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The Right to Human Enhancement

June 6, 2006

The recent Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference examined the right to use enhancing technologies, such as making inheritable changes to the human genome, controlling our own brain, and uploading human consciousness into a computer.

  • Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Foundation: “Bemes” — units of beingness — could eventually be captured, perhaps by wearable recording systems and neuron-sensing nanowires, and uploaded into computers.
  • Richard Glen Boire, Center
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    Singularity Summit at Stanford presentations and audio now online

    June 5, 2006

    Audio, presentations, photos, and blog coverage of the Singularity Summit at Stanford are now online. Introductory reading references are also available.

    There were 1300 in attendance, according to Tyler Emerson, Executive Director of the Singularity Institute, making this “the largest event to cover the Singularity.”

    NOTE: The Singularity Summit at Stanford website may be slow due to overload.… read more

    Proposal to Implant RFID Chips in Immigrants

    June 5, 2006

    VeriChip Corporation has proposed implanting the company’s RFID tracking tags in immigrant and guest workers.

    ‘Alien code’ leads to faster vaccines

    June 5, 2006

    Four years ago, Eckard Wimmer scared the world by making the polio virus from scratch. This prompted fears that terrorists would copy his methods to create deadly viruses of their own. Now his team at Stony Brook University in New York are using the same method to create weakened viruses that could speed up the development of new vaccines.

    Almaden Institute’s ‘Cognitive Computing’ videos available online

    June 5, 2006

    Videos and presentations are now available online for IBM Almaden Institute’s 2006 “Cognitive Computing” conference, which examined scientific and technological issues around the quest to understand how the human brain works and how and when can we mechanize cognition.

    Speakers included Toby Berger (Cornell), Gerald Edelman (The Neurosciences Institute), Joaquin Fuster (UCLA), Jeff Hawkins (Palm/Numenta), Robert Hecht-Nielsen (UCSD), Christof Koch (CalTech), Henry Markram (EPFL/BlueBrain), V. S. Ramachandran… read more

    Is It Raining Aliens?

    June 5, 2006

    Nearly 50 tons of mysterious red particles showered India in 2001.

    In April, Godfrey Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples contain microbes from outer space.

    Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. The particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully,… read more

    Man vs. Machine: How to Survive a Robot Uprising

    June 2, 2006

    “The purpose of this book,” Daniel Wilson writes in the introduction, “is to prepare you for the future robot uprising.” And he’s only half joking. Wilson, who has a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, has written a book that is equal parts sci-fi send-up and technical primer, blended with enough skill to land the 28-year-old two more book deals and a movie option from Paramount.

    Organizing molecular machines on a substrate

    June 2, 2006

    Researchers have come up with a technique for arranging molecular machines on a solid surface, which would be important, for example, for the construction of artificial muscles based on the collective action of many molecular machines.

    The new breed of cyber-terrorist

    June 2, 2006

    Scott Borg, the director and chief economist of the US Cyber Consequences Unit, a Department of Homeland Security advisory group, believes that attacks on computer networks are poised to escalate to full-scale disasters that could bring down companies, destroy power grids, and kill people.

    Outward Bound for Robots

    June 1, 2006

    A computer navigation system based on the hippocampus portion of the brain has been tested on an autonomous robotic car. By enabling the robot to take “cognitive fingerprints” of its surroundings, the software allows the vehicle to explore and remember places in much the same way mammals do.

    Carbon nanotubes pinned down at last

    June 1, 2006

    A new process that bonds carbon nanotubes to silicon to create transistors could lead eventually lead to large-scale integration of nanoelectronic devices.

    Satellite could open door on extra dimension

    May 31, 2006

    T%here could be several thousand black holes in the solar system, say Duke University researchers, and they may soon be detected.

    Their gravity should bend light passing nearby, so that light passing on one side of a black hole should take a different amount of time to go by than light passing on the other side, detectable by interference patterns during gamma-ray bursts.

    Scientists work on laws for robots to avoid possible war with artificial intelligence

    May 31, 2006

    Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a new set of safety guidelines for next-generation robots — the first attempt at a formal version of the first of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics: “A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”

    Japan’s ministry guidelines will require manufacturers to install a sufficient number of sensors to keep… read more

    Software to Look for Experts Among Your Friends

    May 30, 2006

    Tacit Software is preparing to introduce an online service, called Illumio, that will make it simple to pick the brains of friends and colleagues for opinions and expertise.

    The next big bang: Man meets machine

    May 30, 2006

    Research on multiple fronts in digital technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology may, over the next half century, alter the way we think about computers and information, and our relationship to them. With these changes, bionic body parts won’t seem so far-fetched as we increasingly develop ways to integrate high-tech materials into our mortal flesh.

    And the reverse is true as well. Researchers are now looking to biological materials such as… read more

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