An IEET White Paper by By George Dvorsky and James Hughes.
Abstract: Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without “mothers” and “fathers,” and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression.
Abstract: Most agree that our lives and our world are better if we are happier. So linking the moral goal of greater happiness with our biological understanding of happiness seems obvious. Let us think of the position that it is permissible for individuals to make this linkage—to use pharmacology and other technologies in the service of increased happiness—as the ‘bio-happiness’ proposal. Several different technologies might be used in pursuit of this goal, e.g., pharmacological agents (“happy pills” ) might be developed, or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select embryos with genes associated with a high level of happiness, or genetically engineering embryos for happiness. Most of the paper is devoted to defending bio-happiness against criticisms. The field of which may be characterized as follows:
(1) Happiness is not of moral importance.
(2) Bio-happiness cannot increase our happiness.
(3) Bio-happiness will come at too great a cost to other moral values.
As the potential for enhancement technologies migrates from the theoretical to the practical, a difficult and important decision will be imposed upon human civilization, namely the issue as to whether or not we are morally obligated to biologically enhance nonhuman animals and integrate them into human and posthuman society. Precedents for intra-species cultural uplift abound in human history, providing both sobering and edifying episodes showcasing the possibilities for the instigated and accelerated advancement of technologically delayed societies. As a number of scientists, philosophers and futurists have recently argued, there is mounting evidence in support of the suggestion that these historical episodes are symptomatic of a larger developmental trend, namely the inexorable and steady advancement of intelligence. Civilizational progress necessarily implies increasing levels of organization and refinement across all realms of activity. Consequently, the status of nonhuman species and the biosphere will eventually come under the purview of guided intelligence rather than autonomous processes. That said, a developmental tendency towards uplift does not imply that it is good or right; more properly, it can be argued that uplift scenarios do in fact carry moral currency. Through the application of Rawlsian moral frameworks, and in consideration of the acknowledgement of legally recognized nonhuman persons, it can be shown that the presence of uplift biotechnologies will represent a new primary good and will thus necessitate the inclusion of highly sapient nonhumans into what has traditionally been regarded as human society. In addition to issues of distributive justice, the Rawlsian notion of original position can be used to answer the question of whether or not there is consent to uplift. Finally, it will be shown that the presence of uplift biotechnologies in the absence of the legal recognition of nonhuman persons and a mandate for responsible uplifting will ultimately lead to abuse, adding another important consideration to the uplift imperative.
The Journal of Evolution and Technology (JET) is a scholarly peer-reviewed journal published by the IEET. JET welcomes submissions on subject matters that many mainstream journals shun as too speculative, radical, or interdisciplinary on all issues
relating to the future prospects of the human species and its descendants. Since its inception in 1998, JET has had five editors-in-chief: Dr. Nick Bostrom, Dr. Robin Hanson, Dr. Mark Walker, Dr. James Hughes and and (currently) Dr. Russell Blackford.
All submissions deemed to be of sufficient quality to merit consideration are reviewed by internal and external reviewers. Historically, the journal has had an acceptance rate of roughly 25%. Submission guidelines here.
Scientific advances in genetics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence signal the end of our traditional concept of the human being. The most vigorous movements dealing with this ongoing crisis of humanism are posthumanism and transhumanism. While posthumanism reconsiders what it means to be human, transhumanism actively promotes human enhancement. Both approaches address the posthuman condition in the technological age. In 20 articles, written by leading scholars of the field including the IEET’s Executive Director James Hughes and the volume’s co-editor and IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner, this volume provides the first comprehensive introduction to debates beyond humanism.
Does God exist? Using an intellectually rigorous, scientific approach, Marshall Brain—the founder of HowStuffWorks.com and author of the How Stuff Works series—sets out to resolve the eternal debate once and for all. With a compelling sense of curiosity, he breaks down mankind’s search for a higher power, tackling such quandaries as: Who is God? What are his attributes? What is God doing and why? How does God interact with humanity? And ultimately, how can humans know with certainty whether God is real or imaginary?How God Works is an enlightening journey in critical thinking that challenges readers to boldly approach the subject of personal faith and put aside intuition in favor of objectivity and logic.
Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives. Meet Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina. If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos through Instagram, or blogging regularly, you’re already on your way to creating a Mindfile—a digital database of your thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions that is essentially a back-up copy of your mind. Soon, this Mindfile can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that mimics the way human brains organize information, create emotions and achieve self-awareness. This may sound like science-fiction, but the nascent technology already exists. Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working to create cyberconsciousness based on human consciousness and the Obama administration recently announced plans to invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and Rothblatt, with a Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue.
MIND-UPLOADING: the process of transferring one’s mind from the brain to a new substrate, generally a computer. It is the stuff of science fiction, immediately recognizable in contemporary literature and cinema. However, it has also become increasingly respectable—or at least approachable—within technological, neurological, and philosophical circles. This book begins with a rich taxonomy of hypothetical procedures by which mind-uploading might be achieved, even if only in the realm of thought experiment. This is likely the most thorough collection of such procedures yet compiled and should form the basis of any reader’s personal philosophy of mind and mind-uploading. It then offers one such philosophy of mind, along with an analysis and interpretation of the scenarios in the taxonomy through the lens of this philosophy. This book will be an important component of any curious reader’s developing philosophy of mind and mind-uploading.
“Starting with a very useful description of the ways that minds may be uploaded in the future, this book steps through some of the key philosophical issues that mind uploading poses. What is consciousness? Is there personal identity? What would the relationship of an organic person be to his mind clone? If we can copy minds would that mean there is no free will? This book makes a useful contribution to a debate that our children will undoubtedly have a stake in.” —JAMES J. HUGHES PH.D. * Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies * Author, Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future
Radical life extension is desirable on ethical grounds and can be achieved through conscious scientific efforts. This work reviews 20th century life-extensionism, focusing on central authors such as Elie Metchnikoff, Bernard Shaw, Alexis Carrel, and Alexander Bogomolets. Their works are considered in the social and intellectual context of France (Chapter One), Germany, Austria, Romania and Switzerland (Chapter Two), Russia (Chapter Three), and the US and UK (Chapter Four).
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains.
If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.
But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?
To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity’s cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological
cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence.
This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom’s work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Between Ape and Artilect is edited by IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel, and includes interviews with IEETers Aubrey de Grey, David Brin, Wendell Wallach, Giulio Prisco and Natasha Vita-More. During 2010-12, Dr. Goertzel conducted a series of textual interviews with researchers in various areas of cutting-edge science—artificial general intelligence, nanotechnology, life extension, neurotechnology, collective intelligence, mind uploading, body modification, neuro-spiritual transformation, and more. These interviews were published online in H+ Magazine, and are here gathered together in a single volume. The resulting series of dialogues treats a variety of social, futurological and scientific topics in a way that is accessible to the educated non-scientist, yet also deep and honest to the subtleties of the topics being discussed. Between Ape and Artilect is a must-read if you want the real views, opinions, ideas, muses and arguments of the people creating our future.
Table of Contents
Itamar Arel: AGI via Deep Learning
Pei Wang: What Do You Mean by “AI”?
Joscha Bach: Understanding the Mind
Hugo DeGaris: Will There be Cyborgs?
DeGaris Interviews Goertzel: Seeking the Sputnik of AGI
Linas Vepstas: AGI, Open Source and Our Economic Future
Joel Pitt: The Benefits of Open Source for AGI
Randal Koene: Substrate-Independent Minds
João Pedro de Magalhães: Ending Aging
Aubrey De Grey: Aging and AGI
David Brin: Sousveillance
J. Storrs Hall: Intelligent Nano Factories and Fogs
Mohamad Tarifi: AGI and the Emerging Peer-to-Peer Economy
Michael Anissimov: The Risks of Artificial Superintelligence
Muehlhauser & Goertzel: Rationality, Risk, and the Future of AGI
Paul Werbos: Will Humanity Survive?
