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Archive for the ‘Society’ tag

Feb 18, 2018

For artificial intelligence to thrive, it must explain itself | The Economist

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

“Of the ten most valuable quoted companies in the world, seven say they have plans to put deep-learning-based AI at the heart of their operations.”

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Feb 5, 2018

Why Quantum Computers Will Be an Amazing Tool for Social Innovators — By Darlene Damm | SingularityHub

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

“Eventually, as the kinks are worked out, quantum machines will have a wide impact from scientific research to business. But there’s another area that could benefit from their problem-solving prowess too: Social impact.”

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Jul 14, 2016

Is physical pleasure bad for your health?

Posted by in categories: aging, environmental, life extension, philosophy

Philosophers have been debating the meaning of life for millennia. Billions of people believe that the principal aim in life is to experience pleasure, and they try to enjoy life as much as possible before they die. A minority of others, make it their life’s aim to achieve something which is over and above simple pleasure: not merely to help others, not even to help humanity at large. They aim, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to improve the evolutionary process of nature as a whole.

So far, so good. But it appears that the view we hold about our life, our worldview, has a direct impact on our biology. We know that thinking positively may help improve the immune system. But research also shows that people who aim for pleasure (Hedonia) may have an impaired genetic profile, compared to those who aim for higher virtues (Eudaimonia). There is a distinction between these two terms and it is worth providing a definition here:

Hedonia is an exclusive search for pleasure and avoidance of discomfort. It may involve increased emphasis on eating well, drinking, dancing, playing, and generally enjoying simple pleasures in life. It is contentment, gratification, fun, merriment, satisfaction and, perhaps necessarily, a lack of motivation to search for a nobler aim in life. One may argue that hedonia involves a risk that leads to bad health due to a tendency to excesses (smoking, alcohol, coffee, sweets), a general inclination to avoid uncomfortable physical activity, and a lack of challenging cognitive effort. The risk of addiction may be increased. Erosion of social bonds become a possibility when a hedonist is more concerned about his/her own pleasure and is less sensitive to the needs of others.

Eudaimonia is a term reflecting the highest ‘intellectual good’. It is virtue plus excellence, superior ethical refinement, cognitive sophistication, as well as other qualities such as persistent motivation, wisdom, imagination, creativity, vision and a feeling of purpose. The term has been discussed by many ancient Greek philosophers particularly Aristotle and the Stoics. In modern times and in a wider sense, eudaimonia may be equated with meaningful technological hyperconnection, or ‘Intentional Evolution’, an attempt to constructively improve the human condition in all respects (including those relating to the wider universe). Hedonia is found both in animals and in humans, whereas eudaimonia is only found in humans.

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Jun 28, 2016

How VR Gaming will Wake Us Up to our Fake Worlds

Posted by in categories: architecture, augmented reality, economics, entertainment, ethics, futurism, holograms, homo sapiens, internet, journalism, philosophy, posthumanism, virtual reality

Human civilization has always been a virtual reality. At the onset of culture, which was propagated through the proto-media of cave painting, the talking drum, music, fetish art making, oral tradition and the like, Homo sapiens began a march into cultural virtual realities, a march that would span the entirety of the human enterprise. We don’t often think of cultures as virtual realities, but there is no more apt descriptor for our widely diverse sociological organizations and interpretations than the metaphor of the “virtual reality.” Indeed, the virtual reality metaphor encompasses the complete human project.

Figure 2

Virtual Reality researchers, Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson, write in their book Infinite Reality; “[Cave art] is likely the first animation technology”, where it provided an early means of what they refer to as “virtual travel”. You are in the cave, but the media in that cave, the dynamic-drawn, fire-illuminated art, represents the plains and animals outside—a completely different environment, one facing entirely the opposite direction, beyond the mouth of the cave. When surrounded by cave art, alive with movement from flickering torches, you are at once inside the cave itself whilst the media experience surrounding you encourages you to indulge in fantasy, and to mentally simulate an entirely different environment. Blascovich and Bailenson suggest that in terms of the evolution of media technology, this was the very first immersive VR. Both the room and helmet-sized VRs used in the present day are but a sophistication of this original form of media VR tech.

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May 14, 2014

Finding the crossroads of politics and technology — @HJBentham

Posted by in categories: computing, education, futurism, internet, lifeboat, media & arts, rants
Visit ClubOfINFO

- @ClubOfINFO — Rather than location, education or privilege, having something to offer seems to now be the only determining factor for a writer or activist to be published and gain a voice internationally.

As a student, I initially chose postgraduate study as a route to publishing nonfiction and becoming a political scientist, but I never accessed the necessary funding to start this. After graduating from Lancaster University in 2012 and not being able to become the academic I wanted to be, I have found that postgraduate study is unnecessary to become a nonfiction author or even a political theorist.

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