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Mind uploading in fiction – Wikipedia

Mind uploading, whole brain emulation or substrate-independent minds is a use of a computer or another substrate as an emulated human brain, and the view of thoughts and memories as software information states. The term mind transfer also refers to a hypothetical transfer of a mind from one biological brain to another. Uploaded minds and societies of minds, often in simulated realities, are recurring themes in science fiction novels and films since 1950s.

An early story featuring something like mind uploading is the novella Izzard and the Membrane by Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in May 1951.[1] In this story, an American cyberneticist named Scott MacDonney is captured by Russians and made to work on an advanced computer, Izzard, which they plan to use to coordinate an attack on the United States. He has conversations with Izzard as he works on it, and when he asks it if it is self-aware, it says “answer indeterminate” and then asks “can human individual’s self-awareness transor be mechanically duplicated?” MacDonney is unfamiliar with the concept of a self-awareness transor (it is later revealed that this information was loaded into Izzard by a mysterious entity who may nor may not be God[2]), and Izzard defines it by saying “A self-awareness transor is the mathematical function which describes the specific consciousness pattern of one human individual.”[3] It is later found that this mathematical function can indeed be duplicated, although not by a detailed scan of the individual’s brain as in later notions of mind uploading; instead, Donney just has to describe the individual verbally in sufficient detail, and Izzard uses this information to locate the transor in the appropriate “mathematical region”. In Izzard’s words, “to duplicate consciousness of deceased, it will be necessary for you to furnish anthropometric and psychic characteristics of the individual. These characteristics will not determine transor, but will only give its general form. Knowing its form, will enable me to sweep my circuit pattern through its mathematical region until the proper transor is reached. At that point, the consciousness will appear among the circuits.”[4] Using this method, MacDonney is able to recreate the mind of his dead wife in Izzard’s memory, as well as create a virtual duplicate of himself, which seems to have a shared awareness with the biological MacDonney.

In The Altered Ego by Jerry Sohl (1954), a person’s mind can be “recorded” and used to create a “restoration” in the event of their death. In a restoration, the person’s biological body is repaired and brought back to life, and their memories are restored to the last time that they had their minds recorded (what the story calls a ‘brain record'[5]), an early example of a story in which a person can create periodic backups of their own mind. The recording process is not described in great detail, but it is mentioned that the recording is used to create a duplicate or “dupe” which is stored in the “restoration bank”,[6] and at one point a lecturer says that “The experience of the years, the neurograms, simple memory circuitsneurons, if you wishstored among these nerve cells, are transferred to the dupe, a group of more than ten billion molecules in colloidal suspension. They are charged much as you would charge the plates of a battery, the small neuroelectrical impulses emanating from your brain during the recording session being duplicated on the molecular structure in the solution.”[7] During restoration, they take the dupe and “infuse it into an empty brain”,[7] and the plot turns on the fact that it is possible to install one person’s dupe in the body of a completely different person.[8]

An early example featuring uploaded minds in robotic bodies can be found in Frederik Pohl’s story “The Tunnel Under the World” from 1955.[9] In this story, the protagonist Guy Burckhardt continually wakes up on the same date from a dream of dying in an explosion. Burckhardt is already familiar with the idea of putting human minds in robotic bodies, since this is what is done with the robot workers at the nearby Contro Chemical factory. As someone has once explained it to him, “each machine was controlled by a sort of computer which reproduced, in its electronic snarl, the actual memory and mind of a human being … It was only a matter, he said, of transferring a man’s habit patterns from brain cells to vacuum-tube cells.” Later in the story, Pohl gives some additional description of the procedure: “Take a master petroleum chemist, infinitely skilled in the separation of crude oil into its fractions. Strap him down, probe into his brain with searching electronic needles. The machine scans the patterns of the mind, translates what it sees into charts and sine waves. Impress these same waves on a robot computer and you have your chemist. Or a thousand copies of your chemist, if you wish, with all of his knowledge and skill, and no human limitations at all.” After some investigation, Burckhardt learns that his entire town had been killed in a chemical explosion, and the brains of the dead townspeople had been scanned and placed into miniature robotic bodies in a miniature replica of the town (as a character explains to him, ‘It’s as easy to transfer a pattern from a dead brain as a living one’), so that a businessman named Mr. Dorchin could charge companies to use the townspeople as test subjects for new products and advertisements.

Something close to the notion of mind uploading is very briefly mentioned in Isaac Asimov’s 1956 short story The Last Question: “One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.” A more detailed exploration of the idea (and one in which individual identity is preserved, unlike in Asimov’s story) can be found in ArthurC. Clarke’s novel The City and the Stars, also from 1956 (this novel was a revised and expanded version of Clarke’s earlier story Against the Fall of Night, but the earlier version did not contain the elements relating to mind uploading). The story is set in a city named Diaspar one billion years in the future, where the minds of inhabitants are stored as patterns of information in the city’s Central Computer in between a series of 1000-year lives in cloned bodies. Various commentators identify this story as one of the first (if not the first) to deal with mind uploading, human-machine synthesis, and computerized immortality.[10][11][12][13]

Another of the “firsts” is the novel Detta r verkligheten (This is reality), 1968, by the renowned philosopher and logician Bertil Mrtensson, a novel in which he describes people living in an uploaded state as a means to control overpopulation. The uploaded people believe that they are “alive”, but in reality they are playing elaborate and advanced fantasy games. In a twist at the end, the author changes everything into one of the best “multiverse” ideas of science fiction.

In Robert Silverberg’s To Live Again (1969), an entire worldwide economy is built up around the buying and selling of “souls” (personas that have been tape-recorded at six-month intervals), allowing well-heeled consumers the opportunity to spend tens of millions of dollars on a medical treatment that uploads the most recent recordings of archived personalities into the minds of the buyers. Federal law prevents people from buying a “personality recording” unless the possessor first had died; similarly, two or more buyers were not allowed to own a “share” of the persona. In this novel, the personality recording always went to the highest bidder. However, when one attempted to buy (and therefore possess) too many personalities, there was the risk that one of the personas would wrest control of the body from the possessor.

In the 1982 novel Software, part of the Ware Tetralogy by Rudy Rucker, one of the main characters, Cobb Anderson, has his mind downloaded and his body replaced with an extremely human-like android body. The robots who persuade Anderson into doing this sell the process to him as a way to become immortal.

In William Gibson’s award-winning Neuromancer (1984), which popularized the concept of “cyberspace”, a hacking tool used by the main character is an artificial infomorph of a notorious cyber-criminal, Dixie Flatline. The infomorph only assists in exchange for the promise that he be deleted after the mission is complete.

The fiction of Greg Egan has explored many of the philosophical, ethical, legal, and identity aspects of mind transfer, as well as the financial and computing aspects (i.e. hardware, software, processing power) of maintaining “copies.” In Egan’s Permutation City (1994), Diaspora (1997) and Zendegi (2010), “copies” are made by computer simulation of scanned brain physiology. See also Egan’s “jewelhead” stories, where the mind is transferred from the organic brain to a small, immortal backup computer at the base of the skull, the organic brain then being surgically removed.

The movie The Matrix is commonly mistaken for a mind uploading movie, but with exception to suggestions in later movies, it is only about virtual reality and simulated reality, since the main character Neo’s physical brain still is required to reside his mind. The mind (the information content of the brain) is not copied into an emulated brain in a computer. Neo’s physical brain is connected into the Matrix via a brain-machine interface. Only the rest of the physical body is simulated. Neo is disconnected from and reconnected to this dreamworld.

James Cameron’s 2009 movie Avatar has so far been the commercially most successful example of a work of fiction that features a form of mind uploading. Throughout most of the movie, the hero’s mind has not actually been uploaded and transferred to another body, but is simply controlling the body from a distance, a form of telepresence. However, at the end of the movie the hero’s mind is uploaded into Eywa, the mind of the planet, and then back into his Avatar body.

Mind transfer is a theme in many other works of science fiction in a wide range of media. Specific examples include the following:

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Mind uploading in fiction – Wikipedia

Mind Uploading

Welcome

Minduploading.org is a collection of pages and articles designed to explore the concepts underlying mind uploading. The articles are intended to be a readable introduction to the basic technical and philosophical topics covering mind uploading and substrate-independent minds. The focus is on careful definitions of the common terms and what the implications are if mind uploading becomes possible.

Mind uploading is an ongoing area of active research, bringing together ideas from neuroscience, computer science, engineering, and philosophy. This site refers to a number of participants and researchers who are helping to make mind uploading possible.

Realistically, mind uploading likely lies many decades in the future, but the short-term offers the possibility of advanced neural prostheses that may benefit us.

Mind uploading is a popular term for a process by which the mind, a collection of memories, personality, and attributes of a specific individual, is transferred from its original biological brain to an artificial computational substrate. Alternative terms for mind uploading have appeared in fiction and non-fiction, such as mind transfer, mind downloading, off-loading, side-loading, and several others. They all refer to the same general concept of transferring the mind to a different substrate.

Once it is possible to move a mind from one substrate to another, it is then called a substrate-independent mind (SIM). The concept of SIM is inspired by the idea of designing software that can run on multiple computers with different hardware without needing to be rewritten. For example, Javas design principle write once, run everywhere makes it a platform independent system. In this context, substrate is a term referring to a generalized concept of any computational platform that is capable of universal computation.

