I have recently been to the European Philosophy of Science Association meeting, where my colleague Maarten Boudry and I have hosted a symposium on our recently published book on the Philosophy of Pseudoscience. I have, of course attended several other sessions and talks, as is customary on these occasions (it is also customary to enjoy the local sights, food and drinks, which I dutifully subjected myself to…).
This essay contains spoilers from a book I’ve read, “Memories with Maya” by Clyde DeSouza. I’ve read it a few times now and each time I did, I’ve picked up a different outlook on just what it means to be human in today’s hyper-paced technological world. In composing this article, I had to make myself think about not just my own perspective, but what others will consider in really just a few years from now.
As President Obama has continuously sound off the war drums against Syria, and as the people anxiously wait for a response by Congress as to whether or not another U.S. war against a sovereign Middle Eastern country is ethically desirable, the technoprogressive left of the Transhumanist movement has all but declared a voice in this debate.
"It's the year 2030, and as I glance around my bedroom, I feel secure knowing that microscopic sensors embedded throughout the house constantly monitor my breathing, heart rate, brain activity and other vital health issues. For example, blood non-invasively extracted last night checked for free-radicals and precancerous cells, and then ordered all the necessary preventative drugs from my home nanoreplicator.
Named for its creator Alan Turing, the Turing test is meant to test a machine’s intelligence by assessing its conversational abilities (Bieri, 1988, 163). Turing adapted the test to suit machines from an existing test, the Imitation Game, wherein a man and a woman would converse via teletype (Bieri, 1988, 163).
Ever since Socrates, philosophers have been in the business of asking questions of the type “What is X?” The point has not always been to actually find out what X is, but rather to explore how we think about X, to bring up to the surface wrong ways of thinking about it, and hopefully in the process to achieve an increasingly better understanding of the matter at hand. In the early part of the twentieth century one of the most ambitious philosophers of science, Karl Popper, asked that very question in the specific case in which X = science. Popper termed this the “demarcation problem,” the quest for what distinguishes science from nonscience and pseudoscience (and, presumably, also the latter two from each other).
We are all going to be dead before we know it, and we all know this. Time just sprints past. Summers skip through ones life like they’re frolicking through a meadow. The world doesn’t do much about that. Why is that? There must be an answer to that, right? Three of the main reasons are (1) that more people need to know why they should desire an extended, indefinitely long life, (2) they need to know why they should think that stopping aging and diseases is achievable, and (3) they need to know what they can do to make an impact: There is one simple thing that every person needs to know to do, which is crucial to making sure that you have the best chances of indefinite life extension being reached in your lifetime.
Our front yard is different than our back yard. The front is sunny and bright and grows flowers and moss-free grass. The back is partly shaded and often five degrees cooler. The two spaces have different micro-climates. This isn’t new science. Thomas Jefferson understood it. When he gardened at Monticello, he planted grapes on a sunny hillside that saw significant warmth for two months longer than many of his other lands.
Even as the U.S. security state becomes more closed, centralized and brittle in the face of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, civil society and the public are responding to the post-Snowden repression by becoming more dispersed and resilient.
The strategic aim of universal health coverage is to ensure that everyone can use the health services they need without risk of financial ruin or impoverishment, no matter what their socio-economic situation. The over-arching concept of universal health coverage takes a broad view of the services that are needed for good health and well-being.
One common argument against indefinite lifespans is that a definitive limit to one’s life – that is, death – provides some essential baseline reference, and that it is only in contrast to this limiting factor that life has any meaning at all. In this article I refute the argument’s underlying premises, and then argue that even if such premises were taken as true, its conclusion – that eradicating death would negate the “limiting factor” that legitimizes life – is also invalid, because the ever-changing state of self and of world can constitute such a limiting factor just as well as death can, which can be seen lucidly in the simple fact that opportunities once here are now gone, and that it is not death but life itself that is responsible for that.
Positive futurists believe we will see more progress during the next five decades than was experienced in the last 200 years. In The Singularity is Near, author Ray Kurzweil reveals how science will change the ways we live, work, and play. The following offers some of the incredible possibilities we can expect.
Planning childbirth and discouraging or eliminating factors that contribute to preventable birth complications are a priority for many transhumanists. All people should have access to reproductive services for free to use at their discretion, especially if we concede to live under a capitalist system that requires poverty, which in turn limits access to adequate care. This is a basic concept on which many transhumanists, especially at the IEET, agree.
The year is 2025 and there’s a raging snow storm outside. The world is a pale shade of white and gray. You wake up and instinctively look around the bedroom to locate the amber dot glowing on your G-Glass iteration #4 (4th generation upgrade) visor.
