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Technology and Human Creativity in Theological Perspective – Patheos

by Victoria Lorrimar

In engaging with transhumanist visions of the future, and the more general notion of human technological enhancement, from a theological perspective, a helpful starting point is the place of technology within a doctrine of creation.

Within a Christian understanding, an examination of the biblical language for creation (i.e. a word study of the Hebrew brand ytsar the first of which is reserved only for the action of God while the second is an activity that both God and humans carry out) suggests that it is appropriate to speak of humans as being genuinely creative from a theological perspective. Drawing on a metaphor of God as divine artist, we might situate human making within a theology of creation, rather than relegating it to the more distant doctrines of preservation, providence or redemption. Trevor Hart sums up this approach, arguing that viewing creation as a project divinely begun and established, yet one that is handed over to us with more to be made of it yet and inviting our responsible participation in the making, affords a fruitful perspective on the matter (Making Good, 2014: 8).

For a long time, the semantic scope of creation rejected the possibility of such parallels and served to underscore the radical otherness of God. We can chart the historical shift which saw the notion of creation extended from its previous preserve of God alone to human artistry. Creation proper may still apply solely to the work of God in certain instances, but the idea of creation more generally has expanded in scope.

In fact, we can track the understanding of human creativity as it diverges from its humble scriptural origins. The language of creativity is first ascribed to humans during the Renaissance, as the idea of art being a faithful imitation of divine creativity gave way to the idea of the artist or poet as a creator in their own right. This extends through the Romantic era and the Enlightenment period, with the result that the modern understanding of the arts is, on the one hand, more limited than its classical and mediaeval counterparts, in that earlier understandings of art encompassed human productivity more generally, but also more audacious in the claims it makes on behalf of human capacities and originality.

From the time of Francis Bacon, the father of modern science, we see this understanding of human capacities bound up in the promise of empirical science, the immense confidence in the expansion of human knowledge, the drive to master nature and the flourishing of utopian thought. This emphasis on dominion came to be enmeshed within theological understandings of creation, as creation found its way into the vocabulary used for human activities.

This does not mean, however, that it is inappropriate to speak of humans as genuinely creative. Hart, after an extensive historical analysis of the language of creation, reaches the conclusion that: at various key points in the story of Gods creative fashioning of a world fit for his own indwelling with us, divine artistry actively solicits a corresponding creaturely creativity, apart from which the project cannot and will not come to fruition (Making Good, 2014: 37).

We find similar ideas in the work of Jacques Maritain and Dorothy Sayers, who reinforce the theological significance of human making and its proper place within a doctrine of creation. Maritain describes the creativity of the artist as a development of divine creation, a work proceeding from the whole soul which bears the image of God. Though he distinguishes the creation of God (who is able to truly generate another substance through divine utterance) and human works of creating (which can only ever be signs), Maritain nevertheless grounds the dignity of art in his assertion that it realizes in act one of the fundamental aspects of the ontological likeness of our soul with God. Sayers, too, locates human creativity in our being made in the image of a triune Creator, introduced in her play The Zeal of Thy House(1937) and unpacked further in The Mind of the Maker (1941).

The challenges posed by transhumanist visions of the human future require us to develop a sufficiently robust account of theological anthropology in return. Of course, theological anthropology is a very broad category, and Ive focused on the understanding of human creativity within that. If we reflect on enhancement technologies, this prompts the question as to whether these kinds of technology are a legitimate exercise of our creativity, set within the framework of a broader doctrine of creation.

Most of the detailed theological treatments of human creativity we might turn to focus almost exclusively on the arts. If they do treat technology, they tend to have developed within the science and religion field and often are accompanied by an over-privileging of rationality and an epistemological confidence in human capability that neglects an account of fallenness and the need for discernment (here Im thinking mainly of Philip Hefners created co-creator proposal outlined most comprehensively in his 1993 work The Human Factor). In these latter discourses, even if they are moving beyond a foundationalist epistemology, the role of the imagination for understanding and discernment is often neglected.