We take the materialist position that the human mind is solely generated by the brain and is a function of neural states. Additionally, we assume that the neural states are computational processes and devices capable of universal computing are sufficient to generate the same kind of computational processes found in a brain.

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Mind Uploading

Mind map – Wikipedia

This article is about the visual diagram. For the geographical concept, see Mental mapping.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole.[1] It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.

Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available. Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram.[2] A similar concept in the 1970s was “idea sun bursting”.[3]

Although the term “mind map” was first popularized by British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan, the use of diagrams that visually “map” information using branching and radial maps traces back centuries. These pictorial methods record knowledge and model systems, and have a long history in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Some of the earliest examples of such graphical records were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle. Philosopher Ramon Llull (12351315) also used such techniques.

The semantic network was developed in the late 1950s as a theory to understand human learning and developed further by Allan M. Collins and M. Ross Quillian during the early 1960s. Mind maps are similar in radial structure to concept maps, developed by learning experts in the 1970s, but differ in that the former are simplified by focusing around a single central key concept.

Buzan’s specific approach, and the introduction of the term “mind map” arose during a 1974 BBC TV series he hosted, called Use Your Head.[4][5] In this show, and companion book series, Buzan promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.[6]

Buzan says the idea was inspired by Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics as popularized in science fiction novels, such as those of Robert A. Heinlein and A. E. van Vogt. He argues that while “traditional” outlines force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. Buzan’s treatment also uses then-popular assumptions about the functions of cerebral hemispheres in order to explain the claimed increased effectiveness of mind mapping over other forms of note making.

Buzan suggests the following guidelines for creating mind maps:

As with other diagramming tools, mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying[7] and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.

Mind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including notetaking, brainstorming (wherein ideas are inserted into the map radially around the center node, without the implicit prioritization that comes from hierarchy or sequential arrangements, and wherein grouping and organizing is reserved for later stages), summarizing, as a mnemonic technique, or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in color pen creativity sessions.

In addition to these direct use cases, data retrieved from mind maps can be used to enhance several other applications; for instance expert search systems, search engines and search and tag query recommender.[8] To do so, mind maps can be analysed with classic methods of information retrieval to classify a mind map’s author or documents that are linked from within the mind map.[8]

Cunningham (2005) conducted a user study in which 80% of the students thought “mindmapping helped them understand concepts and ideas in science”.[9] Other studies also report positive effects through the use of mind maps.[10][11] Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) found that spider diagrams (similar to concept maps) had limited, but significant, impact on memory recall in undergraduate students (a 10% increase over baseline for a 600-word text only) as compared to preferred study methods (a 6% increase over baseline).[12] This improvement was only robust after a week for those in the diagram group and there was a significant decrease in motivation compared to the subjects’ preferred methods of note taking. A meta study about concept mapping concluded that concept mapping is more effective than “reading text passages, attending lectures, and participating in class discussions”.[13] The same study also concluded that concept mapping is slightly more effective “than other constructive activities such as writing summaries and outlines”. In addition, they concluded that low-ability students may benefit more from mind mapping than high-ability students.

Beel & Langer (2011) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the content of mind maps.[14] They analysed 19,379 mind maps from 11,179 users of the mind mapping applications SciPlore MindMapping (now Docear) and MindMeister. Results include that average users create only a few mind maps (mean=2.7), average mind maps are rather small (31 nodes) with each node containing about 3 words (median). However, there were exceptions. One user created more than 200 mind maps, the largest mind map consisted of more than 50,000 nodes and the largest node contained ~7500 words. The study also showed that between different mind mapping applications (Docear vs MindMeister) significant differences exist related to how users create mind maps.

There have been some attempts to create mind maps automatically. Brucks & Schommer created mind maps automatically from full-text streams.[15] Rothenberger et al. extracted the main story of a text and presented it as mind map.[16] And there is a patent about automatically creating sub-topics in mind maps.[17]

There are two studies that analyze whether electronic mind mapping or pen based mind mapping is more effective.[18][19]

Mind-mapping software can be used to organize large amounts of information, combining spatial organization, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding. Software packages can extend the concept of mind-mapping by allowing individuals to map more than thoughts and ideas with information on their computers and the Internet, like spreadsheets, documents, Internet sites and images.[20] It has been suggested that mind-mapping can improve learning/study efficiency up to 15% over conventional note-taking.[21]

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Mind map – Wikipedia

Fallout 4 VR Won’t Contain Any Add-On Content At Launch – UploadVR

Fallout 4 is a massive game in its own right, but we were still hoping the upcoming VR version of the game would include the DLC packs that have released over the past couple years. Sadly, it looks like that wont be happening.

VRFocus reports from Gamescom that a Bethesda representative confirmed Fallout 4 VR will contain the core game only when it launches for the HTC Vive this October. This is apparently to focus on the core game experience for VR, though the company is also looking at options to integrate the DLC later down the line.

Weve reached out to Bethesda for more information about this decision.

A total of six content-based add-ons have been released for Fallout 4 since its launch in 2016. Some of these like Automatron and Far Harbor added new story-based missions to the game, complete with new areas to explore. Others, meanwhile, expanded the games workshop mode, which allowed players to make their own homes to live in in the wasteland. A Game of the Year Edition of the traditional game will be releasing the month before the VR port, which collects all of this DLC for a reduced price.

Even without the DLC, Fallout 4 VR will offer plenty of content likely more than any other VR game before it but with a full $59.99 price tag for whats now a two-year-old game, its definitely a shame were not getting the complete package here.

Meanwhile, Bethesdas other big PSVR port, Skyrim VR for PlayStation VR (PSVR), will contain all previously released DLC, as confirmed at E3 back in June. Doom VFR, meanwhile, is a completely new game.

Update: An old image we used in this article showed an October 2017 expected release date but Bethesda has announced that Fallout 4 VR will not release until December. All of Bethesdas release dates for VR titles can be found here.

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Fallout 4 VR Won’t Contain Any Add-On Content At Launch – UploadVR

Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

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Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment both intellectual and financial by philosophers, scientists, and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be “cryopreserved” in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative “solutions” being mooted?

Of course, we don’t currently have the means of achieving human immortality, nor is it clear that we ever will. But two hypothetical options have so far attracted the most interest and attention: rejuvenation technology, and mind uploading.

Like a futuristic fountain of youth, rejuvenation promises to remove and reverse the damage of aging at the cellular level. Gerontologists such as Aubrey de Grey argue that growing old is a disease that we can circumvent by having our cells replaced or repaired at regular intervals. Practically speaking, this might mean that every few years, you would visit a rejuvenation clinic. Doctors would not only remove infected, cancerous, or otherwise unhealthy cells, but also induce healthy ones to regenerate more effectively and remove accumulated waste products. This deep makeover would “turn back the clock” on your body, leaving you physiologically younger than your actual age. You would, however, remain just as vulnerable to death from acute trauma that is, from injury and poisoning, whether accidental or not as you were before.

Rejuvenation seems like a fairly low-risk solution, since it essentially extends and improves your body’s inherent ability to take care of itself. But if you truly wanted eternal life in a biological body, it would have to be an extremely secure life indeed. You’d need to avoid any risk of physical harm to have your one shot at eternity, making you among the most anxious people in history.

The other option would be mind uploading, in which your brain is digitally scanned and copied onto a computer. This method presupposes that consciousness is akin to software running on some kind of organic hard-disk that what makes you you is the sum total of the information stored in the brain’s operations, and therefore it should be possible to migrate the self onto a different physical substrate or platform. This remains a highly controversial stance. However, let’s leave aside for now the question of where you really reside, and play with the idea that it might be possible to replicate the brain in digital form one day.

Unlike rejuvenation, mind uploading could actually offer something tantalizingly close to true immortality. Just as we currently back up files on external drives and cloud storage, your uploaded mind could be copied innumerable times and backed up in secure locations, making it extremely unlikely that any natural or man-made disaster could destroy all of your copies.

Despite this advantage, mind uploading presents some difficult ethical issues. Some philosophers, such as David Chalmers, think there is a possibility that your upload would appear functionally identical to your old self without having any conscious experience of the world. You’d be more of a zombie than a person, let alone you. Others, such as Daniel Dennett, have argued that this would not be a problem. Since you are reducible to the processes and content of your brain, a functionally identical copy of it no matter the substrate on which it runs could not possibly yield anything other than you.

What’s more, we cannot predict what the actual upload would feel like to the mind being transferred. Would you experience some sort of intermediate break after the transfer, or something else altogether? What if the whole process, including your very existence as a digital being, is so qualitatively different from biological existence as to make you utterly terrified or even catatonic? If so, what if you can’t communicate to outsiders or switch yourself off? In this case, your immortality would amount to more of a curse than a blessing. Death might not be so bad after all, but unfortunately it might no longer be an option.

Another problem arises with the prospect of copying your uploaded mind and running the copy simultaneously with the original. One popular position in philosophy is that the youness of you depends on remaining a singular person meaning that a “fission” of your identity would be equivalent to death. That is to say: If you were to branch into you1 and you2, then you’d cease to exist as you, leaving you dead to all intents and purposes. Some thinkers, such as the late Derek Parfit, have argued that while you might not survive fission, as long as each new version of you has an unbroken connection to the original, this is just as good as ordinary survival.

