Radical life extension is coming. That means future societies will have to do a dramatic rethink of our ideas about how long offenders should be imprisoned and — more crucially — the ways they’ll be rehabilitated.
In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the U.S. military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant felt he had to destroy lee’s soldiers; in World War I, Pershing relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting machine; and the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and Japanese cities to win World War II.
Many transhumanist factions point out a need to gain some form of longevity or even immortality. The most common forms are mind upload, life extending drugs and treatments, body part replacement with prosthetics or “spare parts” and lastly, cryonics.
As I’ve mentioned on other occasions, my most recent effort in philosophy of science actually concerns what my collaborator Maarten Boudry and I call the philosophy of pseudoscience. During a recent discussion we had with some of the contributors to our book at the recent congress of the European Philosophy of Science Association, Maarten came up with the idea of the pseudoscience black hole. Let me explain.
Zoltan Istvan’s bestseller The Transhumanist Wager, often reviewed as a rabid anti-religion manifesto, includes the foundations of a new, Cosmist scientific religion, a “Third Way” alternative to traditional belief based on science, but at the same time able to offer all the benefits of religion.
When our most precious and hard fought for successes give rise to yet more challenges life is revealing its Sisyphean character. We work as hard as we can to roll a rock up a hill only to have it crush us on the way down. The stones that threatens us this time are two of our global civilization’s greatest successes- the fact that children born are now very likely to live into old age and the fact that we have stretched out this old age itself so that many, many more people are living into ages where in the past the vast majority of their peers would be dead. These two demographic revolutions when combined form the basis of what I am calling the Longevity Crisis. Let’s take infant mortality first.
The study, conducted by a team of scientists and clinicians from JCVI and WCHN, will focus on two groups of elderly individuals aged 65 to 85 years by correlating genetics with a variety of human genomic, gut microbiome and other “omics” profiles and integrating these data with the individuals’ health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will have individuals with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.
It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without pain relief. We depend on these drugs to an unspeakable degree, yet few of us know what’s available or how they even work. Here’s a quick primer on painkillers and why they’re so good at easing the pain.
On Wednesday morning after the November 5 election, a hard Right rag, The Washington Times, headlined with the following caption: “Christie’s win, Cuccinelli’s loss: Two playbooks for defending against the ‘war on women.’”
For Google* there was Innocence of Muslims. For Twitter, there were, and still are, rape threats. For Facebook, now there are decapitations. Facebook’s controversy is the newest in a long line of quagmires that make companies—or at least their customers—question American platitudes about free speech. It comes after Facebook briefly decided not to ban one video of the brutal decapitation of a woman in Mexico to go viral.
Former pro football* player Brett Favre recently admitted he’s suffering serious memory loss from years of head injuries while playing."I don't remember my daughter playing soccer, youth soccer, one summer. I don't remember that,” Favre said in a radio interview.
Zoltan Istvan’s new novel The Transhumanist Wagerhas been compared to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. (See, for instance, Giulio Prisco’s review.) But to what extent are the books alike, and in what respects? To be sure, the story and the writing style are gripping, the characters are vivid, and the universe created by Istvan gave me an experience highly reminiscent of my reading of Atlas Shrugged more than a decade ago.
Life expectancy increased dramatically over the course of the 20th century. In the UK and US — to take two obvious examples — it increased by approximately 30 years. Further increases are projected in the future. In addition to this, advances in medical technology are hoped by many, and demanded by some, to dramatically increase lifespan (a subtly different concept from life expectancy) in the coming century. It may soon come to pass that lifespans of 120 to 150 years are no longer confined to the realms of science fiction.
As technology expands our communicative reach, new opportunities to be rude inevitably arise. Some people overreact to this incivility by turning to uniform and mechanical etiquette rules, hoping to make things better by constraining choices and limiting situational judgment. But for societies that value diversity and autonomy, general mandates—like expecting everyone to turn off their cell phones in theaters—only work in exceptional cases.
