Was human evolution inevitable or a matter of luck? – Dan Falk In the movie Sliding Doors (1998), a woman named Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, rushes to catch a train on the London Underground, but just misses it, watching helplessly from the platform as the doors slide shut. The film explores two alternative universes, comparing the missed-train universe to a parallel reality in which she caught the train just in time. It wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece – the critics aggregated at Rotten Tomatoes give it only a 63 per cent ‘fresh’ rating – but it vividly confronts a question that many of us have asked at one time or another: if events had unfolded slightly differently, what would the world be like? This question, applied to the history of life on our planet, has long beguiled thinkers of all stripes. Was the appearance of intelligent life an evolutionary fluke, or was it inevitable?
Top Ten Transhumanist Technologies by Lifeboat Foundation Scientific Advisory Board member Michael Anissimov. Overview Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Accelerating Future There isn’t enough in the world. Not enough wealth to go around, not enough space in cities, not enough medicine, not enough intelligence or wisdom. Not enough genuine fun or excitement. Not enough knowledge. Five Mind-Blowing Implications Behind Technological Singularity There aren’t many films I’m willing to spend $12–$16 to see these days, but you can bet Prometheus made the cut on my 2012 list of theater-worthy blockbusters. I got the chance to watch it in 3D last week, and walked away a (mostly) happy customer. However, I’m no expert on the Alien franchise, and while I’ve got tons to say about the latest installment, I’ll save that authority for those who are closer to the source material. So let’s switch gears a bit. In Unreality’s recent review of Prometheus, Paul touches on something I agree with whole-heartedly: Michael Fassbender knocked it out of the park as David, the ship’s butler/maintenance man/resident android. In this not-so-distant future, technological advancements allow for vastly extended life spans (if you can afford it, anyway), androids have become physically indistinguishable from humans, and our use of cutting-edge technology in general has increased tenfold.
Are Artificial Intelligence Doomsayers like Skeptical Theists? - h+ Media Some of you may have noticed my recently-published paper on existential risk and artificial intelligence. The paper offers a somewhat critical perspective on the recent trend for AI-doomsaying among people like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. Of course, it doesn’t focus on their opinions; rather, it focuses on the work of the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has written the most impressive analysis to date of the potential risks posed by superintelligent machines. I want to try and summarise the main points of that paper in this blog post. This summary comes with the usual caveat that the full version contains more detail and nuance.
AI Has Arrived, and That Really Worries the World's Brightest Minds On the first Sunday afternoon of 2015, Elon Musk took to the stage at a closed-door conference at a Puerto Rican resort to discuss an intelligence explosion. This slightly scary theoretical term refers to an uncontrolled hyper-leap in the cognitive ability of AI that Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking worry could one day spell doom for the human race. That someone of Musk’s considerable public stature was addressing an AI ethics conference—long the domain of obscure academics—was remarkable.
What Happens to Your Body by Skipping the Gym? — Exercise & Fitness for Seniors By Dr. Mercola Most exercisers skip a workout occasionally. You may be traveling, fall ill, or have an unusually heavy work deadline that keeps you from the gym. Sometimes you simply may lack the motivation to work out, which may lead to another skipped workout or two. Bioengineers introduce 'Bi-Fi' If you were a bacterium, the virus M13 might seem innocuous enough. It insinuates more than it invades, setting up shop like a freeloading houseguest, not a killer. Once inside it makes itself at home, eating your food, texting indiscriminately. Recently, however, bioengineers at Stanford University have given M13 a bit of a makeover. The researchers, Monica Ortiz, a doctoral candidate in bioengineering, and Drew Endy, PhD, an assistant professor of bioengineering, have parasitized the parasite and harnessed M13's key attributes -- its non-lethality and its ability to package and broadcast arbitrary DNA strands -- to create what might be termed the biological Internet, or "Bi-Fi."
What is Open Foresight We recently introduced the concept of ‘Open Foresight’ as a process we’re developing to analyze complex issues in an open and collaborative way, and to raise the bar on public discourse and forward-focused critical thinking. It’s a work in progress and constantly evolving, but here are some of the basic principles we’ve developed so far.1) What is Open Foresight? In simple terms, open foresight is a process for building visions of the future together. 2) The Big Picture Context If you look around, it’s undeniable that there’s a new global narrative emerging in the way we fundamentally understand ourselves as humanity – how we do business, how we learn, how we generate value together, how we interact.
Live forever: Scientists say they’ll extend life ‘well beyond 120’ In Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley, hedge fund manager Joon Yun is doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation. According to US social security data, he says, the probability of a 25-year-old dying before their 26th birthday is 0.1%. If we could keep that risk constant throughout life instead of it rising due to age-related disease, the average person would – statistically speaking – live 1,000 years.
Long life? I think we’ve cracked it There’s a sign on Susannah Mushatt Jones’s kitchen wall. It reads: “Bacon makes everything better.” You could legitimately quibble with this. Not better for the pig, of course.