Israel’s Value to Transhumanism (h+ magazin)
„Imagine this sci-fi scenario: A small tribe with unique literature, customs and myths believes they’ve been “chosen” for a glorious destiny. But they’re driven out of their native land, forced to wander the globe for aeons, persecuted and annihilated, until they’re impelled by a utopian novel to return to their homeland. They name their new city after the inspirational book and their country becomes a technological powerhouse… but still, they’re surrounded by enemies. They wage eternal war, they hover between hope and apocalypse… their contributions to humanity are astounding but they continue to fear total extinction.“ [read original article]
Oxford Today, Volume 22 Number 1, Michaelmas 2009
„Artificially engendered humans have long been a science fiction staple – from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Huxley’s Brave New World and, most recently, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island – their heroes dehumanised figures depicted amid bleak, biotechnologically devastated landscapes.
But in the year of Darwin’s bicentenary, science fact presses hard on the heels of science fiction. Three decades since Louise Brown, the first ‘test tube baby’, woke to the world, breakthroughs are now trumpeted almost every month. Chinese scientists recently announced that they had cloned the first animals from skin cells. Earlier, British scientists revealed they had manufactured artificial sperm using stem cells from a fiveday- old male embryo.
Human enhancement provokes violent controversy: the American writer Francis Fukuyama branded ‘transhumanism’ (the radical enhancement of humanity by technological means) ‘the world’s most dangerous idea’. But genetic technologies are only one, if perhaps the most controversial, sector on the enhancement front.“ [read original article]
Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man (By JOHN MARKOFF, published: July 25, 2009, New York Times)
„A robot that can open doors and find electrical outlets to recharge itself. Computer viruses that no one can stop. Predator drones, which, though still controlled remotely by humans, come close to a machine that can kill autonomously.
Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.“ [read original article]
Stephen Hawking: “Humans Have Entered a New Stage of Evolution”
„Although It has taken homo sapiens several million years to evolve from the apes, the useful information in our DNA, has probably changed by only a few million bits. So the rate of biological evolution in humans, Stephen Hawking points out in his Life in the Universe lecture, is about a bit a year. „ [read original article]
Transhumanist Salvation or Judgment Day? (By Lou Cabron, June 30th, 2009, 10 Zen Monkeys)
„We’re starting to brush up against real robots, real nanotech, and maybe even the first real artificial intelligence. But will emerging technologies destroy humankind — or will humankind be saved by an emerging transhumanism?“ [read original article]
The AI Report
The Past, Present and Future of artificial Intelligence
„Can machines think? In 1950, Alan Turing, considered by some to be the father of modern computing, published a paper in which he proposed that, “If, during text-based conversation, a machine is indistinguishable from a human, then it could be said to be ‘thinking’ and, therefore, could be attributed with intelligence.” He predicted that a computer would pass this “Turing Test” by the end of the century. That hasn’t happened–yet. But the question continues to provoke and inspire. AI might be just around the corner, or it might be centuries away. Edited By Courtney Boyd Myers“ [read original article]
Immortality 2.0: a silicon valley insider looks at California’s Transhumanist movement
By Gelles, David, Publication: The Futurist, Date: Thursday, January 1 2009
„One afternoon in late 2007, a Yahoo executive named Salim Ismail stepped up to a podium at company headquarters to talk about what some call “the world’s most dangerous idea.” An intense man from India, Ismail faced a conference room packed with computer whizzes from the likes of Google, Apple, and Intel and launched into a tirade about the far frontiers of digital technology and the big battle that lay ahead.
“The current system is flawed,” he said, pacing the stage. He went on to talk about routers and interrupt systems, hardly exotic material to his audience. But even within this techy sanctum, his message was a bold one. The flawed system that Ismail lamented was not a computer network, it was the human brain. “We need to design a better one,” he said.“ [read original article]
Harnessing science to create the ultimate warrior
NewScientist, 20 May 2009 by Linda Geddes
„BATALLIONS of super-soldiers could be selected for specific duties on the basis of their genetic make-up and then constantly monitored for signs of weakness. So says a report by the US National Academies of Science (NAS).
If a soldier is struggling, a digital “buddy” might step in and warn them about nearby threats, or advise comrades to zap them with an electromagnet to increase their alertness. If the whole unit is falling apart, biosensors could warn central commanders to send in a replacement team.“ [read original article]
Ray Kurzweil: A singular view of the future
New Scientist, 06 May 2009 by Liz Else
„For inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, being human with limited intelligence and doomed biology was never good enough. So he came up with an idea called the Singularity – a time when humans merge with machines, become smart and live forever. From MIT to the White House, people either hate the idea or can’t wait for it to happen. So, asks Liz Else, will any of us live long enough to see it?“ [read original article]
Glaube, Technik, Zukunft, von Richard Jones (Technology Review)
„In der TR-Essay-Reihe zur Technik untersucht der britische Physiker Richard Jones, der auch das Blog Soft Machines betreibt, den heutigen Glauben an die Technik, die wirkliche Fragilität der modernen Zivilisation und den Fehler des Determinismus in hochtechnisierten Erlösungsphantasien.“ [zum Originalartikel]
Neuroimplantate, pharmakologisches Menschendesign und Elitenzucht?