A Pew Research Center survey of 2,012 American adults done between March and April, 2013 shows, somewhat surprisingly, that a majority of those surveyed (58%) would not like to live radically extended lives—although they think that other people besides themselves would.
In his latest book, “Self Comes to Mind,” Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, defines consciousness as, “the ability that we have to look out on the world and grasp it. It is a way evolution found to increase our effectiveness in dealing with life and its struggles.”
Percy’s epic poem, Prometheus Unbound is seldom read today while his wife’s novel, Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus has become so well known that her monster graces the boxes of children’s cereal, and became the fodder from one of the funniest movies of the 20th century.
During a recent weekend, I re-watched the movie Blood Diamonds (2007), an advocacy-entertainment movie trying to raise awareness about the problem of natural resources being used to finance horrific African wars. As illustrated in Blood, conflict diamonds were used to finance a civil war in Sierra Leone. While the movie is heavy flawed, the message is still important: the mining and exploitation of natural resources is creating havoc throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Consumers clearly want to know whether their food contains genetically modified ingredients. Given that huge interest, foods containing GMOs should be labeled. I’ve written as much before at the website of Discover magazine, trying to persuade scientists that they should support GMO labels.
Andrew Leonard has a short, sharp piece in Salon entitled "Silicon Valley dreams of secession," about a recent talk by tech entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan calling for the Valley to secede from the US on a wave of 3D printers, drones, and bitcoins.
Picture a series of copper beads on a fine titanium alloy wire curved in a graceful sphere. It looks like an earring, but you won’t find it in a jewelry store. It’s made to go in your uterus. Intrauterine contraceptives are the fastest growing method of birth control in the U.S.One study showed that use doubled in just two years. Why are IUD’s suddenly hot among young women? And what should you tell your friend or daughter when she says she wants one?
The world’s first International Longevity Day took place on or around October 1, in over 30 countries! These were many small steps on the great road to healthy longevity for all through support of longevity research!
It should probably seem strange to us that one of the memes we often use when trying to grapple with the question of how to understand the powers brought to us by modern science and technology is one inspired by an ancient Greek god chained to a rock. Well, actually not quite a god but a Titan, that is Prometheus.
In just ten years, older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with energy and enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an enhanced mind and memory.
This presentation of mine will examine the correspondences between the magical codes of the Renaissance wizard and the virtual “magic” produced by the coding of modern computer wizards, who use the information inherent in symbolic, programming language—their own form of incantations—to program systems that embody impressive aspects of human cognitive capabilities and, often, formidable physical power.
This is a translation of a presentation by the Association Française Transhumaniste - Technoprog! on “What is Transhumanism today in France.” Technoprog! encourages the development of and promotes reflection on technologies that improve and greatly extend the life of individuals and of mankind. In our opinion, transhumanism should ensure that enhancement technologies are not restricted to a minority of the wealthy and that citizens are alerted to possible abuses of technology, so that an informed citizenry can master the technology and not be controlled by it.
The movie Gravity has been widely reviewed at other venues, so I will try and mention a few “new” angles. First, the screen action seems preposterous and unrealistic, but the visuals are stunning and very realistic. Second, the two actors–Sandra Bullock and George Clooney–do a good job. Clooney’s flippant cowboy style works.
This is part three of three. Now that I’ve listed some of the ways humans use animals (traditional and GM) and talked about ethics, I want to cover some reasons we may need GMO animals in the future. I want to remind readers that the highest ground is almost certainly to use conservation and respect to maintain a healthy ecosystem, to rely on care instead of test tubes.
As the Bob Dylan song says: “Things should start to get interesting right about now.” You may think they’re already interesting—what with government closings, threats of a debt default, and extremist rhetoric under the Capitol Dome—but chances are we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. In twelve weeks or so our new system of government-by-crisis will resume its regularly scheduled programming: more threats, more confrontations, and even more extreme rhetoric.