Les perspectives démographiques envisagées par les transhumanistes n’impliquent pas seulement un allongement radical de la durée de vie en bonne santé mais aussi une diminution de la part des plus jeunes dans la population. Quelles conséquences pourraient avoir une raréfaction de l’enfance ?
Let’s veer from either science fiction or politics into our politically science-fictional new world of light. Starting with a reminder that my new anthology (with Stephen Potts) Chasing Shadows, is released this week by Tor Books, featuring contributions by William Gibson, James Gunn, Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge and many others, offering stories and insights into a future when light flows almost everywhere. Prepare yourself! This might be a good start.
In the era of information wars knowledge of the past is perhaps the only way we can remain anchored to reality. Such collective memory shouldn’t only consist of an accurate record of the facts, but would also include a sense of the history of knowledge and inforwar itself.
Douglas Rushkoff has been observing the Internet’s trajectory since the 1990s, writing 16 influential books about digital culture along the way including Media Virus and Present Shock. Rushkoff’s latest work, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, focuses on the business and investing practices of today’s leading tech companies like Uber and Snapchat, and how they are exaggerating the worst aspects of an economic system that pushes for growth at all costs.
The thing is, we’re all naughty. The specifics of what counts as “wrong” depend on the context, but there isn’t anybody on Earth so boring that haven’t done or aren’t doing something they’d rather not be known worldwide.
The future of public health in the United States was a hotly contested topic during the 2016 election, with the presidential candidates making bold promises and several important ballot initiatives up for grabs. Here’s how America voted, and what a Trump presidency means to your health.
Like many others, I am still absorbing the shock of Trump’s victory in the presidential election. For the last month I had been on a holding pattern on the blog in the remote chance the pundits and pollsters had gotten this election terribly wrong. They have. Rather than having elected Hillary Clinton who would have preserved the status quo with all its flaws, but also its protections, a large portion of the electorate has chosen to blow up the system and take a dangerous, potentially dystopian turn.
Tis the season for post-mortems… for pompous declamations and dissections, explaining to us all what the F— just happened. And so, across the next week or so, I’ll offer summaries and links to a panoply of rationalizations for this bizarre turn of events. How liberals, conservatives and other pundits got it wrong… and what I think may be glimmers of actual insight.
For the past two years, Zoltan Istvan has been campaigning for the US presidency on the Transhumanist Party, a largely one-man show which nevertheless remains faithful to the basic tenets of transhumanism. Now suppose he won. Top of his policy agenda had been to ensure the immortality of all Americans. But even Zoltan realized that this would entail quite big changes in how the state and society function. So, shortly after being elected president, he decides to hold a national referendum on the matter.
Le neuro-oncologue François Berger s’apprête, avec des confrères, à lancer un appel à un moratoire contre le transhumanisme. Ce serait, à notre connaissance, une première mondiale. Voici notre réaction.
In movies such as The Terminator, The Matrix and so forth, self-aware AIs come into existence and soon threaten humanity. This thinking is reflected in the arguments by Musk, Hawking and others against creating strong AIs.
In a vat of liquid nitrogen on storage platform 17, the youngest person ever to be put into cryogenic storage has been waiting for the future for one year and eight months. Matheryn “Einz” Naovaratpong was two when she was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal brain cancer. “She showed fighting spirit since she was born,” her father Sahatorn Naovaratpong tells me. “Her cry was the loudest in the nursery.”
Agriculture company Monsanto has acquired a non-exclusive global licensing agreement from MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. The firm will use it to design and grow new seeds and plants, but there are key restrictions on its use to prevent Monsanto from abusing this revolutionary new technology.
There is a famous story about an encounter between Henry Ford II (CEO of Ford Motors) and Walter Reuther (head of the United Automobile Workers Union). Ford was showing Reuther around his factory, proudly displaying all the new automating technologies he had introduced to replace human workers. Ford gloated, asking Reuther ‘How are you going to get those robots to pay union dues?’. Reuther responded with equal glee ‘Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?’.
