I have been doing a little research on transhumanism, man and machine combined, nano-technoloty, and the stuff I’m finding is literally out of this world and beyond comprehension. For this post, I am just going to share a whole load of links, and some quotes that I feel are important.
I personally think that we are living in perilous times and I wonder how technology is going to affect us as a society. There are MANY think tanks who are getting together to talk about the ramifications to humanity as technology accelerates faster than our minds can understand.
I have blogged about transhumansim before. A word that I keep seeing is the “Singularity”, you simply must google that word and I am sure you will be shocked by what you find.
You are now seeing adverts suggesting the amalgamation of man and machine in popular media… is this some kind of preparation of what is to come? One was for a mobile phone… I know one of my readers Facebooked this the other day.
Anyway, here are the links…
- What are the greatest global threats to humanity? Are we on the verge of our own unexpected extinction?An international team of scientists, mathematicians and philosophers at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute is investigating the biggest dangers.And they argue in a research paper, Existential Risk as a Global Priority, that international policymakers must pay serious attention to the reality of species-obliterating risks.Last year there were more academic papers published on snowboarding than human extinction.The Swedish-born director of the institute, Nick Bostrom, says the stakes couldn’t be higher. If we get it wrong, this could be humanity’s final century. [source]
- Regulations Proposed for Animal-Human Chimeras: Scientific American UK lays out first framework to govern ethically sensitive research field.The increasingly sophisticated blending of different species to create chimeras is pushing biology into a new ethical dimension. Last year, scientists used new stem-cell technologies to create a mouse with a functioning pancreas composed entirely of rat cells. So might it soon be possible to create a monkey with a brain composed entirely of human neurons?And would it think like a human?Such an animal might be useful to researchers studying human cognition or human-specific pathogens. But it would be ethically unacceptable and should be banned, argues a government-commissioned report from the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, a body that promotes medical research.
- Short Sharp Science: Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans www.newscientist.com On a positive side it will cut down rape and fragging but it poses many ethical questions. Many years ago I was shocked to hear that US arms manufacturers have symposiums when toy designers are encouraged to have ‘out of the box solutions’ to arms products – too scary.
- Ban the killer robots before it’s too late www.cnn.com As wars become increasingly automated, we must ask ourselves how far we want to delegate responsibility to machines. Where do we want to draw the line?
- Defense research agency seeks to create supersoldiers Government news resource covering technology, performance, employment, telework, cybersecurity, and more for federal employees.
- BBC NEWS | Americas | Pentagon plans cyber-insect army The Pentagon’s defence scientists want an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled.
- The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine: Scientific American www.scientificamerican.com The accelerating pace of technological progress means that our intelligent creations will soon eclipse us–and that their creations will eventually eclipse them.
- The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human”.
- Human extinction warning from Oxford What are the greatest global threats to the future of humanity? An international team from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute is investigating the biggest dangers.
- Endowed by Their Creator?: The Future of Constitutional Personhood Presently, Irving Weissman, the director of Stanford University’s Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, is contemplating pushing the envelope of chimera research even further by producing human-mouse chimera whose brains would be composed of one hundred percent human cells. Weissman notes that the mice would be carefully watched: if they developed a mouse brain architecture, they would be used for research, but if they developed a human brain architecture or any hint of humanness, they would be killed.
- When Will We Have To Grant Artificial Intelligence Personhood? from the one-is-glad-to-be-of-service deptJames Boyle has a fascinating new paper up, which will act as something of an early warning over a legal issue that will undoubtedly become a much bigger issue down the road: how we deal with the Constitutional question of “personhood” for artificial intelligence. He sets it up with two “science-fiction-like” examples, neither of which may really be that far-fetched. Part of the issue is that we, as a species, tend to be pretty bad at predicting rates of change in technology, especially when it’s escalating quickly. And thus, it’s hard to predict how some of things play out (well, without tending to get it really, really wrong). However, it is certainly not crazy to suggest that artificial intelligence will continue to improve, and it’s quite likely that we’ll have more “life-like” or “human-like” machines in the not-so-distant future. And, at some point, that’s clearly going to raise some constitutional questions.
- The End of Humanity: Nick Bostrom at TEDxOxford (33rdsquare.com)
- We’re Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction (theatlantic.com)
- Extinction Level Event (ieet.org)