Tag Archives | Futurism

Welcome to Life: The Singularity, Ruined by Corporations

It’s easy to fantasize about what the singularity could bring us. YouTube user Tom Scott has created perhaps the most likely — and most depressing — scenario of what our technological futures could hold.

You die. Your consciousness is uploaded to the Life Network and now you have to choose from three tiers.

Tier One — Uninterrupted simulation.
Tier Two — Advertiser supported offer. You may see targeted advertisements from sponsors in the sky and other places.
Tier Three — Value offering thanks to commercial partners. Complicated mental processes, such as creativity and self-awareness, may be dulled or disabled in times of high server activity.

And it only gets eerier…

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All Roads Lead to Zen…

pots

At end of shift yesterday, while I was cashing-out my day over at the bullet-proof glass at Citizen’s Cab, a night driver named Harry – relaxing in a musty old car seat up on the rustic porch/driver’s lounge, was waiting for his cab to come in. From the porch, Harry all unsolicited bellows over to me,

“Hay! Sack! Ya kno wha tha secrit ta makin’ monee is now?”

I bite, “No, Harry. What’s the secret?”

“Ya gotta tink pos-Y-tive!”

Ah, a bit of old school San Francisco…

Well, I have been practicing watching my breath of late, on account of Maya – my upaguru Zen meditation teacher ride from recent blog fame. But instead of really meditating as I lie there in bed, watching my breath winds up super relaxing me and I just end up falling asleep real fast. But, that’s ok. Consequently, I’ve come to stop abusing night-time cough syrup to get down at night, again.… Read the rest

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Perceive this: The human brain controls alpha-band oscillation phase to effect temporal predictions

Fig. 3. Spatial and frequency specificity of the alpha-band signal. (A) Scalp topography of absolute alpha power 400 ms before target onset, with electrode Pz indicated. (B) FFT of the pretarget data, indicating a peak in power at 10.6 Hz. Credit: Samaha J et al. (2015) Top-down control of the phase of alpha-band oscillations as a mechanism for temporal prediction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(27):8439-8444.

Fig. 3. Spatial and frequency specificity of the alpha-band signal. (A) Scalp topography of absolute alpha power 400 ms before target onset, with electrode Pz indicated. (B) FFT of the pretarget data, indicating a peak in power at 10.6 Hz. Credit: Samaha J et al. (2015) Top-down control of the phase of alpha-band oscillations as a mechanism for temporal prediction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(27):8439-8444.

Stuart Mason Dambrot via Medical Express:

Standard models of perception are stimulus-driven, meaning that the external perceptual event drives the brain’s perception-related activity. However, the tide may be turning: recent ideas suggest that our perceptual experiences and visually guided behaviors are influenced by top-down processes in the brain – specifically, the brain’s predictions about the external world. Recently, scientists at University of Wisconsin–Madison demonstrated that perceptual expectations about when a stimulus will appear are instantiated in the brain by optimally configuring prestimulus alpha-band oscillations in order to optimize the effectiveness of subsequent neural processing.

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Transhumanism — The Final Religion?

Humphrey King (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Humphrey King (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Transhumanism and its associated philosophies can be divisive. To be sure, the movement has some negative stereotypes attached to it. But nonetheless, it’s gaining traction in mainstream discourse.

Over at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, Dirk Bruere, explores transhumanism’s relationship to religion:

After several decades of relative obscurity Transhumanism as a philosophical and technological movement has finally begun to break out of its strange intellectual ghetto and make small inroads into the wider public consciousness. This is partly because some high profile people have either adopted it as their worldview or alternatively warned against its potential dangers. Indeed, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama named it “The world’s most dangerous idea” in a 2004 article in the US magazine Foreign Policy, and Transhumanism’s most outspoken publicist, Ray Kurzweil, was recently made director of engineering at Google, presumably to hasten Transhumanism’s goals.

So, what are these goals and how does Transhumanism define itself?

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From Cyborgs to Nanobots: 5 Ways Scientists Hope to Achieve Immortality for Humanity

cyborg

Via Outerplaces.com

Is immortality within our reach? Maybe not yet, but we are definitely trying. While the new film “Self/Less” features an interesting science fiction take on achieving immortality, various advances have been taking place in the very real scientific community. We may have a long way to go before we can transfer our consciousness into Ryan Reynolds body, but science is working pretty hard on some fascinating alternatives to the notion of immortality:

Anti-Aging Genetic Engineering
Maybe someday anti-aging will really reverse aging and keep us young forever, but until that day current anti-aging discoveries are at least helping to slow down specific aspects of the aging process. This spring, scientists at UC Berkeley discovered a drug called the Alk5 kinase inhibitor that helps restore brain and muscle tissues to youthful levels through stem cells used in tests on mice. The Alk5 kinase inhibitor limits the release of TGF-beta1, a chemical that restricts a stem cell’s ability to repair the body.… Read the rest

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Virtual Reality is the Future of Religion

Dali_Crucifixion_hypercubeRev. Dr. Christopher Benek via H+mag:

25 years ago most people didn’t imagine that the Internet would reshape the way that they existed on a day-to-day basis. 25 years from now people will think about Virtual Reality the same way we think about the Internet today – we won’t even be able to imagine our global existence without it.