Jörg Auf dem Hövel (telepolis, 11.04.2009)
„Die Welt im Jahr 2070 – Teil 1
Die Cyborgs sind schon lange unter uns. Klinisch eingesetzte Implantate und künstliche Organe gehören zum Alltag der Krankenhäuser in den Industrienationen. Angefangen bei Linsen und Zähnen, zieht sich die Reihe über Knochenimplantate, künstliche Hüften, Gelenke, Sehnen und Brusteinsätze bis hin zu Membranen und Herzklappen. Dazu kommen in den letzten Jahren Methoden, die über Elektro-Stimulation und eingebaute Chips mehr oder minder direkt mit dem Gehirn Kontakt aufnehmen. Während die Ärzte forschen und operieren, diskutiert die techno-affine Öffentlichkeit die Phänomene dieser invasiven Technik unter Begriffen wie “Brain Computer Interface” oder Mensch-Maschine-Schnittstellen.“ [zum Originalartikel]
Die Welt im Jahr 2070 – Teil 2
“Der Erfolg der zukünftigen Implantat- und Pharma-Technik wird sich zum einen an dem praktisch Möglichen orientieren, zum anderen aber auch nach den Medien verhandelten Körperbildern richten. Diese Bilder wiederum entstehen in einem Meinungsraum, der den wirtschaftlichen Interessen der Medien, aber auch den realen Lebensverhältnissen Rechnung trägt. Anders formuliert: Je krisenhafter die Lebensbedingungen der Menschen (und das ist sowohl ökonomisch wie mental gemeint) sein werden, umso eher werden sie geneigt sein, den Verheißungen einer Technik zu glauben, die sie “weiter bringt”, nämlich “von hier weg”, und sie damit gleichsam erneuert.” [zum Originalartikel]
Ship of Fools: Why Transhumanism is the Best Bet to Prevent the Extinction of Civilization (by Mark Walker, The Global Spiral Feb. 2009, Vol 9, Issue 9)
“I want to explore the objection that transhumanism is an ill-advised experiment because it puts us at unnecessary risk. My reply will be that creating posthumans is our best bet for avoiding harm. In a nutshell, the argument is that even though creating posthumans may be a very dangerous social experiment, it is even more dangerous not to attempt it.” [read original article]
Singularity University to Study Accelerating Technologies, Launches at NASA Ames
KurzweilAI.net, Feb. 3, 2009
„With the support of NASA, Google and a broad range of technology thought leaders and entrepreneurs, a new university will launch in Silicon Valley this summer with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to address “humanity’s grand challenges.”
Singularity University (SU) (www.singularityu.org) will open its doors in June 2009 on the NASA Research Park campus with a nine-week graduate-level interdisciplinary curriculum designed to facilitate understanding, collaboration, and innovation across a broad range of carefully chosen scientific and technological disciplines whose developments are exponentially accelerating.“ [read original article]
Fernsteuerbare Cyborg-Käfer (Florian Rötzer, Telepolis, 31.01.2009)
„Kalifornische Wissenschaftler konnten Hirschhornkäfer mit Funksignalen beim Fliegen steuern.
Wissenschaftlerm der University of California, Berkeley, ist es gelungen, lebendige Cyborg-Insketen fernzusteuern. Auf der Konferenz MEMS 2009, die in Sorrento, Italien, stattfand und gestern endete, führten die Wissenschaftler auf eine Video ein Experiment mit Hirschhornkäfern vor, die sie ferngesteuert in einem Raum fliegen ließen.“ [zum Originalartikel]
The Army’s Remote-Controlled Beetle (Technology Review, anuary 29, 2009)
The insect’s flight path can be wirelessly controlled via a neural implant.
By Emily Singer
„A giant flower beetle with implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on its back can be wirelessly controlled, according to research presented this week. Scientists at the University of California developed a tiny rig that receives control signals from a nearby computer. Electrical signals delivered via the electrodes command the insect to take off, turn left or right, or hover in midflight. The research, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), could one day be used for surveillance purposes or for search-and-rescue missions.“ [read original article]
Stem cell stroke therapy assessed (Pallab Ghosh, BBC News, 18.01.09)
A Glasgow team is to launch a major trial to assess whether stem cells can be used to treat stroke patients, the BBC has learned.
They hope it will put the UK at the forefront of developing stem cell therapy for incurable disease. Cells made from a human foetus will be injected into patients’ brains.It is hoped the cells will regenerate areas damaged by stroke, and increase patients’ movements and mental abilities.
