There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this world, and I’ve got a pretty good list: A loving family, the glittering splendor of the cascading galaxies, Eddie Hinton’s guitar solo on the Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” ... you know, the usual stuff. But here’s something you may not think warrants much gratitude this November: The wisdom and common sense of the American people.
Would you give up some of the consumer comforts you presently enjoy in order to live in a society that places a very high value on fairness, equality, and social justice? Or are you okay with a certain amount of “bending the rules” so the privileged class can attain more benefits and accumulate much more power and wealth as long as you also enjoy a higher standard of living?
A few weeks ago, The Science Cheerleaders grabbed headlines with their appearance at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, where they cheered for citizen science and science literacy as well as served to provide a new kind of role model for young girls, showing them they can be both cheerleaders and scientists.
It’s 2010 — our 2010 — and an artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful entities on Earth. It manages trillions of dollars in resources, governments shape their policies according to its reactions, and, while some people revere it as literally incapable of error and others despise it as a cathastrophic tyrant, everybody is keenly aware of its existence and power.
Humans are animals that build tools to enhance physiology. It is the use of tools that helped to increase the human brain into a larger, more complex system than that of early hominids. “Tools and bigger brains mark the beginning of a distinctly human line of evolution.” (Kelly 2010, 22) According to Jared Diamond, early hominids lacked innovation: “In short, Neanderthal tools had no variation in either time or space to suggest that most human characteristics, innovation”. (Diamond 2006, 44) What will we do with nanotechnology and AGI?
Peter Dickins has penned a provocative article in the Monthly Review: The Humanization of the Cosmos—To What End? Dickins approaches the subject of space colonization from a decidedly leftist perspective, and is wonders how the process can unfold without the exploitation of humans and the environment.
I am writing this after having responded to a respected friend, a bioethicist with whom I am connected via Facebook. In his photo albums, he has a picture of a protected area for dogs in Thailand. This got me thinking.
In science fiction, when humanity is faced with existential crises, we turn to great minds attached to great hearts. While we aren’t under alien attack or facing sentient machines, our world has its own share of problems. Human cognitive enhancement might just be the solution from which all other solutions are born; or maybe it brings too many risks of its own.
Slate magazine and New America Foundation are holding a seminar on the biology and policy implications of radical life extension today, with help from the IEET’s Sean Hays and with IEET Fellow Aubrey de Grey as a speaker.
What if America lost its knack for making things? IEET Fellow David Brin’s new graphic novel Tinkerers is set in the year 2024, and combines art with history and tech to explore where the U.S. went wrong.
There have been monsters in fiction ever since there was any fiction at all. They are — always — scary, and sometimes attractive. But during the last years they have also began to be something else, something never seen before: they are our colleagues.
The quantified self movement is really starting to gain some steam, mostly on account of a slew of new technologies and services that are making personalized metrics easier and more meaningful. It’s truly a case where the dream is coming true; in short order we will be able to track the most minute details of our body’s functioning, have that data analyzed, and given a set of prescriptions to help us optimize our health based on a predetermined set of goals.