- Singularity News
In this honest and frank set of interviews Hugo de Garis speaks on a huge range of topics from cyborgs and their possible impacts on global society, to early human augmentations and how they could serve to cause humanity to redefine what it is to be human. de Garis never pulls punches when it comes to expressing his point of view, in fact it much of what he has to say may seem abhorrent to some, nevertheless here he shares his views seemingly without filter, speaking on the power of high technology and it’s transformative effects on individuals around the world as well as those that are threatened by the current pace of technological change in the pre Singularity era.
Cyborgs, Early Human Augmentations
The Power of Technology, Industrial Revolution vs The Singularity, Luddites
Approaches to AI, Neuroscience, Engineering, intelligence Theory, Cyborgs
The Singularity – Species Dominance, World Views, Majority, Deism
Researchers and theorists in the Transhumanist movement will meet in Melbourne Australia this May to bring together thinkers from across the world to explore the implications of a broad range of emerging technologies poised to transform the ways in which we live. The conference will address topics in AI, robotics, genetics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, life extension and the technological singularity. Speakers will include; Dr Aubrey de Grey Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation, artist and designer Natasha Vita-More director of the Transhumanist Arts and Culture World Center and president of the Extropy Institute and many others. We have seen all too often in the media times when new technologies are presented in an inaccurate or sensational way leading to public misunderstandings and fear. Interestingly one of the main goals of the conference is to strategize methods for ensuring that the increased public awareness of these ideas and technologies are presented in a positive light.
Find Out More www.hplusconf.com.au
For many the advent of intelligent machines marks either the dawn of a new technological age or the start of doomsday. The reality however may be far different than we can possibly imagine. In this TED talk Jürgen Schmidhuber explores the possible future scenario when the power of intelligent machines surpasses the power and capability of the human brain. Creative machines that can learn, adapt and evolve could fundamentally transform life as we know it. The tools and applications of such a technological development at this point in time are difficult to imagine. If Schmidhuber is correct it could be the machines themselves that bring about the next wave of scientific and technological solutions mankind needs to overcome the complex problems we face as a species.
In this concept video “Kara” is a humanoid robot that becomes self-aware and ultimately exceeds the limitations of its intended programming. It is a story that has been told many times before, the difference now in the 21st century is that we are starting to see the faint outline of a world populated by intelligent machines, humanoid robots and augmented humans. Some have chosen to approach this coming world with fear and see these technological advancements as the beginnings of an apocalypse. Others whole heartily embrace it and see these developments as part of a paradigm shift that will usher in a new technological age. If you talk to an AI expert they will confidently assure you that when and if human like artificial intelligence comes about it will think and reason in an entirely different way than we do. They will tell you that such technology is many years away assuming it ever comes to fruition all. Either way anyone that has been following the astounding advancements over the last decade will know that like it or not our world is on a path of fast moving change. While our leaders and politicians bicker and endlessly war about culture, religion, race, morality, and political systems this topic lurks just beneath the thin membrane of mainstream awareness making it nearly imposable to talk about outside of niche circles. It seems there is a hesitation on the part of some to dive deep into the implications of what self-aware AI would be. This video and other artistic representations regardless of their technological plausibility today, can serve as a starting point for thinking on this and other topics related to the technological Singularity. After you watch this video ask yourself were you moved by it, disturbed by it or were you entirely unaffected?
In twenty years will the world be better than it is now or worse? According to author and futurist Dr. Peter H. Diamandis it could be far better than you think and more abundant than can be imagined. When one hears about this idea of a world of abundance immediately the thought of our worlds limited natural resources comes to mind. How could such a world ever come into being when our planet has finite resources that are too often exploited, fought over and in many instances simply squandered. The media bombards us with negative images and messages of a world on the brink of collapse, but these messages may only tell part of the story. Many of the technological advancements achieved over the past two decades have vastly empowered individuals globally in ways that would not have been impossible just a few decades ago. In his new book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think Diamandis argues that the solutions to the world’s problems will need to come from people like you, by leveraging these powerful emergent technologies.
