Tag Archives | Technology

Dying like an American: spaceflight, coral reefs, and other wild ways to get buried

Screen Shot from UrbanDeathProject.org

Screen Shot from UrbanDeathProject.org

Lizzie Plaugic via The Verge:

On the day before her 56th birthday, Grace Seidel talked to me about dying. It probably wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, she said, but when it did, she knew what she wanted her family to do with her body: compost it. Earlier this year, Seidel found out about the Urban Death Project — a proposed system that would turn bodies of the dead into compost — and knew instantly it was how she wanted to go out.

“It took a nanosecond for me to make that decision,” Seidel said. “My brain was probably already working in that direction.”

Seidel, an avid gardener who lives in Seattle, said she’s recently been drawn to the idea of green burials, and the Urban Death Project felt like an intimate, even spiritual way to return to the earth. So she donated $2,500 to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, which secured her a space in the “core”: a multi-story vault designed to sit at the center of every Urban Death facility.

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Better Living Through Technology

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Evolver has recently announced their newest learning lab course, Better Living Through Technology. Join Disinformation author, R.U. Sirius, as he explores the limits of human potential.

Discover the new drugs, machines and techniques that are extending the horizon of human potential.

Humanity is on the cusp of an extraordinary leap. New and emerging technologies promise an unprecedented wave of human self-enhancement. Advances in the areas of longevity, creativity, and biology will enable you to have a quality of experience that previous generations barely conceived possible.

Course details:

Guests: Steve Kotler, Dr. Terry Grossman, Dr. Andrew Hill, James Kent, Tim Cannon, Jay Cornell
5 Sessions • Starts June 24
Free Introductory Session: June 17
$149 + $30 discount if you signup by June 17 with code TRANSHUMANISM

If you’re hesitant about forking over $149 for this course, we urge you to at least checkout the Free Introductory Session this Wednesday.… Read the rest

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AI: Coming to a Sexbot Near You

Robotica

Aaron Krumens Via Extreme Tech:

While the cynical among us knew it was only a matter of time before the rise of the sexbots, the partnering of RealDoll — maker of high end sex mannequins — with Hanson Robotics has moved that eventuality one step closer to reality.

This new venture has been dubbed Realbotix by founder and CEO Matt McMullen of RealDoll. The goal is to endow the RealDoll line of sex figurines with some basic animation, transforming them from immobile mannequins to full on androids that can follow commands and verbally respond to the user. This advanced line of sex dolls will come equipped with animatronic heads, capable of blinking and opening their mouths suggestively. The dolls will reportedly also make use of a mobile app and a virtual reality headset, whereby the physical doll provides haptic feedback for interactions taking place within the virtual reality console.

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Humans are Infinitely more Dangerous than Robots

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Michael Lee Via IEET/World Future Society:

Innovator Elon Musk was widely reported in the media when he described artificial intelligence (AI) as probably the most serious threat to the survival of the human race. [1] But while artificial intelligence systems will certainly take over an increasing range and number of jobs formerly carried out by people, humans will remain infinitely more dangerous than robots for generations to come.

It is humans who have masterminded organised crime and its global empire of fraud and sex slavery. It is people who are behind today’s worldwide scourge of domestic violence. It was two brothers who raided the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly magazine, in which 12 people were killed. It was a young man with suicidal inclinations who co-piloted the Germanwings plane into the French Alps at 430mph, killing all 150 people on board. It was Al-Shabaab gunmen who stormed the residences of the Garissa University College in Northern Kenya while the students were sleeping, murdering at least 148 people in cold blood and injuring 79 others.

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Surfing the Liminal Aether with Bruce Damer Ph.D

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Bruce Damer with Terence McKenna in 1999.

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Bruce Damer is a multi-disciplinary scientist and a (proud) woo-drenched renaissance man. He researches evolutionary biology, especially focusing on the murky questions surrounding the origin of life. Damer also designs asteroid-wrangling spacecrafts and is an expert in computer science who has spent decades researching emergent, lifelike virtual systems.