Yet, transhumanism as a philosophy is veryimaginative. There are all kinds of synergies with science fiction that other scholars have drawn out, but (whatever we say about some of the ideologies involved) we have to admit that transhumanist visions of transcendence are captivating for many (even if not always taken seriously). If we are to engage these movements from a theological perspective then we need to meet them with equally compelling theological accounts of the future, and the good news is that Christian theology has a deep well of resources to draw on in this area.

James McClendon argued for the need to enter the tournament of narratives competing for attention within a postmodern milieu. Presented in ways that recruit the imagination (as James K. A. Smith describes the imperative for good stories in the moral arena), the visions of transcendence and glorification proclaimed so confidently in transhumanist literature are ripe for reclamation by Christian theologians, philosophers, writers and artists. We might respond with a fuller vision of the human future, a greater hope to set alongside the imaginings of transhumanists and techno-utopians. Of course, this is already a move to eschatology, but then we dont want to separate out creation and redemption as entirely independent doctrinal loci.

Whereas technology itself tends to occupy many of the classic roles of a deity in the present technological paradigm, theologians are able to expose the pretensions to self-love inherent in certain technological mindsets (as theologian Brian Brock puts it). A Christian account of hope declares that in conceiving, assessing and implementing technologies, we bear neither the burden of correctly envisioning or accomplishing redemption for ourselves nor the risk and dread of complete failure. Technology occupies its proper place within the work of a gracious God who allows creation to participate in bringing the creation toward glorious fulfilment.

By reflecting on our technological activity in the context of theological accounts of co-creation (recognising and challenging the ways in which understanding has diverged from a biblical account of creativity), and by setting imaginative portrayals of Christian hope alongside transhumanist projections, we might think of theology as entering the tournament of narratives competing for victory over the human (and non-human, an aspect often neglected by transhumanists!) future.

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Technology and Human Creativity in Theological Perspective - Patheos

Oxford academic claims future humans could live for thousands of years – Express.co.uk

The comment was made by Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at the universitys Future of Humanity Institute. His work focuses on the potential risks future technology could pose to human civilisation.

Mr Sandberg has also spent decades involved with the transhumanist movement, which consists of people who believe humans can and should use technology to artificially augment their capabilities.

Speaking to Express.co.uk he argued humans in the future could enjoy greatly expanded lifespans and could even have their brains uploaded onto computers for safekeeping.

Asked how long humans could live Mr Sandberg replied: There is no fundamental ceiling but you are going to need to solve certain problems.

Accidents is the first one cryonics wont help you if a bus runs over you and turns you into mush.

Even if ageing and disease is not a problem you need to handle accidents and probably that means having some form of backup copies. You need some form of uploading or artificial body.

Probably the human brain cant handle that much information so you need to extend it as you get older.

You want to remember what needs to be remembered and maybe put other stuff in cyber storage.

Transhumanists believe humans can halt the ageing process and natural death.

According to Mr Sandberg this is one of the most provocative aspects of their programme.

He explained: Transhumanists have essentially since day one been saying we should really extend the human lifespan and this is perhaps one of the most controversial claims ever made.

We get way more pushback when talking about life extension than cloning or uploading into computers or going to space or taking drugs to become a more moral person.

Thats nothing compared to the potential of oh you might live much longer than you expected.

READ MORE:Academic explains how humans could become part mechanic cyborgs'

That is kind of dreadful to many people so they get very upset and start defending disease, sickness and death very strongly.

Its weird because if one believed their arguments we should be shutting down hospitals left and right and having people naturally and painfully die which of course people dont normally do. Normally we are very keen on having good hospitals and ambulances.

Mr Sandberg is the co-founder of Swedish thinktank Eudoxa and previously chaired the Swedish Transhumanist Association.

Transhumanist ideas have been gaining ground over recent years, with transhumanist political parties emerging in countries across the world including the UK.

