Of course, no one can forecast with 100% accuracy how the future will progress; but if we look at what experts predict might become possible over the next two-to-three decades; and then blend in some scenarios that push the envelope – an incredible future begins to take form.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) wants us to eat insects. The international agency recently reported that there are more than 1,400 species of recorded edible bugs. It turns out that many varieties are rather nutritious. A serving of grasshoppers, for instance, provides nearly the same amount of protein as ground beef. And insects can be farmed more inexpensively, on much less land and using less water.
Imagine a machine that cleans house, sets the table, creates and serves meals, provides security, and expresses compliments that enhance our ego. This may sound like something out of The Jetsons, but researchers believe that we will one day share our homes with superintelligent household robots that crave to serve our every whim.
International trade has recovered since the economic crisis of 2008-2009 which initially resulted in a worldwide slump in demand and in the liquidity that fuels the movement of goods and services across borders. However, despite this global incremental recovery, slow output growth, high unemployment and economic uncertainty persist across the European Union, while other developed markets have struggled to return to their pre-crisis highs.
It is all too easy to assume that techno-optimists and techno-pessimists are diametrically opposed. But while they may have different destinations in mind, the road to get there – what they need to do to achieve their respective ends – is a shared one. Techno-optimists and technoprogressives express hope and passion for technologies’ liberating and empowering potentials, while techno-pessimists and neo-luddites* are fearful of their dystopic and dehumanizing potentials. Optimists want to spread awareness of the ways in which technology can improve self and society, while optimists seek to spread awareness of the ways in which technology can make matters worse.
Continuing from last time beyond revolutionizing physics Smolin’s goal in Time Reborn is the recovery of our human sense of time. What physics tells us is that there is no distinction between past, present and future. This, of course, collides with our natural sense of time- how we are prone to see ourselves as beings in time. For us, the past is what is behind us, over with, as mute to our desire to change it or have it to live over again as the sheer characteristics of existence such as space, light, energy. The present is where we are right now the location of our body and consciousness a fact that shoves us with it’s immediacy.
Time to reconsider the relationship between science and the supernatural. A number of colleagues in both science and philosophy argue that the supernatural is nothing special, that god-related hypotheses can be tested by ordinary scientific methods, and that — given the repeated failure of such tests — the only rational conclusion is that science has pretty much shown that there is no such thing as the supernatural.
Prior to this weekend, (#)Sharknado took audiences by storm (sorry for audacious puns, but they’re all in the spirit of this new phenomenon). Listed under IMDB as ‘TV Movie’ is probably the first clue of its outrageous premise, acting, and cinematic delivery.
Do-It-Yourself scientists working in hackerspaces are positioned to make significant contributions with low overhead and little formal training (becoming necessary and valuable apprenticeship sites as the current higher education system deteriorates). The state has yet to heavily clamp down, but, because such freedom threatens the status quo, we can expect intervention to intensify.
I was a bit perplexed, to say the least, when I read Big Think blogger John N. Gray’s article “Immortality is a Waste of Time.” His entire argument revolved around the notion that, because of unknown contingencies throughout life, the act of curtailing death’s inevitability and infinity is thus a waste of time, money, thought and anxiety.
‘Making words illegal violates our freedom of speech!’ Of course it does. But that freedom, like many others, isn’t absolute. Our freedoms are limited freedoms. They are limited by several things (Joel Feinberg identifies six liberty-limiting principles), one of which is the harm principle. That is, when our action harms another person or society in general, it is limited. It is illegal.
“The year is 2032. You have just celebrated your 80th birthday and you have some tough decisions ahead. You can keep repairing your current body or move into a new one. The growing of ‘blank’ bodies has become one of the fastest advancing health industries in the world, and by using your own genetic material, body farmers can recreate your biological condition at age 20.” The above scenario was taken from “When Death Becomes Optional,” written by Google’s top-rated Futurist, Thomas Frey in a recent K21st article.
