Tag Archives | Future

What Will Your Virtual Afterlife Be Like?

Female Second Life avatarAccording to neuroscientist Michael Graziano writing at Aeon Magazine, “The question is not whether we can upload our brains onto a computer, but what will become of us when we do”:

Imagine a future in which your mind never dies. When your body begins to fail, a machine scans your brain in enough detail to capture its unique wiring. A computer system uses that data to simulate your brain. It won’t need to replicate every last detail. Like the phonograph, it will strip away the irrelevant physical structures, leaving only the essence of the patterns. And then there is a second you, with your memories, your emotions, your way of thinking and making decisions, translated onto computer hardware as easily as we copy a text file these days.

That second version of you could live in a simulated world and hardly know the difference. You could walk around a simulated city street, feel a cool breeze, eat at a café, talk to other simulated people, play games, watch movies, enjoy yourself.

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The Future of the World Food Supply is Logical, Well Known and Wrong

USMC-110804-M-IX060-108Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment, is looking to change the dominant narrative on the global food supply. He writes for ensia:

There’s a powerful narrative being told about the world’s food system — in classrooms, boardrooms, foundations and the halls of government around the world. It’s everywhere. And it makes complete sense when you listen to it. The problem is, it’s mostly based on flawed assumptions.

You’ve probably heard it many times. While the exact phrasing varies, it usually goes something like this: The world’s population will grow to 9 billion by mid-century, putting substantial demands on the planet’s food supply. To meet these growing demands, we will need to grow almost twice as much food by 2050 as we do today. And that means we’ll need to use genetically modified crops and other advanced technologies to produce this additional food. It’s a race to feed the world, and we had better get started.

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Are You A Transhuman? Larry King Interviews Futurist FM-2030

Want a glimpse of someone truly born far before their time? Circa 1989, the future-obsessed professor and consultant named FM-2030 (born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary) interviewed by Larry King, with befuddled call-ins from middle Americans. Author of a book titled Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World, FM-2030 told the public that they should be prepared and eager to evolve to "transhumans." However, he emphasized a brand of super-optimistic futurism that was at its core not about technological advancement so much as becoming increasingly "humanity rich" – more open, empathetic, and compassionate. He died in 2000 and is currently cryogenically preserved, awaiting reanimation:
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Two Lectures and One Interview: Eric R. Kandel on learning, memory, and individuality; Elon Musk on the Future of Energy and Transport; and Ladar Levison on Lavabit

via chycho

Two lectures and one interview well worth the watch:


I. Eric R. Kandel: The Molecular Biology of Memory Storage and the Biological Basis of Individuality
In my opinion and those of many others, the root cause of our society’s ills is how we deal with education, and the following lecture by Eric Kandel emphasizes this point. The argument is made that evolving, learning, memory; our humanity should be looked upon in a holistic manner. That our genes do not necessarily decide who we become; our culture, our methods of learning and teaching, our setting is what decides our individuality, and we, in large part, are in control of our future.


II. Elon Musk: the Future of Energy & Transport
Tesla Motors and Elon Musk have been all the rage lately, and rightfully so considering Tesla just blew away their quarterly earnings and Musk just revealed details of Hyperloop (pdf), a “hypothetical mode of high-speed transportation” which he has proposed.… Read the rest

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Cybernetic Society and Its Reflections in Science Fiction

01-Cybernetics-Norbert-Wiener

Norbert Wiener, author of “Cybernetics,” a 1948 book in which he develops a theory of communication and control.

Jason Stackhouse writes on Engineerjobs:

Our own attempts to design centrally planned economies yielded only brittle, crushingly totalitarian states, Stalinist nightmares of fiat rule, corruption, and dehumanization. Yet the dream persists: a planned, smoothly-functioning world, responding rationally to evolving conditions, shepherding resources for the benefit of humanity.

Can engineers do better? As it turns out, we can – and almost did, 40 years ago.

