Re-Evolving Mind, Hans Moravec, December 2000 Computers have permeated everyday life and are worming their way into our gadgets, dwellings, clothes, even bodies. But if pervasive computing soon automates most of our informational needs, it will leave untouched a vaster number of essential physical tasks. Construction, protection, repair, cleaning, transport and so forth will remain in human hands. Robot inventors in home, university and industrial laboratories have tinkered with the problem for most of the century. While mechanical bodies adequate for manual work can be built, artificial minds for autonomous servants have been frustratingly out of reach, despite the arrival of powerful computers. The first electronic computers in the 1950s did the work of thousands of clerks.
Transhumanist Values 1. What is Transhumanism?Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.The enhancement options being discussed include radical extension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. Other transhumanist themes include space colonization and the possibility of creating superintelligent machines, along with other potential developments that could profoundly alter the human condition.
H-: Wrestling with Transhumanism Transhumanism for me is like a relationship with an obsessive and very neurotic lover. Knowing it is deeply flawed, I have tried several times to break off my engagement, but each time it manages to creep in through the back door of my mind. In How We Became Posthuman,1 I identified an undergirding assumption that makes possible such predictions as Hans Moravec’s transhumanist fantasy that we will soon be able to upload our consciousness into computers and leave our bodies behind.
Is Google Making Us Stupid? Illustration by Guy Billout "Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Some of the Most Plausible Scenarios for Alien Civilizations "It may even be possible for us to speculate the existence of common cultural and meta-ethical characteristics of advanced societies, namely the notion that technological societies independently reach the same conclusions about ethics, morality, and social imperatives." I think that's a pretty dangerous bit of speculation. I've long heard folks say things like "why would aliens want to visit us, we're savage and we kill each other" and "any advanced species will have learned not to be so crude as we are". That could very easily be bullshit. Assume, if you will, that Alien Hitler won WW2 on Theta 9 (I'm making shit up here, but it serves a purpose). All the innocent green aliens were butchered, leaving a world of "pure" red ones.
Professor Leaves a MOOC in Mid-Course in Dispute Over Teaching - Wired Campus Students regularly drop out of massive open online courses before they come to term. For a professor to drop out is less common. But that is what happened on Saturday in “Microeconomics for Managers,” a MOOC offered by the University of California at Irvine through Coursera. Richard A. McKenzie, an emeritus professor of enterprise and society at the university’s business school, sent a note to his students announcing that he would no longer be teaching the course, which was about to enter its fifth week. “Because of disagreements over how to best conduct this course, I’ve agreed to disengage from it, with regret,” Mr.
The Human Touch In 1922 Thomas Edison proclaimed, “I believe the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks.” Thus began a long string of spectacularly wrong predictions regarding the capacity of various technologies to revolutionize education. What betrayed Edison and his successors was an uncritical faith in technology itself. This faith has become a sort of ideology increasingly dominating K-12 education. In the past two decades, school systems, with generous financial and moral support from foundations and all levels of government, have made massive investments in computer technology and in creating “wired” schools. The goal is twofold: to provide children with the computer skills necessary to flourish in a high-tech world and to give them access to tools and information that will enhance their learning in subjects like mathematics and history.
The Blog: Humanism & Posthumanism One's views about digital technology and "digital people"--even what one identifies as questions, problems, issues, advantages, worries, etc.--will depend upon one's other assumptions and values. Here, I want to talk about two different philosophical systems or stances: humanism and posthumanism. Humanism Humanism comes from the Enlightenment (The idea of the "human" changed significantly with the turn to secular science and the increased emphasis on "reason.") How Self-Replicating Spacecraft Could Take Over the Galaxy I'm going to re-post here a previous comment I made on this subject, because I think it's worth repeating. Any alien civilization that is sufficiently developed enough to span the cosmos, will be so far advanced from us, that we would not be able to even comprehend their technology and in turn they probably wouldn't even recognise us as a sentient intelligent species. I've always found the "Well if there are aliens why haven't they said hello?"
A Tale of Two MOOCs @ Coursera: Divided by Pedagogy The Web as a classroom is transforming how people learn, is driving the need for new pedagogy; two recently launched courses at Coursera highlight what happens when pedagogical methods fail to adapt. Divided pedagogy I wrote recently about the Fundamentals of Online: Education [FOE] the Coursera course that was suspended after its first week and is now in MOOC hibernation mode. Over thirty thousands students signed up for the course hoping to learn how to develop an online course. It was a technical malfunction when students were directed to sign-up for groups through a Google Doc that shuttered the course, along with hundreds of student complaints about lack of clear instructions, and poor lecture quality. The course was suspended on February 2, and there has been no word yet as to when it will resume :(.
The Human Element Douglas E. Hersh’s close crop of auburn hair and neatly trimmed goatee are clearly visible in an expandable window on my desktop. So are his light tweed blazer and matching tie. On a table behind his desk sits a purple orchid, lending color to his office -- 2,600 miles away from mine. The technology that allows me to see Hersh’s face as he speaks to me is not new. But Hersh, dean of educational programs and technology at Santa Barbara City College, believes it may hold the key to solving an old problem that has plagued distance education since its beginnings: the retention gap.