April 18, 2014
The Rapture of the Nerds
(Time) – Sure, it’s easy to dismiss people who think they can somehow cheat death with a laptop. But Terasem is a potent symbol of a modern way of life where the digital world and the emotional one have become increasingly entwined. It is also a sign, if one from the fringe, of the always evolving relationship between technology and faith. Survey after survey has shown the number of Americans calling themselves “religious” has declined despite the fact that many still identify as “spiritual.” People are searching, and no longer do they look to technology to provide mere order for their lives. They also want meaning. Maybe, it’s time to hack our souls.
April 4, 2014
‘Transhumanists’ Are Planning to Upload Your Mind to a Memory Stick…
(The Telegraph) – The first Cybathlon, an Olympics for robot assisted parathletes, will take place in Switzerland in October 2016. For people with disabilities who are using advanced technologies – robotic limbs or brain-computer interfaces – to compete. The “Transhumanists” are overjoyed. As the name implies, Transhumanists are people who want us to become “beyond human”. It’s an umbrella term for a broad family of ideas united by the vision that technology now, or at least soon will, allow us to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
March 17, 2014
The Most Terrifying Kids’ Book
(Slate) – A good kids’ book delivers knowledge fundamental to living in the world, such as the (now apparently out of print) classic Everyone Poops. But Death Is Wrong, a new children’s title from transhumanist author Gennady Stolyarov, can only steer children toward confusion about mortality. The book encourages kids to help eradicate death with technology.
March 3, 2014
Should transhumanists have children?
(Huffington Post) – Transhumanists are people who desire to use science and technology to improve the human being. While the international movement of transhumanism is rapidly growing and diversifying, its most important goal remains the same: overcoming human mortality. Many experts believe some sort of indefinite sentience for individual human beings, whether via age reversal or by mind uploading into computers, will be achieved around 2045. Such incredible advances will change the way the species views itself. Procreation, the foundation of human civilization, will be one activity that is dramatically affected.
February 24, 2014
Are robots about to rise? Google’s new director of engineering thinks so…
(The Guardian) – Ray Kurzweil popularised the Teminator-like moment he called the ‘singularity’, when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth.
Students combine arts and science while exploring ‘transhumanism’ [slide show]
(Scientific American) – The so-called “STEM” fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—are often grouped together in discussions of education policy or curriculum. But a group of students and faculty at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design (R.I.S.D.) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe that another letter should be added: “A,” for “arts.”
February 4, 2014
Sherlock’s text messages reveal our transhumanism
(Wired UK) – Since then, that technique — floating words representing text messages, internet searches, or some other form of technological interface — has become a core element of the series’ identity. And while there are plenty of tech-savvy shows out there, it’s that technique that makes Sherlock so incisive: not only is it reflective of our practices, but more importantly, it says as much about us as it does about its characters.
January 16, 2014
In ‘Transcendence’, Johnny Depp plays a brilliant scientist whose mind is allowed to live on and evolve through artificial intelligence, after his body is attacked. (U.S.A. Today)
January 14, 2014
Singularity: The robots are coming to steal our jobs
If you worry that the robots are coming, don’t, because they are already here. Artificial intelligence agents are already involved in every aspect of our lives – they keep our inboxes free of spam, they help us make our web transactions, they fly our planes and if Google gets its way will also soon drive our cars for us. (BBC)
January 13, 2014
The cyborg era has started
Medical implants, complex interfaces between brain and machine or remotely controlled insects: Recent developments combining machines and organisms have great potentials, but also give rise to major ethical concerns. In a new review, KIT scientists discuss the state of the art of research, opportunities, and risks. (Science Daily)
December 26, 2013
Transhumanism will change everything
This is spooky stuff, but it’s real and it’s already happening. Humans are augmenting themselves with computers and technology that will expand their abilities, and it’s going to get more advanced and morally complex as time passes. Imagine transplanting your entire consciousness into a computer. That’s a new type of immortality. Imagine having a robotic exoskeleton that’s not just part of your body — it is your body. That’s a new type of existence entirely. An excellent documentary called “Bionics, Transhumanism, And The End Of Evolution” takes a look at the endless wonder and potential of what happens when blood-and-meat humanity meets steel-and-silicon technology. (San Francisco Gate)
The definitaive tech books of 2013
Silicon Valley keeps spawning micro-storytelling genres — from six-second Vines to 140-character tweets — that are each more popular than the next. But that hardly means those mini-formats can properly capture the controversies, personalities, ramifications and dangers of the tech world’s many characters and their creations. For that, we can turn to another invention that compiles tens of thousands of discreet pieces of data into a kind of “Facebook for words”: books. (Huffington Post)
