Archive for the ‘humanity’ tag
Apr 5, 2013
Posted by Franco Cortese in categories: biological, biotech/medical, futurism, human trajectories, life extension, nanotechnology, neuroscience, philosophy
This essay is in response to the Debate Forum “Will ‘meatbag’ bodies ever be immortal? Is ‘cyborgification’ the only logical path?”, hosted by ImmortalLife.info
In it, I explore the distinction between therapies for Longer Life (life-extension) and therapies for Unlimited Life (indefinite longevity).
If we’re talking far-future, non-biological approaches to life-extension will win out over biological approaches, due mainly to their comparative advantages (e.g. ease of repair and modification — both of which become methodological problems now rather than technological or “physical” problems so to speak, requiring a reorganization or rewriting of information — thus methodological — rather than a means of figuring out what changes to implement and then devising a technology and technique for actually implementing such changes in physicality) and because they will offer experiential and functional modalities categorically unavailable to biological systems (merely due to the fact that such functional and/or experiential modalities are determined by the structural and operational/procedural modalities of the system, and there are a much larger quantity of potential structures and operational/procedural modalities possible using non-biological systems than are available to what are normatively considered biological systems — that is, based upon cellular units forming emergent tissues, and embodying the structural and operational/procedural modalities of biological systems). That being said, I think that the distinction between non-biological and biological systems (especially if Drexlerian nanotech – that is, using mechanosynthesis – is implemented with any ubiquity) will increasingly dissolve. If a system exhibits the structural, functional and operational modalities of a biological cell, tissue, organ or organism, yet consists of wholly inorganic materials, is it not closer to a biological system than to what we would typically consider a non-biological system? Either the distinction between the two will eventually dissolve, or we will use the term “biological” to designate systems exhibiting the structural, functional, and/or operational modalities of biological systems, rather than designating systems made of specific types of material, such as organic or inorganic molecular substrate.
In the 9th installment of my 10-part introductory essay written for Transhumanity’s Certificate in Transhumanism Studies Program, I make a distinction between life-extension therapies and indefinite-longevity therapies, and I’d like to elaborate more on this distinction here. Life-extension therapies extend longevity, but for various reasons fail to make it necessarily indefinite or unlimited. Often this is because such therapies aren’t comprehensive – a given therapy solves one contributing factor of aging, but not all of them. Others, like SENS (which I’m in no way discounting), fix the major causes of damage, but use a different methodology for each respective source of damage or aging; the drawback of this approach is that if previously overshadowed causes of aging now begin to make a non-negligible impact on aging, in the absence of the more predominant causes, then we have no methodology to combat it. Because each strategy is tied intimately to the cause it seeks to ameliorate, the techniques often cannot be applied to the new source of molecular damage.
Sep 6, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, open source, policy, space, supercomputing, sustainability, transparency
It is a race against time– will this knowledge save us or destroy us? Genetic modification may eventually reverse aging and bring about a new age but it is more likely the end of the world is coming.
The Fermi Paradox informs us that intelligent life may not be intelligent enough to keep from destroying itself. Nothing will destroy us faster or more certainly than an engineered pathogen (except possibly an asteroid or comet impact). The only answer to this threat is an off world survival colony. Ceres would be perfect.
Sep 1, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear, open source, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency
“The more anxiety one produces, the more the discussion there would be about how real and how possible actual existential threats are.”
John Hunt recently queried me on what steps I might take to form an organization to advocate for survival colonies and planetary defense. His comment on anxiety is quite succinct. In truth the landing on the moon was the product of fear– of the former Soviet Union’s lead in rocket technology. As we as a nation quelled that anxiety the budget for human space flight dwindled. But the fear of a nuclear winter continued to grow along with the size of our arsenals.
Interestingly, at the height of the cold war, evidence of yet another threat to human existence was uncovered in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico in 1981; Chicxulub. But even before the dinosaur killer was discovered, perhaps the greatest threat of all to humanity was born in 1973 when Herb Boyer and Stanley Cohen created the first genetically modified organism. The money to answer both of these threats by going into space continues to be expended by the military industrial complex.
Mile wide rocks in space and microscopic organisms on earth are both threats to our existence, but the third and undoubtedly greatest threat is our own apathy. Why do we expend the tremendous resources of our race on everything BUT keeping it from going extinct?