Which option is more ethically fraught? In our view, mere rejuvenation would probably be a less problematic choice. Yes, vanquishing death for the entire human species would greatly exacerbate our existing problems of overpopulation and inequality but the problems would at least be reasonably familiar. We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.

On the other hand, mind uploading would open up a plethora of completely new and unfamiliar ethical quandaries. Uploaded minds might constitute a radically new sphere of moral agency. For example, we often consider cognitive capacities to be relevant to an agent’s moral status (one reason that we attribute a higher moral status to humans than to mosquitoes). But it would be difficult to grasp the cognitive capacities of minds that can be enhanced by faster computers and communicate with each other at the speed of light, since this would make them incomparably smarter than the smartest biological human. As the economist Robin Hanson argued in The Age of Em (2016), we would therefore need to find fair ways of regulating the interactions between and within the old and new domains that is, between humans and brain uploads, and between the uploads themselves. What’s more, the astonishingly rapid development of digital systems means that we might have very little time to decide how to implement even minimal regulations.

What about the personal, practical consequences of your choice of immortality? Assuming you somehow make it to a future in which rejuvenation and brain uploading are available, your decision seems to depend on how much risk and what kinds of risks you’re willing to assume. Rejuvenation seems like the most business-as-usual option, although it threatens to make you even more protective of your fragile physical body. Uploading would make it much more difficult for your mind to be destroyed, at least in practical terms, but it’s not clear whether you would survive in any meaningful sense if you were copied several times over. This is entirely uncharted territory with risks far worse than what you’d face with rejuvenation. Nevertheless, the prospect of being freed from our mortal shackles is undeniably alluring and if it’s ever an option, one way or another, many people will probably conclude that it outweighs the dangers.

This article was originally published by Aeon, a digital magazine for ideas and culture. Follow them on Twitter at @aeonmag.

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Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

So, you’re not seeing the eclipse today – Ars Technica UK

NASA

Note: The next total solar eclipse visible from Europe will be on August 12, 2026 – and even then, only if you’re in parts of Spain, Iceland, or far northern Siberia. The next total eclipse to cover the UK will be on September 23, 2090, when most of us will probably be dead. Unless we’ve cracked mind uploading by then, which is quite possible.

Despite all the hype surrounding Monday’s solar eclipseand it has become nearly inescapablemost Americans will not see the totality. This is unfortunate, because the Sun disappearing during the middle of the day is truly amoving experience. But if you’re not seeing it today, don’t feel too badyou’re not alone.

Only about 12 million people live within the 110km-wide path of totality that runs across the United States, from Oregon through South Carolina. By various estimates, an additional 1.8 to 7.4 million people will travel into the path of totality to view the eclipse. This means only about 6 percent of the United States population will see a total eclipse on Monday.

So if you’re missing out, rest assured that most other Americans are, too. Also, you should start planning ahead. Because while it has been nearly a century since a total eclipse spanned the continental United States, we won’t wait that long again. Here’s a look at what lies ahead.

Unlike a total solar eclipse, during an annular eclipse the Moon is slightly farther away from the Earth, and therefore does not obscure the entirety of the star. This leaves a “ring of fire” around the Moon. And while this is pretty spectacular, it isn’t as moving as a total eclipse. However much of the western and southwestern United States will have a good opportunity to view an annular eclipse in just six years, on October 14, 2023.

EclipseWise.com

The country’s next opportunity to see a total solar eclipse comes in fewer than seven years, on April 8, 2024. This will be another major event for the United States, with some areas (i.e. Carbondale, Ill.) actually seeing their second total eclipse in just seven years. This is the event to begin planning for now, if you’re totally jealous about missing out on Monday.

EclipseWise.com

Admittedly, this one requires a little more planning ahead. This eclipse on August 12, 2045, is essentially a repeat of Monday’s eclipse, but with the path of totality a few hundred miles to the south. This will provide exceptional viewing from California to Florida, and the residents of the lunar colony will see a good show as well when they gaze back toward Earth. (Hey, we can hope that humans will have returned to the Moon by then, right?)

EclipseWise.com

Beyond these three events, more eclipses are in the offing. A total eclipse will cross extreme southern Texas, Louisiana, and Florida in 2052 (expect quite the party in the Big Easy). More regional eclipses will hit parts of the United States during the second half of the century.

What seems clear is that the United States is entering a golden age of eclipses, with three total solar eclipses crossing much of the continental United States from 2017 through 2045. Do yourself a favor and make plans to see at least one of them.

This post originated on Ars Technica

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So, you’re not seeing the eclipse today – Ars Technica UK

Mind uploading in fiction – Wikipedia

Mind uploading, whole brain emulation or substrate-independent minds is a use of a computer or another substrate as an emulated human brain, and the view of thoughts and memories as software information states. The term mind transfer also refers to a hypothetical transfer of a mind from one biological brain to another. Uploaded minds and societies of minds, often in simulated realities, are recurring themes in science fiction novels and films since 1950s.

An early story featuring something like mind uploading is the novella Izzard and the Membrane by Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in May 1951.[1] In this story, an American cyberneticist named Scott MacDonney is captured by Russians and made to work on an advanced computer, Izzard, which they plan to use to coordinate an attack on the United States. He has conversations with Izzard as he works on it, and when he asks it if it is self-aware, it says “answer indeterminate” and then asks “can human individual’s self-awareness transor be mechanically duplicated?” MacDonney is unfamiliar with the concept of a self-awareness transor (it is later revealed that this information was loaded into Izzard by a mysterious entity who may nor may not be God[2]), and Izzard defines it by saying “A self-awareness transor is the mathematical function which describes the specific consciousness pattern of one human individual.”[3] It is later found that this mathematical function can indeed be duplicated, although not by a detailed scan of the individual’s brain as in later notions of mind uploading; instead, Donney just has to describe the individual verbally in sufficient detail, and Izzard uses this information to locate the transor in the appropriate “mathematical region”. In Izzard’s words, “to duplicate consciousness of deceased, it will be necessary for you to furnish anthropometric and psychic characteristics of the individual. These characteristics will not determine transor, but will only give its general form. Knowing its form, will enable me to sweep my circuit pattern through its mathematical region until the proper transor is reached. At that point, the consciousness will appear among the circuits.”[4] Using this method, MacDonney is able to recreate the mind of his dead wife in Izzard’s memory, as well as create a virtual duplicate of himself, which seems to have a shared awareness with the biological MacDonney.

In The Altered Ego by Jerry Sohl (1954), a person’s mind can be “recorded” and used to create a “restoration” in the event of their death. In a restoration, the person’s biological body is repaired and brought back to life, and their memories are restored to the last time that they had their minds recorded (what the story calls a ‘brain record'[5]), an early example of a story in which a person can create periodic backups of their own mind. The recording process is not described in great detail, but it is mentioned that the recording is used to create a duplicate or “dupe” which is stored in the “restoration bank”,[6] and at one point a lecturer says that “The experience of the years, the neurograms, simple memory circuitsneurons, if you wishstored among these nerve cells, are transferred to the dupe, a group of more than ten billion molecules in colloidal suspension. They are charged much as you would charge the plates of a battery, the small neuroelectrical impulses emanating from your brain during the recording session being duplicated on the molecular structure in the solution.”[7] During restoration, they take the dupe and “infuse it into an empty brain”,[7] and the plot turns on the fact that it is possible to install one person’s dupe in the body of a completely different person.[8]

An early example featuring uploaded minds in robotic bodies can be found in Frederik Pohl’s story “The Tunnel Under the World” from 1955.[9] In this story, the protagonist Guy Burckhardt continually wakes up on the same date from a dream of dying in an explosion. Burckhardt is already familiar with the idea of putting human minds in robotic bodies, since this is what is done with the robot workers at the nearby Contro Chemical factory. As someone has once explained it to him, “each machine was controlled by a sort of computer which reproduced, in its electronic snarl, the actual memory and mind of a human being … It was only a matter, he said, of transferring a man’s habit patterns from brain cells to vacuum-tube cells.” Later in the story, Pohl gives some additional description of the procedure: “Take a master petroleum chemist, infinitely skilled in the separation of crude oil into its fractions. Strap him down, probe into his brain with searching electronic needles. The machine scans the patterns of the mind, translates what it sees into charts and sine waves. Impress these same waves on a robot computer and you have your chemist. Or a thousand copies of your chemist, if you wish, with all of his knowledge and skill, and no human limitations at all.” After some investigation, Burckhardt learns that his entire town had been killed in a chemical explosion, and the brains of the dead townspeople had been scanned and placed into miniature robotic bodies in a miniature replica of the town (as a character explains to him, ‘It’s as easy to transfer a pattern from a dead brain as a living one’), so that a businessman named Mr. Dorchin could charge companies to use the townspeople as test subjects for new products and advertisements.