Wendell Wallach: Machine Morality
Francis Heylighen: The Emerging Global Brain
Steve Omohundro: The Wisdom of the Global Brain and the Future of AGI
Alexandra Elbakyan: Beyond the Borg
Giulio Prisco: Technological Transcendence
Zhou Changle: Zen and the Art of Intelligent Robotics
Hugo DeGaris: Is God an Alien Mathematician?
Lincoln Cannon: The Most Transhumanist Religion?
Natasha Vita-More: Upgrading Humanity
Jeffery Martin & Mikey Siegel: Engineering Enlightenment
Formerly the chief economist of General Motors, IEET Affiliate Scholar Ted Chu displays enormous erudition in this expansive study of the trajectory of human and cosmic evolution. Chu celebrates the prospect of new forms of cosmic life that, he shows, will be the ultimate expression of humanity’s evolutionary purpose.
“Today we stand at a new frontier. We have within our sight—if not yet within our reach—a radically new human freedom. It is the freedom from our inborn genetic condition—the liberation from the constraints of our biological form. . . . The human era as we have known it is coming to an end. The posthuman era is about to begin.”
Chu establishes an interdisciplinary and evolutionary stance and then interrogates the ongoing transhumanist project from a rich variety of perspectives. He goes on to articulate a goal for humanity in the face of technological breakthroughs that beckon us toward previously unimagined potentials for progress—that is, if we can find the courage to consciously manage our own evolution. A new understanding of transhumanism emerges as he plumbs the depths of the world’s wisdom traditions and surveys the most cutting-edge evolutionary theories and scientific advances. While admitting that the pursuit of human happiness is appropriate and noble, Chu demonstrates why our ultimate purpose—our “new divine covenant”—is to serve the forward march of cosmic evolution through the transcendence of our own biology, thus making way for our evolutionary successors in the posthuman future.
- The most comprehensive approach to cyber-immortality, based on real research
- Rigorously examines how a remarkable vision can actually be achieved
- The convergence of information, cognitive, and social sciences makes this a truly cross-disciplinary research topic
Personality Capture and Emulation is the gateway to an amazing future that actually may be achieved, enabling the preservation and simulation of human personalities at progressively higher levels of fidelity. This challenge is no longer the province merely of uninhibited visionaries, but has become a solid field of research, drawing upon a wide range of information technologies in human-centered computing and cyber-human systems. Even at modest levels of accomplishment, research in this emerging area requires convergence of cognitive, social, and cultural sciences, in cooperation with information engineering and artificial intelligence, thus stimulating new multidisciplinary perspectives. Therefore this book will inspire many specific research and development projects that will produce their own valuable outcomes, even as the totality of the work moves us closer to a major revolution in human life. Will it ever really be possible to transfer a human personality at death to a technology that permits continued life? Or will people come to see themselves as elements in a larger socio-cultural system, for which a societal information system can provide collective immortality even after the demise of individuals? A large number and variety of pilot studies and programming projects are offered as prototypes for research that innovators in many fields may exploit for the achievement of their own goals. Together, they provide an empirical basis to strengthen the intellectual quality of several current debates at the frontiers of the human and information sciences.
