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May 10, 2014

What to make of the film ‘Transcendence’? Show it in classrooms.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, augmented reality, bionic, computing, cyborg, disruptive technology, existential risks, fun, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, innovation, nanotechnology, philosophy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, singularity, transhumanism

transcendenceI recently saw the film Transcendence with a close friend. If you can get beyond Johnny Depp’s siliconised mugging of Marlon Brando and Rebecca Hall’s waddling through corridors of quantum computers, Transcendence provides much to think about. Even though Christopher Nolan of Inception fame was involved in the film’s production, the pyrotechnics are relatively subdued – at least by today’s standards. While this fact alone seems to have disappointed some viewers, it nevertheless enables you to focus on the dialogue and plot. The film is never boring, even though nothing about it is particularly brilliant. However, the film stays with you, and that’s a good sign. Mark Kermode at the Guardian was one of the few reviewers who did the film justice.

The main character, played by Depp, is ‘Will Caster’ (aka Ray Kurzweil, but perhaps also an allusion to Hans Castorp in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain). Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher based at Berkeley who, with his wife Evelyn Caster (played by Hall), are trying to devise an algorithm capable of integrating all of earth’s knowledge to solve all of its its problems. (Caster calls this ‘transcendence’ but admits in the film that he means ‘singularity’.) They are part of a network of researchers doing similar things. Although British actors like Hall and the key colleague Paul Bettany (sporting a strange Euro-English accent) are main players in this film, the film itself appears to transpire entirely within the borders of the United States. This is a bit curious, since a running assumption of the film is that if you suspect a malevolent consciousness uploaded to the internet, then you should shut the whole thing down. But in this film at least, ‘the whole thing’ is limited to American cyberspace.

Before turning to two more general issues concerning the film, which I believe may have led both critics and viewers to leave unsatisfied, let me draw attention to a couple of nice touches. First, the leader of the ‘Revolutionary Independence from Technology’ (RIFT), whose actions propel the film’s plot, explains that she used to be an advanced AI researcher who defected upon witnessing the endless screams of a Rhesus monkey while its entire brain was being digitally uploaded. Once I suspended my disbelief in the occurrence of such an event, I appreciate it as a clever plot device for showing how one might quickly convert from being radically pro– to anti-AI, perhaps presaging future real-world targets for animal rights activists. Second, I liked the way in which quantum computing was highlighted and represented in the film. Again, what we see is entirely speculative, yet it highlights the promise that one day it may be possible to read nature as pure information that can be assembled according to need to produce what one wants, thereby rendering our nanotechnology capacities virtually limitless. 3D printing may be seen as a toy version of this dream.

Now on to the two more general issues, which viewers might find as faults, but I think are better treated as what the Greeks called aporias (i.e. open questions):

Continue reading “What to make of the film 'Transcendence'? Show it in classrooms.” »


Feb 6, 2014

The Future of Scientific Management, Today!

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, asteroid/comet impacts, augmented reality, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, bitcoin, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, cyborg, defense, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, humor, information science, innovation, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, nuclear energy, open access, open source, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, polls, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, transportation, treaties, water

FEBRUARY 08/2014 LIST OF UPDATES. By Mr. Andres Agostini at The Future of Scientific Management, Today! At http://lnkd.in/bYP2nDC
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MITRE-Harvard nanocomputer may point the way to future computer miniaturization

http://www.kurzweilai.net/mitre-harvard-nanocomputer-may-poi.….turization

New form of graphene allows electrons to behave like photons

http://www.kurzweilai.net/new-form-of-graphene-allows-electr.….ke-photons

Continue reading “The Future of Scientific Management, Today!” »


Feb 5, 2014

The Future of Scientific Management, Today!

