The promotion of growth through increased intra-trade and deeper regional economic integration hold much promise in the Southern African region. In particular, with the mixed economies of low and medium income countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), regional integration offers tangible possibilities to leverage and extend economic comparative advantage at a regional level in ways not accessible through national programs.
A basic income (also called basic income guarantee, unconditional basic income, universal basic income or citizen’s income) is a proposed system of social security that regularly provides each citizen with a sum of money unconditionally. Unlike a Guaranteed minimum income, a basic income is entirely unconditional: the only requirement for receiving it is to be a citizen and/or resident of the country without means test. Instead, a minimum income may be conditional upon participating in government enforced labor or other conditional means testing. A basic income of any amount less than the social minimum is sometimes referred to as a ‘partial basic income’. Similar proposals for “capital grants provided at the age of majority” date to Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice of 1795, there paired with asset-based egalitarianism.
I have long held the view that one of the worst thought out yet at the same time most persistent articles on the future of human evolution is Nick Bostrom’swork of the same title. In it, Nick outlines a disastrous outcome for future digital versions of ourselves hashing it out Core War style driven by a skewed understanding of Darwinian dynamics leading to a dystopian cyberspace #ff0000 in tooth and claw.
Project Prevention paid a total of 4,613 people, including eighty-four men, to get one of these birth-control procedures, including IUDs, tubal ligation, Depo-Provera, implanon, or vasectomy over its first fifteen years of operation.iii The project began in California after Harris failed to pass a bill to establish criminal penalties for mothers who consume. Harris began this crusade after adopting four children of a crack-addicted mother in Los Angeles. She responded in a reactionary manner, blaming parents, without much if any sympathy for those who suffer systemic oppression.
I recently examined (and found wanting) the so-called computational theory of mind, albeit in the context of a broader post about the difference between scientific theories and what I think are best referred to as philosophical accounts (such as the above mentioned computational “theory”). Defenders of strong versions of computationalism (which amounts to pretty much the same thing as strong AI) often invoke the twin concepts of computation itself and of the Church-Turing thesis to imply that computationalism is not only obviously true, but has been shown to be so by way of mathematical proof.
I was recently listening to an interview with Ann Cavoukian on Singularity 1 on 1, in which she began by claiming that privacy and freedom are fundamentally aligned. This may have been true historically. But looking forward, I suspect privacy and freedom are actually opposed. I know that may seem counterintuitive, so let me explain.
Human beings have a very limited attention span, a fact amplified a thousand fold by modern media. It seems the “news” can consist of a only handful of widely followed stories at a time, and only one truly complex narrative. This is a shame because the recent breaking of one substantial news story was followed by the breaking of another one which knocked it out of the field of our electronic tunnel vision. Without some narrative connecting the two only one can really hold our attention at a time. Neither of these stories have to do with Kate Middleton and the birth of Prince George.
James Hughes appeared on Huff Post Live on July 26th to defend the work of the controversial Project Prevention led by its Director, Barbara Harris. Project Prevention focuses on paying largely poor, drug-addicted women to not have children by subsidizing them three-hundred dollars each when they secure some form of long-term birth control. Long term birth control methods include Intra-uterine Devices (IUDs), tubal ligation, sterilization, or for their few male clients, vasectomies.
Anti-aging activist Aubrey de Grey has identified medical advances that will eliminate much of the wear and tear our bodies suffer, as we grow old. Those who undergo continuous repair treatments, de Grey said in a Futurist Magazine article; could remain healthy for millennia without fears of dying from old age.
Businesses are increasingly being judged within wider social frameworks and one of the most obvious ways to do this is via sustainability initiatives. Today, indexes, awards, and damning reports are popping up left, right and centre, whilst this year’s World Brand Congress is using “sustainability brands” as its overall theme. In the first of a two-part series on sustainability, Kathryn Cave looks at the Global 100, “cause India”… and what all this sustainability stuff really means.
Major Ashlend Fein, US Army prosecutor in Bradley Manning’s court martial, caught my attention when he referred to Manning as an “anarchist” in closing arguments. As an anarchist, I’d be proud to share that label with Manning. But I’ve never heard from any reliable source that he considers himself one.
Whether or not some form of life extension treatment is possible remains to be seen. Even less imminent than extending lifespan is the prospect of some form regenerative therapies (or modifications) that reduce effective lifespan and restore some form of youthfulness. ‘The person on the street’ tends to estimate how close these treatments might be.
In this response to John Danaher’s piece on Moral Enhancement (Part 1, Part 2,Part 3) Richard Stallman interrogates the difference between morality substitutes and morality enhancers, and the role of cognition in moral behavior.
In some ways, we could look upon the life of a cat and be jealous. A life full of loving attention, of warm beds and constant naps, there is something to be envied in the cat’s life. The cat needn’t fend for itself, if she’s indoors, she has everything she needs in an instant. In addition, the cat isn’t responsible for anything, it can do what it pleases with a kind of total autonomy, and at the same time we will love the cat precisely for this kind of behavior.
Let’s imagine that current trends continue, and technology continues to drive down the price of various goods. We could eventually end up with a world in which artificial intelligence equals human beings in most tasks, household devices can manufacture physical goods with atomic precision, transportation is fully automated, solar energy is plentiful, and high volumes of useful data freely flow from person to person.
In 2009, Dr. George Tiller, family doctor and abortion provider, was shot and killed in his Wichita, Kansas church by an anti-choice extremist. Before the murder, Julie Burkhart worked side by side with Dr. Tiller for eight years. Afterwards, Ms. Burkhart vowed to carry on his vision of safe, accessible abortion care for the women of Kansas. An Interview with Julie Burkhart, reproductive rights hero.
Readers of Rationally Speaking are familiar with my criticism of some scientists or scientific practices, from evolutionary psychology to claims concerning the supernatural. But, especially given my dual background in science and philosophy, I pride myself in being an equal opportunity offender. And indeed, I have for instance chastised Alvin Plantinga for engaging in seriously flawed “philosophy” in the case of his evolutionary argument against naturalism, and have more than once sympathetically referred to James Ladyman and Don Ross’ criticism of analytic metaphysics as a form of “neo-scholasticism.”
Artificial Intelligence is a set of tools that are driving forward key parts of the futurist agenda, sometimes at a rapid clip. The last few years have seen a slew of surprising advances: the IBM supercomputer Watson, which beat two champions of Jeopardy!; self-driving cars that have logged over 300,000 accident-free miles and are officially legal in three states; and statistical learning techniques are conducting pattern recognition on complex data sets from consumer interests to trillions of images. In this post, I’ll bring you up to speed on what is happening in AI today, and talk about potential future applications.
Part of the problem each of us has when it comes to realistically imagining the future is that we ultimately bring our own cognitive biases, our optimism or pessimism, to the question at hand. From the perspective of the types of small societies we evolved out of these kinds of sunny vs gloomy dispositions were no doubt a very good thing. A discovery of a rich patch of good game land followed by feasts necessitated curmudgeons who would remind the tribe that the days of full stomachs would not last. Thankfully, these complainers would not have the final word, and the group would set off again over the next hill assured by the sunnysiders that more of the riches of the world remained on the other side.
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.