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Archive for the ‘bionic’ category

Aug 24, 2017

Futurist Gray Scott: We are Part of a Technological Cosmos

Posted by in categories: biological, bionic, electronics, evolution, futurism, human trajectories, innovation, media & arts, philosophy, robotics/AI

How will our relationship to technology evolve in the future? Will we regard it as something apart from ourselves, part of ourselves, or as a new area of evolution? In this new video from the Galactic Public Archives, Futurist Gray Scott explains that we are a part of a technological cosmos. Do you agree with Scott that technology is built into the universe, waiting to be discovered?

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Jul 14, 2017

Click Here for Happiness

Posted by in categories: biological, bionic, computing, electronics, entertainment, fun, internet, media & arts, mobile phones

Technology can be wonderful. But how do you keep track of yourself when technology allows you to be everywhere at once?

In this film Prof. Yair Amichai-Hamburger (director of the Research Center for Internet Psychology at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications) argues that even though technology allows us to reach out and connect more easily than ever before, if we don’t ever take a step back, we can lose track of our humanity in the process.

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Feb 18, 2017

Artificial Vision, Artificial Retina, Optogenetics, José Alain Sahel MD, CMU RI Seminar

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, bionic, biotech/medical, computing, life extension, neuroscience, robotics/AI

For those interested in life extension and bionic / cyborg type enhancements, this CMU Robotics Institute Seminar gives an overview of the background and current developments in artificial vision. José Alain Sahel MD is a world leading ophthalmologist with a lengthy bio and numerous honors and appointments.

In the future, if you’re going blind, these sight restoration technologies may be used to remediate your vision loss.

Three major ideas are covered. 1) Implanting arrays of tiny 3-color LEDs under a failed retina to stimulate still-okay cells, and 2) using gene therapy to express a novel photoreceptor, borrowed from algae, to restore a form of sight to failed cells. These can be done together. Lots of studies in mice, primates, and humans. Some coverage is also given to 3) directly implanting electronics in the brain to send complete images to vision centers, but this is still at an early stage.

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Aug 24, 2016

Steve Fuller’s Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Posted by in categories: big data, bioengineering, biological, bionic, cyborgs, disruptive technology, energy, evolution, existential risks, futurism, homo sapiens, innovation, moore's law, neuroscience, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, singularity, theory, transhumanism

My sociology of knowledge students read Yuval Harari’s bestselling first book, Sapiens, to think about the right frame of reference for understanding the overall trajectory of the human condition. Homo Deus follows the example of Sapiens, using contemporary events to launch into what nowadays is called ‘big history’ but has been also called ‘deep history’ and ‘long history’. Whatever you call it, the orientation sees the human condition as subject to multiple overlapping rhythms of change which generate the sorts of ‘events’ that are the stuff of history lessons. But Harari’s history is nothing like the version you half remember from school.

In school historical events were explained in terms more or less recognizable to the agents involved. In contrast, Harari reaches for accounts that scientifically update the idea of ‘perennial philosophy’. Aldous Huxley popularized this phrase in his quest to seek common patterns of thought in the great world religions which could be leveraged as a global ethic in the aftermath of the Second World War. Harari similarly leverages bits of genetics, ecology, neuroscience and cognitive science to advance a broadly evolutionary narrative. But unlike Darwin’s version, Harari’s points towards the incipient apotheosis of our species; hence, the book’s title.

This invariably means that events are treated as symptoms if not omens of the shape of things to come. Harari’s central thesis is that whereas in the past we cowered in the face of impersonal natural forces beyond our control, nowadays our biggest enemy is the one that faces us in the mirror, which may or may not be able within our control. Thus, the sort of deity into which we are evolving is one whose superhuman powers may well result in self-destruction. Harari’s attitude towards this prospect is one of slightly awestruck bemusement.

Here Harari equivocates where his predecessors dared to distinguish. Writing with the bracing clarity afforded by the Existentialist horizons of the Cold War, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener declared that humanity’s survival depends on knowing whether what we don’t know is actually trying to hurt us. If so, then any apparent advance in knowledge will always be illusory. As for Harari, he does not seem to see humanity in some never-ending diabolical chess match against an implacable foe, as in The Seventh Seal. Instead he takes refuge in the so-called law of unintended consequences. So while the shape of our ignorance does indeed shift as our knowledge advances, it does so in ways that keep Harari at a comfortable distance from passing judgement on our long term prognosis.