However, the idea has in the past been described by anti-abortion groups as a “sick proposal”.[read original article]
Injektion von embryonalen Stammzellen in das Gehirn von Schlaganfallpatienten - In Großbritannen wurde der erste klinische Versuch genehmigt. (Florian Rötzer, Telepolis, 20.01.09)
„In Großbritannien könnte die Stammzellforschung einen Schritt weiter kommen. Genehmigt wurde von der Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency erstmals ein klinischer Versuch, bei dem vier Gruppen von jeweils drei Schlaganfallpatienten mit Hirnschädigungen über zwei Jahre embryonale Stammzellen injiziert werden.“ [zum Originalartikel]
Researchers’ vision: restoring sight through artificial retinas
December 30th, 2008 By Robert S. Boyd in Technology / Engineering (PhysOrg.com)
„Scientists are testing artificial retinas that they hope can restore partial sight to people who’ve lost their vision to the most common causes of blindness. [...]“
Enhancing the species (Anjana Ahuja, Times online, May, 17.)
Our correspondent meets the controversial philosopher John Harris, who argues that we have a moral and ethical duty to improve the human race by biologically enhancing our children
The whiteboard in John Harris’s office declares: “John is cool.” Many hold a different opinion of one of the most controversial philosophers in Britain. Here are some of his views: abortion and euthanasia are both fine, desirable even; parents should be allowed to create designer or cloned babies; there’s nothing wrong with a drug-fuelled Olympics; scientists and medics should strive to make us immortal, even on a crowded planet; our bodies should be routinely plundered after death for organs, even if the dead and bereaved do not wish it; it is morally justified to compel people to participate in scientific trials, just as we compel them to do jury service. […]
Call for papers: Transhumanism? (Re-Public)
We invite contributions for our upcoming special issue entitled “Transhumanism?”. Is there a new challenge about to dominate our world? A challenge that appears more pressing than the fight against climate change, as demanding as the one against poverty, more complex than our current questions around bioethics.
Are we in a position to redefine, to drastically transform our very human nature?
This is a question formed in the last 20 years by an international movement, deriving from a scientific current, advocating that if the human is a result of an evolution process of millions of years time, nothing rationally preempts its conclusion. On the contrary, transhumanism proposes that the convergence of nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, information and cognitive sciences provide us with a new opportunity, as well as, the responsibility to collectively participate and assume this evolution: it is, more than ever, possible to “form a better humanity” meaning better health for individuals, longer life expectancy, a more effective control of themselves, through enhanced skills, capacities and capabilities.
The special issue will attempt to investigate the influence of transhumanism and the new questions that its poses. […]
The Future of Man – How Will Evolution Change Humans? By Peter Ward (Scientific American)
Contrary to popular belief, humans continue to evolve. Our bodies and brains are not the same as our ancestors’ were—or as our descendants’ will be
People commonly assume that our species has evolved very little since prehistoric times. Yet new studies using genetic information from populations around the globe suggest that the pace of human evolution increased with the advent of agriculture and cities.
If we are still evolving, what might our species look like in a millennium should we survive whatever environmental and social surprises are in store for us? Speculation ranges from the hopeful to the dystopian. [...]
Flux will give you a taste of the torrent of new technological developments advancing on us: from the energy issue to human enhancement, from information technology to nanotechnology. This magazine is compiled on the occasion of the conference ‘Inspiring Future Politics’ to be held by the EPTA (European Parliamentary Technology Assessment) on Monday 27 October and Tuesday 28 October in The Hague, the Netherlands. The keynote speakers at this conference – chemist Michael Braungart, toxicologist Ellen Silbergeld, sociologist Nikolas Rose and climate expert Pier Vellinga – are interviewed in Flux. No one is more aware of the shifts taking place in our society. They have, furthermore, succeeded in formulating these issues aptly and getting them on to the (political) agenda. More information about the conference is available at www.eptaconference.eu. Because we want you to share in the speakers’ stories and the conference themes, you’ll find inspiring interviews, background stories and columns in ‘Flux’. […]
Transhumanist Tech Is A Boner Pill That Sets Up a Firewall Against Billy Joel
Futurist, prankster, and one-time presidential candidate R.U. Sirius just launched his latest magazine, H+, which is devoted to a transhumanist vision of the future. Though a lot of futurism these days could easily be called dystopianism, the future that Sirius shows us in H+ is hopeful, full of cool futuristic gadgets and genetic cures for death. What exactly is transhumanism, anyway, and why do you keep hearing about it? Sirius dropped into the io9 lifepod from his space capsule to explain why you might already be a transhumanist — and what the ultimate transhumanist technology would be. [...]
The Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least (New York Times)
Before we get to Ray Kurzweil’s plan for upgrading the “suboptimal software” in your brain, let me pass on some of the cheery news he brought to the World Science Festival last week in New York.
Do you have trouble sticking to a diet? Have patience. Within 10 years, Dr. Kurzweil explained, there will be a drug that lets you eat whatever you want without gaining weight. [...]
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