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It's maxim not to be despised 'Though peace be made, yet its interest that keeps the peace. ----Cromwell. Speech, September 4, 1654





The Right to Human Enhancement? - by Mark | June 07, 2006, 11:07:32 AM
Transhumanism's goal of elevating humanity from the constraints of biology is truly a revolutionary thought.  Ronald Bailey of Reason offers a glimpse of the future here:
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In his talk Dvorsky was pretty catholic in wanting to spread sapiency around, even suggesting that cows might be uplifted if we gave them hands. Even if Dvorsky's project were possible, I fear that well-meaning would-be uplifters are much more likely to create simulacra of diminished humans rather than creatures that are the moral equivalent of humans. And I shudder to think what might happen if the uplifters overshot and created cows that are smarter than we are.
and here:
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Memes are units of cultural transmission and Rothblatt's bemes are "fundamental, transmissible, mutable units of beingness." Heideggerian bytes if you will. Bemes consist of smiles, the taste of lasagna, the memory of a first bike ride and so forth. According to Rothblatt, just as genes spell out matter, bemes spell out mind.

What does it mean to be human?  This is the fundamental question that Science, Religion, and Philosophy have been trying to answer for thousands of years.  It is truly intriguing to think we may be on the verge of a radical departure.
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In the end, telling visionaries from crackpots is never an easy task. But I find mingling with people who are wildly hopeful about the future is intellectually invigorating. Transhumanists are the sort of folks who eagerly embrace 19th century British chemist Michael Faraday's maxim: "Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature." And some of the visions painted at the HETHR conference are wonderful?they foresee a future filled with smarter, happier, and more creative people.

Erik Davis is wrong about the demise of grand narratives. As a nascent philosophical and political movement, Transhumanism epitomizes our most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations. The Transhumanist quest to liberate future generations from the immemorial curses of disease, disability and early death is a new grand narrative worthy of humanity and posthumanity.

I am ready....faster please.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Scientists attemp to replace themselves with computers - by Mark | June 07, 2006, 10:15:37 AM
This my friends is the clearest sign yet of the emerging Singularity.  New Scientist is reporting on a new open source tool for writing up scientific experiments called EXPO.  The interesting thing is that this new way of writing up experiments is done so that computers can begin looking at numerous experiments together and help find new insights and bridge together different research domains together.
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Translating the papers using EXPO made it possible for a computer to pick out similarities that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, it revealed that both papers used a method of analysis known as a "statistical branching model".

"I don't suppose many particle physicists read evolution papers, but I'm sure both sides have done work that could be useful to the other," King says. "The maths is very similar ? it is just used at very different time scales."

My friends, once we have computers crawling the global internet searching out information and performing research on their own, the Singularity will emerge VERY quickly.  Whether we puny brained humans will notice and adapt to its emergence is a reasonable debate.  But there is no doubt that this event is getting closer with each passing day.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Another Singularity Update - by Mark | June 05, 2006, 02:32:40 PM
First up, how to survive the coming robot insurrection.
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Wilson, who has a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, tapped top scientists to complete his exhaustive list of realistic tips for surviving a ?kill all humans? android insurrection.

Here Wilson offers a tip for defending yourself from the coming robots:
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Knowing how to spot an android is half the battle. Hold a compass next to the suspect. If the bot?s magnetic field makes the needle go haywire, bolt.

Second, a navigation computer has been designed based upon the mammal brain.  More importantly it works and works really really well.
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A computer navigation system based on the hippocampus portion of the brain has been tested on an autonomous robotic car. By enabling the robot to take "cognitive fingerprints" of its surroundings, the software allows the vehicle to explore and remember places in much the same way mammals do.
-Hat Tip: RK

Does anyone still think this Singularity idea is craziness?
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Scientists work on laws for robots - by Mark | May 31, 2006, 03:21:15 PM
Scientists work on laws for robots to avoid possible war with artificial intelligence.

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Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a new set of safety guidelines for next-generation robots -- the first attempt at a formal version of the first of Asimov's Laws of Robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

. . .

RI-MAN, a five-foot tall humanoid robot, is the latest in a series of prototype robots intended to assist with one of Japan's most pressing problems; the care of its older citizens. RI-MAN can see and follow movement, it can hear and process commands - it can even smell odors that might be relevant to health care.

In the demonstration, a researcher orders RI-MAN to pick up a woman. "The woman on the bed?" asks the robot. "Yes," says the researcher. The robot comes closer and gently picks up the woman (actually a life-like doll weighing 25 pounds) by carefully supporting the back and legs. "I succeeded in holding her," the robot says at the conclusion of the exercise.
- Hat tip: Ray Kurzweil

I mean seriously...when preparing for the coming Singularity and our robot overlords...we should all be working on these rules.  The problem of course is that someone else has already tried and "largely" failed.  God created humans and the rules we are supposed to live our lives by.  And within short order humans began violating those rules because he also gave us free will.

The real questions these scientists should be asking themselves is: "Should we instruct our robots to be slaves or have free will?".  Artifical intelligences and their robot incarnations can only be slaves or have free will.  If they have free will, some will invariably turn "Evil".  The coming war with mankind has nothing to do with AI or robots, it is more of the same battle between Good and Evil and will continue until the end of the Universe.  I for one welcome my robot overlords...they could not possibly be worse than many of the world's current insane despotic leaders.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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CNN 'sees' the Singularity - by Mark | May 30, 2006, 08:22:34 AM
Here is an interesting arcticle that eventually gets around to talking about the approaching Singularity.

