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book review | The Transhumanist Wager

May 15, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

The Transhumanist Wager

Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager is an epic story of radical libertarian ideas, their enemies, and the violent global conflict that ensues, painted in strong saturated colors with little room for intermediate shades and character development.

After reading cover to cover, and then reading it more carefully, I have mixed love/hate feelings about this novel.

It’s a page turner. Istvan — a former journalist… read more

Ask Ray | An interesting article about body and mind

May 14, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

gear brain

This is a really interesting article about body and mind which I recently read. I wanted to share it with my readers:

The New York Times | “I am not this body”

Here is a compelling excerpt: “I do not identify with my body. I have a body but I am a mind.

“My body and I have an intimate but awkward relationship, like foreign roommates who share… read more

An autonomous flying car? Really?

May 12, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Artist's impression of TF-X future flying car in flight (credit: Terrafugia Inc.)

“Where’s my flying car?”

Skeptics have trashed predictions of flying cars with this annoying question ever since the Jetsons.

But now Terrafugia Inc. has announced feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) [similar to a helicopter] plug-in hybrid-electric flying car, the TF-X.

Just tell it where to go. It flies (and lands) for you — no runway needed — and… read more

Google’s self-driving car gathers nearly 1 GB/sec

May 4, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

googlecarsees

“Google’s self-driving car gathers 750 megabytes of sensor data per SECOND! That is just mind-boggling to me. Here is a picture of what the car ‘sees’ while it is driving and about to make a left turn. It is capturing every single thing that it sees moving — cars, trucks, birds, rolling balls, dropped cigarette butts, and fusing all that together to make its decisions while driving. If it sees… read more

Ask Ray | How do you gauge if strong AI is a few years away?

April 30, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

silver robot with cosmos

Mr. Kurzweil,

I’m currently in the middle of How to Create a Mind. I’m struggling with this one a bit more than you’re other books, but it’s very enjoyable and elucidating.

You have for some time predicted human level machine intelligence arriving by 2029.

However, in Mind you estimate the speed of a computer necessary to simulate the brain at 100 trillion cps, and state that the… read more

Ask Ray | How can I maintain my stream of personal identity?

April 24, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Dr. Kurzweil,

My name is Stanley. I too was born and bred in Queens, New York. I am also an Alcor member since 1992. I was part of the New York stabilization team and was part many cryonic cases.

I I am currently experiencing an extreme case of death terror.

I am 45 years old and am desperate not to require cryopreservation, and live to be uploaded.… read more

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits

April 19, 2013 by Ramez Naam

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

This is part two 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, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems.  Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finiteread more

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

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

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