Something close to the notion of mind uploading is very briefly mentioned in Isaac Asimov’s 1956 short story The Last Question: “One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.” A more detailed exploration of the idea (and one in which individual identity is preserved, unlike in Asimov’s story) can be found in ArthurC. Clarke’s novel The City and the Stars, also from 1956 (this novel was a revised and expanded version of Clarke’s earlier story Against the Fall of Night, but the earlier version did not contain the elements relating to mind uploading). The story is set in a city named Diaspar one billion years in the future, where the minds of inhabitants are stored as patterns of information in the city’s Central Computer in between a series of 1000-year lives in cloned bodies. Various commentators identify this story as one of the first (if not the first) to deal with mind uploading, human-machine synthesis, and computerized immortality.[10][11][12][13]

Another of the “firsts” is the novel Detta r verkligheten (This is reality), 1968, by the renowned philosopher and logician Bertil Mrtensson, a novel in which he describes people living in an uploaded state as a means to control overpopulation. The uploaded people believe that they are “alive”, but in reality they are playing elaborate and advanced fantasy games. In a twist at the end, the author changes everything into one of the best “multiverse” ideas of science fiction.

In Robert Silverberg’s To Live Again (1969), an entire worldwide economy is built up around the buying and selling of “souls” (personas that have been tape-recorded at six-month intervals), allowing well-heeled consumers the opportunity to spend tens of millions of dollars on a medical treatment that uploads the most recent recordings of archived personalities into the minds of the buyers. Federal law prevents people from buying a “personality recording” unless the possessor first had died; similarly, two or more buyers were not allowed to own a “share” of the persona. In this novel, the personality recording always went to the highest bidder. However, when one attempted to buy (and therefore possess) too many personalities, there was the risk that one of the personas would wrest control of the body from the possessor.

In the 1982 novel Software, part of the Ware Tetralogy by Rudy Rucker, one of the main characters, Cobb Anderson, has his mind downloaded and his body replaced with an extremely human-like android body. The robots who persuade Anderson into doing this sell the process to him as a way to become immortal.

In William Gibson’s award-winning Neuromancer (1984), which popularized the concept of “cyberspace”, a hacking tool used by the main character is an artificial infomorph of a notorious cyber-criminal, Dixie Flatline. The infomorph only assists in exchange for the promise that he be deleted after the mission is complete.

The fiction of Greg Egan has explored many of the philosophical, ethical, legal, and identity aspects of mind transfer, as well as the financial and computing aspects (i.e. hardware, software, processing power) of maintaining “copies.” In Egan’s Permutation City (1994), Diaspora (1997) and Zendegi (2010), “copies” are made by computer simulation of scanned brain physiology. See also Egan’s “jewelhead” stories, where the mind is transferred from the organic brain to a small, immortal backup computer at the base of the skull, the organic brain then being surgically removed.

The movie The Matrix is commonly mistaken for a mind uploading movie, but with exception to suggestions in later movies, it is only about virtual reality and simulated reality, since the main character Neo’s physical brain still is required to reside his mind. The mind (the information content of the brain) is not copied into an emulated brain in a computer. Neo’s physical brain is connected into the Matrix via a brain-machine interface. Only the rest of the physical body is simulated. Neo is disconnected from and reconnected to this dreamworld.

James Cameron’s 2009 movie Avatar has so far been the commercially most successful example of a work of fiction that features a form of mind uploading. Throughout most of the movie, the hero’s mind has not actually been uploaded and transferred to another body, but is simply controlling the body from a distance, a form of telepresence. However, at the end of the movie the hero’s mind is uploaded into Eywa, the mind of the planet, and then back into his Avatar body.

Mind transfer is a theme in many other works of science fiction in a wide range of media. Specific examples include the following:

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Mind uploading in fiction – Wikipedia

Mind map – Wikipedia

This article is about the visual diagram. For the geographical concept, see Mental mapping.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole.[1] It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.

Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available. Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram.[2] A similar concept in the 1970s was “idea sun bursting”.[3]

Although the term “mind map” was first popularized by British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan, the use of diagrams that visually “map” information using branching and radial maps traces back centuries. These pictorial methods record knowledge and model systems, and have a long history in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Some of the earliest examples of such graphical records were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle. Philosopher Ramon Llull (12351315) also used such techniques.

The semantic network was developed in the late 1950s as a theory to understand human learning and developed further by Allan M. Collins and M. Ross Quillian during the early 1960s. Mind maps are similar in radial structure to concept maps, developed by learning experts in the 1970s, but differ in that the former are simplified by focusing around a single central key concept.

Buzan’s specific approach, and the introduction of the term “mind map” arose during a 1974 BBC TV series he hosted, called Use Your Head.[4][5] In this show, and companion book series, Buzan promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.[6]

Buzan says the idea was inspired by Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics as popularized in science fiction novels, such as those of Robert A. Heinlein and A. E. van Vogt. He argues that while “traditional” outlines force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. Buzan’s treatment also uses then-popular assumptions about the functions of cerebral hemispheres in order to explain the claimed increased effectiveness of mind mapping over other forms of note making.

Buzan suggests the following guidelines for creating mind maps:

As with other diagramming tools, mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying[7] and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.

Mind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including notetaking, brainstorming (wherein ideas are inserted into the map radially around the center node, without the implicit prioritization that comes from hierarchy or sequential arrangements, and wherein grouping and organizing is reserved for later stages), summarizing, as a mnemonic technique, or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in color pen creativity sessions.

In addition to these direct use cases, data retrieved from mind maps can be used to enhance several other applications; for instance expert search systems, search engines and search and tag query recommender.[8] To do so, mind maps can be analysed with classic methods of information retrieval to classify a mind map’s author or documents that are linked from within the mind map.[8]

Cunningham (2005) conducted a user study in which 80% of the students thought “mindmapping helped them understand concepts and ideas in science”.[9] Other studies also report positive effects through the use of mind maps.[10][11] Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) found that spider diagrams (similar to concept maps) had limited, but significant, impact on memory recall in undergraduate students (a 10% increase over baseline for a 600-word text only) as compared to preferred study methods (a 6% increase over baseline).[12] This improvement was only robust after a week for those in the diagram group and there was a significant decrease in motivation compared to the subjects’ preferred methods of note taking. A meta study about concept mapping concluded that concept mapping is more effective than “reading text passages, attending lectures, and participating in class discussions”.[13] The same study also concluded that concept mapping is slightly more effective “than other constructive activities such as writing summaries and outlines”. In addition, they concluded that low-ability students may benefit more from mind mapping than high-ability students.

Beel & Langer (2011) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the content of mind maps.[14] They analysed 19,379 mind maps from 11,179 users of the mind mapping applications SciPlore MindMapping (now Docear) and MindMeister. Results include that average users create only a few mind maps (mean=2.7), average mind maps are rather small (31 nodes) with each node containing about 3 words (median). However, there were exceptions. One user created more than 200 mind maps, the largest mind map consisted of more than 50,000 nodes and the largest node contained ~7500 words. The study also showed that between different mind mapping applications (Docear vs MindMeister) significant differences exist related to how users create mind maps.

There have been some attempts to create mind maps automatically. Brucks & Schommer created mind maps automatically from full-text streams.[15] Rothenberger et al. extracted the main story of a text and presented it as mind map.[16] And there is a patent about automatically creating sub-topics in mind maps.[17]

There are two studies that analyze whether electronic mind mapping or pen based mind mapping is more effective.[18][19]

Mind-mapping software can be used to organize large amounts of information, combining spatial organization, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding. Software packages can extend the concept of mind-mapping by allowing individuals to map more than thoughts and ideas with information on their computers and the Internet, like spreadsheets, documents, Internet sites and images.[20] It has been suggested that mind-mapping can improve learning/study efficiency up to 15% over conventional note-taking.[21]

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Mind map – Wikipedia

Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

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Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment both intellectual and financial by philosophers, scientists, and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be “cryopreserved” in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative “solutions” being mooted?

Of course, we don’t currently have the means of achieving human immortality, nor is it clear that we ever will. But two hypothetical options have so far attracted the most interest and attention: rejuvenation technology, and mind uploading.

Like a futuristic fountain of youth, rejuvenation promises to remove and reverse the damage of aging at the cellular level. Gerontologists such as Aubrey de Grey argue that growing old is a disease that we can circumvent by having our cells replaced or repaired at regular intervals. Practically speaking, this might mean that every few years, you would visit a rejuvenation clinic. Doctors would not only remove infected, cancerous, or otherwise unhealthy cells, but also induce healthy ones to regenerate more effectively and remove accumulated waste products. This deep makeover would “turn back the clock” on your body, leaving you physiologically younger than your actual age. You would, however, remain just as vulnerable to death from acute trauma that is, from injury and poisoning, whether accidental or not as you were before.

Rejuvenation seems like a fairly low-risk solution, since it essentially extends and improves your body’s inherent ability to take care of itself. But if you truly wanted eternal life in a biological body, it would have to be an extremely secure life indeed. You’d need to avoid any risk of physical harm to have your one shot at eternity, making you among the most anxious people in history.

The other option would be mind uploading, in which your brain is digitally scanned and copied onto a computer. This method presupposes that consciousness is akin to software running on some kind of organic hard-disk that what makes you you is the sum total of the information stored in the brain’s operations, and therefore it should be possible to migrate the self onto a different physical substrate or platform. This remains a highly controversial stance. However, let’s leave aside for now the question of where you really reside, and play with the idea that it might be possible to replicate the brain in digital form one day.