Sometimes it feels like the Internet of Things (or IoT) is a little bit overblown. Maddening commercials like this one try to make it seem like a spiritual revolution for humankind, and you may have seen our thoughts on the emergence of the term “smart” to define objects. Furthermore, the main IoT applications that people actually seem to care about at this point are pretty much FitBits and Nest thermostats-fun Christmas presents, but not exactly groundbreaking technological concepts.
China Mieville’s novel Embassytown is a challenging and provocative work of science fiction. It is set in Embassytown, a colonial outpost of the human-run Bremen empire, located on Arieka, a planet on the edge of the known universe. The native alien race are known as the Ariekei and they have an unusual language. They have two speaking orifices and as a result speak two words at the same time.
When we as a global community confront the truly difficult question of considering what is really worth devoting our limited time and resources to in an era marked by such global catastrophe, I always find my mind returning to what the Internet hasn’t really been used for yet—and what was rumored from its inception that it should ultimately provide—an utterly and entirely free education for all the world’s people.
Sometimes I get the feeling that the West really is intellectually and spiritually bankrupt. I take my cue here not from watching Eurovision or anything like its American equivalent, but from the fact that, despite how radically different our circumstance is from our predecessors, we can’t seem to get beyond political ideas that have been banging around since the 19th century. Instead of coming up with genuine alternatives we rebrand antique ideas. After all, isn’t “fully automated luxury communism” really just a technophilic version of communism which hopes to shed all association with breadlines or statues of strapping workers with hammers in their hands? Let’s just call the thing Marxism and get it the hell over with.
The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the “world leader in cryonics, cryonics research, and cryonics technology”, is sponsoring a health clinic for orphans in the impoverished village of Nyakiyumbu, Uganda.
Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old. For a long time the three great domains of life—bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes—seemed to have no common point of origin. But now scientists have zeroed in on 355 genes that probably originated in Luca, the joint ancestor of bacteria and archaea (and hence us eurkaryotes)… and thus they stumbled onto strong indications of conditions for the origin of all Earthly life. Because those 355 genes point very strongly at deep sea volcanic vents – “the gassy, metal-laden, intensely hot plumes caused by seawater interacting with magma erupting through the ocean floor.”
Academic philosophy has been too timid, merely urging its students to read the works of long-dead philosophers. Rather, each student should temporarily but intensely adopt the personality as well as intellect of a specific bygone intellectual, and live in a challenging virtual environment with that identity. For my new book Virtual Sociocultural Convergence, just published by Springer, I did that for these social theorists of the past: Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), Edward Jarvis (1803-1884), William James (1842-1910), Robert Michels (1876–1936), Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942), William F. Ogburn (1886-1959), Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889-1968), Jacob Moreno (1889-1974), George C. Homans (1910-1989), Angus McIntosh (1914-2005), Ernest Edward Kovacs (1919-1962), Daniel Bell (1919-2011), and Seymour Martin Lipset (1922-2006). You could do the same!
My sociology of knowledge students read Yuval Harari’s bestselling first book, Sapiens, to think about the right frame of reference for understanding the overall trajectory of human condition. Homo Deus follows the example of Sapiens, using contemporary events to launch into what nowadays is called ‘big history’ but has been also called ‘deep history’ and ‘long history’. Whatever you call it, the orientation sees the human condition as subject to multiple overlapping rhythms of change which generate the sorts of ‘events’ that are the stuff of history lessons. But Harari’s history is nothing like the version you half remember from school.
In 1861 – 72 years after the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 – the southern states of the United States exited the American Union. In 2016 – 70 years after Winston Churchill first called for the establishment of a United States of Europe in 1946 – Great Britain exited the European Union.
Secular and reformist Muslims plead that we learn to tell the difference between analyzing ideas and attacking people.
When Islam is at question, members of the American Left and Right race into opposite corners. After the Orlando nightclub massacre, to cite one recent example, conservatives spewed anti-Muslim invective to the point that ordinary American Muslims were afraid to leave home.
remember a speech that the novelist Tom Wolfe gave on CSPAN or some such back in the 1990s in which he said something like “Nietzsche predicted that the 20th century would be the age of ideology, and that the century after the age of morality, and I believe him” I’ve never been able to find the source of the quote, but the more the 21st century rolls on, the more I’m finding it to increasingly, frighteningly true.