Who has time anymore to manage their social media feeds? All the status updating, replying, and posting of smart takes on the day’s news is exhausting. Well, Google want to help you out with that: The company recently submitted a patent for software that learns how users respond to social media posts and then automatically recommends updates and replies they can make for future ones. Consider it outsourcing, for your social life—an amped up, next gen blend of automated birthday reminders and computer generated, personalized remarks (more successful Turing Test than random word salad).
A recent UN State of the Future Report projects that by 2100, world population will total 9 billion, just 2 billion more than today. But the report did not account for radically increased life spans. Many forward thinkers, including this writer, believe that today’s biotech efforts with stem cell therapies and genetic engineering techniques, combined with molecular nanotech breakthroughs (the much hyped nanorobots whizzing through our veins), will provide a radical extension of human life.
We asked “If your mind was perfectly copied to a new body…” who would the mindclones be, and who would own your stuff? The 165 of you who answered were almost perfectly split three ways on this old debate about personal identity.
The year is 2025 and there’s a raging snow storm outside. The world is a pale shade of white and gray. You wake up and instinctively look around the bedroom to locate the amber dot glowing on your G-Glass iteration #4 (4th generation upgrade) visor.
It's another blow for immersive virtual reality. University of California researchers have shown that even people with perfect eyesight navigate the world by relying on a lot more than what they see. Here's why VR won't really work until we go beyond visual cues and fancy treadmills.
Let’s face it: Technology and etiquette have been colliding for some time now, and things have finally boiled over if the recent spate of media criticisms is anything to go by. There’s the voicemail, not to be left unless you’re “dying.” There’s the e-mail signoff that we need to “kill.” And then there’s the observation that what was once normal — like asking someone for directions — is now considered “uncivilized.”
This year one of the more thought provoking thought experiments to appear in recent memory has its tenth anniversary. Nick Bostrom’s paper in the Philosophical Quarterly “Are You Living in a Simulation?”” might have sounded like the types of conversations we all had after leaving the theater having seen The Matrix, but Bostrom’s attempt was serious. (There is a great recent video of Bostrom discussing his argument at the IEET). What he did in his paper was create a formal argument around the seemingly fanciful question of whether or not we were living in a simulated world. Here is how he stated it…
Today, drones, eldercare and pets. Tomorrow, household servants, love partners and much more. Although some people might find the idea of love with a machine repulsive, experts predict that as the technology advances and robots become more human-like, we will view our silicon cousins in a friendlier light.
James Miller has an interesting looking new book out, Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the book yet, but I did listen to a very engaging conversation about the book at Surprisingly Free.Miller is a true believer in the Singularity, the idea that at some point, from the next quarter century to the end of the 21st, our civilization will give rise to a greater than human intelligence which will rapidly bootstrap to a yet higher order of intelligence in such a way that we are unable to see past this event horizon in historical time.
IEET Contributor Travis James Leland offers the first chapter of his current work-in-progress, about the world’s first posthuman being and how he impacts the world. In this selection, we meet Alpha and his online girlfriend, ‘Loo. They are attracted to each other online. Should they risk a meat-meeting?
Imagine a bracelet or watch that changes into something else when you take it off. Perhaps it becomes a cell phone, or laptop computer. Although this scenario may seem like science fiction, this and much more will soon become reality with a ground-breaking new technology known as claytronics.
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?
We may be bots in a reality-wide simulation, and perhaps the player(s) from above can violate our simulated physics when they want. In a more popular formulation of the same concept, called Religion, the player(s), called God(s), created our reality and can perform miracles.
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.
I should mention that the IEET staff read the fiction submissions without the authors’ names on them. So the fact that a submission from our former Managing Director was selected was not the nepotism that it might otherwise appear to be. Mike reflects here thoughtfully on the generation gap we already see playing out between those accustomed to more-or-less attentive face-to-face communication, and the younger generation who are growing used to a fragmented attention that makes little distinction between face-to-face and virtual presence. - J. Hughes
Contrary to what we’ve been taught, and contrary to what we fervently believe to be true, there is not just one I. We are not individuals; we are hybriduals. Each of us is a compound, collective, hybrid being.
On Sunday, December 11, we explored the convergence of religion with highly imaginative future science and technologies in the Turing Church online workshop 2 in teleXLR8, a 3D interactive video conferencing space.
This is the first piece of fiction that we are publishing, submitted in response to our call for short science fiction reflecting “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.” We will be publishing at least four of the twenty submissions we have received so far, one a week, and will continue reviewing submissions for consideration. - J. Hughes
Robots with even limited sensitivity to ethical considerations and the ability to factor those considerations into their choices and actions will open up new markets. However, if robots fail to adequately accommodate human laws and values in their behaviour, there will be demands for regulations that limit their use. Over the next twenty years, advances in robotics will converge with neurotechnologies and other emerging technologies. We will be confronted with not just monitoring and managing individual technologies that are each developing rapidly, but also with the cultural transformations arising from the convergence of many technologies. Technological development can overheat or may even stagnate. The central role for ethics, law, and public policy in the development of robots and neurotechnologies will be in modulating their rate of development and deployment. Compromising safety, appropriate use, and responsibility is a ready formulation for inviting crises in which technology is complicit.
IEET Fellow Douglas Rushkoff is releasing A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division, a gripping graphic novel about a group of elite gamers who are also teen idols, reality TV stars, carefully developed corporate assets… and some things they haven’t been told. Like all the best SF, ADD will tell you much more about the present than any hundred news sites would.