Tag Archives | Futurism

A New Kind of Eternal Life: The Growing Christian Transhumanism Movement

transhuman

Via Outerplaces.com

Transhumanism, the movement which aims to use science fiction-esque methods such as brain uploading, cyborgism, and cryogenics to achieve immortality and/or a higher state of evolution, is strongly associated with atheism. Not only is there a strong emphasis on science, which is often considered to be at odds with religion to a certain extent, but this particular brand of science seems particularly opposed to the notion that God should have control over life and death. But according to transhumanist Micah Redding, there’s a growing contingent of Christians in the transhumanist movement who are seeking a slightly different type of eternal life than the one touted in the Bible.

In a recent article for Motherboard, Redding, who is the executive director of the Christian Transhumanist Organization, claims that religion and transhumanism are much more compatible than most people believe, and that the Christian transhumanism movement is growing rapidly.… Read the rest

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The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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EmDrive Back in the News

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Paul Gilster via Centauri Dreams:

Martin Tajmar (Dresden University of Technology) offers a paper entitled “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EmDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects” in his presentation on apparent thrust produced by the test device. As he told WIRED (which announced that The ‘impossible’ EmDrive could reach Pluto in 18 months), the current work will not close the story. From the paper itself:

The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear… Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EmDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far. Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EmDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.

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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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