The Technological Singularity, referred to as “the singularity” by transhumanists, signifies a point in time where self-aware self-improving artificial intelligence that could surpass the intelligence of the human brain manifests.
Even though there are no statistics on the economics of religion, we might reasonably assume that if we calculated the aggregate turnover and cash flow of all the religions and religious activities globally – their aggregate buying power and the goods and services they produce and consume – that we are talking about one of the biggest business sectors in the world, if not the biggest. The global economics of organized religion, New Age religiosity and various other ‘spiritual’ practices might run into the trillions of dollars.
Today, large streams of data, coupled with statistical analysis and sophisticated algorithms, are rapidly gaining importance in almost every field of science, politics, journalism, and much more. What does this mean for the future of work?
The more things change, the more they stay the same, with Ray Kurzweil’s talks. At the TEDx Conference in Manhattan on Monday, December 3, he and the biotech pioneer Juan Enriquez were the keynote speakers.
On December 1, 2012, the American Psychiatric Association officially approved the final diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The new ‘psychiatric bible’ features a number of important changes to the existing canon, including the elimination and alteration of many familiar disorders. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidebook.
First some nostalgia for the future! Need that gift for your nerdy sci fi friend? Underbrain offers T-shirts, mugs and caps with all sorts of logos from David Brin’s Uplift Universe - symbols of the Five Galaxies, dolphins & chimps posing for the Uplift Center, and the Terragens Marines patch! And the Eye-Q symbol for the Quantum Eye oracle computer in Existence. Got civilization? This will ensure that you do!
One of the most challenging tasks for the modern day creationist to is reconcile the belief in a 6,000 year old Earth with the ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence pointing to a vastly different conclusion — namely a universe that’s 13.5 billion years old and an Earth that formed 4.5 billion years ago. So, given these astoundingly dramatic discrepancies, biblical literalists and ‘young Earth creationists’ have had no choice but to get pretty darned imaginative when brushing science aside. Here are 10 arguments creationists have made to counter scientific theories.
The impact of technological progress on jobs has been the topic of countless books: most of them are forgotten because they were so wrong about it. Predicting the future has always been a lucrative business (Delphi’s Oracle, Nostradamus, George Orwell), but rarely a science. If all of them had been right, today we would all be unemployed and, in fact, extinct. Instead, guess what: humans are wealthier than ever in history, the world has never been so peaceful and we all buy machines by the millions. Pistono’s book is the refreshing exception: no, we are not doomed. That, per se, is a good reason to read it.
Last weekend, at the humanity+ conference in San Francisco, Ben Goertzel, live from Hong Kong, via Skype, graced us with his predictions on the future of communication. According to Ben, in the future we will be able to transmit semantic graphs, or chunks of mind, completely bypassing linguistic utterance, that is your tongue, your jaw, vocal cords, throat, breathing apparatus and everything that goes with articulating speech. The first thought that occurred to me was “OMG. I won’t have to do the Theophilus Thistle drill ever again”. Great. But then I thought, “Wait a second. Is content really separate from form?”
This is a continuation of my previous post on quantum consciousness (or not), also inspired by Ben Goertzel’s “AGI, Consciousness, Life, the Universe and Everything” on H+ Magazine. In a comment, I wrote: “I am often thinking of a meta-[Theory of Everything]ToE (actually an anti-ToE) that we may call “The [BIG] Infinite Fractal Onion Universe” or something like that.” Here are some thoughts on something like that.
When Steve Jobs passed away in October last year, many worldwide mourned the loss of an extraordinary innovator. In Ningbo, a port city on the eastern Chinese coast, the reaction was similar: there was media attention dedicated to the former CEO’s accomplishments and life history, along with admiration for his talents and vision for Apple. Then there was the heralding of a local initiative by the press: a program to cultivate “an army of Steve Jobs-style leaders.
Presently, important concerns on the future of product’s design, building architecture, and city planning have become part of the daily basis discussion. Ecology, energy efficiency, pollution and sustainability have leaded important forum’s topics for the last years. However, the current approach to those issues is insufficient in order to generate the desired environmental outcomes for the future.
Touch screens, voice recognition, and systems that track eye and muscle movements all offer efficient ways of communicating, but transmitting thoughts directly to machines, without any implant in the brain could affect our lives more than any other technology under development today.
Our brains are slopping over full at this point at the end of the Humanity+ San Francisco 2012. Congratulations to Natasha and her team for putting on a great conference. Hopefully next time we’ll have control of the weather.
Its apoco-raining this weekend in San Francisco, proving that the transhumanists neither see the future clear enough to choose a nice weekend nor have magical evil powers over the natural world. But they do put on incredibly fascinating parties at wild warehouse-cum-commune spaces full of smart technophiles. We had to drag ourselves back in to the conference this morning so we wouldn’t miss Andrea Kuscewski, David Pearce, Ben Goertzel, Jamais Cascio, Ramez Naam and the others folks speaking today.
Last week, a young Indian man in Ireland went public about the death of his wife, Savita Halappanavar. A week later, her name, picture, and tragic story are known by millions. Now the husband, Praveen, has launched a fight to ensure that no woman ever again is refused a lifesaving abortion. Her parents have requested that the Indian government bring diplomatic pressure to bear.
In a country where women are denied the right to vote, are not allowed to drive, and are basically treated like children, Saudi Arabia has taken its next giant leap backwards by rolling out an SMS electronic tracking system that alerts male “guardians” by text message whenever women under their protection leave the country. The development has been met with outrage by reformers, who have turned to Twitter to voice their concern.
Travis James Leland, a science and science fiction writer with ties to IEET, Humanity + and Transhumanity.net, is conducting a short survey. This is an informal survey to determine if there is a higher rate of autistic behaviors among the transhumanist/H+/Singularitarian/futurist community.
Will living in offworld space colonies ever be embraced by mainstream humanity? Of course, no one can accurately predict how the future will unfold, but by examining today’s knowledge, we can create plausible scenarios of how space development might take place during the 21st Century.
Crowd-based models are becoming so pervasive that almost no major segment of modern life is left untouched by them. The concept of digital crowd models refers to the coordination of large numbers of individuals (the crowd) through an open call on the Internet in the conduct of some sort of activity.
In Going Dark vs. a Golden Age for Surveillance, Professors Peter Swire and Kenesa Ahmad, discuss the assertion made by some law enforcement agencies that their ability to see, surveil and protect us is “going dark” because of some new methods of encrypted communication that are widely available to non-government entities, including criminals and terrorists.
Is abortion a greater evil than child abuse? Of course it isn’t! Indeed, I don’t generally regard abortion as an evil at all. We could doubtless get into hypothetical cases of late-term abortions carried out on a mere whim, but are there many, or any, such cases in the real world? In the real world I think you must either suffer from a distorted moral sense or be in the grip of a theory if you regard abortion as the real evil (as opposed, say, to denying an abortion to a desperate woman or teenage girl).
Over at the Edge there’s a fascinating article by Thomas W. Malone about the work he and others are doing to understand the rise of collective human intelligence — an emergent phenomenon that’s being primarily driven by our information technologies. We may be on an evolutionary trajectory, he argues, that could someday give rise to the global brain. And amazingly, he’s developing an entirely new scientific discipline to back his case.