The Foundation and the Culture

Many science fiction fans advance Star Trek as an example of such a planned, internally harmonious society. While Trek is many things, it’s not the best example of a cashless utopia – money, graft, and greed rear their heads the moment our crew leaves the ship.
Star Trek Utopia

Star Trek’s crew was not quite a Cybernetic Society.

Better representations can be found in the works of Isaac Asimov and Iain Banks.

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Five Corporation-Crushing Disruptive Technologies That Will Empower the Masses

disruptive tech headerEveryone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways.  Just look at Big Oil.  We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world.  Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind.  Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion).  Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit.  Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone.  For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at.  Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.

However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest

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Here is What’s Going On in Canada, Part 1: Two Telltale Speeches by Stephen Harper

via chycho

harper-images

    I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

    II. Harper’s ‘Plagiarized’ Iraq War Speech

    III. Harper’s 1997 Speech to Council for National Policy

I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

For those watching from afar, Canada must seem an enigma. For decades we have been hailed as peace keepers, but have lately been busy flexing our mussels at every opportunity we get (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). We are known for our pristine environment, but have been accelerating the development of the dirtiest project in the world (pics). Knowing full well the devastating consequences of America’s War on Drugs, the very same day that Washington State and Colorado legalized the recreational use of Cannabis we introduced “tough new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana.” We are the third largest water rich resource country in the world, but have recently suspended numerous water monitoring and preservation projects:

“DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] Habitat Management Program – which monitored the effects of harmful industrial, agricultural and land-development activities on wild fish – is gone.

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Last Survivors of the Apocalypse: Microbes

France in XXI Century. MicrobesForget the preppers, the only survivors of the final apocalypse are going to be microbes per this report from BBC News:

The last surviving creatures on Earth will be tiny organisms living deep underground, according to scientists.

Researchers used a computer model to assess our planet’s fate billions of years from now.

They found that as the Sun becomes hotter and brighter, only microbes would be able cope with the extreme conditions that the solar changes would bring.

The research is being presented at the National Astronomy Meeting.

Jack O’Malley James, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said: “There won’t be very much oxygen present, so they need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures, and high salinities because of evaporating oceans.”

Mass extinction
The future of life on Earth is tied to that of the Sun, and over time, our star will become more and more luminous.

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Paradise or Oblivion: The Venus Project


via The Venus Project

The Future and Beyond

By Jacque Fresco

Beyond Utopia

With the advent of future developments in science and technology, we will assign more and more decision making to machines. At present this is evident in military systems in which electronic sensors maintain the ideal flight characteristics in advanced aircraft. The capacities of computers today exceed five hundred trillion bits of information per second. The complexity of today’s civilization is far too complex for human systems to manage without the assistance of electronic computers. Computers of today are relatively primitive compared to those that will evolve in the future. Eventually the management of social systems will call for require electronic sensors interconnected with all phases of the social sequences thus eliminating the need for politics.

Today modern industrial plants have built in automatic inventory systems, which order materials such as bearings and other mechanical replacements well in advance.

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What Will Humanity Look Like In 100,000 Years?

look like in 10,000 years

Obviously, this rendering is largely speculation, but I agree that humanity will likely spend the foreseeable future trying to turn ourselves into anime characters. Via the New York Daily News:

In 100,000 years, people might have larger heads and sideways-blinking oversized Disney eyes that glow green with cat-like night vision. At least, that is what two researchers say could happen in “one possible timeline.”

Artist Nickolay Lamm teamed up with computational geneticist Alan Kwan to envision a future where zygotic genome engineering technology develops to the point where humans will be able to control their own evolution.

This ability, the team says, could result in more facial features that humans find intrinsically attractive: strong lines, straight nose, intense eyes and perfect symmetry. Kwan thinks that the human head might expand to accommodate a larger brain.

But perhaps their most remarkable conjecture is that future humans could start to blink sideways like owls to “protect from cosmic ray effects,” they added.

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