An American transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan, recently ran against Trump for the 2020 Republican Presidential nomination.

Mr Sandberg also suggested advances in AI and drugs that improve human abilities are likely to play a role in the future.

READ MORE:US Presidential hopeful plans to ABOLISH DEATH using technology

He asserted: Its very likely artificial intelligence is going to become extremely powerful relatively soon.

Not necessarily the kind of self-willed Hal like being but at least very smart services that can solve problems for us which might speed things up.

I also have been working quite a lot on the ethics of cognitive enhancement. What about making ourselves smarter?

The good news is there are various things like smart drugs that might be helpful for certain mental tasks.

The bad news is there doesnt seem to be anything that really boost intelligence itself. That seems to be very complicated and we dont understand the brain well enough.

Oxford Universitys Future of Humanity Institute was founded in 2005 to focus on the opportunities and threats that could emerge for the human species.

It is headed by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who grabbed wide attention with his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.

Asked what the world could look like in 40 years time Mr Sandberg replied: think a time traveller going 40 years into the future is first going to be super disappointed because it looks almost the same.

On the surface I think its going to be very similar theres going to be vehicles moving around, maybe without any drivers, there are going to be houses around and so on and then they start interacting with people and theyre going to realise this society works completely differently.

We most likely are going to have quite a lot of enhancements around that are regarded as everyday.

People are not going to think that the morning cognition enhancing pill is any weirder than the morning coffee they might even be the same thing.

The existence of a lot of machine learning and probably nanotechnology making a lot of material way more alive than they used to.

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Oxford academic claims future humans could live for thousands of years - Express.co.uk

Friending the World Sociality and the Transhuman Vision – Patheos

by Clark Elliston, Assistant Professer of Religion and Philosophy, Schreiner University

Friends are all-too-frequently taken for granted, both in everyday human experience and in theology. It seems that for many people friends simply emerge; a shared laugh or thought becomes many and through some unseen alchemy a friend is created. Theologically the situation is a little more delicate. The concept of friendship poses a problem for theology insofar as friendship, in both antiquity and early theology, remains largely a preferential love. We choose our friends based on any number qualities, but we nevertheless choose them. This is a good gift, but as Soren Kierkegaard makes all too plain, this can be problematic for followers of a Savior who commands a neighbor-love of all persons. A preferential love which by necessity excludes others (as no one can love the whole world equally) thus violates the universality of Christs command to love all. Yet even here there are perplexing tensions. After all, the New Testament repeatedly mentions the beloved disciple and Jesus suggests an appropriate category of friendship when he notes that the greatest love is laying ones life down for friends. Nonetheless such difficulties, as well as the embedded character of human friendship, have made it strikingly absent from much theological discourse.

Yet like so many areas of human life in a technological world, sociality too has been affected. Study after study indicates that the social life of Westerners is suffering. We are more lonely, depressed, and anxious than ever before. We also know that self-reported social encounters are perhaps the greatest source of meaning and happiness available to us. Yet this is not to say that we simply need more social encounters after all, we are in the midst of one of the greatest social revolutions in history courtesy of the Internet. Though we may seclude ourselves physically from the surrounding world, most people will have hundreds of online interactions a day. As we work harder, as traditional ties lessen, and as the allure of instant communication grows, we should not be surprised as social media opportunities increase. Yet this transition into an online context poses myriad problems. Not least is the devolution of friendship as a fundamental form of human relationship. Instead, social media technologies promise ever-greater connectivity to others while paradoxically eroding constituent elements of friendship classically considered.

Two immediate issues arise when considering the digitalization of friendship through social media. First, social media friendship lacks consideration of character and the time it takes to cultivate character. Second, social media friendship remains crucially limited in terms of its presence with the other as friend. These issues, to be sure, do not undermine the project of social media entirely meaningful encounters with others can happen on several platforms. However, social media disciplines and forms our online relationships in crucial ways. When this disciplined thinking and formation creeps into other realms of life it becomes toxic.