Also see EBG’s Emergent Technologies List
The Genomic Revolution
Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication
The World’s First Multi Material 3D Printer
Five Disruptive Technology Game Changers
The IBM Watson Supercomputer moves to Medicine
Nanocables and Graphene Poised to Light The World
Michael Pritchard’s water filter turns filthy water drinkable
Unconventional Fusion Research The Forbidden Science
How Nano Scale Materials Will Enable Next Generation Energy Production
Argonne National Lab close to breakthrough in nuclear waste recycling technology
Second degree burns are painful, debilitating and difficult to heal but a new technology from researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine promises to change all that. It’s called the skin gun, developed by Joerg Gerlach, MD, PhD and Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh it uses the patient’s own stem cells to treat and heal damaged skin according to Gerlach; ”What we’re doing is taking the cells, isolating them, and, in the same procedure on the same day, we’re putting the cells onto the wound,” Dr. Gerlach says. “The progenitor cells can act immediately. The most critical cells are present, and we are using those cells right away from the patient. We just need to take care that we are distributing the cells nicely over the wound.” (MIRM) The skin gun is part of a three phase skin burn therapy that has proven successful in early trials. Recovery time is generally about four days.
A machine that can read your mind, once thought of as science fiction is quickly becoming a reality. It’s called thought identification and according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University the technology to identify basic thoughts is here. The possible applications for this technology is almost limitless and it is sure to spark debates legal and ethical. How our society will adapt to this and a number of other emerging technologies is yet to be known. What is known is that this technology will become better, faster and more portable in the years to come as the force of accelerating change takes hold.
What happens when the power of whole genome sequencing crosses paths with the law of accelerating returns? Some believe such a convergence of events is well underway, although the reality of its presence and full impact has yet to reach mainstream awareness. It is a new revolution unlike any other, a Genomic Revolution. The arrival of inexpensive, rapid, next generation gene sequencing technology will bring us massive amounts of information about ourselves and the people around us both locally and globally in interesting and surprising new ways. It will allow us to quite literally look inside ourselves to see both our genetic past and our potential futures. Every arena of life from politics to health care to interpersonal relationships will be influenced and ultimately shaped by the power of genetic information. We will discover and treat diseases earlier, we will find out who we are really related to and will be challenged to redefine who we are as human beings. In this TED talk Richard Resnick CEO of GenomeQuest explores the implications of the Genomic Revolution.
Fed-funded research: magic mushrooms create ‘openness’
September 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
“A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable and lasting personality change — “openness” — lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, say Johns Hopkins researchers.
Well, doh, didn’t Timothy Leary discover that in the 60s? Um, OK, controlled experiments….
By “openness,” they mean traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas, and general broad-mindedness, the researchers said. Changes in these traits, measured on a widely used and scientifically validated personality inventory, were larger in magnitude than changes typically observed in healthy adults over decades of life experiences, the scientists say.
Don’t trust anyone over 30?
Researchers in the field say that after the age of 30, personality doesn’t usually change significantly. “Normally, if anything, openness tends to decrease as people get older,” says study leader Roland R. Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Oh, yeah! Where we saying? I forget.
The research was approved by Johns Hopkins’ Institutional Review Board and funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study participants completed two to five eight-hour drug sessions, with consecutive sessions separated by at least three weeks. Participants were informed they would receive a “moderate or high dose” of psilocybin during one of their drug sessions, but neither they nor the session monitors knew when.
Hmm. No placebo control group? I haven’t seen the paper yet, so I’ll update this later. (Tryin’ to be “open” here….)
During each session, participants were encouraged to lie down on a couch, use an eye mask to block external visual distraction, wear headphones through which music was played and focus their attention on their inner experiences.
Personality was assessed at screening, one to two months after each drug session and approximately 14 months after the last drug session. Griffiths says he believes the personality changes found in this study are likely permanent since they were sustained for over a year by many.
Nearly all of the participants in the new study considered themselves spiritually active (participating regularly in religious services, prayer or meditation). More than half had postgraduate degrees.
OK, that sounds like a group that’s already imaginative and open to abstract ideas. Would have helped to include some close-minded types? Griffiths does admit that they “don’t know whether the findings can be generalized to the larger population,” though.
Griffiths says lasting personality change is rarely looked at as a function of a single discrete experience in the laboratory. In the study, the change occurred specifically in those volunteers who had undergone a “mystical experience,” as validated on a questionnaire developed by early hallucinogen researchers and refined by Griffiths for use at Hopkins. He defines “mystical experience” as among other things, “a sense of interconnectedness with all people and things accompanied by a sense of sacredness and reverence.”