Unlike rejuvenation, mind uploading could actually offer something tantalizingly close to true immortality. Just as we currently back up files on external drives and cloud storage, your uploaded mind could be copied innumerable times and backed up in secure locations, making it extremely unlikely that any natural or man-made disaster could destroy all of your copies.

Despite this advantage, mind uploading presents some difficult ethical issues. Some philosophers, such as David Chalmers, think there is a possibility that your upload would appear functionally identical to your old self without having any conscious experience of the world. You’d be more of a zombie than a person, let alone you. Others, such as Daniel Dennett, have argued that this would not be a problem. Since you are reducible to the processes and content of your brain, a functionally identical copy of it no matter the substrate on which it runs could not possibly yield anything other than you.

What’s more, we cannot predict what the actual upload would feel like to the mind being transferred. Would you experience some sort of intermediate break after the transfer, or something else altogether? What if the whole process, including your very existence as a digital being, is so qualitatively different from biological existence as to make you utterly terrified or even catatonic? If so, what if you can’t communicate to outsiders or switch yourself off? In this case, your immortality would amount to more of a curse than a blessing. Death might not be so bad after all, but unfortunately it might no longer be an option.

Another problem arises with the prospect of copying your uploaded mind and running the copy simultaneously with the original. One popular position in philosophy is that the youness of you depends on remaining a singular person meaning that a “fission” of your identity would be equivalent to death. That is to say: If you were to branch into you1 and you2, then you’d cease to exist as you, leaving you dead to all intents and purposes. Some thinkers, such as the late Derek Parfit, have argued that while you might not survive fission, as long as each new version of you has an unbroken connection to the original, this is just as good as ordinary survival.

Which option is more ethically fraught? In our view, mere rejuvenation would probably be a less problematic choice. Yes, vanquishing death for the entire human species would greatly exacerbate our existing problems of overpopulation and inequality but the problems would at least be reasonably familiar. We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.

On the other hand, mind uploading would open up a plethora of completely new and unfamiliar ethical quandaries. Uploaded minds might constitute a radically new sphere of moral agency. For example, we often consider cognitive capacities to be relevant to an agent’s moral status (one reason that we attribute a higher moral status to humans than to mosquitoes). But it would be difficult to grasp the cognitive capacities of minds that can be enhanced by faster computers and communicate with each other at the speed of light, since this would make them incomparably smarter than the smartest biological human. As the economist Robin Hanson argued in The Age of Em (2016), we would therefore need to find fair ways of regulating the interactions between and within the old and new domains that is, between humans and brain uploads, and between the uploads themselves. What’s more, the astonishingly rapid development of digital systems means that we might have very little time to decide how to implement even minimal regulations.

What about the personal, practical consequences of your choice of immortality? Assuming you somehow make it to a future in which rejuvenation and brain uploading are available, your decision seems to depend on how much risk and what kinds of risks you’re willing to assume. Rejuvenation seems like the most business-as-usual option, although it threatens to make you even more protective of your fragile physical body. Uploading would make it much more difficult for your mind to be destroyed, at least in practical terms, but it’s not clear whether you would survive in any meaningful sense if you were copied several times over. This is entirely uncharted territory with risks far worse than what you’d face with rejuvenation. Nevertheless, the prospect of being freed from our mortal shackles is undeniably alluring and if it’s ever an option, one way or another, many people will probably conclude that it outweighs the dangers.

This article was originally published by Aeon, a digital magazine for ideas and culture. Follow them on Twitter at @aeonmag.

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Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

So, you’re not seeing the eclipse today – Ars Technica UK

NASA

Note: The next total solar eclipse visible from Europe will be on August 12, 2026 – and even then, only if you’re in parts of Spain, Iceland, or far northern Siberia. The next total eclipse to cover the UK will be on September 23, 2090, when most of us will probably be dead. Unless we’ve cracked mind uploading by then, which is quite possible.

Despite all the hype surrounding Monday’s solar eclipseand it has become nearly inescapablemost Americans will not see the totality. This is unfortunate, because the Sun disappearing during the middle of the day is truly amoving experience. But if you’re not seeing it today, don’t feel too badyou’re not alone.

Only about 12 million people live within the 110km-wide path of totality that runs across the United States, from Oregon through South Carolina. By various estimates, an additional 1.8 to 7.4 million people will travel into the path of totality to view the eclipse. This means only about 6 percent of the United States population will see a total eclipse on Monday.

So if you’re missing out, rest assured that most other Americans are, too. Also, you should start planning ahead. Because while it has been nearly a century since a total eclipse spanned the continental United States, we won’t wait that long again. Here’s a look at what lies ahead.

Unlike a total solar eclipse, during an annular eclipse the Moon is slightly farther away from the Earth, and therefore does not obscure the entirety of the star. This leaves a “ring of fire” around the Moon. And while this is pretty spectacular, it isn’t as moving as a total eclipse. However much of the western and southwestern United States will have a good opportunity to view an annular eclipse in just six years, on October 14, 2023.

EclipseWise.com

The country’s next opportunity to see a total solar eclipse comes in fewer than seven years, on April 8, 2024. This will be another major event for the United States, with some areas (i.e. Carbondale, Ill.) actually seeing their second total eclipse in just seven years. This is the event to begin planning for now, if you’re totally jealous about missing out on Monday.

EclipseWise.com

Admittedly, this one requires a little more planning ahead. This eclipse on August 12, 2045, is essentially a repeat of Monday’s eclipse, but with the path of totality a few hundred miles to the south. This will provide exceptional viewing from California to Florida, and the residents of the lunar colony will see a good show as well when they gaze back toward Earth. (Hey, we can hope that humans will have returned to the Moon by then, right?)

EclipseWise.com

Beyond these three events, more eclipses are in the offing. A total eclipse will cross extreme southern Texas, Louisiana, and Florida in 2052 (expect quite the party in the Big Easy). More regional eclipses will hit parts of the United States during the second half of the century.

What seems clear is that the United States is entering a golden age of eclipses, with three total solar eclipses crossing much of the continental United States from 2017 through 2045. Do yourself a favor and make plans to see at least one of them.

This post originated on Ars Technica

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So, you’re not seeing the eclipse today – Ars Technica UK

Hot Chips: Microsoft Xbox One X Scorpio Engine Live Blog (9:30am PT, 4:30pm UTC) – AnandTech

12:10PM EDT – This week it’s the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino. We’re sat nice and early, with the first talk today from Microsoft. John Sell, a Microsoft hardware veteran, is set to talk about the Scorpio Engine, found in the Xbox One X. It’s practically the only talk this week where the slides were not given out early, so I wonder what will be discussed, especially given the large amount of interest in what the Scorpio Engine is. So never mind the eclipse, let’s talk consoles.

12:12PM EDT – Despite the big hall booked, there’s a few hundred people here

12:13PM EDT – Hot Chips is a specialised conference, after all. Most people here are from tech companies, not press

12:13PM EDT – A number of familiar faces in the crowd, however. Talks later today from AMD, NVIDIA and Intel. Talks tomorrow on Server hardware too

12:13PM EDT – Just me on text and images today, it might get a bit fast paced

12:19PM EDT – Now starting with an intro to the conference

12:19PM EDT – 10% more attendees this year, 20% more paper submissions

12:23PM EDT – Had to restart my laptop, keeps freezing with intermittent wifi which is odd

12:24PM EDT – Eclipse viewing in 35 minutes – the conference were going to provide glasses, but they got stuck at customs

12:29PM EDT – Moving to mobile data

12:30PM EDT – Scorpio engine, 7b transistors, 359mm2 die, 50mm module

12:30PM EDT – Yellow areas on die shot is GPU

12:30PM EDT – 4 shader arrays, contain 11 CUs

12:30PM EDT – 10 active, 1 spare

12:31PM EDT – Spares are for reliability and yield

12:31PM EDT – dark green are clusters of CPU

12:31PM EDT – Green around the outside are the 12 GDDR5 controllers

12:32PM EDT – photos don’t seem to be uploading

12:32PM EDT – 326GB/s mem bandwidth

12:33PM EDT – 6.8 GHz memory data rate

12:33PM EDT – 12 GB of main memory, dev systems have 24GB

12:33PM EDT – GPU core at 1.172 GHz

12:34PM EDT – 285 GB/s peak in the lab for mem bandiwdth

12:35PM EDT – Pairs of channels can be cache coherent

12:35PM EDT – Coherent traffic is vertical to the crossbar

12:36PM EDT – 8x 256KB render caches

12:36PM EDT – 64 outbound and 40 inbound 256-bit data paths for drawing

12:37PM EDT – raw performance is a hair over 6 TF

12:37PM EDT – 4.688G primitives/second

12:37PM EDT – 128 FLOPS * 40 CUs * 1.172 GHz

12:37PM EDT – 187.5 G bilinear texels/second

12:37PM EDT – 2MB L2 cache with bypass and index buffer access

12:38PM EDT – out of order rasterization, 1MB parameter cache, delta color compression, depth compression, compressed texture access