When Aristotle wrote one of the most influential treatises on friendship, books seven and eight of the Nicomachean Ethics, he delineated between three types of friendship. Two are immediately familiar to us: friendships based on pleasure and on utility. In these we are friends with those whom we enjoy or who provide clear benefit to our personal projects. These are inferior modes of friendship, however, relative to friendships based on virtue. The friendship of virtue, in contrast, centers upon the character of the friend. We befriend those whose character we admire and who admire us for our character. While this emphasis on virtue possesses problems of its own, it nevertheless offers insight into a crucial facet of authentic friendship, namely that friendship should involve something other than deferred self-love. Friendships of virtue rightly privilege an other for their performance of virtue, rather than our own gratified desires or pursuits.

Second, social media cannot mediate the distance between persons. If time poses an immediate issue for the cultivation of relationship, then we should not be surprised that place does as well. More specifically, friendship is centrally related to presence with and for the other. This is poignantly and pastorally put best by Nicholas Wolterstorff when he writes about the death of his son:

If you think your task as comforter is to tell me that really, all things considered, its not so bad, you do not sit with me in my grief, but place yourself off in the distance away from me. Over there, you are of no help. What I need to hear from you is that you recognize how painful it is. I need to hear from you that you are with me in my desperation. To comfort me, you have to come close. Come sit beside me on my mourning bench (Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, 34).

The images of proximity in this passage resonate. It is not the demonstration of either wit or wisdom which mitigates the distance between self and other, but the sheer presence of oneself alongside another in suffering. Whereas social media, as a quintessentially intellectual exercise, exists primarily in the mind, genuine friendship becomes incarnate in the concrete situations in which we find ourselves. The sympathy that undoubtedly exists in social media communities is thus closer to pity than compassion. Pity remains, while deeply sympathetic, apart from the one being pitied. I can pity someones circumstance from a distance. In contrast, and as indicated above, the practice of compassion requires that I be both present and willing to get my hands dirty. This is profoundly difficult and undermines the easy deployment of what we commonly call compassion.

Social media can be engaged wisely, and it indeed allows for convenient communication. Yet, its value lies primarily in its capacity to support already-existing friendships it is not generative of friendship. Friendship requires the patient cultivation of virtue alongside the courageous willingness to walk alongside another in their suffering. Such friendships school us for loving both God and world. Thus, Nobody would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other good things. (Nicomachean Ethics, VIII.i).

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Friending the World Sociality and the Transhuman Vision - Patheos

Electioneering on the Eve of the Virus Nathan Thornburgh and photographer Shane Carpenter were in New – Roads and Kingdoms

Nathan Thornburgh and photographer Shane Carpenter were in New Hampshire last month for their longterm reporting project on the states odd presidential primary. In hindsight, it looks more surreal than ever.

It is unnerving to look at the pictures at this moment, in this week. Photographer Shane Carpenter and I have been working on a longterm project about the New Hampshire presidential primary for four election cycles spanning 16 years, but the things Ive come to love about the campaign up therethe intimacy of retail politicking, the electricity of the big ralliesnow just trip alarms in my mind. All the handshakes. All the pressed flesh, the leaning in, the campaign buses filled with coughing staffers, the moist microphones, the communal pens at the polls. The collective spittle of a talkative, aging electorate grabbing the shoulders of talkative, aging candidates. The entire thing feels so antediluvian.

But still, this is how it was just a few weeks ago. Were at the end of New Hampshire series of The Trip Podcastthe final episode is with Zoltan Istvan, who is both a lesser-known candidate for president and an avowed transhumanist obsessed with using technology to defeat deathso it seems a good time to publish a few of Shanes photographs from our time there.