Tags: Christian Astronomers, cognitive psychology, Cognitive Science, collective intelligence, colonization, culture, education, existential risks, extinction, Fermi Paradox, future, galactic colonization, health, humanity, Interstellar Travel, nuclear, politics, research, risks, space, sustainability, technology, Terrorism
Aug 31, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: biotech/medical, counterterrorism, defense, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, lifeboat, military, policy, space, transparency
Four years ago MARCUS WOHLSEN wrote about genetic engineering as a hobby. We are faced with a growing list of pathogens that with a little modification could bring about the end of civilization. It could happen tomorrow.
If you are afraid of guns in the United States, the only solution is to leave. There are millions of guns, many more than estimated, sitting in closets and packed away from when grandpa died. We face the same situation with the Hanta virus, and several others that are in the environment. There is no getting rid of them and no stopping anyone with not-too-expensive lab equipment from playing god and changing them into the end of the world.
The solution is survival colonies in space. Though it sounds bizarre, these colonies should be “manned” by fertile women and maintain sperm banks. 99 men and one woman is the end of the world, while 99 women and a sperm bank is a new one.
Aug 28, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, cosmology, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, neuroscience, nuclear, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency, treaties
I have been corresponding with John Hunt and have decided that perhaps it is time to start moving toward forming a group that can accomplish something.
The recent death of Neil Armstrong has people thinking about space. The explosion of a meteor over Britain and the curiosity rover on Mars are also in the news. But there is really nothing new under the sun. There is nothing that will hold people’s attention for very long outside of their own immediate comfort and basic needs. Money is the central idea of our civilization and everything else is soon forgotten. But this idea of money as the center of all activity is a death sentence. Human beings die and species eventually become extinct just as worlds and suns also are destroyed or burn out. Each of us is in the position of a circus freak on death row. Bizarre, self centered, doomed; a cosmic joke. Of all the creatures on this planet, we are the freaks the other creatures would come to mock– if they were like us. If they were supposedly intelligent like us. But are we actually the intelligent ones? The argument can be made that we lack a necessary characteristic to be considered truly intelligent life forms.
Truly intelligent creatures would be struggling with three problems if they found themselves in our situation as human beings on Earth in the first decades of this 21st century;
1. Mortality. With technology possible to delay death and eventually reverse the aging process, intelligent beings would be directing the balance of planetary resources towards conquering “natural” death.
Tags: AI, cognitive psychology, Cognitive Science, collective intelligence, colonization, culture, education, existential risks, extinction, Fermi Paradox, future, galactic colonization, grass roots, health, humanity, nuclear, politics, research, risks, space, sustainability, technology, Terrorism, transhumanism
Aug 28, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, defense, engineering, ethics, events, lifeboat, media & arts, military, space, transparency
What will it take before the public realizes that we are on the endangered species list as long as we have no defense against impacts?
If the “golf ball sized” exploder had been another Tunguska and London was incinerated it might become quite clear that we need to get into space in a big way.
Will it take a major disaster? The unfortunate truth is that a rock or snowball just a little bigger than what might wake the human race up– might also render our species extinct.
Aug 19, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: complex systems, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, defense, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, information science, military, neuroscience, supercomputing
Whether via spintronics or some quantum breakthrough, artificial intelligence and the bizarre idea of intellects far greater than ours will soon have to be faced.
Aug 17, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: business, economics, education, engineering, ethics, finance, futurism, geopolitics, human trajectories, media & arts, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency
Cover the deserts in solar energy plants and use electric trains for our transportation infrastructure; the best future I can imagine. A favorite Einstein quote is “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Perhaps the number we are counting that counts is the amount of energy it would require for a future population of 10 billion people to live like we do in the west.
I was surprised to find a statement to the effect that only one method of generating this energy is practical; solar energy beamed to Earth from the Moon; from wiki–
Aug 15, 2012
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, complex systems, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, media & arts, neuroscience, philosophy, policy, singularity, sustainability, transparency
One more step has been taken toward making whole body cryopreservation a practical reality. An understanding of the properties of water allows the temperature of the human body to be lowered without damaging cell structures.
Just as the microchip revolution was unforeseen the societal effects of suspending death have been overlooked completely.
The first successful procedure to freeze a human being and then revive that person without damage at a later date will be the most important single event in human history. When that person is revived he or she will awaken to a completely different world.