December 19, 2013
A New Edition of AI & Society is Available
AI & Society (Volume 28, No. 4, December 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Ethical issues in our times of technology: select exploration” by Parthasarathi Banerjee
- “Artificial agents and the expanding ethical circle” by Steve Torrance
- “Automatic decision-making and reliability in robotic systems: some implications in the case of robot weapons” by Roberto Cordeschi
- “Naturalizing language: human appraisal and (quasi) technology” by Stephen J. Cowley
- “You and I, robot” by Shaun Gallagher
- “What is it like to encounter an autonomous artificial agent?” by Karsten Weber
December 5, 2013
How medical nanotech will change humanity forever
Futurists have long speculated that nanotechnology — the engineering of materials and devices at the molecular scale — will revolutionize virtually every field it touches, medicine being no exception. Here’s what to expect when you have fleets of molecule-sized robots coursing through your veins. (Io9)
November 26, 2013
Doctor Who villains echo concerns about technology
On the eve of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, a bioethics researcher at the University of Leicester claims that one of the Doctor’s most fearsome villains – the Cybermen – represent public concerns about the greater use of technology in medicine. In their article “The Cybermen as Human,” Dr Chris Willmott from the University’s Department of Biochemistry and his former Research Assistant, Bonnie Green, reflect on ways in which the Doctor’s metal-clad foe can offer insight into human enhancement and the development of the “posthuman.” (Phys.org)
November 6, 2013
The augmented organization: Wake up to this huge competitive threat
Here’s controversial Cybernetics Professor, Kevin Warwick, on the future of worker productivity. His chilling warning: If we don’t wake up, countries like China will soon be producing cyber-enhanced super-employees—workers who far outclass even the most capable employee here at home. Will tomorrow’s resume need to include your version number? (Forbes)
October 16, 2013
Our final invention: Is AI the defining issue for humanity?
Humanity today faces incredible threats and opportunities: climate change, nuclear weapons, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and much, much more. But some people argue that these things are all trumped by one: artificial intelligence (AI). To date, this argument has been confined mainly to science fiction and a small circle of scholars and enthusiasts. Enter documentarian James Barrat, whose new book, Our Final Invention, states the case for (and against) AI in clear, plain language. (Huffington Post)
October 15, 2013
A New Edition of The Journal of Medical Ethics is Available
The Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 39, No. 11, November 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “The making of medical ethics” by Kenneth Boyd
- “Framing patient consent for student involvement in pelvic examination: a dual model of autonomy” by Andrew Carson-Stevens, et al.
- “Evaluation of clinical ethics support services and its normativity” by Jan Schildmann, et al.
- “Medical confidentiality and the competent patient” by Gerard Niveau, et al.
- “Moral responsibility for (un)healthy behaviour” by Rebecca C H Brown
- “Aiming at a moving target: research ethics in the context of evolving standards of care and prevention” by Seema Shah and Reidar K Lie
- “We must not create beings with moral standing superior to our own” by Nicholas Agar
- “Attitudes toward euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: a study of the multivariate effects of healthcare training, patient characteristics, religion and locus of control” by Carrie-Anne Marie Hains and Nicholas J Hulbert-Williams
October 1, 2013
A New Edition of The Philosophers’ Magazine is Available
The Philosophers’ Magazine (Volume 2013, No. 62, 3rd Quarter 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Living on Google earth” by Luciano Floridi
- “Ethics in the supply chain” by Mohan Matthen
- “Hypocrisy and abortion” by Wendy M Grossman
- “Should students take smart drugs?” by Darian Meacham
- “A transhuman future” by Russell Blackford
- “The need for moral enhancement” by Erik Parens
- “Untangling dignity” by Remy Debes
- “Silicone carnage” by John P Sullins
A New Edition of AI & Society is Available
AI & Society (Volume 28, No. 3, August 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Faust, Freud, machine: encounters and performance” by Karamjit S. Gill
- “Doctor Faustus in the twenty-first century” by Douglas Schuler
- “‘We Can Rebuild Him!’: The essentialisation of the human/cyborg interface in the twenty-first century, or whatever happened to The Six Million Dollar Man?” by Simon Bacon
- “Cognitive revolution, virtuality and good life” by Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic
- “Mutual learning: a systemic increase in learning efficiency to prepare for the challenges of the twenty-first century” by Bernard Blandin & Bernard Lietaer
August 28, 2013
5 reasons humans should never become machines
Are humans doomed to a machine-like future of radically-enhanced lifespan and intelligence, but without the intangibles that have made our 200,000 year-old species so unique? Using technology to stave off Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other neurological maladies is easy to justify. But is it inevitable that humans and machines will meld into a Borg-like future? (Forbes)