First nine pages of chapter 1 of the riveting science fiction book Nexus by Ramez Naam brought to you by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Check back here tomorrow for another nine pages of this fascinating book!
The mass murder of 20 children and six adults Friday in Newtown, Conn., has provoked yet another round of recrimination, finger pointing and breast-beating. Was the shooter mentally deranged? If there was more gun control, would this have happened? Did violent video games play any role? What we fervently want as we continue to reel from a story whose misery seems to know no bounds is to find a clear cause - a reason why this happened - so that we can fix it.
If it isn’t the cinematic handling of some very futuristic images or the curious immersion of cybernetic pondering into the narrative flow; Ramez Naam’s Nexus will impress a reader with one very unusual device: it is the unadulterated humanity with its entire heritage that is the most alien and unfamiliar of this world.
Hot chocolate, warm clothes, and wrapped presents under a tree, ‘tis once again the season to be jolly! We are familiar enough with the holidays as they are now; but what might Christmas be like in 50 years?
When you think of the ideal creative environment, what comes to mind? We may imagine a place where you have freedom of expression, a place that encourages breaking convention, somewhere that is abundant in resources that are readily accessible for innovative development of technology, and exposure to many different cultures for inspiration and collaboration. So as you imagine this ultimate creative playground, does Cuba come to mind?
For general and investigative journalists, social media has become a significant means of obtaining news, fact-checking, and reaching out to audiences. Internet-based applications such as Facebook and Twitter count as social media, where they can be used to receive and then share content, resulting in an exchange of ideas, headlines, and discussion on what can be written.
I’m getting increasingly annoyed by all the anti-religious propaganda that litters my Facebook newsfeed. Look, as a fellow humanist and atheist, I get it. Organized religion is a problem on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. I’d be the first person to say that something needs to be done about it and I’m delighted to see atheism become normalized in our society and culture. But seriously, folks, what are you hoping to achieve by posting such facile and inflammatory material?
The future will not be a monopoly of the current superpowers, but lies in the hands of tech-savvy youth from around the world, trying desperately to survive at all costs in an increasingly asymmetrical world.
Reductionism persists as a useful node in the possibility space of understanding and managing the world around us. However the possibility space is now expanding to higher levels of resolution such as a focus on complex systems. Learning and tools are ratcheting in lock-step.
“We will not become immortal cyborgs with superintelligent computer friends in the next twenty years,” writes Annalee Newitz on io9. “There is strong evidence that humans first began exploring the oceans by boat about 50 thousand years ago… What if our space probes and the Curiosity rover are the equivalent of those reed boats thousands of years ago? It’s worth pondering. We may be at the start of a long, slow journey whose climactic moment comes thousands of years from now.” My short answer: So what?
As for the recent launch of a satellite by North Korea, upon a rocket with clear intercontinental potential, I can only repeat my earlier recommendation to the U.S. Administration. One important part of the solution to the “North Korea problem” would arise by announcing that the Hermit Kingdom’s actions will all be attributed and accounted to the legal responsibility of its biggest supporter, enabler and protector.
Acclaimed scientists Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, and others believe that an infinite number of universes exist; and that in some far future time, it may be possible to explore these other worlds, which many believe are connected by wormholes.
The IEET grieves for the innocent children, staff and families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT USA. Our condolences to everyone effected by today’s tragedy. We need to reevaluate the culture of violence (including the amount of guns so readily available) in the United States, and help anyone who may be mentally ill as best we can.
Last week I really thought that people like Francis Fukuyama and Jürgen Habermas have been right all along. Both have claimed in different writings that modern (and especially future) technology will cause our fragile human nature to deteriorate and in effect dehumanize us and our societies.
Telecommunications is an industry that is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace, manifest not only in technological advances, but also the influence of regulation, legal policy, market forces, and security.
Is the holiday season more glitter than glow for you lately? Are you a former Christian who finds that hymns don’t resonate anymore? Do you roll your eyes about the “war on Christmas” manufactroversy? Does the cherubic little Jesus-in-a-Manger fail to flood your body with sweetness? Do you feel mixed about participating in a religious holiday now that you’re not religious? Get the scrooge out with these ten tips:
It’s time, once and for all, to clear up the confusion about Plan B on progressive message boards, Facebook pages, forums and comment threads. Tweet this: Plan B doesn’t cause abortion. It stops or delays ovulation. No egg, no fertilization, no pregnancy – no abortion. It’s that simple.
The notion of robot love has a long history, and by far the dominant emphasis has been on its erotic manifestation. After all, the reasoning goes, a sufficiently advanced robot would offer all of the physical pleasure of a real partner with no emotional entanglements, personal judgments, or dissipating affections, in an un-aging body that can be sculpted to look exactly as one desires. Famous movie actors and actresses might even set up a lucrative side-business licensing their own bodily images to robot manufacturers, even long after time and nature had taken a toll.
Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets — rather it destroys entire markets.” So reads the final line of a report released by the Republican Study Committee of the House of Representatives that is highly critical of current copyright law
These days, you would not be alone in thinking that perhaps future generations would master the PC before the pencil. Actually, more realistically speaking, infants born in the iPhone era may not see an entire personal computer for a long time. Instead their interaction is more likely to be with more portable tech: tablets and smartphones.
As science communicators, we need to do more than just entertain — we need to inform; to persuade; to inspire action. One of the biggest challenges in selling ideas about radical science and technology is engaging and exciting an audience in a way that is non-threatening, believable, and structured in a way that they can relate to personally.
I want to make some claims about the future of brain cognition that will lead to rational, logical, empathetic thought. The notion of “friendly SAI” and “unfriendly SAI” is a fallacy and should be abandoned, that is, the notion that we can program AI in the SAI setting to be friendly is an attempt to undermine intelligence and the domain of empathy and altruism.
According to the Wikipedia entry on “major religious groups”, 85% of the world’s population subscribes to some kind of religion. While in reality the world is obviously not divided neatly into “religious” and “non-religious”, and while religion and theism are not quite the same thing, this statistic nevertheless shows that the various concepts of the divine continue to hold considerable sway over human thought.
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