If we take what amounts to the very long view of the matter it’s quite easy to see how both the tradition of human rights and transhumanism emerge from what are in effect two different Christian emphasises on the life of Christ. Of course, this is to look at things from the perspective of the West alone. One can easily find harbingers of both human rights and transhumanism outside of Christianity and the West in Non-Western societies and religious/philosophical traditions in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or Taoism among others.
If you want a dispassionate, unbiased, detached, “objective” examination of the book’s plot, character development, literary style, form, etc., look elsewhere. I will not give you a synopsis of the plot and describe all the main personalities and relationships between the characters. Many other reviewers have done this already. I am going to tell you a bit of what I love about the story and characters, but mostly I will help you to modulate your expectations so that you will be clear as to what this book is and is not. Armed with this information, you may be able to get more out of it than you would have, had you approached it with whatever set of expectations you would have brought to it prior to reading this “review.”
A few mornings ago, I woke up at about 6:00 AM to head for class. I put on my clothes, prepared my bag, and sat down for breakfast. At around 6:30, I was looking on the television to see what was on. I searched around and a title caught my eye: LEF on the TV Guide Channel. I thought to myself, “is this what I think it is?” and patiently waited for it to come on. My curiosity was primarily lead on by assumption of what it could be. When it finally came on, it was exactly what I assumed: an infomercial for the Life Extension Foundation.
It is a long-standing trend in futurists circles to paint the future as bleak and dangerous as possible with only a handful of elite ‘rationalists’ able to even understand, let alone adequately address the problem. In this tradition there exist a number of more or less well-known, more or less scary as well as more or less publicised concepts that all have a number of characteristics in common.
I look to the near future and see so much potential. I study and learn open-mindedly, willing to hear out other opinions so long they’re reasonable and to the point. Modern science and technology have become the very tools to which anyone seeking to push positive fundamental change in the world needed. I grasped onto socialism, for it was the socialists throughout history who were there, on the frontlines, fighting for positive social and economic change.
“In a not-too-distant future, adventurers prepare for a cosmic journey at Spaceport America, but they will not be boarding any rocket-driven spacecraft. Instead, they simply walk through a Star Gate-like archway and instantly step onto a planet millions of light years from Earth.”
How is this for a bold statement: the ultimate morality or immorality of transhumanism rests with the position it will take on the question of human rights and more specifically its adoption or denial of the principles of one document little discussed outside of the circle of international lawyers and human rights activists: The Universal Declaration of Right of 1948.
When asked what the biggest bottleneck for Radical or Indefinite Longevity is, most thinkers say funding. Some say the biggest bottleneck is breakthroughs and others say it’s our way of approaching the problem (i.e. that many are seeking healthy life extension, a.k.a. “aging gracefully”, instead of more comprehensive methods of indefinite life-extension), but the majority seem to feel that what is really needed is adequate funding to plug away at developing and experimentally-verifying the various, sometimes mutually-exclusive technologies and methodologies that have already been proposed. I claim that Radical Longevity’s biggest bottleneck is not funding, but advocacy.
Under the cooperative model, workers own the business, reducing injustice because they have a stake in the community and because an individual will find it hard to exploit oneself. Workers often buy into their jobs (upfront or amortized), vote on major decisions in general assemblies or committees, and even voluntarily donate to the co-op for re-investment. Known as “workplace democracy,” this model of authentic self-determination renders state action superfluous.
I’ve heard you are interested in the topics of aging and longevity. This is very cool, because fighting for radical life extension is the wisest and most humanitarian strategy. I would like to tell you what needs to be done, but, unfortunately, I haven’t got your email address, or any other way to be heard.
Near the end of May of this year I came into contact with Russell Swanborough, Managing Director of ScIAM (Science of Informational Management), a software company located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr. Swanborough is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging scientific and technological advancements, while helping humanity survive from any possible existential risks said technological advancements may incur.
Something I think we are prone to forget in this age of chattering heads and two-bit pundits is that ideas have consequences. Anyone engaged in public discourse has some responsibility to wrestle with the ethical implications of their thought, and this is as much the case for the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world as it is for that disappearing class of thinkers who once proudly went by the name intellectuals. In a way, artists have always had an easier time than those engaged in more discursive lines of thought.
The 2nd amendment of the American Constitution gives U.S citizens the constitutional right to bear arms. Perhaps the most prominent justification given for the 2nd amendment is as a defense against tyrannical government, where citizens have a method of defending themselves against a corrupt government, and of taking their government back by force if needed by forming a citizen militia.