Hallucinating your way to a cure
Griffiths says he believes psilocybin may have therapeutic uses. He is currently studying whether the hallucinogen has a use in helping cancer patients handle the depression and anxiety that comes along with a diagnosis, and whether it can help longtime cigarette smokers overcome their addiction. “There may be applications for this we can’t even imagine at this point,” he says. “It certainly deserves to be systematically studied.”
Griffiths cautions that that some of the study participants reported strong fear or anxiety for a portion of their daylong psilocybin sessions, although none reported any lingering harmful effects. He cautions, however, that if hallucinogens are used in less well supervised settings, the possible fear or anxiety responses could lead to harmful behaviors.” Source:kurzweilai.net
Johns Hopkins study of ingredient in “magic mushrooms” found participants exhibited more “openness”
Fed-funded research: magic mushrooms create ‘openness’ September 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
“Think Minority Report because this one is a trip. Now, the video you’re about to see is somewhat disturbing because what the university has accomplished is short of astounding. While the quality of the videos they recreate isn’t good at all, it’s still scary that an image can still be displayed.
How do they do this?
The study had the participants in an MRI machine for hours at a time watching YouTube videos. The data gathered by the MRI machine was used to create a computer model that matched the features of the video like colors, shapes, and movements with the brain activity.
The video was recreated by looking at slight changes in blood flow to visual areas of the brain were used to predict what was on the screen at the time. The team thinks that one day the tech could be used to broadcast imagery that plays in the mind independent from vision. You know what? Just watch it.” Source: LTG
Lazy Tech Guys: http://www.lazytechguys.com/news/uc-berkeley-has-found-a-way-to-pull-videos-from-your-brain/
For more information about this work: http://gallantlab.org
For the paper (Nishimoto et al., 2011, Current Biology) go to:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.031
Reconstructing visual experiences from brain activity evoked by natural movies (Current Biology in press). This paper presents the first successful approach for reconstructing natural movies from brain activity.
Encoding and decoding in fMRI (Neuroimage 2010, PDF 841KB). This paper reviews the current state of “brain decoding” research, and advocates one particularly powerful approach.
Bayesian reconstruction of natural images from human brain activity (Neuron 2009, PDF 3.7MB). This paper presents the first successful approach for reconstructing natural images from brain activity.
Identifying natural images from human brain activity (Nature 2008, PDF 5.4MB). This landmark paper shows that far more information can be recovered from brain activity than was thought previously.
Modeling low-frequency fluctuation and hemodynamic response timecourse in event-related fMRI (Human Brain Mapping 2008, PDF 717KB). This technical paper focuses on optimal quantitative modeling of fMRI data.
Topographic organization in and near human visual areas V4 (Journal of Neuroscience 2007, PDF 4.5MB). This paper provides a detailed retinotopic mapping study of early human visual areas.
Despite over 25 years of existence, billions in profits and millions of players worldwide video games continue to struggle for respectability and mainstream recognition as a legitimate form of entertainment not just for adolescents but people of all ages and from all walks of life. The players are consistently stereotyped in popular media as introverted, overweight, unemployed people (largely male) that lack social skills, live in their parents basements and are hopelessly emotionally bound to their computers, the internet and their video games. But the truth about gamers, who they are and why they play may surprise you. The individuals that comprise gaming culture is estimated in the tens of millions, it is global, competitive, highly influential and growing. Despite this growth and increasing popularity, gaming is largely ignored by sociologists. Video games are used and feared by governments, parents groups and most notably by people that have never experienced gaming culture. The documentary “Gamer Revolution” takes a look at gamer culture in the United States and around the world.
Related Reading: Online Gaming Audience: Lines Blur as the Market Grows
More on The director: Marc de Guerre
Does Playing Violent Video Games Induce Aggression Empirical Evidence of a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
Filmmaker Rob Spence lost his eye to an accident but this tragic event gave birth to a radical vision to make himself a cyborg. According to TechCrunch; “Spence has worked with a team of engineers to adapt an endoscope into a working in-socket video camera. It’s turned on by waving a magnet near it, at which point it will begin transmitting a wireless video signal to a handheld LCD viewer. What’s yet to be accomplished with an artificial eye is hooking it up effectively to the visual cortex, and that is still years away from being practical at least, for producing any kind of detail. Existing cortical microelectrode arrays just don’t have the density required, and as a result produce something only loosely definable as an image.” Source TechCrunch The new emerging technology of prosthetics and augmentation is advancing rapidly, so much so that it blurs the distinction between science and science fiction.