Emerging biotechnologies that manipulate human genetic material have drawn a chorus of objections from politicians, pundits, and scholars. In Humanity Enhanced, Russell Blackford eschews the heated rhetoric that surrounds genetic enhancement technologies to examine them in the context of liberal thought, discussing the public policy issues they raise from legal and political perspectives. Some see the possibility of genetic choice as challenging the values of liberal democracy. Blackford argues that the challenge is not, as commonly supposed, the urgent need for a strict regulatory action. Rather, the challenge is that fear of these technologies has created an atmosphere in which liberal tolerance itself is threatened. Focusing on reproductive cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis of embryos, and genetic engineering, Blackford takes on objections to enhancement technologies (raised by Jürgen Habermas and others) based on such concerns as individual autonomy and distributive justice. He argues that some enhancements would be genuinely beneficial, and that it would be justified in some circumstances even to exert pressure on parents to undertake genetic modification of embryos. Blackford argues against draconian suppression of human enhancement, although he acknowledges that some specific and limited regulation may be required in the future. More generally, he argues, liberal democracies would demonstrate liberal values by tolerating and accepting the emerging technologies of genetic choice.
Happy-People-Pills for All explores current theories of happiness while demonstrating the need to develop advanced pharmacological agents for the enhancement of our capacity for happiness and wellbeing.
- Presents the first detailed exploration of the enhancement of happiness
- A controversial yet rigorous argument that demonstrates the moral imperative for the development and mass distribution of ‘happy-pills’, to promote the wellbeing of the individual and society
- Brings together the philosophy, psychology and biology of happiness
- Maps the development of the next generation of positive mood pharmacology
- Offers a corrective to contemporary accounts of happiness
What if a woman as strong and as complex as Eva Perón began her life as a robot repair assistant threatened by a powerful peacekeeping force that wants to take all she has from her? The discovery ship, Creative Fire, is on its way home from a multi-generational journey. But home is nothing like the crew expected. They have been gone for generations, and the system they return to is home to technologies and riches beyond their wildest dreams. But they are immediately oppressed and relegated to the lowest status imaginable, barely able to interact with the technologies and people of the star station where they dock, the Diamond Deep. Ruby Martin and her partner, Joel North, must find a way to learn what they need to know and to become more than they have ever been if they are to find a way to save their people.
The Diamond Deep is about how love and strength and creativity can shine in the face of great power, and about the way that real leaders protect their people. It’s also about the speed of change. The core “what if’ for this second story in the duology is “What if you were effectively stranded in a place with little change, while your home culture surfs waves of new technology and expands to fill a solar system?”
A story of one man’s determination to HACK his destiny, even if it meant challenging Divine Providence…
The story looks at how augmentation technology will affect emotions, intimate human relationships, and our very evolution as a species.
Containing more than 160 essays from over 40 contributors, this edited volume of essays on the science, philosophy and politics of longevity considers the project of ending aging and abolishing involuntary death-by-disease from a variety of viewpoints: scientific, technological, philosophical, pragmatic, artistic. In it you will find not only information on the ways in which science and medicine are bringing about the potential to reverse aging and defeat death within many of our own lifetimes, as well as the ways that you can increase your own longevity today in order to be there for tomorrow’s promise, but also a glimpse at the art, philosophy and politics of longevity as well – areas that will become increasingly important as we realize that advocacy, lobbying and activism can play as large a part in the hastening of progress in indefinite lifespans as science and technology. Edited by IEET contributor Franco Cortese, contributing authors include IEET Trustee Martine Rothblatt, IEET Board member Giulio Prisco, IEET Affiliate Scholars Hank Pellissier and Ilia Stambler, Ph.D., and IEET contributors Maria Konovalenko, Clyde DeSouza, B.J. Murphy, Rachel Armstrong, Joern Pallensen, Dick Pelletier, R.U. Sirius, and Peter Wicks, Ph.D.
The exciting sequel to Nexus. Six months have passed since the release of Nexus 5. The world is a different, more dangerous place. In the United States, the terrorists – or freedom fighters – of the Post-Human Liberation Front use Nexus to turn men and women into human time bombs aimed at the President and his allies. In Washington DC, a government scientist, secretly addicted to Nexus, uncovers more than he wants to know about the forces behind the assassinations, and finds himself in a maze with no way out. In Thailand, Samantha Cataranes has found peace and contentment with a group of children born with Nexus in their brains. But when forces threaten to tear her new family apart, Sam will stop at absolutely nothing to protect the ones she holds dear. In Vietnam, Kade and Feng are on the run from bounty hunters seeking the price on Kade’s head, from the CIA, and from forces that want to use the back door Kade has built into Nexus 5. Kade knows he must stop the terrorists misusing Nexus before they ignite a global war between human and posthuman. But to do so, he’ll need to stay alive and ahead of his pursuers. And in Shanghai, a posthuman child named Ling Shu will go to dangerous and explosive lengths to free her uploaded mother from the grip of Chinese authorities. The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck. The world will never be the same.
