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Archive for the ‘transhumanism’ tag

Oct 23, 2014

Who is Amit Singhal (at Google)?

Posted by in categories: futurism, lifeboat, science, transhumanism

This archive file was compiled from an interview conducted at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, 2013.

As late as the 1980s and the 1990s, the common person seeking stored knowledge would likely be faced with using an 18th century technology — the library index card catalogue — in order to find something on the topic he or she was looking for. Fifteen years later, most people would be able to search, at any time and any place, a collection of information that dwarfed that of any library. And unlike the experience with a library card catalogue, this new technology rarely left the user empty-handed.

Information retrieval had been a core technology of humanity since written language — but as an actual area of research it was so niche that before the 1950s, nobody had bothered to give the field a name. From a superficial perspective, the pioneering work in the area during the 1940s and 50s seemed to suggest it would be monumentally important to the future — but only behind the scenes. Information retrieval was to be the secret tool of the nation at war, or of the elite scientist compiling massive amounts of data. Increasingly however, a visionary group of thinkers dreamed of combining information retrieval and the ‘thinking machine’ to create something which would be far more revolutionary for society.

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Oct 3, 2014

What if your memories could live past your mortal shelf life?

Posted by in categories: aging, cyborg, futurism, innovation, posthumanism, singularity, transhumanism

Would you have your brain preserved? Do you believe your brain is the essence of you?

To noted American PhD Neuroscientist and Futurist, Ken Hayworth, the answer is an emphatic, “Yes.” He is currently developing machines and techniques to map brain tissue at the nanometer scale — the key to encoding our individual identities.

A self-described transhumanist and President of the Brain Preservation Foundation, Hayworth’s goal is to perfect existing preservation techniques, like cryonics, as well as explore and push evolving opportunities to effect a change on the status quo. Currently there is no brain preservation option that offers systematic, scientific evidence as to how much human brain tissue is actually preserved when undergoing today’s experimental preservation methods. Such methods include vitrification, the procedure used in cryonics to try and prevent human organs from freezing and being destroyed when tissue is cooled for cryopreservation.

Hayworth believes we can achieve his vision of preserving an entire human brain at an accepted and proven standard within the next decade. If Hayworth is right, is there a countdown to immortality?

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May 30, 2014

TransEvolution (2014) by Daniel Estulin (@EstulinDaniel): Review

Posted by in categories: cyborg, posthumanism, singularity, transhumanism

- @ClubOfINFOTransEvolution: The Coming Age of Human Deconstruction (2014) is an alarmist book by Daniel Estulin, a commentator on the secretive Bilderberg Group who is well-liked by many – in particular on conspiracy theorist forums. Essentially, this should be regarded as conspiracy theory material. My refutations of it are too many to cram into this review, so I will mainly focus on what the book itself says.

Daniel Estulin connects disparate events and sources to depict an elaborate conspiracy. The main starting claim of the book is a link between the 2005 Bilderberg Conference and the 2006 document Strategic Trends 2007–2036 prepared by the British government (p. 1–12). Estulin claims that the latter report’s predictions betray “Promethean” plans that represent “designs by the Bilderberg Group”.
The book makes the allegation that the economic pressure on the world today “is being done on purpose, absolutely on purpose. The reason is because our current corporate empire knows that “progress of humanity” means their imminent demise”. The “powers-that-be” destroy nation-states to maintain power, and “this is by design” (p. 13). Estulin decries international money flows and globalization, and promotes “physical economy” instead. To make a long story short, he describes the apparatus of globalization, integration, etc. as a clash between the nation-state and global oligarchy and frames this as a classic battle between good and evil respectively (p. 13–35). “The ideas of a nation-state republic and progress” are intrinsically connected (p. 34), Estulin argues, putting forward his preference for the old Jacobin ideological script of the Nineteenth Century rather than modern discourses on integration and communication.
In his preference for the nation-state, Estulin attacks the WTO’s record on free trade, and makes criticisms that are provisionally valid. However, he confuses the tendency for weaker nations to be exploited through free trade with a conspiracy against the nation-state. The WTO’s commitment to what it calls free trade, a commitment to “One World, One Market”, reflects “anti-nation-state intent”, Estulin argues (p. 37–38).
Although they attach too much agency to global “elites”, Estulin’s description of the way international trade on agriculture has been manipulated to disadvantage poor nations and advantage rich nations (p. 38–49) agrees with already powerful sociology theories of “free trade imperialism” and the larger humanitarian message of the alter-globalization movement. Estulin quotes William Engdahl’s The Seeds of Destruction at length to argue against the destructive local impacts of global agribusiness (p. 47–53).

