This summer True Blood, now in its third season, continues to explore the issues that it has in the past, such as personhood and the coexistence of humans with a species that has many advantages over humans. However, with the introduction of werewolves and the greater focus on shapeshifters, this year there are even better opportunities to relate True Blood to morphological freedom.
Ten days ago, Boston was taken over by the transhumanists, for the gathering of the 2010 Humanity Plus (H+) Summit at Harvard University. The H+ Summit was two glorious days of information loading, idea sharing, and networking—among scientists, techno-geeks, and futurists from all domains—with one common goal: to enhance the human condition.
Ray Kurzweil didn’t cover much new this afternoon. As one wag said on Twitter, “Shouldn’t Ray’s five year-old stump speech be 10,000 times more interesting and only five minutes long?” But Ben does his best to summarize. By the way, check out Kurzweil, J. Hughes, and a cast of thousands in this New York Times story on the Singularity University - J.
We’re here for day 2 of the H+ Summit: Rise of the Citizen Scientist. Ray Kurzweil will be keynoting at the end of the day, but first we’ll hear talks from a bunch of other great speakers, including the IEET’s George Dvorsky, Aubrey de Grey, James Hughes, Patrick Lin, and Natasha Vita-More.
The IEET will be providing coverage of the H+ Summit today. We’re a few minutes away from Alex Lightman’s opening speech. I’m here with James Hughes and we’ll posting updates after every few talks. The first day is packed with exciting speakers. [Watch the conference live]
Nowhere have I seen a clearer example of the perils of corporatism playing out than in the current handling of the BP oil spill. If only Obama understood the context of the decisions he’s about to make, he might be able to use this as an opportunity to turn all this around, and put people and the planet before profits. (Will someone please tell him to read my book Life Inc?)
Transhumanism is the idea of guiding and improving human evolution with intention through the use of technologies and culture. If those technologies are not robotic and cybernetic but, instead, genetic and organic, then so be it.
Ever have the experience that you seriously think you’re trying to achieve one thing, but then in hindsight, years later, you look back and feel like your past self was actually trying to achieve something else entirely?
Last week I made a presentation at a conference on disability rights held at Union College in Schenectady, New York. I was invited by my former student, Joe Stramondo, who is now teaching philosophy in Michigan. The topic that our panel addressed was the impact of enhancement technologies on the understanding of disability.
Citing a new study in The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, The Globe and Mailreports that Canada experienced a significant drop (36.9 per cent) in teenage births and abortions between 1996 and 2006. This is attributed to better access to contraception, better sex education, and changing social norms, but not to a decline in actual sex among teenagers. Rather, Canadian teenagers are now more likely to use condoms and/or the contraceptive pill than was the case in the mid-1990s.
(co-authored with J. Simone Riccardi) There can be no doubt that the explosion of Internet technology started in the 90s has had a huge impact on our culture. For the first time in history, geographically distributed large groups of people have been able to interact in near-real time. Usenet groups and mailing lists, and then the Web, message boards, blogs, social networks, IP voice and video conferencing, have enabled and empowered global communities held together by common interests and world-views instead of geographical proximity.
Last week’s announcement from the J. Craig Venter Institute that scientists had created the first-ever synthetic cell was a profoundly significant point in human history, and marked a turning point in our quest to control the natural world. But the ability to use this emerging technology wisely is already being dogged by fears that we have embarked down a dangerous and morally dubious path.