Leading scholars from various disciplines analyze the relevance of evolutionary theory for future developments, whereby the fields of anthropology, ethics, and theology are considered in particular detail. The main parts of the collection are dedicated to the following three questions: What are the basic principles of evolutionary processes? Is it morally legitimate to influence evolution by means of enhancement technologies? What is the relationship between evolutionary theory and belief in God?
Sarah Chan: Enhancement and Evolution
Nikolaus Knoepffler: Ethical Assessment of Human Genetic Enhancement
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner: Evolution, Education, and Genetic Enhancement
Mikhail Epstein: Technology as a New Theology. From «New Atheism» to Technotheism
What is the relationship between religion and multi-player online roleplaying games? Are such games simply a secular distraction from traditional religious practices, or do they in fact offer a different route to the sacred? In eGods, a leading scholar in the study of virtual gameworlds takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions of 41 games and arrives at some surprising conclusions. William Sims Bainbridge investigates all aspects of the gameworlds’ religious dimensions: the focus on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the gameworlds (and how this relates to cults in the real world); the predominance of polytheism; and, of course, how gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are multiple and immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. Nevertheless, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Examining EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many others, Bainbridge contends that gameworlds offer a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts, simulates many aspects of real life, and provides meaningful narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Indeed, Bainbridge suggests that such games take us back to those ancient nights around the fire, when shadows flickered and it was easy to imagine the monsters conjured by the storyteller lurking in the forest. Arguing that gameworlds reintroduce a curvilinear model of early religion, where today as in ancient times faith is inseparable from fantasy, eGods shows how the newest secular technology returns us to the very origins of religion so that we might “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
The most valuable resource on earth is not oil, gold, water or land. Instead, our capacity for expanding human knowledge is our greatest resource, and the key to overcoming the very real resource scarcity and enormous environmental challenges we face. Throughout human history we have learned to overcome scarcity and adversity through the application of innovation — the only resource that is expanded, not depleted, the more we use it.
The century ahead is a race between our damaging overconsumption and our growing understanding of ways to capture and utilize abundant natural resources with less impact on the planet. The Infinite Resource is a clear-eyed, visionary, and hopeful argument for progress.
If you want to understand the challenges of climate change, finite fossil fuels, fresh water depletion, feeding the planet, and more – and if you want to understand how to overcome those challenges through innovation – read this book.
