Tag Archives | Transhumanism

“Joseph Campbell’s Vision for the Internet Age”

Picture: Joan Halifax (CC)

Beams and Struts examines the Singularity in a Campbellian context. The results are fascinating, even if you’re of a mind that Ray Kurzweil’s vision of a Geek Rapture is more wishful thinking than likely future.

Joseph Campbell would have been the first to point out the dangers of reading such science fiction as literal truth. In Campbell’s work, mythologies are never reduced to mere prophecy, belief, or individual religious sect; instead, stories often point toward underlying psychological phenomena that have universal significance and arise from a universal source, despite manifesting in specific cultural contexts. In other words, the cast of characters may change, but the essential plot remains the same. Read in this context, The Singularity could simply be a contemporary expression of an ancient mythological motif: the quest to cheat death. This theme, central to the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic, has been around for at least 3,000 years in literature.

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Italy Elects First Transhumanist Member Of Parliament

No Child Left Behind: the newest member of Italian Parliament is calling for humans to evolve into a higher form of life via technology. KurzweilAI writes:

In July, Italy — ironically, a stronghold of the Catholic Church — became the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist.

Giuseppe Vatinno ran on a platform of “politics that strive to improve the human condition, making use of appropriate advanced technologies.” And not a moment too soon, as Italy slides dangerously toward bankruptcy and urgently needs a new direction.

Transhumanism — the idea that we can radically change ourselves by merging with technology — already had a precedent in Italy: former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi invested in MolMed, which aims to raise average life expectancy to 120 years and beyond. And transhumanism was already present in the work of the Futurist movement of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which had an important influence in Italian politics in the first half of the 20th century, and is explicitly transhumanist in its modern revival.

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Will Corporations Try To Stop The Singularity?

Division by zero

Photo: CERN (CC)

KURZWEILAI:

“Corporations are People, my friend”
- and they might be slowing down evolution, or even preventing Utopia.

The approaching Technological Singularity could bring drastic changes, such as rendering money obsolete via the destruction of scarcity-based ‘value’ systems. The time is not far-off when nano-replication of gold, diamond or other previously precious materials becomes possible, rendering most economic systems obsolete.

It is clear that legacy-age institutional forces will naturally fight for their survival and relevance. How hard will they fight and can they be influenced to be less resistant?

Human beings are confused and confusing creatures. We don’t have very clear goal systems, and are quite willing and able to adapt our top-level goals to the circumstances. I have little doubt that most humans will go with the flow as Singularity approaches.

But corporations are a different matter. Corporations are entities/organisms unto themselves these days, with wills and cognitive structures quite distinct from the people that comprise them.

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Extreme Futurist Festival 2011

Extreme FuturistPicture an event where the bridge between the counterculture and academia is finally crossed. From live tech demonstrations to futuristic presentations to provocative performance art to live music we will take you off the grid as we explore a new kaleidoscopic wonderland. If the original Burning Man was to meet the Singularity Summit, you would have Extreme Futurist Fest 2011.

The dance for the realization of the future begins in the corridors of art, literature, and culture. Only by connecting together the greatest visionary minds with the most innovative and rule-breaking forms of artistic expression and cultural mind-melding can we unlock the full potential of the Future and bring it into the Present. We offer you the bold new interdisciplinary movement of the 21st Century. A place where the right brain and left brain merge into a new “Undivided Mind”.

The future is all around us today. The explosion of the Internet and powerful mobile devices have transformed life in fundamental ways for billions of people.… Read the rest

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UK Scientists Warn Of Future ‘Planet Of The Apes’ Scenario

planet-of-the-apesCould ongoing experiments involving the mixing of human and non-human DNA produce monstrous, over-intelligent hybrids down the road? In the U.S., human cells are already being implanted in mouse embryos, so we’ll likely be facing the rats of NIMH, rather than talking chimps who smoke pipes. The Telegraph reports:

Action is needed now, according to a group of eminent experts. Their report calls for a new rules to supervise sensitive research that involves humanizing animals.