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, asteroid/comet impacts, augmented reality, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, bitcoin, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, counterterrorism, cyborg, defense, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ethics, events, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, information science, innovation, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, nuclear energy, open access, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, transportation, treaties, water

FEBRUARY 06/2014 UPDATES [LIST]. By Mr. Andres Agostini at The Future of Scientific Management, Today! At http://lnkd.in/bYP2nDC

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Faraway Planets May Be Far Better for Life http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/superhabitable-planets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+sciam/space+%28Topic:+Space%29

Six Trends That Will Shape Consumer Behavior This Year http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2014/02/04/six-trend.….this-year/

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Feb 2, 2014

The Future Observatory

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, augmented reality, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, bitcoin, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, cyborg, defense, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, human trajectories, humor, information science, innovation, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism, transparency, transportation

FEBRUARY 03/2014 UPDATES. By Mr.Andres Agostini at www.Future-Observatory.blogspot.com
lba
Maps showing which parts of the world would be flooded if all the world’s ice melted

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map

3-D printing takes shape

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/manufacturing/3-d_printing_.….k-oth-1401

Continue reading “The Future Observatory” »


Feb 1, 2014

The Future Observatory

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, augmented reality, automation, big data, biological, bioprinting, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, cybercrime/malcode, cyborg, defense, driverless cars, economics, education, energy, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ethics, events, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, fun, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, health, human trajectories, information science, innovation, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, time travel, transhumanism

FEBRUARY 02/2014UPDATES. By Mr.Andres Agostini at www.Future-Observatory.blogspot.com
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Mass unemployment fears over Google artificial intelligence plans

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10603933/Mass-u.….plans.html

Should We Re-Engineer Ourselves?

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pearce20140201

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Jan 16, 2014

The Future of Spage-Age Management, Today!

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, finance, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, human trajectories, information science, innovation, law, law enforcement, life extension, medical, military, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, nuclear energy, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, transhumanism, transparency, transportation, treaties

The Future of Spage-Age Management, Today! by Mr. Andres Agostini at http://lnkd.in/d7zExFi
T R A N S    7
This is an excerpt from the conclusion section o, “…The Future of Spage-Age Management, Today!..,” that discusses some management strategies. To read the entire piece, just click the link at the end of article:

BEGINNING OF EXCERPT.

Mr. David Shaw’s question, “…Andres, from your work on the future which management skills need to be developed? Classically the management role is about planning, organizing, leading and controlling. With the changes coming in the future what’s your view on how this management mix needs to change and adapt?…” This question was posited on an Internet Forum, formulated by Mr. David Shaw (Peterborough, United Kingdom) at http://lnkd.in/ba6xX-K on October 09, 2013.

This P.O.V. addresses practical and structural solutions, not onerous quick fixes. THIS P.O.V. WILL BE COMMUNICATED UNAMBIGUOUSLY AND EMPHATICALLY.

Continue reading “The Future of Spage-Age Management, Today!” »


Dec 7, 2013

3D printed pizza is coming sooner than you think

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, business, food, fun

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3d printed pizza

For some odd reason, pizza always seems to be at the forefront of emerging technology. It was the first food you could buy via online ordering, the first food to legitimately be delivered via drones, and now it’s dipping its saucy little Italian toes into 3D printing.

Natural Machines, a startup out of Barcelona, has developed a prototype 3D printer called Foodini that can pump out decent, edible-looking pizza just like a normal 3D printer pumps out custom-made lightswitch covers and drain plugs.

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Dec 4, 2013

Virgin’s space passengers can pay with Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, fun, space, transportation

richard branson virgin galactic

Good news, future space travelers: Now you can enter the void without bringing your wallet.

U.K. business magnate Richard Branson announced Friday that his commercial space travel venture, Virgin Galactic, will allow customers to pay for their flights with the digital currency Bitcoin.

“Virgin Galactic is a company looking into the future, so is Bitcoin. So it makes sense we would offer Bitcoin as a way to pay for your journey to space.” Branson wrote in a blog post.

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Oct 22, 2013

100YSS A Success

Posted by in categories: education, events, fun, human trajectories, physics, scientific freedom, space

I am very pleased to say that the 2013 100YSS conference held in Houston, TX, was a success. I met a lot of like minded people — people who want to make interstellar travel a reality — though we differ in our opinions of when.

