background preloader

10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity

10 of the Weirdest Futurist Scenarios for the Evolution of Humanity
Curious to know which of these visions you feel is the most and least plausible. I've got to hand it to you, Mr. Dvorsky. A lot of those ideas are pretty hair-brained, but you were able to weave an article from them anyhow. I would have given up at five, perhaps, although I'm glad you mentioned the likes of the VHEMT and others. It was a fun read. First off, I would say that the future will hold some combination of "all of the above", with no one particular hypothesis prevailing in the next few hundred years as each hypothesized outcome exploits a unique ecological niche. That said, brain size is DEFINITELY correlated with intelligence. The reason Americans' heads are getting bigger may be due to the high rate of C-sections in the US. I actually agree with you about speciation. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Wow, surprised to see so many people in support of the uploading scenario. Heh, that actually occurred to me, too. Related:  Futuro

You Can't Run From the Cop Car of the Future The Compassion Revolution — How Society Is Designed To Crush Empathy Chloe Papas is a writer, journalist and prodigious eater based in Perth. chloepapas Approx 8 minute reading time In a time where self-care is considered paramount and we are taught to look after number one, Roman Krznaric sticks out like a sore thumb. Krznaric, who spent his formative years in Australia and now lives in the UK, defines empathy as the “imaginative ability to put yourself in someone else’s position and look at the world through their eyes.” We spoke to Krznaric about the empathy revolution. Why is empathy so important to you? I used to be a political scientist, and I used to think you could change society through elections and changing institutions. I think like everybody I’ve had experiences in my life where I’ve learnt that empathy really matters. Do we naturally display empathy? It’s ingrained in our DNA: scientists say about 50% of our empathic capacities are inherited in our genetic makeup. Do you think society is generally empathic? No. Is anyone born without empathy?

It Is Almost Impossible To Create Fake Meat How Corporations Will Use Artificial Empathy to Sell Us More Shit Empathy is a tricky business. The range and complexity of human emotion makes it difficult, if not impossible, to ever really understand how someone else is feeling. Nevertheless, empathy is considered to be a crucial aspect of what makes us human—indeed, our brains appear to be hardwired for it. So perhaps it won’t come as much of a surprise that as machine learning becomes ever more sophisticated and capable of mimicking some of the most complex functions of the human brain, figuring out a way to teach a computer empathy is quickly becoming a business in itself. Known as artificial empathy, the idea here is to train machines to recognize social signals from humans, aka ‘visual data,’ and then produce an appropriate response. On the one hand, harnessing artificial empathy is considered an essential step toward integrating robots and artificial intelligences into human society as it will allow for more fluid and affective human-robot interaction.

3 Ideas That Are Pushing the Edge of Science | Gadgets 1 Sperm-powered Nanobots The next wave in health care may include a brigade of medical nanobots, devices tiny enough to ride the flow of blood through the body's arteries to a problem area. The bots might arrive at a clot, for example, and then using an internal power system, obliterate the clot with a precisely targeted drug or therapy. Designing a power source to accomplish such a task has been a challenge, but from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University comes a possible answer. The same molecular power packs that fuel sperm in their journey through the uterus and to a fallopian tube might be copied and used to keep the nanomachines running once they reach their targets. Led by reproductive biologist Alex Travis, the engineering effort focuses on a chain of enzymes that metabolize glucose molecules into the biological fuel ATP (a process known as glycolysis), which enables sperm locomotion. Does this mean we could actually experience a second dimension of time?

#18: Will Artificial Intelligence be a Buddha? Is Fear of AI just a symptom of Human Self-Loathing? According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received. The following piece was first published here on June 17, 2015, and is the #18 most viewed of the year. I’m interested in the intersection of consciousness and technology, so when I discovered the Consciousness Hacking MeetUp in Silicon Valley, (organized by IEET Affiliate Scholar Mikey Siegel) I signed up immediately. Soon afterwards, I attended a MeetUp titled, “Enlightened AI”, at Sophia University in Palo Alto. Tarifi’s theory hinged on two points: 1. 2. Tarifi even went so far as to suggest that a fear of AI is merely a fear of one’s own egoic tendencies. To some, this may seem naïve and that the only way to keep AI from killing us is to program it to be good. But that’s not all. Is AI the guru we’ve been waiting for?

The Easiest, Most Horrifying Way to Create Artificial Wombs abortion. ultimately, i feel like this is how the issue of abortion will be resolved. first, a couple of ground rule, undeniable facts: 1. we do not know when human life worthy of protection - i.e. "personhood" - begins. 2. it is IMPOSSIBLE to know with certainty when "personhood" begins. it will forever be the fodder for philosophical musings and never one of absolute certainty. ultimately, as it manifests in government and societies, it is a matter of pragmatism and the freedom of one party who is undeniably a person with rights - women. as with all rational people, i am pro choice. i do not believe that the 8 cells of a blastocyst are a "person" with a life worth protecting. but at the same time, what of a fetus that 8.5 months old still within the womb of its mother and yet to be born but could easily survive even without an incubator. just as i would instantly dismiss the blastocyst as human in any significant way, i would say an 8.5 month fetus is a human child. not even a iota of doubt.

The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer While many tech moguls dream of changing the way we live with new smart devices or social media apps, one Russian internet millionaire is trying to change nothing less than our destiny, by making it possible to upload a human brain to a computer, reports Tristan Quinn. "Within the next 30 years," promises Dmitry Itskov, "I am going to make sure that we can all live forever." It sounds preposterous, but there is no doubting the seriousness of this softly spoken 35-year-old, who says he left the business world to devote himself to something more useful to humanity. It is a breathtaking ambition, but could it actually be done? "If there is no immortality technology, I'll be dead in the next 35 years," he laments. So Itskov is putting a slice of his fortune in to a bold plan he has devised to bypass ageing. "The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone's personality into a completely new body," he says. Find out more But Ken is a realist. But Itskov is far from home and dry.

Sorry ‘Prometheus’ fans: No interstellar travel for five more centuries When do we get one? (AP) Possibly not. A fascinating recent research paper by Marc G. Millis, a former NASA expert on breakthrough propulsion, suggests that we probably won’t be ready to travel to other stars for at least another two to five centuries. How does he figure? Here’s Millis’s reasoning: Imagine we merely wanted to launch a small, 11-ton probe that took 75 years to get to our closest star, Alpha Centauri. And humans don’t exactly have that energy just lying around. The good news, Millis notes, is that we could probably have a small colony ship that contained a bunch of humans ready even sooner, by the year 2200 or so. Below is a graph showing how soon different future spaceships might arrive depending on how fast the world’s energy supply grows. Millis, who’s now at the Tau Zero Foundation, also raises an interesting paradox. Anyway, there are more numbers in Millis’s paper (pdf), which is available on Arxiv.

The Myth Of AI That mythology, in turn, has spurred a reactionary, perpetual spasm from people who are horrified by what they hear. You'll have a figure say, "The computers will take over the Earth, but that's a good thing, because people had their chance and now we should give it to the machines." Then you'll have other people say, "Oh, that's horrible, we must stop these computers." In the past, all kinds of different figures have proposed that this kind of thing will happen, using different terminology. A good starting point might be the latest round of anxiety about artificial intelligence, which has been stoked by some figures who I respect tremendously, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. The usual sequence of thoughts you have here is something like: "so-and-so," who's a well-respected expert, is concerned that the machines will become smart, they'll take over, they'll destroy us, something terrible will happen. What do I mean by AI being a fake thing? This is not one of those.