12:39PM EDT – Xbox One S and 360 compatibility

12:39PM EDT – 8 CPU cores, 2.3 GHz

12:40PM EDT – 32 KB L1-I, 32 KB L1-D per core

12:40PM EDT – 4 MB shared L2 (2MB per quad cluster), lower main memory average latency (up to 20%)

12:40PM EDT – 12 channels and 192 banks of main memory (3x and 6x)

12:41PM EDT – 2048 entry L2I TLB and L2D TLB for 4KB pages

12:41PM EDT – 32 entry L1I TLB for 4KB pages, 8 entry L1I TLB for 2MB pages

12:41PM EDT – Hypervisor based system

12:41PM EDT – 40 entry L1D TLB for 4KB pages, 8 entry L1D TLB for 2MB pages, 256 entry L2D TLB for 2MB pages

12:42PM EDT – Page Descriptor Cache of nested translations (up to 4.3% perf over last gen)

12:43PM EDT – 4K p60 HEVC, VP9, AVC

12:43PM EDT – 10-bit HDR for HEVC and VP9

12:44PM EDT – 4k60 HEVC video encoding for DVR and streaming

12:44PM EDT – Support for 4K display, 3-surface resize/blending, pre-multiplied FP alpha

12:44PM EDT – DP 1.2a, HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2, two stream MST

12:45PM EDT – Audio with new firmware features, such as spatial surround (will come avail for Xbox One S)

12:46PM EDT – 1TB HDD, 4K UHD Bluray player

12:46PM EDT – Coming November 7 2017

12:46PM EDT – Video showing now, rendered on the system

12:48PM EDT – Looks like Forza

12:48PM EDT – ‘in-game 4K footage’

12:48PM EDT – Will upload pictures when we can, something just isn’t working properly here with either my devices or the data

12:49PM EDT – So only a 20 minute talk, some Q&A

12:49PM EDT – No 32 MB SRAM

12:50PM EDT – Same CPU caches as before

12:50PM EDT – ‘Any problems with backwards compatibility?’

12:51PM EDT – ‘No, the additional bandwidth will help and the previous will be emulated’

12:52PM EDT – ‘While there is added latency, there’s no compatibility issue. The GPU used to consider the SRAM just as another part of the main memory’

12:53PM EDT – ‘Q: Page descriptor cache was giving +4.5% perf in SPEC. Was that running in a VM?’ ‘Yes, the benefit we get negates the VM loss’

12:54PM EDT – ‘Does designing the SoC give better options for power management?’

12:56PM EDT – ‘Yes, to a significant degree with Scorpio but since the original Xbox One – we want every system to give the same perf, and we don’t want to give people an unfair advantage in MP games (like in PCs), so we strive we don’t have variation which makes power management more challenging, and we don’t want to through chips way. Every chip is married to its circuit board, variations in the power supply, and trying to tune out all the margin possible’

12:57PM EDT – ‘Shader power gating?’ ‘We have clock gating throughout the design, but for power gating, we do not do any power gating within the shader array. We change to operate at lower frequencies in certain modes, e.g. BluRay discs can go through fixed function hardware we clock gate the shaders’

12:57PM EDT – That’s all for the talk, let me upload the pictures if I can

01:07PM EDT – Now that everyone in the hall has left to watch the eclipse, some photos are going through. Of course, photos that were sent straight to upload aren’t saved on my devices. I’m waiting for the slide deck and we’ll do a proper analysis on this.

01:07PM EDT – That’s all for the live blog. There’s a Knights Mill talk later today that we’ll try and get a better experience for 🙂

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Hot Chips: Microsoft Xbox One X Scorpio Engine Live Blog (9:30am PT, 4:30pm UTC) – AnandTech

GSOM Night 2017-18: Announcement and shirt design request – Golden State of Mind

The season hasnt even started yet, but its never too early to talk about another chance to party at Oracle with a bunch of strangers from the internet! In case you are new to this whole thing, GSOM Night is a unique fan experience that is a cooperative endeavor of the Golden State Warriors team, and us – the GSOM community.

Its a group seating deal for one specific game in order to bring our community out to a game together – with favorable pricing, and the opportunity to shoot free throws afterwards.

Every time people see pictures of it, they invariably ask me. How do you get down on the court like that? Can I go shoot a free throw too?

Well my friends, the answer to both of those questions is: GSOM Night. You can read about last years adventures here. Details for this year are still being finalized, but you can rest assured that there will be custom shirts, and free throws on the court, and GSOM people.

January 25th, 2018. Its a Thursday at 7:30.

We know that weekends are generally more convenient, but coming in to this year, Nate and I had two priorities: keep costs down, and ensure free throws. So we get a game a bit before the All Star break, against an up and coming Timberwolves team (by the way, if you havent yet, be sure to check out Hugo Kitanos excellent profile on the revamped Wolves).

There will be more details. Most importantly of course, pricing and ordering information; but we are also looking into another courtside pregame shoot-around for the first lucky people that buy tickets.

Ok, heres where it gets different from previous years. This time around, we thought it would be fun to solicit designs from GSOM. We still have Tony.psd waiting in the wings in case we need a quick design, but we thought there could be some artists around here that might want to try their hand at coming up with something cool and original.

The specifications for the image are:

We will be back soon with more updates and details, but please share this now among your friends – and the internet at large. We want as may brilliant ideas as we can get. The GSOM moderation team will work with Tony.psd to select the final image.

Also, please save the date for GSOM night. Our Warriors are leaving Oracle soon, so this literally is one of the very last chances you will ever have to go see our favorite team, and then walk down onto the court after the game and try to hit a free throw.

See you there!

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GSOM Night 2017-18: Announcement and shirt design request – Golden State of Mind

Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

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Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment both intellectual and financial by philosophers, scientists, and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be “cryopreserved” in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative “solutions” being mooted?

Of course, we don’t currently have the means of achieving human immortality, nor is it clear that we ever will. But two hypothetical options have so far attracted the most interest and attention: rejuvenation technology, and mind uploading.

Like a futuristic fountain of youth, rejuvenation promises to remove and reverse the damage of aging at the cellular level. Gerontologists such as Aubrey de Grey argue that growing old is a disease that we can circumvent by having our cells replaced or repaired at regular intervals. Practically speaking, this might mean that every few years, you would visit a rejuvenation clinic. Doctors would not only remove infected, cancerous, or otherwise unhealthy cells, but also induce healthy ones to regenerate more effectively and remove accumulated waste products. This deep makeover would “turn back the clock” on your body, leaving you physiologically younger than your actual age. You would, however, remain just as vulnerable to death from acute trauma that is, from injury and poisoning, whether accidental or not as you were before.

Rejuvenation seems like a fairly low-risk solution, since it essentially extends and improves your body’s inherent ability to take care of itself. But if you truly wanted eternal life in a biological body, it would have to be an extremely secure life indeed. You’d need to avoid any risk of physical harm to have your one shot at eternity, making you among the most anxious people in history.

The other option would be mind uploading, in which your brain is digitally scanned and copied onto a computer. This method presupposes that consciousness is akin to software running on some kind of organic hard-disk that what makes you you is the sum total of the information stored in the brain’s operations, and therefore it should be possible to migrate the self onto a different physical substrate or platform. This remains a highly controversial stance. However, let’s leave aside for now the question of where you really reside, and play with the idea that it might be possible to replicate the brain in digital form one day.

Unlike rejuvenation, mind uploading could actually offer something tantalizingly close to true immortality. Just as we currently back up files on external drives and cloud storage, your uploaded mind could be copied innumerable times and backed up in secure locations, making it extremely unlikely that any natural or man-made disaster could destroy all of your copies.

Despite this advantage, mind uploading presents some difficult ethical issues. Some philosophers, such as David Chalmers, think there is a possibility that your upload would appear functionally identical to your old self without having any conscious experience of the world. You’d be more of a zombie than a person, let alone you. Others, such as Daniel Dennett, have argued that this would not be a problem. Since you are reducible to the processes and content of your brain, a functionally identical copy of it no matter the substrate on which it runs could not possibly yield anything other than you.

What’s more, we cannot predict what the actual upload would feel like to the mind being transferred. Would you experience some sort of intermediate break after the transfer, or something else altogether? What if the whole process, including your very existence as a digital being, is so qualitatively different from biological existence as to make you utterly terrified or even catatonic? If so, what if you can’t communicate to outsiders or switch yourself off? In this case, your immortality would amount to more of a curse than a blessing. Death might not be so bad after all, but unfortunately it might no longer be an option.

Another problem arises with the prospect of copying your uploaded mind and running the copy simultaneously with the original. One popular position in philosophy is that the youness of you depends on remaining a singular person meaning that a “fission” of your identity would be equivalent to death. That is to say: If you were to branch into you1 and you2, then you’d cease to exist as you, leaving you dead to all intents and purposes. Some thinkers, such as the late Derek Parfit, have argued that while you might not survive fission, as long as each new version of you has an unbroken connection to the original, this is just as good as ordinary survival.

Which option is more ethically fraught? In our view, mere rejuvenation would probably be a less problematic choice. Yes, vanquishing death for the entire human species would greatly exacerbate our existing problems of overpopulation and inequality but the problems would at least be reasonably familiar. We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.

