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Archive for the ‘futurism’ category: Page 639

Jan 17, 2011

Stories We Tell

Posted by in categories: complex systems, existential risks, futurism, lifeboat, policy


What do Singularitarianism and popular Western religion have in common? More than you might imagine. A thumbnail evaluation of both ends of the American technocentric intelligence spectrum reveals both remarkable similarities in their respective narrative constructions and, naturally, amusing disparities. It would appear that all humans, regardless of our respective beliefs, seem to express goal-oriented hardwiring that demands a neatly constructed story to frame our experiences.

Be you a technophile, you are eagerly awaiting, with perhaps equal parts hope and fear, the moment when artificial general intelligence surpasses human intelligence. You don’t know exactly how this new, more cunning intelligence will react to humans, but you’re fairly certain that humanity might well be in a bit of trouble, or at very least, have some unique competition.

Be you a technophobe, you shun the trappings of in-depth science and technology involvement, save for a superficial interaction with the rudimentary elements of technology which likely do not extend much further than your home computer, cell phone, automobile, and/or microwave oven. As a technophobe, you might even consider yourself religious, and if you’re a Christian, you might well be waiting for the second-coming, the rapture.

Both scenarios lead humanity to ironically similar destinations, in which humankind becomes either marginalized or largely vestigial.

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Jan 13, 2011

8D Problem Solving for Transhumanists

Posted by in categories: business, complex systems, engineering, futurism

Transhumanists are into improvements, and many talk about specific problems, for instance Nick Bostrom. However, Bostrom’s problem statements have been criticized for not necessarily being problems, and I think largely this is why one must consider the problem definition (see step #2 below).

Sometimes people talk about their “solutions” for problems, for instance this one in H+ Magazine. But in many cases they are actually talking about their ideas of how to solve a problem, or making science-fictional predictions. So if you surf the web, you will find a lot of good ideas about possibly important problems—but a lot of what you find will be undefined (or not very well defined) problem ideas and solutions.

These proposed solutions often do not attempt to find root causes or assume the wrong root cause. And finding a realistic complete plan for solving a problem is rare.

8D (Eight Disciplines) is a process used in various industries for problem solving and process improvement. The 8D steps described below could be very useful for transhumanists, not just for talking about problems but for actually implementing solutions in real life.

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Nov 19, 2010

Stoic Philosophy and Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, futurism, neuroscience

The Stoic philosophical school shares several ideas with modern attempts at prolonging human lifespan. The Stoics believed in a non-dualistic, deterministic paradigm, where logic and reason formed part of their everyday life. The aim was to attain virtue, taken to mean human excellence.

I have recently described a model specifically referring to indefinite lifespans, where human biological immortality is a necessary and inevitable consequence of natural evolution (for details see www.elpistheory.info and for a comprehensive summary see http://cid-3d83391d98a0f83a.office.live.com/browse.aspx/Immo…=155370157).

This model is based on a deterministic, non-dualistic approach, described by the laws of Chaos theory (dynamical systems) and suggests that, in order to accelerate the natural transition from human evolution by natural selection to a post-Darwinian domain (where indefinite lifespans are the norm) , it is necessary to lead a life of constant intellectual stimulation, innovation and avoidance of routine (see http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2005.8.96?journalCode=rej and http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2009.0996) i.e. to seek human virtue (excellence, brilliance, and wisdom, as opposed to mediocrity and routine). The search for intellectual excellence increases neural inputs which effect epigenetic changes that can up-regulate age repair mechanisms.

Thus it is possible to conciliate the Stoic ideas with the processes that lead to both technological and developmental Singularities, using approaches that are deeply embedded in human nature and transcend time.

Nov 11, 2010

What’s Your Dream for the Future of California?

Posted by in categories: education, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, human trajectories, open access, policy, sustainability


California Dreams Video 1 from IFTF on Vimeo.

INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE ANNOUNCES CALIFORNIA DREAMS:
A CALL FOR ENTRIES ON IMAGINING LIFE IN CALIFORNIA IN 2020

Put yourself in the future and show us what a day in your life looks like. Will California keep growing, start conserving, reinvent itself, or collapse? How are you living in this new world? Anyone can enter,anyone can vote; anyone can change the future of California!

California has always been a frontier—a place of change and innovation, reinventing itself time and again. The question is, can California do it again? Today the state is facing some of its toughest challenges. Launching today, IFTF’s California Dreams is a competition with an urgent challenge to recruit citizen visions of the future of California—ideas for what it will be like to live in the state in the next decade—to start creating a new California dream.

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Nov 9, 2010

The Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, ethics, existential risks, futurism, robotics/AI

Call for Essays:

The Singularity Hypothesis
A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment

Edited volume, to appear in The Frontiers Collection, Springer

Does an intelligence explosion pose a genuine existential risk, or did Alan Turing, Steven Hawking, and Alvin Toffler delude themselves with visions ‘straight from Cloud Cuckooland’? Should the notions of superintelligent machines, brain emulations and transhumans be ridiculed, or is it that skeptics are the ones who suffer from short sightedness and ‘carbon chauvinism’? These questions have remained open because much of what we hear about the singularity originates from popular depictions, fiction, artistic impressions, and apocalyptic propaganda.