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Aug 4, 2015

A (Very) Brief History of Death

Posted by in categories: bionic, biotech/medical, cryonics, cyborgs, education, evolution, futurism, health, information science, life extension, science, transhumanism

“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” — Winston Churchill

Death still enjoys a steady paycheck, but being the Grim Reaper isn’t the cushy job that it used to be.

Jul 13, 2015

Interconnected Rat Brains Create Organic Computer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, bionic, biotech/medical, computing, neuroscience

Linked rat brains

Scientists have been experimenting with brain-to-brain interfaces for years. Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center, has created a “Brainet” or a network of interconnected brains with four rats. With electrodes implanted directly in the cortex rodents exchange information to create an organic computing device. Collectively, they were able to solve computational problems including image processing, storing and recalling information and even predicting precipitation.

Read the full story by Mona Lalwani at Engadget

Jun 16, 2015

The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons — Sara Reardon | Nature

Posted by in categories: bionic, biotech/medical, cyborgs, defense, engineering, government, health, military, transhumanism

“The Biological Technologies Office (BTO), which opened in April 2014, aims to support extremely ambitious — some say fantastical — technologies ranging from powered exoskeletons for soldiers to brain implants that can control mental disorders. DARPA’s plan for tackling such projects is being carried out in the same frenetic style that has defined the agency’s research in other fields.” Read more

Jan 4, 2015

New Book: An Irreverent Singularity Funcyclopedia, by Mondo 2000’s R.U. Sirius.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, alien life, automation, big data, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, complex systems, computing, cosmology, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, cyborgs, defense, disruptive technology, DNA, driverless cars, drones, economics, electronics, encryption, energy, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ethics, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, first contact, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, hacking, hardware, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, life extension, media & arts, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear weapons, posthumanism, privacy, quantum physics, robotics/AI, science, security, singularity, software, solar power, space, space travel, supercomputing, time travel, transhumanism

Quoted: “Legendary cyberculture icon (and iconoclast) R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell have written a delicious funcyclopedia of the Singularity, transhumanism, and radical futurism, just published on January 1.” And: “The book, “Transcendence – The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity,” is a collection of alphabetically-ordered short chapters about artificial intelligence, cognitive science, genomics, information technology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, space exploration, synthetic biology, robotics, and virtual worlds. Entries range from Cloning and Cyborg Feminism to Designer Babies and Memory-Editing Drugs.” And: “If you are young and don’t remember the 1980s you should know that, before Wired magazine, the cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000 edited by R.U. Sirius covered dangerous hacking, new media and cyberpunk topics such as virtual reality and smart drugs, with an anarchic and subversive slant. As it often happens the more sedate Wired, a watered-down later version of Mondo 2000, was much more successful and went mainstream.”


Read the article here >https://hacked.com/irreverent-singularity-funcyclopedia-mondo-2000s-r-u-sirius/

Nov 1, 2014

‘I was blind… now I have bionic eyes’

Posted by in categories: bionic, biotech/medical

Oct 1, 2014

The Abolition of Medicine as a Goal for Humanity 2.0

Posted by in categories: biological, bionic, biotech/medical, ethics, futurism, genetics, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, philosophy, policy, transhumanism

What follows is my position piece for London’s FutureFest 2013, the website for which no longer exists.

Medicine is a very ancient practice. In fact, it is so ancient that it may have become obsolete. Medicine aims to restore the mind and body to their natural state relative to an individual’s stage in the life cycle. The idea has been to live as well as possible but also die well when the time came. The sense of what is ‘natural’ was tied to statistically normal ways of living in particular cultures. Past conceptions of health dictated future medical practice. In this respect, medical practitioners may have been wise but they certainly were not progressive.

However, this began to change in the mid-19th century when the great medical experimenter, Claude Bernard, began to champion the idea that medicine should be about the indefinite delaying, if not outright overcoming, of death. Bernard saw organisms as perpetual motion machines in an endless struggle to bring order to an environment that always threatens to consume them. That ‘order’ consists in sustaining the conditions needed to maintain an organism’s indefinite existence. Toward this end, Bernard enthusiastically used animals as living laboratories for testing his various hypotheses.

Historians identify Bernard’s sensibility with the advent of ‘modern medicine’, an increasingly high-tech and aspirational enterprise, dedicated to extending the full panoply of human capacities indefinitely. On this view, scientific training trumps practitioner experience, radically invasive and reconstructive procedures become the norm, and death on a physician’s watch is taken to be the ultimate failure. Humanity 2.0 takes this way of thinking to the next level, which involves the abolition of medicine itself. But what exactly would that mean – and what would replace it?

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