We spent some time, as we always do, getting to know the brave and occasionally delusional lesser-known candidates who pay to be on the official ballot in the hopes of stealing some votes for themselves or their cause. And there were mainstream moments, like the Mcintyre-Shaheen candidate cattle-call in the big downtown arena. That one was cathartic for Shane and me in particular; the last time we were at that arena was for Trumps final 2016 rally before the primary in New Hampshire. He used the word pussy while ad-libbing with the crowd; he booed and badgered the press as they stood in their pen. It was the kind of monster truck rally political event that has become all too familiar over the last four years. The next day, Trump won.

This year, the New Hampshire primary was held on February 11, twelve days after the first U.S. coronavirus patient had been diagnosed in Washington State. No candidate mentioned it once while we were there; no voter asked any questions about it. On Primary Day, Shane and I drove down from Dixville Notch, where we had witnessed the campy traditions of the midnight vote. The next day we left the state; I drove back to Boston and took the Acela to New York City.

Less than two weeks after that, the Biogen conference kicked off at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston. So far, 97 confirmed cases have been reported among conference attendees, spreading throughout the U.S. and even to China.

Now the virus is everywhere, and these pictures are unnerving to look at, but somewhere in here youll see the next president of the United States (and no, Im not talking about our lesser-known candidates like self-described jailhouse lawyer Mary Maxwell, Arkansan actual lawyer Mosie Boyd, or Zoltan Istvan). And though its hard to know what the half-life of social distancing will be after this pandemic ends, I do know that many of the building blocks of the new America we get after this one has molted are in these photos. The fervor, the turnout, the radical belief in participatory democracy. Well need them all.

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Electioneering on the Eve of the Virus Nathan Thornburgh and photographer Shane Carpenter were in New - Roads and Kingdoms

MultiBrief: Surviving coronavirus: Bravery, health, and strength – MultiBriefs Exclusive

Be Brave. Good Health. Stay Strong. These three (albeit optimistic) convictions grace childlike artwork pinned to an overturned wooden cable spool in an Albuquerque neighborhood near the University of New Mexico. As coronavirus spreads, a yard full of art reminds us to keep our convictions.

Big Techs version of cable no longer signals a 5G future filled with exuberant STEAM lesson plans guaranteeing a creative class career. Coronavirus has frozen the future in time, requiring repurposed cable spools as tables, with the cable itself used to rig some backyard makeshift permaculture system, at best.

Artwork expresses much more than our irrelevant textbooks and quickly outdated news reports. While stocking up on beans and rice is essential, bravery, health, and strength is more essential in the sink or swim chance environment of COVID-19 contagion. This is a viral contagion that, in addition to its disconcerting capacity to mutate, can also ostensibly live much longer than three days on surfaces. Cruise ships have incubated viral traces living up to 17 days: hows that for an epidemiological learning curve?

Its fortunate schools are closed: what can teachers tell students? Fearful and grumpy, from pre-K to college, they miss their friends desperately, hopefully shuttered in the home their parents secured for the family before the virus hit hard. Homeless students didnt fare that well in this high-stakes game of life they are learning about too young.

Far from Big Techs imposter educated-class vision of a transhumanist egalitarian future with optimized minds delivered by Artificial Intelligence/Big Data, even if your gifted children are quarantined for their own protection, viral contagion of pandemic proportions is not the future trans-humanists plan for.

Hiveminds be damned, the children are still going to sit in parks and hold hands!

At least big boxes like Walmart and Amazon are mass hiring for warehouse work. You might find work making ventilators and masks at one of the repurposed factories. Or you can help innovate the 3-D-printed kind.

Commissary-style prices are looking quite attractive to big-box retailers, as usually spoiled companies adjust profit margin expectations, since prisoner releases will make it harder to price gouge prison commissaries anyway. Healthcare workers, too, are paying dearly, some with their lives.

The global COVID-19 toll surges upwards toward half a million official cases; the line between death and life blurs depending on your chance lot. Whether grave illness, layoff stress, or rent relief describes your days better, life has changed, and uncertainty abounds, especially regarding the newly reconfigured social sphere.

