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Accelerating Future » Top 10 Transhumanist Technologies

Accelerating Future » Top 10 Transhumanist Technologies
Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Not just technology as in gadgets you get from Best Buy, but technology in the grander sense of strategies for eliminating disease, providing cheap but high-quality products to the world’s poorest, improving quality of life and social interconnectedness, and so on. Technology we don’t notice because it’s blended in with the fabric of the world, but would immediately take note of its absence if it became unavailable. (Ever tried to travel to another country on foot?) Technology needn’t be expensive – indeed, if a technology is truly effective it will pay for itself many times over. Transhumanists tend to take a longer-than-average view of technological progress, looking not just five or ten years into the future but twenty years, thirty years, and beyond. 10. 9. Clearly, World of Warcraft’s eight million subscribers and SecondLife’s five million subscribers are onto something. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. Related:  Exponential Change - Technological Singularity& more Misc interesting things about the Brain

Three Major Schools (Originally appeared on the Machine Intelligence Research Institute blog, September 2007.) Singularity discussions seem to be splitting up into three major schools of thought: Accelerating Change, the Event Horizon, and the Intelligence Explosion. Accelerating Change: Core claim: Our intuitions about change are linear; we expect roughly as much change as has occurred in the past over our own lifetimes. But technological change feeds on itself, and therefore accelerates. Change today is faster than it was 500 years ago, which in turn is faster than it was 5000 years ago. The thing about these three logically distinct schools of Singularity thought is that, while all three core claims support each other, all three strong claims tend to contradict each other. I find it very annoying, therefore, when these three schools of thought are mashed up into Singularity paste. Apocalyptism: Hey, man, have you heard?

molecules storage Storage is a very exciting thing these days: SSDs are increasing in capacity and becoming cheaper, hard drives are offering storage capacity that’s unprecedented at the consumer level, and recently, scientists have been able to store significant amounts of data using unusual mediums, such as strings of DNA and small groups of atoms. Now, scientists have managed to store data in individual molecules. Using a new, still-experimental technology, researchers have managed to turn individual molecules into a storage medium. In theory, this molecular memory could increase current storage capacities by one thousand times over more conventional means. Molecular memory isn’t an entirely new concept but there have always been significant hurdles, the first of which is no stranger to the computing world: cooling. The team also overcame another significant hurdle standing in the way of molecular memory. Research paper: Interface-engineered templates for molecular spin memory devices

A solar cooled air-conditioning system Why the Word "Transhumanism" Should Bother You, Too Want to have the ability to move things around with your mind, print out any new body parts you might need, including organs, and be able to work from home every day via a completely convincing virtual reality setup? All of these things are not only within reach, according to a movement that is gaining traction more rapidly than almost any other in history, but they are inevitably happening within the next 30 years. Many authors (myself included) struggle to give a name to this incredible movement, instead deferring to the event where all of this converging technology culminates in a brand new way of life for all human beings, utterly different in ways we aren't capable of imagining with our "unaugmented" human brains: the Technological Singularity. The world we live in is not one of linear growth, nor has it ever been one.

inversion vieillissement A technique to keep the tips of your chromosomes healthy could reverse tissue ageing. The work, which was done in mice, is yet more evidence of a causal link between chromosome length and age-related disease. Telomeres, the caps of DNA which protect the ends of chromosomes, shorten every time cells divide. But cells stop dividing and die when telomeres drop below a certain length – a normal part of ageing. The enzyme telomerase slows this degradation by adding new DNA to the ends of telomeres. Mariela Jaskelioff and her colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, engineered mice with short telomeres and inactive telomerase to see what would happen when they turned the enzyme back on. Four weeks after the team switched on the enzyme, they found that tissue had regenerated in several organs, new brain cells were developing and the mice were living longer. Journal reference: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature09603 More From New Scientist Celery power (New Scientist)

Technology Review: Long-Distance Wi-Fi Intel has announced plans to sell a specialized Wi-Fi platform later this year that can send data from a city to outlying rural areas tens of miles away, connecting sparsely populated villages to the Internet. The wireless technology, called the rural connectivity platform (RCP), will be helpful to computer-equipped students in poor countries, says Jeff Galinovsky, a senior platform manager at Intel. And the data rates are high enough–up to about 6.5 megabits per second–that the connection could be used for video conferencing and telemedicine, he says. The RCP, which essentially consists of a processor, radios, specialized software, and an antenna, is an appealing way to connect remote areas that otherwise would go without the Internet, says Galinovsky. Already, Intel has installed and tested the hardware in India, Panama, Vietnam, and South Africa. One node is usually installed at the edge of an urban area, wired to a local-area network cable, he explains.

Evolution of evolvability Evolution of Evolvability This paper shows how evolution tunes the content and frequency of genetic variation to enhance its evolvability. Genetic evolution is not random or entirely blind. Genetic systems are like nervous systems and brains—they have been structured and organised by evolution to enhance their ability to discover effective adaptations. (For a more general approach to the evolution of evolvability, see Chapters 8 to 12 inclusive of the on-line book Evolution's Arrow. It examines in detail how evolution itself has evolved. (a final version of this paper was published in the Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems (1997) 20: 53-73.) The cognitive ability of a genetic system is its capacity to discover and perpetuate beneficial adaptations. Cognitive ability will be influenced by genetic arrangements which affect the range and types of variant genotypes which are produced and trialed within the genetic system. Are genetic arrangements which have these features feasible?

The Neuroscience Of Music - Wired Science Why does music make us feel? On the one hand, music is a purely abstract art form, devoid of language or explicit ideas. The stories it tells are all subtlety and subtext. And yet, even though music says little, it still manages to touch us deep, to tickle some universal nerves. We can now begin to understand where these feelings come from, why a mass of vibrating air hurtling through space can trigger such intense states of excitement. Because the scientists were combining methodologies (PET and fMRI) they were able to obtain an impressively precise portrait of music in the brain. The more interesting finding emerged from a close study of the timing of this response, as the scientists looked to see what was happening in the seconds before the subjects got the chills. In essence, the scientists found that our favorite moments in the music were preceeded by a prolonged increase of activity in the caudate. The question, of course, is what all these dopamine neurons are up to.

The Columbus Dispatch : GM envisions driverless cars on horizon GM envisions driverless cars on horizon - DETROIT (AP) -- Cars that drive themselves - even parking at their destination - could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say. GM, parts suppliers, university engineers and other automakers all are working on vehicles that could revolutionize short- and long-distance travel. And Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will devote part of his speech to the driverless vehicles. "This is not science fiction," Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview. The most significant obstacles facing the vehicles could be human rather than technical: government regulation, liability laws, privacy concerns and people's passion for the automobile and the control it gives them. If people are interested. "Now the question is what does society want to do with it?"

The Coming Singularity