Seeking to promote this debate, this edited, peer-reviewed volume shall be concerned with scientific and philosophical analysis of the conjectures related to a technological singularity. We solicit scholarly essays offering a scientific and philosophical analysis of this hypothesis, assess its empirical content, examine relevant evidence, or explore its implications. Commentary offering a critical assessment of selected essays may also be solicited.

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Oct 25, 2010

Open Letter to Ray Kurzweil

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics, engineering, futurism, human trajectories, information science, open source, robotics/AI

Dear Ray;

I’ve written a book about the future of software. While writing it, I came to the conclusion that your dates are way off. I talk mostly about free software and Linux, but it has implications for things like how we can have driverless cars and other amazing things faster. I believe that we could have had all the benefits of the singularity years ago if we had done things like started Wikipedia in 1991 instead of 2001. There is no technology in 2001 that we didn’t have in 1991, it was simply a matter of starting an effort that allowed people to work together.

Proprietary software and a lack of cooperation among our software scientists has been terrible for the computer industry and the world, and its greater use has implications for every aspect of science. Free software is better for the free market than proprietary software, and there are many opportunities for programmers to make money using and writing free software. I often use the analogy that law libraries are filled with millions of freely available documents, and no one claims this has decreased the motivation to become a lawyer. In fact, lawyers would say that it would be impossible to do their job without all of these resources.

My book is a full description of the issues but I’ve also written some posts on this blog, and this is probably the one most relevant for you to read: https://lifeboat.com/blog/2010/06/h-conference-and-faster-singularity

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Oct 21, 2010

Ten most transhumanist words

Posted by in category: futurism

1: Extropian, as in “Transhumanists tend to believe that Kurzweil’s extropian Law of Accelerating Returns will ultimately trump the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.”

2: Bemes, as in “By uploading her bemes, the transhumanist was able to create a mindfile to serve as a basis for a future cyber-conscious analog of herself.” The singular form, beme, refers to a digitally-inheritable unit of beingness (such as a single element of one’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values) as in “The transhuman survivalist had a very strong beme for paranoia.”

3: Singularity, as in “The Singularity — that era, no more than a few decades hence, when transhumanists believe machine intelligence will merge with and surpass biological intelligence.”

4: Ectogenetic, as in “Many transhumanists look forward to growing replacements for all or part of their body via controlled differentiation of stem cells in an ex vivo ectogenetic process.”

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Sep 19, 2010

The Politics and Ethics of the Hall Weather Machine

Posted by in categories: futurism, sustainability

Abstract

J. Storrs Hall’s Weather Machine is a relatively simple nanofabricated machine system with significant consequences in politics and ethics.

After a brief technical description, this essay analyzes the ends, means, and circumstances of a feasible method of controlling the weather, and includes some predictions regarding secondary effects.


Article

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Sep 2, 2010

Self Transcendence

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, futurism

Will our lumbering industrial age driven information age segue smoothly into a futuristic marvel of yet to be developed technology? It might. Or take quantum leaps. It could. Will information technology take off exponentially? It’s accelerating in that direction. The way knowledge is unraveling its potential for enhancing human ingenuity, the future looks bright indeed. But there is a problem. It’s that egoistic tendency we have of defending ourselves against knowing, of creating false images to delude ourselves and the world, and of resolving conflict violently. It’s as old as history and may be an inevitable part of life. If so, there will be consequences.

Who has ever seen drama/comedy without obstacles to overcome, conflicts to confront, dilemmas to address, confrontations to endure and the occasional least expected outcome? Just as Shakespeare so elegantly illustrated. Good drama illustrates aspects of life as lived, and we do live with egoistic mental processes that are both limited and limiting. Wherefore it might come to pass that we who are of this civilization might encounter an existential crisis. Or crunch into a bottleneck out of which … will emerge what? Or extinguish civilization with our egoistic conduct acting from regressed postures with splintered perception.

What’s least likely is that we’ll continue cruising along as usual.

Not with massive demographic changes, millions on the move, radical climate changes, major environmental shifts, cyber vulnerabilities, changing energy resources, inadequate clean water and values colliding against each other in a world where future generations of the techno-savvy will be capable of wielding the next generation of weapons of mass destruction.

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Jul 12, 2010

The True Cost of Ignoring Nonhumans

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, futurism, policy

Posted by Dr. Denise L Herzing and Dr. Lori Marino, Human-Nonhuman Relationship Board

Over the millennia humans and the rest of nature have coexisted in various relationships. However the intimate and interdependent nature of our relationship with other beings on the planet has been recently brought to light by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This ongoing environmental disaster is a prime example of “profit over principle” regarding non-human life. This spill threatens not only the reproductive viability of all flora and fauna in the affected ecosystems but also complex and sensitive non-human cultures like those we now recognize in dolphins and whales.

Although science has, for decades, documented the links and interdependence of ecosystems and species, the ethical dilemma now facing humans is at a critical level. For too long have we not recognized the true cost of our life styles and priorities of profit over the health of the planet and the nonhuman beings we share it with. If ever the time, this is a wake up call for humanity and a call to action. If humanity is to survive we need to make an urgent and long-term commitment to the health of the planet. The oceans, our food sources and the very oxygen we breathe may be dependent on our choices in the next 10 years.

And humanity’s survival is inextricably linked to that of the other beings we share this planet with. We need a new ethic.

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