Of late, I’ve been thinking alot about time. I thought this was just a reflection of age until I stumbled across two recent books that see the question of time and our perception of it to be essential to solving many of the problems that plague us from the level of the individual all the way up to those of our global civilization.
Doc Searls makes a great talk on the State of the Net in which he explains how we are reaching the personal data cloud. And also how, also this time, like in the past, with computers, mainframe, networks, mobiles, the corporate world is trying to control those data. And in doing so they limit their usefulness. What gets built outside always becomes more valuable than what is being built inside. Inevitably ending to support those corporations prefer to interface with what is outside than build their own walled gardens.
Although today, technologies that can accurately simulate a deceased person’s life experience, their consciousness, emotions, and memories do not exist, many experts believe that exponential advances in computers, artificial intelligence, and communications technologies could bring this dream into reality by mid-century or before.
In what is perhaps the most absurd attack on transhumanism to date, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com equates this broad philosophy and movement with “the entire idea that you can ‘upload your mind to a computer’” and further posits that the only kind of possible mind uploading is the destructive kind, where the original, biological organism ceases to exist. Adams goes so far as calling transhumanism a “death cult much like the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult led by Marshal Applewhite.”
During our current technological age of the 21st century, topics like robotics, AI, mind uploading, and indefinite life extension are no longer topics of science-fiction, but rather of science-facts and possibilities. The most common one being heavily debated at the current moment is mind uploading. Once we’re able to artificially replicate the human brain, and then begin uploading ourselves into said artificial brain, will we lose consciousness?
Technological innovation and information communication technologies (ICTs) represent a way for developing world nations to foster economic growth and development, improve levels of education and training, as well as address gender issues within society.
Centenarians, people who have reached 100 years of age boast about 450,000 members worldwide; but super-centenarians, those 110 years and older, total just 58 as of May 5, 2013. Current title of the world's oldest person goes to Japan's Misao Okawa at 115. See Wikipedia Oldest People List.
My conviction is that humanity has become trapped in a completely unsustainable economic and post-industrial system. The problems we face are complex and can no means be exhaustive listed, but I’ll limit it to seven main problem areas. These traps are financial, petrochemical, atmospherical, complexity, political, employment and overpopulation.
The idea that the world itself could be considered an overarching form of mind can trace its roots deep into the religious longings of pantheism- the idea that the universe itself is God, or the closest thing we will ever find to our conception of God. In large part, I find pantheists to be a noble group.
Back in 1992, Francis Fukuyama famously argued that the advent of Western liberal democracy spelled nothing less than the endpoint of sociocultural evolution: we have finally discovered the best way to govern people and organize society, and that’s gonna be it.
Singularity, or something far short of it, the very real revolution in artificial intelligence and robotics is already encroaching on the existential nature of aspects of the human condition that have existed for as long as our history.
I’m irked at how many elephants we’re losing to the ivory trade. They are one of the most intelligent of animals, often ranked alongside dolphins. Elephants are beloved. They show up early in our lives, as the a common expression of the letter “e” in board books for babies. They are the central exhibit in many zoos. Whole websites are devoted to saving them. Rangers in Africa have died to save them, and yet more rangers risk their lives fighting poachers every day.
Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution recently wrote a post called No One is Innocent: “I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I have broken some laws, rules, or regulations recently because its hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison…
In general, I’m not a betting man. Intellectual humility cautions against sticking one’s neck out too far into terrain that is too complex to understand, let alone reasonably predict with any confidence. But some bets are unavoidable.
After rising from the primordial soup 3.5 billion years ago, Earth life began an evolutionary trip that has produced today’s amazing humans. Positive futurists now ponder what’s next. Hawking, Kurzweil, Kaku, Drexler, and other visionaries see technologies advancing exponentially in the coming centuries, which could provide peace, affluence, and increased intelligence, with lifespans approaching immortality.