The stock market is trying something new by surging upwards, just as news of a $2 trillion bailout has arrived at a pandemic near everyone. New York states cases double every three days, possibly leaving Wall Street rather empty with no one left to ring that opening bell.

COVID-19s dramatic and tragic spreading has fingers pointing in all directions: plenty of culprits to blame. Death kindly stops for too many, and Trump-era deregulation appears to be curtailed momentarily, but its effects are everywhere when you look closer.

For example, nuclear weapons make the list of essential businesses to remain open, while some nuclear industry employees are encouraged to work from home if possible.

COVID-19 takes no hostages. Many lessons are lost. Setting better priorities and being better prepared for next time or taking time to stop and smell the flowers are quaint lessons from already bygone days that seem more indulgent than the new realities suddenly thrust on everyone living and breathing.

The virus lives longer and spreads faster, winning the race against our now humbled science. Real-time, tech-savvy data on Twitter can update the most well-intentioned graphic renderings, but neighborhood artwork, guided by children, is our real-time information, emerging from imaginations with more time on their hands than ever, but with less certainty than we could have ever imagined.

Adult reality consoles little, with little to show but a nightmare in exchange for all our hard work.

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MultiBrief: Surviving coronavirus: Bravery, health, and strength - MultiBriefs Exclusive

Coronavirus and the Rise and Fall of Humanism – CounterPunch

Contemporary engraving of Marseille during the Great Plague in 1720 Public Domain

It is a truism that the Black Death helped produce the age of humanism. Through making death ever-present, the plague undermined a system of religious authority in which the church and the church alone claimed to have answers to the fundamental questions of human existence; the priests naturally still asserted that this was the case but were now as likely as not to drop dead once they did so. Amid the dissolution of the churchs legitimacy as well as, more specifically, its monopoly on truth and salvation, survivors began tending to all that was immediate and material, specifically in the form of the particular and the human.

It was out of this reorientation in which humans became the central focus of concern and inquiry a worldview in which the secular and the particular were seen as valuable in and of themselves that the Mona Lisa and Vitruvian Man, Rousseau and Marx, and Hitchcock and Dylan emerged.

Humanism has simultaneously been cogently condemned, as the civilizational project elevating above all else human interests has led to a particularly ferocious rapacity that views other animals and the environment as means merely to be exploited for human ends. It is but one of many ironies that Europes mining industries, and with them European concentrations of lead, dramatically expanded in the centuries following the Black Death. And, of course, in reality there exists not some monolithic humanity but instead a minute ruling class that justifies its atrocities through speaking for, while extracting the life and wealth from, the vast majority. From the annihilation of the Peasants Revolt to the mass slaughters committed by Leopold II and George W. Bush, the exaltation of humans always implied in practice not humanity per se but a self-appointed elite living through the subjugation of everyone else.

That said, it is interesting to note that the current pandemic is, aside from its exponentially growing number of victims, primarily being experienced through highly mediated online apparatuses including so-called social media. If 9/11, perhaps the most recent major crisis of a comparable order in the US, was largely experienced passively through watching television, coronavirus has of yet been experienced mainly through not only reading but also writing out ones fears and anxieties to an audience of readers on attention-economy sites such as Facebook.

Such virtual interaction laid the groundwork for and meshes with the physical distancing that governmental and other authorities are currently mandating. All you had to do was observe some friends hanging out in a bar to see that we have long been isolated from one another. This goes beyond the supposedly stodgy lament of one who agrees that attention is the highest gift we can give each other. If the discourtesy of not listening to a friend is supposedly beyond politics, the reason that we are ignoring each other is not. We are lost not in beautiful mountains or other wonders of existence when we endlessly ask our interlocutors to repeat themselves but in social media and dating sites in which algorithms determine the distribution of physiologically addictive rewards and thereby shape intrinsically individualistic and competitive behavior that not only isolates but also homogenizes us. Quarantining us in our apartments or houses, proscribing human interaction within six feet, and sanctioning societys revulsion toward human secretion, breath, odor, and matter, the state has committed its authority and coercive force to the digital revolution as well as the broader transhumanist projects of Musk and other powerful misanthropes whose fantasies of self-obliteration are peddled as mystical transcendence.

