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Archive for the ‘human trajectories’ category: Page 9

May 14, 2014

Are you ready for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?

Posted by in categories: first contact, human trajectories, space, space travel

Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence

Some SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) scientists are considering “Active SETI” to detect possible extraterrestrial civilizations.

Psychologist Gabriel G. de la Torre, professor at the University of Cádiz (Spain) questions this idea, based on results* from a survey taken by students, which revealed a general level of ignorance about the cosmos and the influence of religion on these matters.

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May 14, 2014

New Museum Uses Algorithms To Visualize How 9/11 Still Shapes The World

Posted by in categories: big data, human trajectories, information science

Shaunacy Ferro — Fast Company


Time line

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, forever changed the course of world history. More than a decade later, the scope of their impact is still evolving. American troops are still stationed in Afghanistan. Ground Zero workers are still filing for compensation for 9/11-related illnesses.

How exactly to incorporate this unfolding aftermath of the event is one of the major challenges facing the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which opens to the public on May 21. Local Projects, the studio behind the museum’s exhibit design (and the designers of the Ground Zero memorial’s thoughtful naming scheme), approached the task algorithmically.

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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, cyborgs, disruptive technology, existential risks, fun, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, innovation, nanotechnology, philosophy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, singularity, transhumanism

transcendence
I 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.” »

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: 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, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear weapons, 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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Apr 17, 2014

“Facebook and the Future of Global Governance” (by Emanuel Pastreich)

Posted by in categories: government, human trajectories

“Facebook and the Future of Global Governance”

Truthout

April 3, 2014

Emanuel Pastreich

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Apr 3, 2014

LUCY

Posted by in categories: human trajectories, posthumanism, singularity, transhumanism

Telegraph Reporter

The first trailer for director Luc Besson’s sci-fi action film Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule given godlike powers by an experimental substance, has been released.

Johansson is currently in cinemas as a murderous alien in Under the Skin and as the Black Widow in Marvel’s Captain America: the Winter Soldier. But the powers shown by Lucy in this Matrix-like trailer – including telekinesis, resistance to pain, and instant access to the secrets of the universe – appear to easily outstrip them both. Her character is able to access “100 percent” of her brain, as opposed to the usual 10 per cent, and uses her abilities to seek revenge on the gangsters who wronged her.

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Apr 1, 2014

The White Swan’s Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments! [TREATISE EXCERPT] By Mr. Andres Agostini at www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, alien life, astronomy, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, cyborgs, defense, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, evolution, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, transhumanism, transparency, transportation

The White Swan’s Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments: How To Fundamentally Cope With Corporate Litmus Tests and With The Permanent Impact of the Dramatic Highly Improbable And Succeed and Prevail Through Transformative and Integrative Risk Management! [TREATISE EXCERPT]. By © Copyright 2013, 2014 Mr. Andres Agostini — All Rights Reserved Worldwide — « www.linkedin.com/in/andresagostini AND www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini » — The Lifeboat Foundation Global Chief Consulting Officer and Partner, Lifeboat Foundation Worldwide Ambassador —

(An Independent, Solemn, Most-Thorough and Copyrighted Answer. Independence, solemnity, thoroughness, completeness, detail, granularity of details, accuracy and rigor, hereunder, will be then redefined by several orders of nonlinear magnitude and without a fail).

[TREATISE EXCERPT].

To Nora, my mother, who rendered me with the definitiveness to seek the thoughts and seek the forethoughts to outsmart any impending demand and other developments. To Francisco, my father: No one who has taught me better. There is no one I regard most highly. It is my greatest fortune to be his son. He endowed me with the Agostini family’s charter, “…Study and, when grown up, you will neither be the tyrants’ toy, nor the passions’ servile slave…” I never enjoyed a “…Mom…”, but considerably enjoyed a gargantuan courageous Mother, Father, Grandparents and Forbears.

Continue reading “The White Swan's Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments! [TREATISE EXCERPT] By Mr. Andres Agostini at www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini” »

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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Mar 5, 2014

The false allure of centenarians — Why centenarians epitomise our fears about growing old

Posted by in categories: biological, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension

By Avi Roy, University of Buckingham and Anders Sandberg, University of Oxford

Today we wish a very happy 116th birthday to Misao Okawa who was born in Japan in 1898, making her the world’s oldest person. When she was young, Einstein hadn’t yet grasped the mysteries of a relative universe, cars were becoming affordable and were thought as the saviour of horse-polluted cities and the telephone was the next big thing in communication.

More than a hundred years later, we oft cite Einstein’s famous equation of relativity without understanding it. Cars are tools of pollution and most cities tax their presence. And a great many people shun voice communications for instantaneous texts. A lot has changed in our understanding of the universe, technology and our morality over the past century. But when it comes to living longer lives, we seem to collectively forget some basic biology.

Mind the generation gap.
Itsuo Inouye/AP

The media obsesses over the inevitable “secret” that centenarians (and super-centenarians, like Okawa, who live past 110) reveal as the reason for their exceptionally long life. In the case of Okawa, lots of sushi and eight hours sleep a day. Scientists study centenarians and their families to isolate the causes for longevity – so that we may be able to distribute it to everyone.

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