Tag Archives | Futurism

Jean Perdrizet’s Metaphysical Blueprints From The Future

Art Brut / collection ABCD on the otherworldly creations of Jean Perdrizet, who designed languages, scales, and devices bridging the gap between the human world and the realms of ghosts, aliens, and astral planes:

Jean Perdrizet (1907-1975) was employed as a combat engineer in Grenoble, then at Électricité de France from 1944 to 1949. Around 1955 he became an “inventor”. He started to invent prototypes and draw plans of machines to communicate with the ghosts or aliens : an “electric ouija”, a “thermoelectronic net for the ghosts”, a “Robot cosmonaut”, “space scale”, an “imagination cursor”, a “flying pipe”. He also invented a universal language, the so-called “T language”. He sent his studies to NASA, CNRS and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. His work attracted the attention of scientists but also of those who refuse the omnipotence of rationalist thought.

jean Perdrizet

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Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Nearly Half Of American Jobs Are Likely To Be Eliminated By Computers Over The Next Two Decades

american jobs

Humanity is nearly obsolete. MIT Technology Review writes:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage.

Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

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NSA Chief’s “Information Dominance Center” Designed To Look Like Star Trek

ifWe are officially living in someone else’s fantasy. The Verge writes:

Foreign Policy describes NSA head Keith Alexander’s data-processing “Information Dominance Center” in Virginia as a high-tech homage to Star Trek.

Alexander reportedly had his operations center redesigned to mimic the Enterprise bridge, “complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed.”

“The Center’s primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies,” says a paper by designers DBI Architects. “The futuristic Commander’s console gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship.”

The officials and lawmakers who were apparently treated to presentations at the center, however, seemed duly impressed. “Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says an officer who helped coordinate the visits.

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Unveiling The Delusion Of Disruption

disruption

Balkinization on the techno-utopian cult of disruption:

Why is the term “disruption” so popular nowadays? Elite media features a parade of thinkers keen on “disrupting” old institutions. Talk of social contracts is passé in an America obsessed with technocapitalist visions of a prosperous future.

The yen for “disruption,” an empty term for empty minds in empty people, makes traditional obstacles like social contracts suspect or downright pernicious. This has led to an embrace of proceduralism by those true believers who want an app economy to be the engine of capitalism. And such people rule the world.

The view of society as an institution-free network of autonomous individuals practicing free exchange makes the social sciences, with the exception of economics, irrelevant. What’s left is engineering, neuroscience, an understanding of incentives (in the narrowly utilitarian sense): just right for those whose intellectual predispositions are to algorithms, design, and data structures.

Unfortunately, the “disruptions” pursued by Silicon Valley giants (and their well-heeled consultants) often have little to do with challenging the biggest power centers in society.

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How Timothy Leary Led The Way To Transhumanism With SMI2LE

leary

Via KurzweilAI R.U. Sirius reveals Leary’s proto-transhumanist SMI2LE manifesto :

Leary may have been the first to signal a memeplex for the transhuman future — SMI2LE (Space Migration Intelligence Increase and Life Extension) — back in the mid-1970s. My new book, Timothy Leary’s Trip Thru Time, explores Leary’s life and philosophies, including his transhuman explorations.

Leary emerged from prison in 1976 as one of the advocates for advances in the human condition that would soon be called transhumanism. Leading transhumanists rarely acknowledge that Leary defined the movement with precision 38 years ago.

In fact, going back to 1974, about a year after Leary expressed, in his Starseed Transmission, his wild prison fantasy of taking 5,000 advanced mutants out to galaxy central, Gerard K. O’Neill, a physicist and professor at Princeton University released a paper claiming that human settlements could be built in space at Lagrange points — locations where a habitat could theoretically remain stable.

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Developing Robots To Care For The Elderly

robots

Will you believe your grandparents when they swear to you that the robots have turned on them? Via the Telegraph:

Experts believe that Linda, a £25,000 robot, could be the perfect solution to one of the biggest hazards facing elderly residents in care homes: falls.

Continuously sweeping the building in search of distressed residents is exactly the kind of repetitive task to which robots are ideally suited.

Not only could robots like Linda patrol corridors for continuous surveillance 24 hours a day, but they could perform additional tasks such as carrying messages or escorting patients to appointments.

The problem of teaching machines to distinguish between an everyday situation and an emergency is now being tackled by a £7m EU-funded project being conducted at six universities in Britain and abroad.

The project, known as STRANDS (Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-term Scenarios) is focused on programming robots to learn about their environment and recognise when something is amiss.

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Why The Singularity Is Not Coming

singularityVia Edge.org, Bruce Sterling tells us what to not worry about:

Twenty years have passed since Vernor Vinge wrote his remarkably interesting essay about “the Singularity.”

This aging sci-fi notion has lost its conceptual teeth. Its chief evangelist, visionary Ray Kurzweil, just got a straight engineering job with Google. Despite its weird fondness for AR goggles and self-driving cars, Google is not going to finance any eschatological cataclysm in which superhuman intelligence abruptly ends the human era. Google is a firmly commercial enterprise.

We’re no closer to “self-aware” machines than in the 1960s. A modern wireless Cloud is an entirely different cyber-paradigm than imaginary 1990s “minds on nonbiological substrates” that might allegedly have the “computational power of a human brain.” A Singularity has no business model, no major power group in our society is interested in provoking one.

[Instead] we’re getting what Vinge predicted would happen without a Singularity, which is “a glut of technical riches never properly absorbed.”

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Novels of The Coming Transhuman Mind Meld

crux2This week sees the release of Crux (Aug 27), the second title in a transhumanist trilogy featuring a mind-linking, mind-expanding, nano-drug that its author believes theoretically possible – and he may just know about these things. He’s Ramez Naam, a noted futurist and author of the HG Wells Award winning non-fiction book on human augmentation, More than Human.

In Crux, and its prequel, Nexus, the self-described “techno-optimist” Naam pits the hallowed forces of progress against the Emerging Risks Directorate, a US government department executing a brutal and futile campaign against human augmentation that evokes the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror”.

I wanted to talk with the author about the implications for such augmentation as I myself had written about a similar technology in my own novel, Human+, and recently recorded an interview with him for The Eternities podcast. We talked also about my own novel’s very different central question, of whether technological innovation itself could obstruct progress; in this case, the progress of human consciousness towards its full potential.… 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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