On the other hand, mind uploading would open up a plethora of completely new and unfamiliar ethical quandaries. Uploaded minds might constitute a radically new sphere of moral agency. For example, we often consider cognitive capacities to be relevant to an agent’s moral status (one reason that we attribute a higher moral status to humans than to mosquitoes). But it would be difficult to grasp the cognitive capacities of minds that can be enhanced by faster computers and communicate with each other at the speed of light, since this would make them incomparably smarter than the smartest biological human. As the economist Robin Hanson argued in The Age of Em (2016), we would therefore need to find fair ways of regulating the interactions between and within the old and new domains that is, between humans and brain uploads, and between the uploads themselves. What’s more, the astonishingly rapid development of digital systems means that we might have very little time to decide how to implement even minimal regulations.

What about the personal, practical consequences of your choice of immortality? Assuming you somehow make it to a future in which rejuvenation and brain uploading are available, your decision seems to depend on how much risk and what kinds of risks you’re willing to assume. Rejuvenation seems like the most business-as-usual option, although it threatens to make you even more protective of your fragile physical body. Uploading would make it much more difficult for your mind to be destroyed, at least in practical terms, but it’s not clear whether you would survive in any meaningful sense if you were copied several times over. This is entirely uncharted territory with risks far worse than what you’d face with rejuvenation. Nevertheless, the prospect of being freed from our mortal shackles is undeniably alluring and if it’s ever an option, one way or another, many people will probably conclude that it outweighs the dangers.

This article was originally published by Aeon, a digital magazine for ideas and culture. Follow them on Twitter at @aeonmag.

Originally posted here:

Technology could make us immortal. But there will be consequences. – The Week Magazine

Eclipse’s Heavy Cell Phone Loads Could Parch East Oregon Crops – Jefferson Public Radio

Cell phone towers in Oregons path of totality are expected to overload. Thats because of selfies-with-the-sun that thousands of visitors might try to upload.

But theres an unexpected consequence of cell coverage going down: farm irrigation circles could go dry.

A circle pivot is a wheeled arm that walks around 120-acres or more, spraying water across a field. Farmers can set the rate so it passes over the ground very slowly or more rapidly. The new ones work off cell towers, so farmers can adjust that water right from their mobile phones.

Ever since the eclipse has been creeping up closer, cell companies like Verizon have been working to increase their capacity in the path of totality for the expected crowds.

Verizon is one of the main companies that works out here and that farmers fields are connected with. But that cell expansion work has already thrown off many of the irrigation circles on Verizon service.

We have a great network of people we work with, Joe Hill, a wheat farmer in North Powder, Oregon. But I mean its darn frustrating.

Verizon said in a statement this is a once in a lifetime occurrence and they are expecting some challenges. But they have tried to upgrade their service wherever possible.

Hill is worried about the eclipse. He expects major trouble for at least four days.

Well, In some of them we will still be able to have some control and drive out and turn them on and turn them off. But some of them are wired so, the only way we can turn the water on and off and-or change the speed is all based on using that cell-phone controlled unit, Hill said. In those cases its going to be pretty, pretty challenging.

Down the road outside near the town of Haines, Jess Blatchford said hes ready for this gathering storm of eclipse-rs. Blatchford also expects all his circles to go offline this week. Hes got four-wheelers primed so he and his crew can run to each individual field on his 2,000 acre ranch and get the water back online manually.

Hes hoping his phone will still alarm when the circles shut off.

Blatchford mainly grows processing potatoes. Even a couple hot days off water can cause heat stress. With potatoes its hard to know what youve got until you dig them up, but he said even a few days without water could mean thousands of dollars lost on a single field.

Blatchford is mainly worried about fire. He said it hasnt rained much here in weeks. And there are a lot of dry fieldsright where eclipse-rs might try to pull off the road.

There is still a lot of stubble around, Blatchford said. You get people that dont understand they dont need to be driving out around fields and there is a pretty big fire hazard.

As for posting on Facebook, making calls or Googling, Blatchford isnt too worried.

That doesnt worry me, he said. If it quit for a day, that would just be a pretty quiet day.

Like Blatchford, many farmers in the area said they dont mind giving up their solitude and sharing their dramatic mountain views with visitors for a few days. But theyre just hoping theres enough bandwidth and blacktop to share.

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Eclipse’s Heavy Cell Phone Loads Could Parch East Oregon Crops – Jefferson Public Radio

How to speed up your Wi-Fi – Popular Science

No one likes slow Wi-Fiit’s right up there with creaking doors and leaking taps as one of the most frustrating household problems. To boost your upload and download speeds back up to where they should be, try making these tweaks to your router and other devices.

We’ve already covered some of the hardware upgrades you can invest in to remove dead spots and get better home Wi-Fi. So in this guide, we’ll focus on software fixes and changes you can make to your existing gear. If those tweaks don’t work, switching to a mesh network system or investing in a repeater can also improve your Wi-Fi speed.

Just like your laptop and cell phone, routers run their own software, in this case called firmware because it’s so tightly tied to the hardwarethe manufacturer preinstalls and configures it before shipping the device. Companies don’t often issue updates for their routers’ firmware, but many do make new versions of their software available for download. These updates fix bugs and may also include performance upgrades, as well as extra support for newer devices on the market.

The best way to find new firmware for your router is to head to the website of the manufacturer or the Internet Service Provider who gave you the router. If you can’t find a download link, run a web search using “firmware” followed by your router’s make and model.

The exact process for installing the firmware varies from router to router. Typically, you open the device settings on your computer and look for the option that lets you install an update from a downloaded file (often a zip archive) on your hard drive. The downloaded package often includes installation instructions, but if you’re still not sure how to do it, consult the router instruction manual or look up the instructions online.

Here’s another trick to try with a slow router: Change the wireless channel it uses. This means slightly adjusting the wireless frequency that your internet signals are broadcast on. Your router should have a setting that lets you modify the channel under a heading like Wireless or Advanced. If you can’t find it immediately, look up the instructions online or in the router manual.

Most routers use channel 6 by default. Change this to 1 or 11 (to minimize interference with channel 6), and you might notice an uptick in Wi-Fi performance. All of your connected devices will also have to adjust their channels, but the majority of your gear will do this automatically, with no need to adjust the Wi-Fi name or password. You might have to play around with some trial and error before you arrive at the best channel, but stick to 1, 6, or 11 for the best chance of getting the fastest speeds.

In a related trick, some more advanced routers offer two frequency bands: the standard 2.4GHz band and the faster 5GHz band. These bands follow the same principle as the channels mentioned above, but when you switch bands, you’re shifting the frequency much further. That means that Wi-Fi-enabled devices you connect to different bands won’t interfere with each other.

If your router supports dual bands (check your model’s documentation for details), you’ll usually see two different Wi-Fi networks you can connect to. Divide your devices across both networks, depending on the speed and range each piece of hardware needs from your Wi-Fi. For example, the 5GHz band typically offers faster speeds but shorter range, so devices closer to your router should use that one. It’ll stream your Spotify tunes more reliably to your games console, but it’s not as good at blasting through walls and doors as the older 2.4GHz standard. Use the latter for devices that you move around your home, such as phones, or that are located farther away from the router.

You need an 802.11a, 802.11n, 802.11ac or 802.11ad dual-band router to make use of the 5GHz band. Most routers sold in recent years do support these standards. On either band, if you’re getting sub-optimal Wi-Fi speeds and seeing buffering wheels more often than you’d like, you can still change the wireless channel used in the 5GHz range or the 2.4GHz one. Check out your router’s help pages for more information on your options.

Internet use can quickly eat up the available bandwidth, especially on slow connections or those shared among multiple people. So if you’re struggling to get a decent speed, try investigating what else is happening on your network. For example, running Netflix alongside Hulu while you take multiple video calls probably isn’t the best way to maximize your streaming speed.

You can visit a site like Speedtest.net to identify the speeds you’re currently getting. But taking steps to increase those speeds means you’ll have to patrol the specific use of your home Wi-Fi networkwhich is up to you and the people you live with. The easiest solution for maximum speeds is turning off devices not currently in use. This not only saves money on your energy bill, but also makes sure that those computers, televisions, and tablets can’t possibly be wasting the bandwidth that you need for another application.

At the same time, you want to make sure no unwelcome visitors or invasive neighbors are lurking on your home network. Your router should have come with Wi-Fi password protection already enabled. Changing this password on a regular basisnot to mention keeping it secretwill help keep your network to yourself and your invited guests. We’ve covered some other tips for this in a guide to keeping others off your Wi-Fi.

Another option is to specify which internet uses you value most. Some routers include a feature called Quality of Service, or QoS, that lets you prioritize certain applications (like Netflix) or types of content (like video) over others. You could use it to make sure your video calls stay stable even if that makes the Spotify stream spotty. Some routers also let you prioritize certain devices (say your computer) over others (say your roommate’s). If your router has a QoS feature, look on the manufacturer’s website or in the supplied manual for instructions on setting it up and telling the router what you’d like to prioritize.

Plenty of innocuous household objects will slow down your Wi-Fiincluding the water inside fish tanks. Now you know why your laptop never gets a signal when it’s behind the aquarium in your study aquarium. Even if you keep a fish-free home, try moving your furniture to put as few objects (including walls) as possible between your devices and your router.

