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The Limits of the Earth — Part 1: Problems

April 18, 2013 by Ramez Naam

Naam-Limits-of-Earth-Part1-001-earth (600x600)

This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Powerread more

Ask Ray | Potential for elitization of the Singularity

April 17, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: stock image)

Dear Professor Kurzweil,

I was hoping for your views on the potential elitization of Singularity that could lead to exacerbation of class/opportunity/economic division.

The ongoing quest for extending human life and artificially enhancing its quality testifies to our instincts for permanence and survival at all cost.

Technologically acquired supremacy breaks the well accepted paradigm that improved life span, physical and cognitive performance is possible only with practice, studious effort and a healthy… read more

The BRAIN mapping initiative needs rethinking

April 10, 2013 by Don Stein

Grid structure of cerebral pathways (credit: Science)

As a biomedical research scientist I am concerned about President Obama’s broad new research initiative ”to map the human brain.”

The BRAIN ((Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative is a very ambitious, and perhaps even noble, effort, and I am most definitely not against imaging or nanotechnology as tools for research.

But, without specific goals, hypotheses or endpoints, the research effort becomes a fishing expedition. That is,… read more

Man will become like God, say Mormons and transhumanists in Salt Lake City

April 10, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

mta2013

Like every year, I attended the yearly conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA), on April 6 in Salt Lake City.

It is no mystery that I am very fond of the MTA. I think it represents the best example of successful integration of transhumanist ideas in a mainstream religion, and one of the best transhumanist communities.

Man becoming godlike: belief or heresy?read more

Ask Ray | Thoughts on the consequences of the elimination of aging

April 8, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

orange heads with DNA

Hello Ray,

I would like to begin by stating that I am a huge fan and supporter of yours. I read your book The Singularity Is Near last year, and I was enchanted by all of your ideas on the exponential development of human technology and science. I am 100% singularitarian.

I understand that you are a very busy man, but I would tremendously appreciate it if you… read more

Giant mutant rats invade Google servers, take over Internet, replace ‘tweets’ with ‘squeaks’

April 1, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

"Endorse me or else" (credit: .wikia.nocookie.net)

OK, it’s April 1 again, so let’s see who’s been paying attention over the past year. Which of these are:

a. An actual KurzweilAI news or blog post, based on facts.
b. An actual KurzweilAI news or blog post, but based on speculation.
c.  Fake news.

1. Rats can communicate with other rats 1000s of miles away, helping other rats navigate mazes.

2. Reality is created by… read more

Keep your laws off my body!

March 29, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

balduzzi-dicci-si

Let’s say you have a incurable illness, and someone has developed a controversial stem-cell treatment that has led to a cure in about 80 patients. Do you have a right to ignore government regulations prohibiting its use?

If you live in Italy, the answer is si, thanks to Italy’s health minister, Renato Balduzzi, who has decreed that a stem-cell treatment can continue in 32 terminally ill patients, mostly children — even though… read more

In the beginning was the code

A transcript of Jürgen Schmidhuber’s TEDx talk in Belgium
March 15, 2013 by Jürgen Schmidhuber

universe_cube

There is a fastest, optimal, most efficient way of computing all logically possible universes, including ours — if ours is computable (no evidence against this). Any God-like “Great Programmer” with any self-respect should use this optimal method to create and master all logically possible universes.

At any given time, most of the universes computed so far that contain yourself will be due to one of the shortest and fastest programs computing you. This insight allows for making non-trivial predictions about the future. We also obtain formal, mathematical answers to age-old questions of philosophy and theology.… read more

It’s time for a real policy on asteroids

February 24, 2013 by Peter A. Garretson

Edge-on view of our solar system with Sun (white) in the center, showing the population of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) that scientists think are likely to exist based on the NEOWISE survey. Positions of a simulated population of PHAs on a typical day are shown in bright orange, and the simulated NEAs are blue. Earth's orbit is green. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

If you think the events of the post-Valentine’s day surprise of the Russian Meteor and 2012 DA14 near miss are one of a kind, think again. “We know there are 500,000 to 1 million asteroids the size of DA14 or larger. So far we have found fewer than 1% of that ‘cosmic hailstorm’ through which we sail in our yearly orbit around the Sun,” said the Association of Space Explorers… read more

How to read a mouse’s mind

Could be a useful tool for studying new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's
February 21, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

A tiny microscope<br />
equipped with a microendoscope images cells expressing GCaMP3 (credit: Yaniv Ziv et al./Nature Neuroscience)

Want to read a mouse’s mind — observing hundreds of neurons firing in the brain of a live mouse in real time — to see how it creates memories as it explores an environment?

You’ll just need some fluorescent protein and a tiny digital microscope implanted in the rodent’s head, Stanford University scientists say.

Here’s how:

1. First, you catch your mouse.

2. Light… read more

We Are the World: inviting everyone onboard the 100YSS is practical and will help to ensure its success

February 13, 2013 by Martine Rothblatt

wearetheworld_slide13a

Dr. Martine Rothblatt suggests inviting the entire world’s population on-board the 100YSS by uploading, at no cost, their mindfiles — a 1 TB (or less) digital file of an individual’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values — into a central database that will be carried onboard the starship. Presented at the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) 2012 Public Symposium Sept. 13–16, 2012 in Houston.

In… read more

Ask Ray | How to Create a Mind thought experiment

February 10, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Albert Einstein

Ray,

I just finished reading How to Create a Mind. I found it both interesting and informative. At the end, I believe that there is an inherent difference between a human brain and an AI system, a difference that can’t be overcome by any amount of added speed and capacity. To illustrate this difference I have included a thought experiment:

Take the most powerful artificial brain in existence. Include all programs necessary to make… read more

Album MEEMS and track “The Singularity” by acoustic rock band Miracles of Modern Science

February 5, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

meems

We received a note from Evan Younger, vocalist/bassist for Brooklyn-based Miracles of Modern Science mentioning a song he wrote, “The Singularity,” based distinctly on the ideas of futurist Ray Kurzweil.

Younger explained:

“In 2011 I shared a house with our band’s mandolinist. One night I was browsing his bookshelf for bedtime reading, and his copy of The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil caught my eye.… read more

Stalking the wild microbiome

Startup biotech project offers sequencing of your 100 trillion microbes --- indiegogo crowdfunding campaign expires Thurs. Jan. 31 just before midnight
January 31, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

The full microbiome analysis will be available with the $1,337 Delta Five kit (credit: uBiome)

Did you know that foreign microoganisms outnumber our own cells by 10:1, and that we know almost nothing about how they affect our personal health?

Neither did I. But biotech startup µBiome, a UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute spinoff, hopes to fix all that by launching the world’s first citizen science effort to fully map the human “microbiome” (all the microbes in your body),… read more

DIY BioPrinter

January 28, 2013

DIY BioPrinter (credit: BioCurious/Instructables)

Bioprinting is printing with biological materials.

There’s a lot of work being done at research labs and big companies like Organovo on print human tissues and human organs, with an eye towards drug testing, and transplantation into humans.

Check out these amazing TED talks by Anthony Atala, for example:

Anthony Atala: Growing new organs
Anthony Atala: Printing a humanread more

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