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Apr 25, 2014

R U Ready to be Uploaded?

Posted by in categories: big data, biological, bionic, biotech/medical, entertainment, evolution, health, human trajectories, neuroscience, policy, posthumanism, singularity, sustainability, transhumanism

How has your work, your life, your humanity, been improved by the promise of Big Data?

What apps and online media do you use to upload personal and other info?

Singularity has flopped – that is to say, this week Johnny Depp’s new film Transcendence did not bring in as much as Pirates of the Caribbean. Though there may not have been big box office heat, there is heat behind the film’s subject: Big Data! Sure we miss seeing our affable pirate chasing treasure, but hats off to Mr. Depp who removed his Keith Richards make-up to risk chasing what might be the mightiest challenge of our century.

Singularity, coined by mathematician John von Neumann, is a heady mathematical concept tested by biotech predictions. Made popular by math and music wunderkindt turned gray hair guru of an AI movement Ray Kurzweil, Singularity is said to signify the increasing rate at which artificial intelligence will supersede human intelligence like a jealous sibling. Followers of the Singularity movement (yes, with guru comes followers) envision the time of override in the not to distant future with projections set early as 2017 and 2030. At these times, the dynamics of technology are said to set about a change in our biology, our civilization and “perhaps” nature itself. Within our current reach, we see signs of empowered tech acting out in the current human brain mapping quest and brain-computer interface systems. More to the point, there is an ever increasing onslaught of Google Alerts annoucing biotech enhancements with wearable tech. Yes indeed, here comes the age of smart prosthetics and our own AI upload of medical and personal data to the internet. Suddenly all those Selfies seem more than mere narcissistic postings against the imposing backdrop of Big Data.

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Apr 23, 2014

Book Review: The Human Race to the Future by Daniel Berleant (2013) (A Lifeboat Foundation publication)

Posted by in categories: aging, alien life, asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, climatology, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, ethics, evolution, existential risks, food, futurism, genetics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, life extension, lifeboat, medical, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, sustainability, transhumanism

From CLUBOF.INFO

The Human Race to the Future (2014 Edition) is the scientific Lifeboat Foundation think tank’s publication first made available in 2013, covering a number of dilemmas fundamental to the human future and of great interest to all readers. Daniel Berleant’s approach to popularizing science is more entertaining than a lot of other science writers, and this book contains many surprises and useful knowledge.

Some of the science covered in The Human Race to the Future, such as future ice ages and predictions of where natural evolution will take us next, is not immediately relevant in our lives and politics, but it is still presented to make fascinating reading. The rest of the science in the book is very linked to society’s immediate future, and deserves great consideration by commentators, activists and policymakers because it is only going to get more important as the world moves forward.

The book makes many warnings and calls for caution, but also makes an optimistic forecast about how society might look in the future. For example, It is “economically possible” to have a society where all the basics are free and all work is essentially optional (a way for people to turn their hobbies into a way of earning more possessions) (p. 6–7).

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Mar 17, 2014

Book Review: The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (2005)

Posted by in categories: human trajectories, singularity, transhumanism

Originally published at h+ Magazine

Ray Kurzweil’s well-received book, The Singularity is Near, is perhaps the best known book related to transhumanism and presents a view of inevitable technological evolution that closely resembles the claim in the later (2010) book What Technology Wants by Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly.

