Is the human brain a magnificent, near-miraculous organ? Or a flawed, forgetful, feeble-minded, under-achieving blob? My POV is the latter. Brain 1.0 is laughably dysfunctional, teeming with weaknesses even in our finest specimens. Memories are dust in a hurricane, logic is lunatic, empathy thinner than the neocortex on a sociopathic toddler. I want Brain 2.0. Are you with me? Eager for an upgrade?
Jan 24, 2012
Hybriduality and Geoethics (part 1)by Martine Rothblatt
Contrary to what we’ve been taught, and contrary to what we fervently believe to be true, there is not just one I. We are not individuals; we are hybriduals. Each of us is a compound, collective, hybrid being.
Jan 18, 2012
The Neuroscience Of Creativity And Insight—The Good, The Bad, & The Absolutely Ridiculousby Andrea Kuszewski
—A Critical Look at Recent Studies of Creativity and Insight—
Dec 28, 2011
Transcendent Engineeringby Giulio Prisco
In “Engineering Transcendence” I argued that science may someday develop the capability to resurrect the dead and build (and/or become) God(s), and proposed to base a “transhumanist religion” on this idea.
Dec 21, 2011
#11: The Maitreya and the Cyborg: Connecting East and West for Enriching Transhumanist Philosophyby Miriam Leis
In this essay I would like to reflect on Eastern and Western philosophy, their definition of enlightenment, and their connection to transhumanist thinking. How may Buddhist concepts like ‘Bodhi’ and the ‘Maitreya’ relate to the Western ‘Enlightenment’, human enhancement, and post/transhumanism?
Dec 20, 2011
The Bodhisattva’s Brain pt2Changesurfer Radio
Dr. J. chats with Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy at Duke University and author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. They discuss the relationship of the Aristotleian and Buddhist ideas of happiness and virtue, and the relevance of neuropsychological research on what it means to have a flourishing life. (Part 2 of 2)
Dec 20, 2011
The Bodhisattva’s Brain pt1Changesurfer Radio
Dr. J. chats with Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy at Duke University and author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. They discuss the relationship of the Aristotleian and Buddhist ideas of happiness and virtue, and the relevance of neuropsychological research on what it means to have a flourishing life. (Part 1 of 2)
Dec 13, 2011
Beyond the SoulTuring Church Online
On Sunday December 11, 2011 the Turing Church Online Workshop 2.0, explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″, the convergence of science and religion, highly imaginative future science and technologies for resurrection, emerging science and technologies for immortality, social and memetic engineering. The event was organized by Giulio Prisco, a member of the IEET Board of Directors. About thirty people dropped in to the virtual space to listen to the talks and participate in the discussion. IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel’s pre-recorded talk is available here. IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt’s talk about Terasem’s ideas is available here.
IEET Executive Director James Hughes’ talk reprised the ideas presented in his recent essay “Contradictions of the Enlightenment: Liberal Individualism versus the Erosion of Personal Identity,” arguing for the necessity of embracing a Buddhist acknowledgment that the self is a narrative fiction without any real continuous, discrete referent. The slides used for the talk can be downloaded here. The talk was given in the first 23 minutes of this video:
Dec 10, 2011
Hughes and Blackford featured in Free Inquiry
The new (December 2011/January 2012) issue of Free Inquiry features a set of articles on the prospects of human enhancement, and how these should be viewed by secular people. The positions range across the spectrum from enthusiastic to very resistant, and feature contributions by IEET’s Russell Blackford and James Hughes.
Dec 1, 2011
Compassionate AI and Selfless Robots: A Buddhist Approachby J. Hughes
Buddhist psychology and metaphysics focus on the emergence of selves, their drives, and their potential for developing wisdom and compassion. Buddhism has already entered into a wide ranging dialogue with cognitive science, and can also inform and be informed by efforts to create self-aware machine minds. Buddhism suggests that there are a number of prerequisites for the development of humanlike intelligence in machines. These include embodiment, sensory interaction with the environment, preferences and aversions. The Buddhist view of the advantages of different kinds of minds and embodiments suggests an ethical obligation not to create machine minds which are trapped in particular emotional states or cognitive loops. Rather machine minds should be created with the capacity to dynamically evolve in compassion and wisdom. Compassion must start with empathetic feelings and a theory of mind, but for Buddhism also requires cultivation of equanimity and ethical wisdom. Buddhism suggests the developmental cultivation of ethics from rule-based to virtue-oriented to utilitarian. Finally thoughts are offered on what enlightenment might mean for a machine mind.