Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC have developed a system that’s enabling a man with quadriplegia to experience the sensation of touch through a robotic arm that he controls with his brain.
It’s been a while since I wrote something about theism and morality. There was a time when I couldn’t go more than two weeks without delving into the latest paper on divine command theory and moral realism. More recently I seem to have grown disillusioned with that particular philosophical joy ride. But last week Erik Wielenberg’s new paper ‘Euthyphro and Moral Realism: A Reply to Harrison’ managed to cross my transom. I decided I should read it.
Stephen Hawking summed up the thinking of many of the researchers and funders behind artificial intelligence this week when he launched the new Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge by claiming that AI is “either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity.”
Access instead of Ownership
One of the most radical and potentially disruptive ideas for the near-term blockchain financial services market is Securities as a Service. Consider the music industry, where in the past, it was quite normal to purchase and own records and CDs, but now music is often accessed through digital media services like Spotify. There is access to music, but not much thought of ownership. “Listening to music” is the consumable asset, which is priced per network models for its access and consumption.
For the past two years, Zoltan Istvan has been campaigning for the US presidency on the Transhumanist Party, a largely one-man show which nevertheless remains faithful to the basic tenets of transhumanism. Now suppose he won. Top of his policy agenda had been to ensure the immortality of all Americans. But even Zoltan realized that this would entail quite big changes in how the state and society function. So, shortly after being elected president, he decides to hold a national referendum on the matter.
As William Gibson has famously pointed out, the job of the science fiction writer is not to predict the future but to construct one plausible version of it from the pieces already laying around. I assume that Malka Older was trying to do this deliberately low key Gibsonian thing with her novel Infomacracy, but given the bizarre nature of this current election cycle she instead, and remarkably, ended up anticipating not merely many of its real or feared events, but even ended her novel on the same note of exhaustion and exasperation and even dread resulting from the perceived failures of representative democracy now expressed by many among the elites, and from another the other angle, the young.
Many of IEET’s scholars have been published in new book, The Posthuman Body in Superhero Comics, this book “examines the concepts of Post/Humanism and Transhumanism as depicted in superhero comics. Recent decades have seen mainstream audiences embrace the comic book Superhuman.” (Palgrave)
Le neuro-oncologue François Berger s’apprête, avec des confrères, à lancer un appel à un moratoire contre le transhumanisme. Ce serait, à notre connaissance, une première mondiale. Voici notre réaction.
In 2010 when I organized the H+ Summit conference at Harvard University, together with my friend Alex Lightman, I would not have imagined that it would be a key event in the history of Inferno. Instead it seems that, according to the protagonists of the book, the villain of the story got his ideas at the conference. On Saturday, October 15 I organized a special screening of the film Inferno, with SingularityU Milan, followed by a debate on the limits of technology and how to apply it in a positive direction for the development of humanity.
The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to a trio of scientists for their pioneering work in developing molecular machines. These gadgets measure just a thousandth of a human hair in width, and they’re poised to revolutionize everything from manufacturing and materials to medicine and the functioning of the human body.
Standing as we are with our nose so tightly pressed against the glass, it’s impossible to know what exactly the current, crazy presidential election will mean, not just for American, democracy, but for the future of democracy itself. Of course, much of this depends on the actual outcome of the election, when the American public will either chose to cling to a system full of malware, corrupted and buggy, yet still functional, or risk everything on a hard reboot. This would include the risk that we might never be able to reset the clock to the time before we had plunged over the abyss and restore an order that while outdated, ill-designed, and running up against the limits of both still managed to do the job.
Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have found evidence of a “wandering” black hole on the outskirts of a distant galaxy. It’s too far away to cause us any trouble, but the discovery of this homeless ball of gravitational despair affirms a long standing theory about the existence of such objects.
I use pen and paper to do most of my serious thinking. Whether it is outlining blogposts or academic papers, taking notes or constructing arguments, I pretty much always take out my trusty A4 pad and pen when I run into a cognitive trough. To be sure, I often mull ideas over in my head for a long time beforehand, but when I want to move beyond my muddled and incoherent thoughts, I will grab for my pen and paper. I am sure that many of you do the same. There is something cognitively different about thinking outside your head: creating an external representation of your thoughts reveals their strengths and weaknesses in a way that internal dialogue never can.
At a distance of 4.2 light years, Proxima b is the closest potentially habitable Earth-like planet outside our solar system. New research suggests this distant orb could be completely covered in water. So when do we go?
“What makes something sentient? What does it take for an entity to be aware of its own existence and to want to interact with the world of its own accord? Is it a gift from God or hard science? Is it something fundamentally human or animal in nature or is it a simple technological principle based on brain size? There are many models, of course. But, if consciousness is simply a natural product of neural complexity then eventually, in theory, we might build something – a computer or a machine – that was actually big enough to wake up!
Fully-realized artificial intelligence has long been the holy grail for daydreamers and forward-thinking inventors alike. We aren’t quite there yet, but modern virtual assistants are making the case that we aren’t so very far off. Whether it’s a feature integrated into your smartphone or a standalone assistant like the Amazon Echo, digital assistants have shown great strides in the ability to recognize and parse your spoken commands and respond to them appropriately.
Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing.
Typhoons are generally associated with mass destruction, but a Japanese engineer has developed a wind turbine that can harness the tremendous power of these storms and turn it into useful energy. If he’s right, a single typhoon could power Japan for 50 years.
The historic Rosetta mission has finally come to an end. Over the past two years, the probe’s many instruments have scanned virtually every nook and cranny of this weirdly shaped rock, unleashing a treasure trove of new information about comets in general, and 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in particular.
In movies such as The Terminator, The Matrix and so forth, self-aware AIs come into existence and soon threaten humanity. This thinking is reflected in the arguments by Musk, Hawking and others against creating strong AIs.
Less than a month ago, scientists confirmed the existence of a rocky planet roughly 1.3 times the mass of Earth named “Proxima b.” Although it orbits its star, Proxima Centauri, at about 5 percent the distance that currently separates Earth and our sun, Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf that is much less hot and luminous than our star.
Stefan L. Sorgner was invited to discuss his most recent monograph on the 4th of October with the well-known theologian Prof. Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Graf in Zurich/Switzerland. The monograph is the first introduction to transhumanism in German. Herein, Sorgner also outlines his Nietzschean transhumanism.
In a vat of liquid nitrogen on storage platform 17, the youngest person ever to be put into cryogenic storage has been waiting for the future for one year and eight months. Matheryn “Einz” Naovaratpong was two when she was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal brain cancer. “She showed fighting spirit since she was born,” her father Sahatorn Naovaratpong tells me. “Her cry was the loudest in the nursery.”
Agriculture company Monsanto has acquired a non-exclusive global licensing agreement from MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. The firm will use it to design and grow new seeds and plants, but there are key restrictions on its use to prevent Monsanto from abusing this revolutionary new technology.
There is a famous story about an encounter between Henry Ford II (CEO of Ford Motors) and Walter Reuther (head of the United Automobile Workers Union). Ford was showing Reuther around his factory, proudly displaying all the new automating technologies he had introduced to replace human workers. Ford gloated, asking Reuther ‘How are you going to get those robots to pay union dues?’. Reuther responded with equal glee ‘Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?’.
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