[Note: This is (roughly) the text of a talk I delivered at TEDxWHU on the 4th February 2017. A video of the talk should be available within a few weeks.]
There is a cave about 350km from here, in the Swabian Jura. It is called the Hohle Fels (this picture is the entrance to it). Archaeologists have been excavating it since the late 1800s and have discovered a number of important artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic era. In June 2005, they announced an interesting discovery.
Depuis le début de l’ère industrielle, l’idée du remplacement de l’homme par la machine dans le milieu du travail a fait du chemin, au point de paraître crédible aujourd’hui. En effet, les percées en intelligence artificielle lèvent une inquiétude : et si l’humain devenait obsolète.
Freedom is important. Modern liberal societies are built around it. Citizens fight for their fundamental freedoms — rights to speech, thought, religious expression, education, work and so on — and governments are evaluated relative to their success in securing these freedoms. But liberal freedom is a highly contested concept.
Given all the chaos and pessimism lately and in light of the fact that with the inauguration of Trump we will be walking into very dangerous times, it’s perhaps a good moment for a little bit of hope, though the progressive rallies over the last few days certainly make me feel hopeful.
When people worry about the dark side of emerging technologies, most think of terrorists or lone psychopaths with a death wish for humanity. Some future Ted Kaczynski might acquire a masters degree in microbiology, purchase some laboratory equipment intended for biohackers, and synthesize a pathogen that spreads quickly, is incurable, and kills 90 percent of those it infects.
Amongst the criticisms often directed at transhumanist ideas, one of the most common is the prediction that access to the technologies on which it depends will mostly be limited to a small affluent minority. This veritable “apartheid by technology” would create a divide into the commonality of the human race, and produce two or more human classes moving at different speeds, which would be the source of inequality and new forms of exploitation.
Inspiring and catalyzing creativity worldwide, Mark Hatch has been instrumental in jumpstarting the Maker Movement. He has now joined Network Society Ventures as a General Partner, leveraging his knowledge, skills, and passion to invest together with us in a new generation of startups.
It is a noticeable feature of intellectual life that many people research the same topics, but do so using different conceptual and disciplinary baggage, and consequently fail to appreciate how the conclusions they reach echo or complement the conclusions reached by others.
The age of solar energy is upon us. Last year alone, we witnessed solar energy prices drop lower than that of coal. As we move along into 2017, how might this ever-expanding industry continue moving along its own current of change.
Cognitive Easing is the aim of much of our endeavor, whether explicit or implicit. We have never wavered from trying to create a life of ease, enjoyment, and fulfillment. The definition of Cognitive Easing is spending less mental effort to achieve a result.
It’s that time of the month where we all come together and exchange gifts. Keeping this in mind, DARPA showed some holiday spirit when it provided Walter Reed National Military Medical Center the greatest gift the 21st century can offer: LUKE – the most revolutionary bionic arm available to date!
Hadrien Pourbahman est étudiant en droit et membre de l’Association Française Transhumaniste. En début d’année, il avait effectué un stage avec Didier Coeurnelle sur le thème « Vers une reconnaissance d’un droit à la longévité », dont vous pouvez lire le résumé ici.
A conception of evil that carries over from the Abrahamic religions into secular modernity is that of the ‘disorganization of the soul’. The idea here is that evil isn’t something separate from good but something that arises from the malformation or malfunctioning of good parts. Thus, Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost is God’s best angel gone rogue, the template for the villains faced by comic book superheroes. Many if not most mental illnesses, from neurosis to autism, are defined as some sort of ‘disorder’. In a similar but grander vein, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener regarded entropy – the ultimate expression of disorganization in physics – as the material equivalent of evil, the source of all suffering, decay and death.
Humans are probably not the greatest intelligences in the universe. Earth is a relatively young planet and the oldest civilizations could be billions of years older than us. But even on Earth, Homo sapiens may not be the most intelligent species for that much longer.
It’s finally the last month of the year and you know what that means – the holiday flood known as Christmas. Celebrated by many, it’s a time of the year where presents are exchanged and songs are sung. Only this year one of those songs won’t be sung (let alone written) by a human being. Nope, this time an artificial intelligence is giving it a go!
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), placing the Georgia Congressman in an extremely powerful position as far as the nation’s health is concerned. Given his dubious track record, this appointment is of serious concern.
(The following is, roughly, the text of a talk I delivered to the IP/IT/Media law discussion group at Edinburgh University on the 25th of November 2016. The text is much longer than what I actually presented and I modified some of the concluding section in light of the comments and feedback I received on the day. I would like to thank all those who were present for their challenging and constructive feedback. All of this builds on a previous post I did on the ‘logical space of algocracy’)
Having an artificial intelligence (AI) translate foreign languages for you is becoming a common occurrence for most people. While universal translators are getting closer to the market by each year, there’s one other form of communication which AI is aiming to dominate as well – lip reading!
The problem with pills is that you have to take them on a regular basis. An innovative new pop-up capsule solves this problem by staying in the stomach for days, where it slowly releases medication over the course of an entire treatment.
A new machine designed at Stanford University sends digital messages without electronics, using common household chemicals. Eventually, similar systems could allow tiny devices to communicate inside the body, or be adapted to environments in which traditional electronics break down.
Since its inception, the field of existential risk studies has recognized “bad governance” as an important factor that could modulate overall existential risk — or constitute an existential risk in its own right, if such governance were to gain global control.
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.
The Obama administration’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues held a session on the ethical issues of cognitive enhancement, as part of the ethical, social, legal issues wing of the federal BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. IEET co-founder and author of the new bestseller SuperIntelligence, Nick Bostrom was one of four asked to testify. His comments focused on the importance of ensuring egalitarian access to and benefits from cognitive enhancement.
Madagascar is an island known the world over for it’s unique evolutionary pathway. A pathway fated early on from it’s isolated location in the Indian ocean conspiring with it’s natural geological diversity to yield an unimaginably endemic radiation of plant and animalian diversity. Yet this diversity was ‘fated’, as it were, by situational happenstance - not conscious intent. Then, some two-thousand years ago - waves of a species with a most curious cranium began to land on these bleeding red shores.