Locked into a hyper-capitalistic internet whose material purpose is the commodification of our subjectivity and an ensuing eradication of our interiority, the particular is, more systematically than ever, being erased from human reality. If the Black Death helped usher in humanism, coronavirus, for better or worse, may well hasten its end.

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Coronavirus and the Rise and Fall of Humanism - CounterPunch

The Fight against Socialism Isnt Over – National Review

Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses a news conference in Burlington, Vt., March 11, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)Bernie Sanders isnt a relic. Hes a preview of things to come.

Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief. Joe Bidens victories on Mini Tuesday make his delegate lead all but insurmountable. Bernie Sanderss electoral weakness, compared with his performance four years ago, has dulled the fear of an incipient socialist takeover of the worlds oldest political party. The left is said to have talked itself into believing its own propaganda and helped President Trump equate Democrats with socialism. Victory in the primary did not come from pledges to eliminate private health insurance or impose wealth taxes. It followed from the perception that Biden is the candidate best able to defeat Trump.

Dont write off the socialist revival just yet. Sanders might not win the Democratic nomination. But this outcome does not mean the forces that propelled him to second-place finishes in the two most recent Democratic primaries will vanish overnight. Abandoning the intellectual fight against socialism, both inside and outside the Democratic Party, would cede the field to an increasingly sophisticated and networked band of ideological activists whose influence in media and politics is greater than their numbers. Such ambivalence could have devastating consequences for American society.

The resurgent left has pushed Biden far beyond where he stood as vice president. And a socialist infrastructure guarantees the philosophys longevity. Aspiring Democratic politicians must at least deal with, if not pay obeisance to, groups such as the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America. Especially if they inhabit a deep-blue district ripe for picking by the Squad.

Fashionable, lively, radical, and controversial outlets, including Jacobin, Current Affairs, the Young Turks, Chapo Trap House, and Secular Talk, complement popular Instagram and Twitter accounts. And the New York Times magazines 1619 Project shows that the mainstream media is responsive to, and willing to participate in, the latest trends in anti-Americanism.

The most obvious reason not to dismiss the Sanders phenomenon is demographic. On Super Tuesday, Sanders won 30- to 44-year-olds by 18 points, and 18- to 29-year-olds by a staggering 43 points. He defeated Biden by nine points among Hispanic voters and by 25 points among Asian voters. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. Hispanics are second. Sanderss protege, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old woman of Puerto Rican descent, represents this ethno-generational cohort. Their place in American life will not be denied.

Right now, socialism is unpopular. Last month, only 45 percent of adults told Gallup they would vote for a socialist for president. Last year, a 51-percent majority said socialism would be a bad thing for the United States. But Gallup also found that the number who said socialism would be a good thing had risen to 43 percent in 2019 from 25 percent in 1942. A majority of Democrats have held positive views of socialism since 2010. A willingness to adopt the socialist ideal is most pronounced among the young. A YouGov poll conducted last year for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 70 percent of Millennials are either somewhat or extremely likely to vote for a socialist.

It is the decline in institutional religion that drives the resurgence of socialism. Gallup found that church membership among U.S. adults has dropped precipitously over the last two decades, to 50 percent in 2018 from 70 percent in 1998. Why? Because the percentage of adults who profess no religious affiliation has more than doubled. It has gone to 19 percent from 8 percent. The Millennials exhibit the lowest percentage of church membership among generations. Pew says the number of Americans who identify as Christians fell more than ten points over the last decade as the number of religiously unaffiliated spiked. Here too the largest falloff was among Millennials.

