Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement on the Higgs Boson, some of YouTube’s most viewed science communicators burned the midnight oil to explain why this is so exciting. Wrapping up this series of posts on YouTube, I thought I would call out three prominent YouTubers who were at VidCon last week, yet still found the time to pull together a video.
Currently our urban design and development practices work within the framing of modernism, which positions humans at the centre of existence that prioritises the status of objects and operates through the technology of machines. The processes engaged by modernism involve the simplification of systems to command their obedience, without any ideological commitment to return something in exchange for their servitude.
In general, I have affection for the goals of H+. However, when I compare my socio-political stances with transhumanism, I discover numerous points of contention. Here’s a brief list of platform issues and my positions that are occasionally in synch with H+ majority but often contrast sharply.
Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body. This doctrine is a central tenet of the Indian religions and a common belief of pagan religions found in many tribal societies around the world. I don’t think there is a “spirit” or “soul” separate from the information encoded in our brain. But if there is, what can it be?
Last month a gaggle of science publications reported that researchers had devised a way to harness the light from fireflies using nanotechnology. As a lifelong firefly enthusiast, I simply could not believe that the crepuscular creature of my childhood would now be opening the gateway for bioluminescence in consumer products as well as enhanced, energy-efficient technology.
Last year a court in Southern Nigeria remanded in custody 4 persons for allegedly killing a hunchback woman, Mrs Ifeoma Angela Igwe for ritual purposes. According to the report, the hoodlums went to the woman’s house and kidnapped her. They took her to a nearby bush where they beheaded her, butchered her and removed the hunch. It is believed that the hunch contains ‘magical substance or mercury’ which can make people rich. I do not know how Nigerians came about this erroneous idea.
Naked mole rats basically live 9 times more than “they should.” At an age equivalent to a human age of 92 years, naked mole-rats show unchanged levels of activity and metabolic rate, as well as sustained muscle mass, fat mass, bone density, cardiac health, and neuron number.
Will the Singularity arrive in 2045 as Ray Kurzweil predicts? Will it never arrive, due to global catastrophe or technological failure? Will it arrive with apocalyptic horror, as an “UnFriendly AI” annihilates our species? We wonder, we dread, we anticipate nervously. But there’s - at least - one human being who is ecstatically convinced that The Singularity will solve all humanity’s problems and embrace us ever-afterwards in a blissful paradise. This person has renamed herself “Singularity Utopia.”
Most of you followed last year’s revolution in Egypt, and how protestors used Twitter, Facebook, etc, and the effort the government made to “shut down the internet”. This illustrated very effectively how the internet is a tool that is inherently hostile to “information control.”
Having been initiated into the alternative world of teen YouTube culture last year, I am once again being dragged along to VidCon – the Comic-Con of the online video community. This year – the third year for VidCon – promises to be bigger than better than ever with around 6,000 signed up for the extravaganza June 28-30 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Humanity faces what many see as the most important decision in its history – to move from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of energy to renewable sources that could, some believe, allow us to achieve higher civilization status.
An armed madman, James Holmes, walked into a movie theater armed with weapons that any Islamic terrorist would love to have and killed 12 people. The difference between this madman and an Islamic terrorist is simple: this madman lives in a country in which it is legal to own a gun, and in fact it is encouraged.
You enter the wellness center and tell the receptionist avatar that you’re here for an annual restoration, and though your real age is 110, you would like to be restored to the age of a 20-something. A nurse then injects billions of genome-specific ‘bots non-invasively through the skin; you’re now set for another year.
It’s starting to get pretty warm outside. And it’s also starting to get increasingly obvious that human-made global warming is not going away anytime soon. As our environment continues to degrade and collapse, we may be headed into some fairly desperate times — and with them, the inevitable call for desperate measures.
A group of self-identified terrorists has sent several mail bombs to nanotechnology labs and researchers in Latin America, injuring two people earlier this month in the engineering department at the Monterrey Institute of Technology outside Mexico City. In an online manifesto, the group calls itself Individualists With Savage Tendencies (this a translation from the Spanish, Individualidades tendiendo a lo salvage, or ITS), and writes about how they are trying to stop a “gray goo” scenario where self-replicating nanobots destroy the world.
Most of us are familiar with the sustainable citizen drill. We’ll have turned off the lights when we’re not using them, sorted the rubbish into the respective recycling bins, used the stairs instead of the lift, cut down on airline travel and are making conscious choices to buy ‘eco’ friendly products. But are our efforts working?
Ethically speaking, I’m waiting for B1-66ER or the hot humanlike cylons of Battlestar Galactica to show up and make a claim for personhood. Or possibly for someone’s RealDoll (NSFW), Roxxy True Companion (also NSFW), or Anydroid (NSFW — yes, again) to become imbued with enough AI to say “Not tonight, dear, I have a headache” (or to be able to say “No” and mean it.)
IEET Chairman of the Board George Dvorsky is joining io9.com as a full-time Contributing Editor, beginning June 4. He will be posting articles at the popular science website on a variety of topics, on a daily basis.
IEET wants short science fiction pieces that reflect on the social, moral, political, economic or philosophical consequences of future technologies, in particular pieces that touch on the IEET’s core issues - the ethics and policy dimensions of life extension, human enhancement, moral enhancement, non-human personhood, structural unemployment and catastrophic risks.
The current socio-political discussion on transhumanism concerns human use of NBIC  technologies and sciences to enhance human biology and to radically extend human life. I address this concern by bringing art and design into the discussion.
I’m not the only one making this point. See here for an interview with Joss Whedon and the Avengers cast. Scarlett Johansson’s comments are very salient (one of the good things about The Avengers was the portrayal of The Black Widow as a strong, sexy, ass-kicking superheroine who was not overly sexualised - no fighting semi-nude or in high-heels, or with huge breasts leading the way).
Nanotechnology leads to novel materials, new exposures and potentially unique health and environmental risks – or so the argument goes. But an increasing body of research is showing that relatively uniformly sized nanometer scale particles are part and parcel of the environment we live in.