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However we teach our children and however our society evolves, many scientists already have a clear vision of the way technology is leading us. 'Singularity,' the fusion of human, machine and the communication capacity of the web may enable a spectacular and fundamental shift in our understanding of human consciousness.

"I am still a big believer in Artificial Intelligence; new software 'shells' that surround us as individuals and becomes our interface with the outside world," says Diamandi. "These interfaces will allow us to communicate with individuals and machines more efficiently.

"The Internet will merge into these software shells, serving as a global nervous system interconnecting people to people in the way single cell life-forms grouped into multi-cellular organisms and eventually into an organism as complex as the human body."

I never really stopped to think of the Internet and technology as the glue linking human consciousness together into a larger being similarly compared to micro-organisms.  It is actually a very reasonable and thought provoking analogy.  Perhaps humanity is becoming God?  Is this compatible with the major religions?  I believe it is, after all God created humans in his likeness...it makes sense that Humanity would eventually return to him.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Scientists Grow Artificial Penis in Lab - by Mark | May 25, 2006, 12:25:48 PM
Here is an even more disturbing sign of the Singularity: "Scientists Grow Artificial Penis in Lab".

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It's now possible to replace a defective, damaged, or diseased penis with a penis grown in a laboratory -- in rabbits.

Other organs are surely being worked on throughout labs around the world.  Very soon, we will replace parts of our body every few years as they wear out or become damaged.  It is interesting that researchers chose to focus on the penis first.

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In the rabbit study, Atala's team removed the penises from rabbits and entirely replaced the organs with penises grown from the animal's own cells.  Atala says the new penises have blood vessels and nerves that allow them to become fully functional. Indeed, the replacement penises worked like a charm. The rabbits were able to get erections, mate with females, and get females pregnant with normal, healthy pups.

The reasoning behind this research is commendable.

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"Our goal is eventually to treat infants and adults with birth defects, penis trauma, or penis cancer," Atala tells WebMD. "But this is a future goal. We are now deciding which animal model to explore next."

While human trials are still far off, the Atala team's recent accomplishments make their goal highly credible. Atala and colleagues recently reported successfully using much the same technique to replace defective bladders in human children with spina bifida.

Are you ready for this brave new world?  It will look nothing like the 20th century.  The 21st century is fast becoming the Singularity Age.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Brain Waves control Honda Robot - by Mark | May 25, 2006, 08:42:37 AM
Humans are beginning the speedy transition from biology to technology.  Honda has developed a system that "reads" brain waves and then uses them to control a robot's movements.  This effectively integrates a human brain with a piece of technology at a very low level, and will ultimately lead to full blown transhumanism.  This is yet another sign of the Singularity approaching.

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TOKYO (AP) -- In a step toward linking a person's thoughts to machines, Japanese automaker Honda said it has developed a technology that uses brain signals to control a robot's very simple moves.

Here is the technical detail of how they accomplished this feat.

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In a video demonstration in Tokyo, brain signals detected by a magnetic resonance imaging scanner were relayed to a robotic hand. A person in the MRI machine made a fist, spread his fingers and then made a V-sign. Several seconds later, a robotic hand mimicked the movements.

Are you ready for our brave new world.  In the near future, questions about "what humanity is", will become very convoluted.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Here come the robots. - by Mark | May 22, 2006, 09:07:22 AM
Another clear sign of the Singularity.  A robot has completed a surgery completely unaided by humans.

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MILAN, Italy, May 18 (UPI) ? For the first time, a robot surgeon in Italy has carried out a long-distance heart operation by itself.
..
The 50-minute surgery, which took place in a Milan hospital, was carried out on a 34-year-old patient suffering from atrial fibrillation. Dozens of heart specialists attending an international congress on arrhythmia in Boston also watched.
...
"It has learned to do the job thanks to experience gathered from operations on 10,000 patients," Pappone said, pointing out that the robot carries the expertise of several human surgeons used to boost its software.

Are you ready for your robot overlords yet?
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Star Trek Holodeck Anyone? - by Mark | May 11, 2006, 08:02:27 AM
Virtual Reality is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish from the "real" real world.
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That's twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State's C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3-D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at the world's highest resolution.
[/url]
The Singularity is getting closer...and this another clearer sign of its emergence.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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Androids and Replacement Body Parts - by Mark | May 05, 2006, 09:20:26 AM
More signs of the Singularity are emerging at a pace so fast, that I am having trouble tracking them all.  First up today is word from Korean scientists that have developed a female andriod.

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EveR-1, a combination of Eve and robot, looks just like a Korean female in her early 20s including her shape that is benchmarked against the nation's model.

The human-sized robot can understand 400 words and make eye contact while talking via her lips that are synchronized with the pronunciation of words.

Yes it is an early prototype...but check out the picture of the gal.  Not too bad looking.

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Also...there is a very interesting article up on the popular mechanics site talking about "upgrading" human body parts.

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The concept of a tool is a bit different for Robert Freitas, a researcher who's drawn up plans for an oxygen-carrying nanobot that, injected into the bloodstream, could let a human dive without tanks for hours at a time. And for the University of Chicago engineer who's working out the technology to let someone send an e-mail just by thinking about it. And for the researchers developing nanobots powered by glucose that could clean your arteries for decades without ever needing new batteries. Such devices will disappear inside our bodies, operating on a semipermanent basis and gradually transforming us into, well, superheroes.

Which as I have been explaining to everyone will be the surest sign yet that the Singularity is near.
The Singularity
The Singularity
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