I want to talk about three broad categories: Synthetic or engineered medical research or treatments, biological (DNA) research and procedures, and various transplants that have been performed or are being researched.
I encountered an opinion piece in the Catholic San Francisco Online Edition written by Sandro Magister. He was, according to the head notes, summarizing part of a talk by French philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj. Fabrice argues that the term “transhumanism” was coined by Julian Huxley (brother of Aldous Huxley, of Brave New World fame); the first director of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and supporter of eugenics.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not currently regulate cryonics facilities. Because cryonics facilities do not engage in “standard transactions,” they are not included within the definition of Covered Entity. However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule only regulates a few activities that cryonics facilities are likely to engage in, and so would not likely impose much of a burden upon cryonics facilities if they were required to comply with it. Additionally, because of the special nature of cryonics and the potentially same motivations that allow patient PHI to be disclosed fifty years after legal death do not apply to patients who are cryopreserved, the proposed disclosure rule ought to be altered to continue protecting a cryonics patient PHI throughout the patient’s period of suspended animation. The harm that could possibly come from over protecting a cryonics patient PHI is far outweighed by the benefit to patients who are eventually revived from suspended animation and have not had their PHI publically disclosed.
These medical breakthroughs aren’t necessarily transhumanist in nature, but they certainly all contribute to the general goal of better healthcare and are but a few steps away from some truly amazing technologies. So, without further ado, the Top 10 Medical Stories in My Queue:
Robotic and synthetic technology will largely overcome any progress biological technologies can offer, but we are further along in the biological sciences, so we’ll likely see those advances first. Some people, seeking to “stay human” will stop with biological enhancement. Here are cool new stories in three categories: currently available cures and treatments for diseases, speculative cures and treatments for diseases, and general upgrades to the human condition.
Last year I linked to an article that detailed a proposed law in Nevada allowing artificially intelligent cars on the road and offered some thought about what a future with A.I. cars might look like. Recently, A.I. cars have been in the news again.