One of the largest beneficiaries of this technological development could be the global church because VR is going to change the way that Christians participate in worship.

The main impact that VR is going to have on the global church is that it is going to, one-day, enable Christians to easily gather from a variety of places without being in the same physical location.   This will enable persons who are homebound, sick, caregivers, without transportation, on vacation, or severely disabled to participate in worship with the larger community of faith without needing to leave the place where they are physically residing.

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The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

"Tesla circa 1890" by Napoleon Sarony - postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Tesla circa 1890” by Napoleon Sarony – postcard (radiographics.rsna.org). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This post was originally published on Activist Post

Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate more than 70 years after his death.

Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control?

We know that he was undoubtedly persecuted by the energy power brokers of his day — namely Thomas Edison, whom we are taught in school to revere as a genius.  He was also attacked by J.P. Morgan and other “captains of industry.” Upon Tesla’s death on January 7th, 1943, the U.S. government moved into his lab and apartment confiscating all of his scientific research, some of which has been released by the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. (I’ve embedded the first 250 pages below and have added a link to the .pdf of the final pages, 290 in total).… Read the rest

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Permaculture – Reconnecting with Nature

Bonzai-Tree-Permaculture

Phil Watt via Waking Times:

Humanity has lost its connection to nature. We’re so bombarded with artificial imagery and ideals of superficial living that most of us think taking in an occasional sunset or going for a bush-walk is what it means to be united with our Mother Earth. These practices are wonderful, and very grounding, however they are temporary and don’t truly represent the holistic way we most naturally connect to the spirit of our world and the life that it breathes.

As a culture, we have become disconnected from our food. We have forgotten the cycles of natural systems. We are blind to the divine patterns found in nature. We have lost the innate wisdom of knowing our environment like the back of our heart, and knowing our place within it. Instead we have accepted urbanization of our civilization as ‘natural’. In cities we live in a cement jungle, on top of each other but isolated from each other and our natural environment.

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Training Schrodinger’s cat: Controlling the quantum properties of light

Zeno cat. A Zeno cat refers to non-classical states of light created by shining a cavity on resonance while it is forbidden to access a given energy level. The name originates from the Zeno effect, which can similarly prevent an energy level from being occupied by the sole fact of measuring its occupation frequently. The cat comes from the similarity of such a state with a Schrödinger cat state of light: a superposition between two classical states of light. The Zeno cat figure corresponds to the study’s experimental design. Credit: Benjamin Huard.

Zeno cat. A Zeno cat refers to non-classical states of light created by shining a cavity on resonance while it is forbidden to access a given energy level. The name originates from the Zeno effect, which can similarly prevent an energy level from being occupied by the sole fact of measuring its occupation frequently. The cat comes from the similarity of such a state with a Schrödinger cat state of light: a superposition between two classical states of light. The Zeno cat figure corresponds to the study’s experimental design. Credit: Benjamin Huard.

Stuart Mason Dambrot via Phys.org:

(Phys.org)—Constructing quantum computers and other quantum devices requires the ability to leverage quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement – but these effects are fragile and therefore hard to maintain. Recently, scientists at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris demonstrated a novel method for controlling the quantum properties of light by probing a superconducting circuit in a cavity with microwave photons to control the energy levels that photon quanta can occupy.

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Is effective regulation of AI possible? Eight potential regulatory problems

artificial brain

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

The halcyon days of the mid-20th century, when researchers at the (in?)famous Dartmouth summer school on AI dreamed of creating the first intelligent machine, seem so far away. Worries about the societal impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) are on the rise. Recent pronouncements from tech gurus like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have taken on a dramatically dystopian edge. They suggest that the proliferation and advance of AI could pose a existential threat to the human race.

Despite these worries, debates about the proper role of government regulation of AI have generally been lacking. There are a number of explanations for this: law is nearly always playing catch-up when it comes to technological advances; there is a decidedly anti-government libertarian bent to some of the leading thinkers and developers of AI; and the technology itself would seem to elude traditional regulatory structures.… Read the rest

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