1 The Philosophy of Transhumanism, Max More
2 Aesthetics: Bringing the Arts & Design into the Discussion of Transhumanism, Natasha Vita-More*
3 Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up, Nick Bostrom*
4 Transhumanist Declaration (2012), Various
5 Morphological Freedom – Why We Not Just Want It, but Need It, Anders Sandberg
Part II Human Enhancement: The Somatic Sphere
6 Welcome to the Future of Medicine, Robert A. Freitas Jr.
7 Life Expansion Media, Natasha Vita-More*
8 The Hybronaut Affair: A Ménage of Art, Technology, and Science, Laura Beloff
9 Transavatars, William Sims Bainbridge*
10 Alternative Biologies, Rachel Armstrong
Part III Human Enhancement: The Cognitive Sphere
11 Re-Inventing Ourselves: The Plasticity of Embodiment, Sensing, and Mind, Andy Clark
12 Artificial General Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, Ben Goertzel*
13 Intelligent Information Filters and Enhanced Reality, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko
14 Uploading to Substrate-Independent Minds, Randal A. Koene
15 Uploading, Ralph C. Merkle
Part IV Core Technologies
16 Why Freud Was the First Good AI Theorist, Marvin Minsky
17 Pigs in Cyberspace, Hans Moravec
18 Nanocomputers, J. Storrs Hall
19 Immortalist Fictions and Strategies, Michael R. Rose
20 Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler
Part V Engines of Life: Identity and Beyond Death
21 The Curate’s Egg of Anti-Anti-Aging Bioethics, Aubrey de Grey*
22 Medical Time Travel, Brian Wowk
23 Transhumanism and Personal Identity, James Hughes*
24 Transcendent Engineering, Giulio Prisco*
Part VI Enhanced Decision-Making
25 Idea Futures: Encouraging an Honest Consensus, Robin Hanson
26 The Proactionary Principle: Optimizing Technological Outcomes, Max More
27 The Open Society and Its Media, Mark S. Miller, with E. Dean Tribble, Ravi Pandya, and Marc Stiegler
Part VII Biopolitics and Policy
28 Performance Enhancement and Legal Theory: An Interview with Professor Michael H. Shapiro
29 Justifying Human Enhancement: The Accumulation of Biocultural Capital, Andy Miah*
30 The Battle for the Future, Gregory Stock
31 Mind is Deeper Than Matter: Transgenderism, Transhumanism, and the Freedom of Form, Martine Rothblatt*
32 For Enhancing People, Ronald Bailey
33 Is Enhancement Worthy of Being a Right?, Patrick D. Hopkins*
34 Freedom by Design: Transhumanist Values and Cognitive Liberty, Wrye Sententia*
Part VIII Future Trajectories: Singularity
35 Technological Singularity, Vernor Vinge
36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity, Anders Sandberg
37 A Critical Discussion of Vinge’s Singularity Concept, David Brin*, Damien Broderick, Nick Bostrom, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko, Robin Hanson, Max More, Michael Nielsen, and Anders Sandberg
Part IX The World’s Most Dangerous Idea
38 The Great Transition: Ideas and Anxieties, Russell Blackford*
39 Trans and Post, Damien Broderick
40 Back to Nature II: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, Roy Ascott
41 A Letter to Mother Nature, Max More
42 Progress and Relinquishment, Ray Kurzweil
This book explores the creation and use of artificially made humanoid servants and servant networks by fictional and non-fictional scientists of the early modern period. Beginning with an investigation of the roots of artificial servants, humanoids, and automata from earlier times, LaGrandeur traces how these literary representations coincide with a surging interest in automata and experimentation, and how they blend with the magical science that preceded the empirical era. In the instances that this book considers, the idea of the artificial factotum is connected with an emotional paradox: the joy of self-enhancement is counterpoised with the anxiety of self-displacement that comes with distribution of agency.In this way, the older accounts of creating artificial slaves are accounts of modernity in the making—a modernity characterized by the project of extending the self and its powers, in which the vision of the extended self is fundamentally inseparable from the vision of an attenuated self. This book discusses the idea that fictional, artificial servants embody at once the ambitions of the scientific wizards who make them and society’s perception of the dangers of those ambitions, and represent the cultural fears triggered by independent, experimental thinkers—the type of thinkers from whom our modern cyberneticists descend.
Science and technology appears to eliminate mystery, but, on closer inspection, they do not. The more science succeeds in eliminating mystery, in a sense, the more its creates new mysteries. Humans need a mysterious and symbolic dimension that gives meaning to their existence.