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

Why is it that we’re always searching for someone to tell us answers? We have an obsession with experts, scientists, teachers — gurus of all sorts. As long as I can remember, I’ve been under the impression that learning and knowledge come from some sort of external source, but what if that’s entirely backward? 

What if all of the answers are right there inside of you, somewhere within your own deepest murk just waiting to be discovered? Perhaps great men are simply skilled facilitators of knowledge and learning, while the actual evolving and growth is wholly incumbent upon the individual.Read the rest

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Which Life Form Dominates Earth?

Springtails can be smaller than a pinhead (Credit: Sinclair Stammers / NPL)

Springtails can be smaller than a pinhead (Credit: Sinclair Stammers / NPL)

Nic Fleming Via BBC:

We humans tend to assume we rule the Earth. With our advanced tool making, language, problem solving and social skills, and our top predator status, we like to think of ourselves as the dominant life form on the planet.

But are we?

There are organisms that are significantly more numerous, cover more of the Earth’s surface and make up more of its living biomass than us. We are certainly having major impacts in most corners of the globe and on its other inhabitants.

But are there are other living things that are quietly having greater, more significant influences? Who or what is really in charge?

If world domination is a numbers game, few can compare with tiny six-legged, shrimp-like springtails, or Collembola. Ranging from 0.25-10mm in length, there are typically around 10,000 per square metre of soil, rising to as many as 200,000 per square metre in some places.

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The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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You Can’t Really Dust For Vomit

SFO

Thursday

5am:
I slept in.

I’m just now shuffling up all zombie-like to the bullet-proof glass window to slide my five “tip” thru the metal tray to Sammy in exchange for 137’s key and medallion. I’m still feeling the generic brand nighttime cough syrup that I’ve been abusing to put myself down at my prescribed 8pm bedtime. My head is fuzzy still.

I passed 137, my regular Prius, en route to the window and noted that her windows are all down. Bad omen. Are we talking vomit?

5:05am:
I’m done with the window and cordial niceties with Sammy, the new-ish office worker that Citizen’s Cab poached from Arrow. Sammy and I have finally gotten a groove on it seems. But he’s a little out of it this morning, complaining about some serious bruising due to a boating accident over unspecified body parts that he promises I do not want to see.

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Memories Can Survive Cryogenic Preservation

Richard Gray via Daily Mail:

It is a technology that has remained firmly in the realms of science fiction, but new research has provided hope for those hoping to be revived after being cryogenically frozen.

The study claims to have shown for the first time that memories formed before an animal has been frozen can survive intact after it has been thawed.

While the experiments were carried out in an organism with a somewhat simpler brain than humans – nematode worms – they answer an important question about the cryogenic process.

Overall there are not many creatures capable of being revived after being cryogenically frozen, and it has never been successfully achieved with any mammal.

However, if they could be reanimated, scientists have questioned whether the memory and personality of someone who had gone through the process would remain the same.

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A Framework for Understanding our Ethical Relationships with Intelligent Technology

Hiroshi Ishiguro with the Telenoid R1

Hiroshi Ishiguro with the Telenoid R1

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

How do we relate to technology? How does it relate to us? These are important questions, particularly in light of the increasingly ubiquitous and often hidden roles that modern computing technology plays in our lives. We have always relied on different forms of technology, from stone axes to trains and automobiles. But modern computing technology has some important properties. When it incorporates artificially intelligent programmes, and utilises robotic action-implementation systems, it has the ability to interfere with, and possibly supersede, human agency.

Some of this interference might be desirable. If a robotic surgeon can increase the success rate of a risky type of surgery, we should probably welcome it. But some of the interference might be less desirable. I have argued in the past that we should have some concerns about automated systems that render our public decision-making processes more opaque.… Read the rest

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