The region of the Middle East has been in turmoil for more than a decade. With the advent of the recent terrorist attacks on Paris and the threat of more by the Muslim extremist group ISIS, many have been pondering how the problems plaguing the Middle East can be solved. I believe that technology can play an integral role in the process of repairing and advancing the region. The modernization and digitization of the entire region’s infrastructure would provide numerous benefits that would increase stability and redress the damage done to the economy and society from years of war.
Airing every Sunday 9/8c, National Geographic’s latest TV show Breakthrough, hosted by Paul Giamatti, provides a unique walkthrough into the growing arena of “how-to-enhance-human-beings” using advanced science and technology. In their latest episode, “More Than Human,” Giamatti gets up close and personal with Lockheed Martin’s newest exoskeleton suit FORTIS (video clip of the episode is provided below).
It is often articulated in society that Christianity and science/technology are at odds. While most people of faith do not hold this belief, it is imperative that the church universal continue to dispute this negative stereotype. The most effective way that Christians can do so is by actively affirming their support for people called to work in the fields of science and technology.
Artificial intelligence is a classic risk/reward technology. If developed safely and properly, it could be a great boon. If developed recklessly and improperly, it could pose a significant risk. Typically, we try to manage this risk/reward ratio through various regulatory mechanisms. But AI poses significant regulatory challenges. In a previous post, I outlined eight of these challenges. They were arranged into three main groups. The first consisted of definitional problems: what is AI anyway? The second consisted of ex ante problems: how could you safely guide the development of AI technology? And the third consisted of ex post problems: what happens once the technology is unleashed into the world? They are depicted in the diagram above.
Blockchain technology is at the heart of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most people have heard of Bitcoin and some are excited by the prospect it raises of a decentralised, stateless currency/payment system. But this is not the most interesting thing about Bitcoin. It is the blockchain technology itself that is the real breakthrough. It not only provides the foundation for a currency and payment system; it also provides the foundation for new ways of organising and managing basic social relationships. This includes legal relationships such as those involved in contractual exchange and proprietary ownership. The most prominent expression of this potential comes in the shape of Ethereum, an open source platform that allows developers to use blockchains for whatever purpose they see fit.
Why is it that the bacon you are about to bite into is an acceptable source of food for you, but possibly not so for the person sitting next to you? Perhaps he or she eats according to a religious code, or has a health-related reason for skipping the meat products. Maybe he or she is a proponent of animal welfare and has decided to only eat meat products that are slaughtered “transparently and humanely”; or, it could be that he or she has decided not to eat an animal that is conscious on any level.
The Universe can be defined in many ways. What is clear is that there are different levels of realities, which are interacting with one another. Matter is arranged in atoms, which taken together turns into molecules. These molecules arrange themselves in larger objects, such as grains of sand, rock, driplets of liquid, single-cell organisms or cells belonging to larger organisms. This diverse symphony of matter forms eco-systems which form a biosphere that constantly develops through evolution – a neverending symphony of beauty and colours.
Les transhumanistes, en bons humanistes, pensent que l’humain est perfectible, et ceci est valable aussi bien pour ses caractéristiques physiques que morales. La différence réside surtout en ce que, à l’effet de la philosophie, de l’éducation, de la culture ou de la loi, c’est-à-dire du consensus politique, ils estiment que nous sommes maintenant en mesure d’ajouter la technologie pour contribuer à cette amélioration continue (et non la leur substituer, comme se plaisent à l’écrire de nombreux commentateurs pressés). Or, malgré des siècles de législation, de culture, d’éducation et de philosophie, les progrès de ce que les philosophes des Lumières appelaient la Vertu semblent buter sur ce qui reste jusqu’à aujourd’hui la condition biologique de l’humain.
Andreas Antonopoulos’s articulation of network-enforced trust primitives (Oct 2015, Feb 2014) could be extended more broadly into the concept of Machine Trust Language (MTL). While blockchains are being popularly conceived as trust machines, and as a new mode of creating societal shared trust, Andreas addresses how at the compositional level, this trust is being generated. The key idea is thinking in terms of a language of trust, of its primitives, its quanta, its elemental pieces, its phonemes, words, and grammar that can be assembled into a computational trust system.
(Transcript of the speech presented at Lincoln Center, New York, at the conference Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution.)
I am going to discuss whole brain emulation, about what it takes to reverse engineer a mind. This is a topic that you’ve heard mentioned a few times over, that term at least (at least during the conference), and several of the speakers that you saw today - and more that are coming up - are going to be talking about technologies, or have talked about technologies, that address a specific part of that. But I want to show: How does all this come together? How could you reverse engineer a mind? And I wanted to show: How do you actually determine the goals for something like that?
The recent news that womb transplants will be trialled in the UK has sparked much debate regarding the desirability of this and other future infertility interventions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea of artificial wombs has been brought into this discussion, complete with the usual concerns about women’s reproductive liberty.
The automobile industry is still looking to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle, but Tesla Motors recently took the industry one step closer. The US car company has managed to simultaneously make one of the biggest advancements in the history of recent automobile technology and generate massive controversy at the same time.
There is something new and fundamental happening in the world which could be the start of the next enlightenment period. The core of this is shifting from centralized to decentralized models in all aspects of our lives, both individual and societally.
Outer space is said to be “the final frontier,” yet that frontier may have closed while one other remains open: the human mind. In December 1972 I stood in the midnight darkness on a Florida beach to watch the launch of Apollo 17, the last voyage humans have ever taken beyond the confines of Earth orbit, pondering what it meant for our feeble but ambitious species.
Is it best to be perfectly adapted to a given environment? Or, rather, is it better to be able to adapt to the changes in that environment or to a completely new one? Adaptability is a more useful characteristic in a rapidly changing world.
Why do we think about the future? This may seem an odd setting in which to ask this question. We’re all here tonight because we’re interested in big changes that seem to be thundering ahead in technology, in politics, in the human experience. But there has to be more than “interest.” An organization like the Institute for the Future wouldn’t be around for nearly a half-century if it was really just the Institute for Idle Curiosity About Tomorrow.
This is part 3 of a series looking at the economic trends of new energy technologies. Part 1 looked at how cheap solar can get (very cheap indeed). Part 2 looked at the declining cost and rising reliability of wind power. Now let’s talk about storage.
The news is a tough nut to crack in today’s over-stimulated and often sensational, media-driven world. This is true more than ever in the coverage of artificial intelligence (AI). Many of us are not sure if AI is going to wake up any moment and wreak insidious havoc, taking over or destroying society as we know it.
Dr. Andras Kornai is all about separating AI fact from fiction.
A much better metaphor for gene therapy is space-alien hackers attacking a huge factory covering San Francisco. These hackers shoot canisters of paper-tape instructions for the old computer controlled machinery into this billion year old factory.
Michael Lee is a futurist who founded the World Future Society’s Southern African Chapter and the Institute of Futurology. He’s also an IEET contributing writer. His point-of-view is an essential contribution to IEET’s African Futures Project.
Birth control options for men lag behind options for women by almost a century. Can changing attitudes and a new generation of researchers change that? Maybe.
Three state-of-the-art birth control methods for women have annual pregnancy rates below1 in 500, and the user doesn’t have to think about them for years at a time. By contrast, the best option available to men (short of sterilization) has an annual pregnancy rate of about 1 in 6 and has to be rolled onto an erect penis during each sexual encounter. A new generation of researchers would like to change that—but change takes money.
Google’s robotic cars learn from each other when they are back in the garage, and train in simulated worlds at an accelerated pace. Our future will be inhabited by smart machines using their time much differently than we do.
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