“The fear is that if you start putting very large numbers of human brain cells into the brains of primates suddenly you might transform the primate into something that has some of the capacities that we regard as distinctively human..speech, or other ways of being able to manipulate or relate to us.”

Currently research involving great apes, such as chimpanzees, is outlawed in the UK. But it continues in many other countries including the US, and British scientists are permitted to experiment on monkeys.

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Humanity 3.0: How Will We Evolve Next?

1561781181_be42e3aaacWriting in SEED Magazine, Mark Changizi expounds on his vision of human advancement in the centuries to come. He argues that the greatest progress will not come through changing our brains and bodies via genetic engineering or cyborg-like enhancement, but by developing technology that better accommodates the magnificently-designed brains and bodies that evolution has already given us:

Where are we humans going, as a species? If science fiction is any guide, we will genetically evolve like in X-Men, become genetically engineered as in Gattaca, or become cybernetically enhanced like General Grievous in Star Wars. All of these may well be part of the story of our future, but I’m not holding my breath.

There is, however, another avenue for human evolution, one mostly unappreciated in both science and fiction. It is this unheralded mechanism that will usher in the next stage of human, giving future people exquisite powers we do not currently possess, powers worthy of natural selection itself.

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Cyberpunk on the Small Screen (Video)

CyberpunkGood day, Cybernauts. We’ve been enjoying this endearing flick for some time, but are just now getting around to posting about it.

Cyberpunk is a 60-minute documentary from 1990 that serves as a charming bookend to the William Gibson documentary No Maps for These Territories. While Gibson is featured prominently in this doc, it also expands out to illuminate an entire slice of the late ’80s/early ’90s culture that used to be featured in the late, great Mondo 2000 magazine.

Cyberpunk Review offers these insights:

Cyberpunk is a documentary that looks back at the 80s cyberpunk movement, and more specifically, how this has led to a trend in the “real” world where people were starting to refer to themselves as “cyberpunk.” The documentary sees “cyberpunks” as being synonymous with hackers. A number of writers, artists, musicians and scientists are interviewed to provide context to this movement. The guiding meme, as told by Gibson, is that information “wants” to be free. 60s counter-culture drug philosopher, Timothy Leary, provides a prediction that cyberpunks will “decentralize knowledge,” which will serve to remove power from those “in power” and bring it back to the masses. Many different potential technologies are discussed, including “smart drugs,” sentient machines, advanced prosthetics — all of which serve to give context to the idea of post-humanity and its imminent arrival on the world stage.

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Newton’s Third Law – The Coming Collision

by Ken Vallario

The Singularity by Ken Vallario.

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.”

In watching the coming collision collision between one individual and the world’s mightiest government, we are about to see if these forces are in fact equal, or if these laws will soon be broken.

The Good News

In the light of the latest Wikileaks events I have been thinking very deeply about citizen empowerment and how technology enabled a small group of people to threaten the legitimacy of the most powerful government the world has ever known. And surprisingly that same government has yet to find a legitimately effective response against this very big pie in their very large collective face.

As many of us have done, I have attempted to fill this void with my own speculations about the retaliatory use of power and how it might subsequently threaten future freedoms, but to my surprise I am left with no other recourse than optimism simply because the technology seems finally to be on our side.… Read the rest

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Indie Game Designers Talk About Their Transhumanist RPG FreeMarket

FreemarketLuke Crane and Jared Sorensen talk about their new science fiction role playing game FreeMarket. Via Technoccult:

It also sounds like it’s a more intellectual game than most – you’ve said you can, for instance, play the role of a philosopher and have that be meaningful within the game.

Luke: Yeah, but don’t think you can’t play Soulshitter Killfuck and have fun, too. But, unlike many other games that I’ve played, you can play an artist and have serious conflict about what you do. It’s impossible to just make a piece of art in this game and have it sit there, inert. Art is controversial.

Jared: And conflicts (especially philosophical, critical and artistic) are both internal and external and can have wide-reaching and unplanned repercussions.

Right. So you could do a more typical hack and slash scenario, or you could do something where you’re dealing with post-scarcity speculation. Or maybe both.

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