Publishers Weekly: Whether or not readers are familiar with the concept of presentism—the theory that society is more focused on the immediacy of the moment in front of them (actually more specifically on the moment that just passed) than the moment before or, perhaps more importantly, the future—they’ve certainly felt the increasing pressure of keeping up with various methods of communication, be it texting, Web surfing, live interactions, or a litany of other media for staying “connected.” Using Alvin Toffler’s concept of “future shock” as a jumping-off point, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia; Get Back in the Box; Media Virus; etc.) deftly weaves in a number of disparate concepts (the Home Shopping Network, zombies, Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, Internet mashups, hipsters’ approximation of historical ephemera as irony, etc.) to examine the challenge of keeping up with technological advances as well as their ensuing impact on culture and human relations in a world that’s always “on.” By highlighting five areas (the rise of moronic reality TV; our need to be omnipresent; the need to compress time in order to achieve our goals; the compulsion to connect unrelated concepts in an effort to make better sense of them; and a gnawing sense of one’s obsolescence), Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that’s sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging.
Mankind gets an upgrade. In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.
What human civilization needs more than anything is not greater IQ or EQ, but TQ: technology quotient. In their manifesto Hybrid Reality, husband-and-wife team Ayesha & Parag Khanna explores the frontier of the information revolution: The Hybrid Age.
In this era of disruptive technologies, accelerating change, and deep anxiety about the future, the Khannas explain how the “balance of innovation” has superseded the military “balance of power” as a measure of national potential, and provide a global tour of how the smartest countries, cities, and companies are harnessing new technologies to gain an edge. Each of us also needs better TQ to adapt to a future in which robots are normal social actors in our lives, healthcare becomes a vehicle for physical enhancement, academic pedigree dissolves in a global skills market, and virtual currencies enable tax-free transactions.
Whether the future is a dystopian global class struggle over technology or a Pax Technologica of transparency, access and equity will depend on spreading TQ above all else.
Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is Everybody? Do civilizations make the same fatal mistakes, over and over? Might we be the first to cross the mine-field, evading every trap to learn the secret of Existence?
Astronaut Gerald Livingstone grabs a crystal lump of floating space debris. Little does he suspect it’s an alien artifact, sent across the vast, interstellar gulf, bearing a message.
“Join us!”—it proclaims. What does the enticing invitation mean? To enroll in a great federation of free races?
Only then, what of rumors that this starry messenger may not be the first? Have other crystals fallen from the sky, across 9,000 years? Some have offered welcome. Others… a warning!
This masterwork of science fiction combines hard-science speculation and fast-paced action with the deeply thoughtful ideas and haunting imagery that David Brin (best-selling author of Earth and The Postman) is known for in more than twenty languages.
In the not too distant future, robots will begin taking human jobs in places like retail stores, fast food restaurants, construction sites and transportation. The key technology that will fuel the transition is inexpensive computer vision systems, and the number of human jobs at risk numbers in the tens of millions. More than half of the jobs in the United States could be eliminated. With half of the jobs eliminated by robots, what happens to all the people who are out of work? The book Manna explores the possibilities and shows two contrasting outcomes, one filled with great hope and the other quite dreadful. Join Marshall Brain, founder of HowStuffWorks.com, for a skillful step-by-step walk through the robotic transition, the collapse of the human job market that results and an surprising look at humanity’s future in a post-robotic world. Then consider our options. Which vision of the future will society choose to follow?
Astrobiology is an expanding, interdisciplinary field investigating the origin, evolution and future of life in the universe. Tackling many of the foundational debates of the subject, from discussions of cosmological evolution to detailed reviews of common concepts such as the ‘Rare Earth’ hypothesis, this volume is the first systematic survey of the philosophical aspects and conundrums in the study of cosmic life. The author’s exploration of the increasing number of cross-over problems highlights the relationship between astrobiology and cosmology and presents some of the challenges of multidisciplinary study. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add a further dimension to the debate. With a selection of beautifully presented illustrations and a strong emphasis on constructing a unified methodology across disciplines, this book will appeal to graduate students and specialists who seek to rectify the fragmented nature of current astrobiological endeavour, as well as curious astrophysicists, biologists and SETI enthusiasts.