In addition to bulky objects, anything that emits a wireless signal can interfere with the Wi-Fi your router broadcasts. That includes wireless baby monitors, wireless landline phones, microwaves, Bluetooth keyboards and mice, and even string lights. All of them generate electromagnetic interference that can reduce your upload and download speeds. In most cases, the disruption should be minimal, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re experiencing problems. Rearranging the aforementioned items can help, and if that solution is inconvenient, switch your router to its 5GHz channel: Most microwaves and other wireless gear use the 2.4GHz frequency, so the higher band should have less congestion.

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How to speed up your Wi-Fi – Popular Science

Transmit 5 Review – MacStories

If youve used a Mac for a while, youve likely come across Panics file transfer app Transmit. Not long ago, I would have probably still described it as an FTP app even though its handled things like Amazon S3 file transfers for a while. However, with the recent release of version 5, Transmit for macOS has become much more than an FTP client adding support for ten cloud services. Moreover, Panic has taken the opportunity to rewrite its file transfer engine so that its faster, tweak virtually every feature, and update and streamline the apps design. The result is an all-new Transmit that is both familiar and more capable than ever before.

Despite adding support for ten cloud services, Transmit remains just as easy to use as ever. Local files are on the left and servers are on the right. Drag a file from the left to the right to initiate an upload. It couldnt be simpler.

Its Transmits ease of use that has always appealed to me the most. My day-to-day needs for an app like Transmit have been fairly light, so I appreciate that its simple and fast to set up a server and transfer files. That said, the addition of support for services like Backblaze B2, Rackspace, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and One Drive has opened up some interesting new possibilities that I expect will greatly expand my use of the app.

For instance, images on MacStories are hosted on Rackspace. I typically use a custom web app to upload images that are compressed with Kraken.io and then uploaded to Rackspace, but Ive already found Transmit to be a much faster way to upload images. Transmit has the added benefit that I can upload several screenshots at a time and then quickly copy the URLs and drop them into an article. The next step is to automate the process so that dropping a screenshot in a folder sends it to Kraken for compression, uploads the new image to Rackspace, and places the URL on my Macs clipboard.

The possibilities with services like Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive are interesting too. Say you have multiple Dropbox accounts like one for work and the other for home use. With Transmit, you can be logged into both simultaneously and access both sets of files. Plus, if you have a Mac that doesnt have much storage, you can selectively sync Dropbox your Mac, but still, access all the files through Transmit.

The expansion of Transmits support for cloud services will have the greatest day-to-day impact for most users because of the flexibility and convenience it adds, but there is much more in version 5. Panic rewrote its file transfer engine from the ground up to make it faster. I havent tested the update side-by-side with the last version, and keep in mind that I dont typically transfer more than a handful of files at a time, but transfers do feel faster than before.

Transmit also includes Panics custom sync service. With Panic Sync, servers you set up on one Mac or in Transmit on an iOS device are copied to all of your other devices that are signed into the service saving you the trouble of setting up the same server multiple times. One side effect of Panic Sync is that I can see my new Rackspace and Dropbox setups in the iOS app, but neither is supported by the iOS version, which is too bad. Hopefully, support for all of the new cloud services is in the works for Transmits iOS app too.

With File Sync, you can also designate local folders to sync to servers and vice versa. Im using File Sync as an extra layer of backup protection for my most important MacStories project folders, which are now in at least five places, only two of which are in the same physical location.

The refinements to Transmit dont stop there though. Nearly every aspect of the app has been tweaked in some way or another. The hundreds of little changes make it hard to point to any one thing that makes a big difference, but together they give Transmit a fresh look and feel that is a pleasure to use. I particularly appreciate all the little design adjustments. There is less chrome and more information at your fingertips with things like the file information inspector panel, which makes the app easier to use than ever.

Users file transfer needs have expanded with the growth of cloud services. Its no longer enough to simply support FTP and SFTP transfers. By adapting Transmit to accommodate more cloud services and reevaluating and improving scores of existing features, Panic has laid a strong foundation for the app to remain a premier file transfer utility for many years to come.

Transmit is available directly from Panics website.

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Transmit 5 Review – MacStories

It turns out muscle cramps look just as painful as they feel – Starts at 60

While some people unfortunately get them more often and more severely than others, most of us at some point have suffered the indescribable pain of a muscle cramp.

But if youve ever wondered what a cramping muscle actually looks like under the skin, wonder no more, because Facebook user Angel Bermudez has been kind enough to upload a video of what looks like the most agonising cramp in his calf muscle.

The video, taken after a workout in the gym, shows Bermudezs leg propped up on the dashboard of his car, while the muscle in his calf twists and cramps as though it has a mind of its own.

If its possible to feel physical pain from just watching a video, this one will probably do it! Just a caution before you watch, theres a bit of language involved but we think he probably had every right to drop some swear words in this moment!

Muscle cramps are strong, painful contractions or tightenings of the muscles, often in the legs, and can happen often following exercise and while youre sleeping. They have various causes, but sometimes dehydration, potassium deficiency, and certain medications can play a part in causing them.

You can relieve them by stretching and massaging the muscle, using a heat pack or taking a warm bath or shower, or over-the-counter pain killers.

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It turns out muscle cramps look just as painful as they feel – Starts at 60

Chris Selley: NY wants to soak the rich to build transit. Even Ontario’s NDP won’t support that for Toronto – National Post

Public transit in New York City is an amazing mess right now. Hurricane Sandy did roughly US$5 billion in damage; five years later, much of it remains unfixed or patched over. In 2019 theyre shutting down the L train for 15 months to fix tunnel damage. Its going to screw an estimated 225,000 commuters, and not just by a little bit. This year alone, three trains have jumped the tracks at Penn Station. And everyone agrees there needs to be a new tunnel under the Hudson River before things can really be called adequate. The current estimated price tag is a fairly staggering US$13 billion.

Naturally there is constant bickering between City Hall and Albany on who should pay and how. To fund the citys contribution, Mayor Bill de Blasio is currently proposing an income tax hike, from 3.9 to 4.4 per cent, on the citys wealthiest residents. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been cool on approving millionaire taxes in the past and in any event has a Republican-controlled Senate to deal with returned de Blasios serve with some musings about congestion pricing.

This is all very similar to the dynamic between Toronto City Hall and Queens Park, with two fairly major differences: New York actually has a massive transit network to break down in the first place; and while de Blasio needs Albanys approval to hike the income tax, New York City does actually tax income. Indeed, it has all kinds of taxes that Toronto doesnt: on sales (4.5 per cent), on hotel rooms ($3.50 per day plus 14.75 per cent) on parking in Manhattan (8 per cent) and, of course, on driving into the city ($15 via the Holland Tunnel).

You might think thats too much or not enough, but to look at New York City, it surely seems reasonable that it has the tools. Its New York, for Gods sake the greatest city in the world, if you ask me. Why would Albany be pulling any strings in the first place?

Meanwhile, the City of Toronto Act explicitly prohibits a sales tax. Only in this years budget did the province propose allowing a hotel tax. The act allows road tolls subject to provincial approval, which Premier Kathleen Wynne recently provided to Mayor John Tory, and then withdrew when her 905 caucus pitched a fit. The city can implement a parking tax, but staff have claimed its quite complicated.

Not to say that Toronto lacks means to raise money for its giant wish list of capital projects property taxes, notably, are lower than in surrounding municipalities, and the money they bring in is as good as any other money. But there is no obvious reason it should have fewer powers than New York. And its remarkable how little disagreement this situation generates in the provincial legislature especially since it happens to be in Toronto.

There is no obvious reason Toronto should have fewer powers than New York

The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) held its annual conference in Ottawa this week, where it reiterated its call for a one-per-cent sales-tax hike to fund infrastructure and transit projects in the jurisdictions where its raised. A Nanos Research poll presented at the AMO conference suggests a small majority of Ontarians, 71 per cent in the GTA and 74 per cent in the City of Toronto, might support the idea. But all three parties shot it down, one after the other.

That makes perfect sense for the Tories, who absolutely believe they can never be seen supporting a new tax (and may never again get the chance to implement one). And it makes some sense for the Liberals, who have an existing infrastructure plan to which they can point. But New Democrat leader Andrea Horwath continues to promise to help cities, and Toronto specifically uploading services, restoring the TTCs operating subsidy, more money for child care without specifying where the money is going to come from. She even conceded this week it would cost the provincial treasury quite a lot.

She objects to the HST hike because people out there are struggling. (Struggling people tend to get rebates, but never mind.) She doesnt support road tolls because theyre supposedly inegalitarian. So what, then? A municipal income tax would be quite spectacularly unpopular, the Nanos poll suggests but I wonder if de Blasios millionaire tax might be rather less so. If thats not in the NDPs wheelhouse, I dont know what the NDP is anymore.

Im not saying its a good idea, mind you. But even just proposing to allow cities the option to use more revenue tools would spice up Ontarios policy stew considerably. And it might help turn the upcoming election between a premier hanging on for dear life and a leader of the opposition trying to make as little noise as possible into something more like a legitimate contest of ideas.

National Post

Email: cselley@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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Chris Selley: NY wants to soak the rich to build transit. Even Ontario’s NDP won’t support that for Toronto – National Post


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