As with most mainstream technologies, pop culture in the West no doubt views the toilet as a useful invention. Effective in its disposal of human waste, the greatest stink created by this set-diameter bowl is the occasional need for a good scrub or available plumber.
I’ve spent almost a month in Egypt and can tell you that what I saw was a divide between the rich and poor, corruption, and poverty. As the picture on this page shows of me in Cairo standing in the middle of garbage, something common all over the city, things have got to change. However I also saw the rise of the internet and cell phone use.
When chatting with a friend about various government systems during a long car drive the other day, it occurred to me that one could perhaps prove something about the OPTIMAL government system, if one were willing to make some (not necessarily realistic) assumptions about resource abundance.
There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this world, and I’ve got a pretty good list: A loving family, the glittering splendor of the cascading galaxies, Eddie Hinton’s guitar solo on the Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” ... you know, the usual stuff. But here’s something you may not think warrants much gratitude this November: The wisdom and common sense of the American people.
Would you give up some of the consumer comforts you presently enjoy in order to live in a society that places a very high value on fairness, equality, and social justice? Or are you okay with a certain amount of “bending the rules” so the privileged class can attain more benefits and accumulate much more power and wealth as long as you also enjoy a higher standard of living?
It’s 2010 — our 2010 — and an artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful entities on Earth. It manages trillions of dollars in resources, governments shape their policies according to its reactions, and, while some people revere it as literally incapable of error and others despise it as a cathastrophic tyrant, everybody is keenly aware of its existence and power.
Peter Dickins has penned a provocative article in the Monthly Review: The Humanization of the Cosmos—To What End? Dickins approaches the subject of space colonization from a decidedly leftist perspective, and is wonders how the process can unfold without the exploitation of humans and the environment.
Slate magazine and New America Foundation are holding a seminar on the biology and policy implications of radical life extension today, with help from the IEET’s Sean Hays and with IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey as a speaker.