I was especially pleased to be able to visit with Mae Jemison, Jill Tarter and Pamela Contag. These three are amazing, shepherding us along. Shepherding us? Yes, are a loose collection of visionaries going every which way.

Mae Jemison
Jill Tarter
Pamela Contag

Sep 7, 2013

The Digital Waltz

Posted by in categories: fun, information science, open access, robotics/AI

When a programmer begins to write his code, he is not merely writing abstract messages to be translated into simple ones and zeros but creating a carefully detailed dance pattern between him and his machine. At the moment of powering up his computer and watching it boot up with controlled anticipation, he is watching decades of digital choreography come to play in front of his eyes. This dazzling spectacle is the threshold of where his creative energies take place. This is where his mind goes to work in creating precise and detailed instructions for his machine to put into action. This may be true but to the true programmer, one who puts his heart and soul into his keyboard and pushes his combined passion and creativity to the next level, is the one who truly masters the art and becomes legendary. To these people, they are not merely writing code but are creating art that comes alive at the push of a button. This is one aspect of programming that a computer jockey wishes to do: create art.

The arena that a programmer wishes to dance in is always at his discretion. Be it Eclipse, Visual Basic, or even a simple word processor, they all have their merits. This is where the artist creates. This is where the programmer takes their initial keystrokes and gingerly pecks at them with blazing speed and mechanical accuracy. To those around him, the programmer appears to be rushing to complete task but this is not the case. To those who program and write code, time seems to stand still as they carefully work on their masterpiece. They put all other issues aside and commit their time and energy into designing their next creation, their new child. They take pleasure in their work and commit much of their lives to perfecting this art and designing innovative creations. To them, this in itself is a dance within the massive operating system and their dance partner is the code itself. Around the duo is a multitude of processes, other couples composed of daemons that maintain a proper status quo and the many parent/child processes around. This may not be a dance for them, but a dance made possible by love and circuitry. This dance is beautiful, but one careless misstep will cause the fellow dancer to become dissatisfied and will refuse to dance. Even though the code may be your child, your child is a picky creature that is only satisfied by the successive combination of accuracy and precision.

After the dance is complete and with all syntax as elegant as a well-played ballad, the debugger shall take hold of the remaining tasks. She is a lovely creature that plays as the nurse for your newly born child. She makes sure that your child is flawless and only speaks when she has found your child to be defective. If this occurs, the dance resumes and the creator begins again. As one ages with time, one should strive to become perfect or to work hard enough to write perfect code. After the debugger has nursed your child into being, with one keystroke she comes alive and begins to speak with you. She will be as intelligent as you make her and as resourceful as you are, only to make as many mistakes as you made in your dance. She is a loyal child, one that completes every task that you ask of her. Your child’s only request is that you keep her safe and to give her the resources she needs. When this criterion isn’t met, she will become unhappy and will refuse to help you. Rather than showing rage and frustration, the artist must be patient and be giving to the child.

With the creation of a new child, a responsible artist will show her to the world and allow others to share similar experiences that the programmer has had. Others will shelter the child, making sure that their child will not be taken from them. The programmer must be smart, and must take protective measures to make sure this doesn’t happen. Some will ask outsiders for help, others will make sure that fellow digital craftsman will acknowledge that their child is theirs and only theirs. As with any parent, they will respect the programmer as they share the same vision and passion for the art as they do. As the programmer shows their child to the world, their child is able to help others and those in need. The programmer’s child will become another part of the user’s life as the child assists them with their needs. The programmer will take pride in their child for all the good their child has done. Eventually, other programmers will want to take the child and will execute a more intimate dance with her. This is most often out of your hands, so all you can do is hope that she is used for benevolent purposes only. This intimate dance will alter your child and create an offspring, a variant of your original design. This will continue ad infinitum until your child has aged to where she is no longer useful. With teary eyes and a heavy heart, the programmer will see his creation fade away from existence.

Continue reading “The Digital Waltz” »


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