Kurzweil describes six epochs in the history of information. Each significant form of information is superseded by another in a series of stepping stones, exposing a universal will at work within technology towards extropy (this is seen by Kevin Kelly as intelligence and complexity attaining their maximum state possible). The first epoch is physics and chemistry, and is succeeded by biology, brains, technology, the merger of technology and human intelligence and finally the epoch in which the universe “wakes up”. The final epoch achieves what could be called godhood for the universe’s surviving intelligences (p. 15).

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Dec 18, 2013

Minimally Invasive Medical Technology – For the betterment of the human condition.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, augmented reality, bioprinting, drones, futurism, medical, robotics/AI, transhumanism

image credit - Protomag.com

Technology for pain-free healing:

“Your threshold for pain is near zero”, said my dentist, as she deftly moved the extremely thin fiber optic laser head away.

“That’s why I chose to fly in here. Gum filet carving doesn’t appeal to me”, I mumbled, my lips feeling leathery from the anesthetic spray.

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Sep 9, 2013

Transhumanist Spirituality – A New Religion for the Modern Age?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, human trajectories, life extension, philosophy
Giulio Prisco

Giulio Prisco

I recently interviewed KurzweilAI’s Giulio Prisco for my podcast The Eternities. The below is a short piece I posted on Disinfo.com about the interview, which has stimulated some debate there. Listen to the interview.

From Disinfo.com:

Pascal’s Wager demonstrated a certain rationality to a belief in god. The seventeenth century philosopher, Pascal, argued that if one believes, yet god does not exist, nothing is lost in death. But, if god exists, the reward is eternal happiness.

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Sep 3, 2013

Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy & Politics of Longevity

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, education, ethics, futurism, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, philosophy, policy

longevitize2013 med

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 can.

The collection is edited by Franco Cortese. Its contributing authors include William H. Andrews, Ph.D., Rachel Armstrong, Ph.D., Jonathan Betchtel, Yaniv Chen, Clyde DeSouza, Freija van Diujne, Ph.D., John Ellis, Ph.D., Linda Gamble, Roen Horn, the International Longevity Alliance (ILA), Zoltan Istvan, David Kekich (President & C.E.O of Maximum Life Foundation), Randal A. Koene, Ph.D., Maria Konovalenko, M.Sc. (Program Coordinator for the Science for Life Extension Foundation), Marios Kyriazis, MD, M.Sc MIBiol, CBiol (Founder of the ELPIs Foundation for Indefinite Lifespans and the medical advisor for the British Longevity Society), John R. Leonard (Director of Japan Longevity Alliance), Alex Lightman, Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE), Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D., Tom Mooney (Executive Director of the Coalition to Extend Life), Max More, Ph.D. , B.J. Murphy, Joern Pallensen, Dick Pelletier, Hank Pellissier (Founder of Brighter Brains Institute), Giulio Prisco, Marc Ransford, Jameson Rohrer, Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., MBA, JD., Peter Rothman (editor-in-chief of H+ Magazine), Giovanni Santostasi, Ph.D (Director of Immortal Life Magazine, Eric Schulke, Jason Silva , R.U. Sirius, Ilia Stambler, Ph.D (activist at the International Longevity Alliance), G. Stolyarov II (editor-in-chief of The Rational Argumentator), Winslow Strong, Jason Sussberg, Violetta Karkucinska, David Westmorland, Peter Wicks, Ph.D, and Jason Xu (director of Longevity Party China and Longevity Party Taiwan).

Available on Amazon today!

Jun 25, 2013

Sexbots, Ethics, and Transhumans

Posted by in categories: ethics, evolution, futurism, media & arts, robotics/AI

cleavage_new

“I zoomed in as she approached the steps of the bridge, taking voyeuristic pleasure in seeing her pixelated cleavage fill the screen.

What was it about those electronic dots that had the power to turn people on? There was nothing real in them, but that never stopped millions of people every day, male and female, from deriving sexual gratification by interacting with those points of light.

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