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.
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 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!
(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.
L’idée d’humain « augmenté » suscite des peurs chez certains, qui affirment que cela remet en cause notre identité humaine.
Cependant, à partir de quel moment pouvons-nous dire que nous sommes « augmentés » ? Ne le sommes-nous pas déjà ? Et nul besoin de songer aux derniers accessoires technologiques : cela remonte très loin dans notre histoire !
For the first time ever, a neural device has been used to restore locomotion in paralyzed primates. It may be years before clinical trials can begin for humans, but this latest breakthrough marks an important step in that direction.
D’après la définition de l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé, la santé ne consiste pas en l’absence de trouble ou de maladie mais en un état de complet bien-être. Cette conception ouverte laisse libre cours à une interprétation subjective. L’état de santé dépend de ce que chacun en dit.
Researchers with the ExoMars mission are pointing to a potential computing glitch as the cause of last week’s crash of the Schiaparelli lander. The challenge now will be to isolate and correct the error in hopes of preventing a repeat in 2020, when mission planners aim to land a much larger rover on the Red Planet.
Last year, renewable energy accounted for more than half of all new forms of power generation produced worldwide. It’s an unprecedented milestone for our civilization—one that points to a bright future for solar and wind power.
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.
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.
The oldest human to have ever lived died at the age of 122—and that was nearly 20 years ago. A recent analysis of global demographic data suggests this may very well be the maximum age attainable by humans, and that it’s extremely unlikely anyone will ever live much beyond this advanced age. That is, unless we science the shit out of this problem.
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.
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.
“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!
Qu’est-ce qui différencie le vieillissement d’une maladie, au fond ? Il en a toutes les caractéristiques ! Cette question un brin provocatrice est une invitation à nous interroger sur l’arbitraire de nos catégories.
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.