This book investigates issues of extreme physics and mathematics; physical and philosophical zero and infinity, logical paradoxes, special and general relativity, quantum mechanics and cosmology, and some plausible developments in physics such as time travel or quantum immortality.
Art Caplan provides a practical, easily grasped guide to today’s controversial high tech medical issues at a time when scientific discovery is outpacing existing policy and yesterday’s paradigms. His provocative and amusing essays range from cloning to engineering ourselves. His essay on brain enhancement brings it home when he frames the morality in the context of sending his son, Zach, to private school concluding that people want to optimize their brains.
Will technology stop at transgenderism? If a century or so of technology has demolished millennia of absolute sexual duality, what might another few decades of exponentially growing technology do? Sex lies at the heart of biology, and yet in transcending biology technology gave us an explosion of sexual identities. So, as technology continues to transcend biology, what next can we expect beyond the apartheid of sex? An explosion of human identities? The answer, in a word, is transhumanism.
Focusing on the intersection of religion, law, and politics in contemporary liberal democracies, Blackford considers the concept of the secular state, revising and updating enlightenment views for the present day. Freedom of Religion and the Secular State offers a comprehensive analysis, with a global focus, of the subject of religious freedom from a legal as well as historical and philosophical viewpoint. It makes an original contribution to current debates about freedom of religion, and addresses a whole range of hot-button issues that involve the relationship between religion and the state, including the teaching of evolution in schools, what to do about the burqa, and so on.
The Olympics: The Basics is an accessible, contemporary introduction to the Olympic movement and Games. Chapters explain how the Olympics transcend sports, engaging us with a range of contemporary philosophical, social, cultural and political matters, including:
peace development and diplomacy
management and economics
corruption, terror and activism
the rise of human enhancement
ethics and environmentalism.
This book explores the controversy and the legacy of the Olympics, drawing attention to the deeper values of Olympism, as the Olympic movement’s most valuable intellectual property. This engaging, lively, and often challenging book, is essential reading for newcomers to Olympic studies and offers new insights for Olympic scholars.
IEET Fellow Patrick Lin has co-edited a new volume, Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics with thirty essays on different aspects on robot ethics, including contributions by IEET Executive Director James Hughes and IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach. Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society—and ethics—change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field. Starting with an overview of the issues and relevant ethical theories, the topics flow naturally from the possibility of programming robot ethics to the ethical use of military robots in war to legal and policy questions, including liability and privacy concerns. The contributors then turn to human-robot emotional relationships, examining the ethical implications of robots as sexual partners, caregivers, and servants. Finally, they explore the possibility that robots, whether biological-computational hybrids or pure machines, should be given rights or moral consideration. Ethics is often slow to catch up with technological developments. This authoritative and accessible volume fills a gap in both scholarly literature and policy discussion, offering an impressive collection of expert analyses of the most crucial topics in this increasingly important field.
The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: It’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? “Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.” In ten chapters, composed of ten “commands” accompanied by original illustrations from comic artist Leland Purvis, Rushkoff provides cyber enthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe. In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping readers come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age––and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries. This is a friendly little book with a big and actionable message.
Invent Utopia Now - transhumanist suggestions for the pre-Singularity era is unique: it’s a startling, controversial collection of essays by pundit/provocateur Hank Pellissier promotes his hedonist-transhumanist-egalitarian vision of the future. The articles - backed with substantial data and optimistic imagination - examine numerous bio-ethical and politically flammable topics: sexbots, in-vitro meat, Israel, parent licenses, women-only leadership, public nudity, artificial wombs and cryonics.
If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing? In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom? Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.
The volume contains essays on environmental issues analyzed from different perspectives: political, historical and scientific. The environment has become a key issue for political agendas worldwide. The large planetary emergencies, climate change, desertification, energy challenge, with the choice of nuclear power appearing more and more unfeasible, are unavoidable issues for the very survival of humanity. It will be up to the policy to decide on a model of ecologically sustainable development to ensure economic growth.