Religion not only offers answers to the most powerful, definitive, and ultimate questions of human existence and purpose. It anchors individuals in a particular authoritative tradition defined by doctrinal orthodoxy and refined through multigenerational practice. People released from these bonds are capable of believing anything. Thus, socialism has returned at the same time as climate apocalypticism, transhuman and transgender ideology, anti-vaccination movements, anti-Semitism, conspiracies, and ethnonationalism. In this climate of relativism and revisionism, where the most outlandish theories are a Google search away, both Marxism and utopian socialism seem credible. Nothing is too absurd.

Irving Kristol said that it is easy to point out how silly and counterproductive and even deadly socialism has been, in so many respects, but difficult to recognize its pull as an emotional attachment. The love of equality and progress makes for a special and durable political passion. Socialism, wrote Irving Howe in 1954, is the name of our desire. In the absence of an intellectually coherent and morally compelling account of the inequalities inherent to liberal democracy, so will the desire remain.

This piece originally appeared on the Washington Free Beacon.

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The Fight against Socialism Isnt Over - National Review

What is Transhumanism?

The human desire to acquire posthuman attributes is as ancient as the human species itself. Humans have always sought to expand the boundaries of their existence, be it ecologically, geographically, or mentally. There is a tendency in at least some individuals always to try to find a way around every limitation and obstacle.

Ceremonial burial and preserved fragments of religious writings show that prehistoric humans were deeply disturbed by the death of their loved ones and sought to reduce the cognitive dissonance by postulating an afterlife. Yet, despite the idea of an afterlife, people still endeavored to extend life. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (approx. 2000 B.C.), a king embarks on a quest to find an herb that can make him immortal. Its worth noting that it was assumed both that mortality was not inescapable in principle, and that there existed (at least mythological) means of overcoming it. That people really strove to live longer and richer lives can also be seen in the development of systems of magic and alchemy; lacking scientific means of producing an elixir of life, one resorted to magical means. This strategy was adopted, for example, by the various schools of esoteric Taoism in China, which sought physical immortality and control over or harmony with the forces of nature.

The Greeks were ambivalent about humans transgressing our natural confines. On the one hand, they were fascinated by the idea. We see it in the myth of Prometheus, who stole the fire from Zeus and gave it to the humans, thereby permanently improving the human condition. And in the myth of Daedalus, the gods are repeatedly challenged, quite successfully, by a clever engineer and artist, who uses non-magical means to extend human capabilities. On the other hand, there is also the concept of hubris: that some ambitions are off-limit and would backfire if pursued. In the end, Daedalus enterprise ends in disaster (not, however, because it was punished by the gods but owing entirely to natural causes).

Greek philosophers made the first, stumbling attempts to create systems of thought that were based not purely on faith but on logical reasoning. Socrates and the sophists extended the application of critical thinking from metaphysics and cosmology to include the study of ethics and questions about human society and human psychology. Out of this inquiry arose cultural humanism, a very important current throughout the history of Western science, political theory, ethics, and law.

In the Renaissance, human thinking was awoken from medieval otherworldliness and the scholastic modes of reasoning that had predominated for a millennium, and the human being and the natural world again became legitimate objects of study. Renaissance humanism encouraged people to rely on their own observations and their own judgment rather than to defer in every matter to religious authorities. Renaissance humanism also created the ideal of the well-rounded personality, one that is highly developed scientifically, morally, culturally, and spiritually. A milestone is Giovanni Pico della Mirandolas Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486), which states that man does not have a ready form but that it is mans task to form himself. And crucially, modern science began to take form then, through the works of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.

The Age of Enlightenment can be said to have started with the publication of Francis Bacons Novum Organum, the new tool (1620), in which he proposes a scientific methodology based on empirical investigation rather than a priori reasoning. Bacon advocates the project of effecting all things possible, by which he meant the achievement of mastery over nature in order to improve the condition of human beings. The heritage from the Renaissance combines with the influences of Isaac Newton, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Marquis de Condorcet, and others to form the basis for rational humanism, which emphasizes science and critical reasoning rather than revelation and religious authority as ways of learning about the natural world and the destiny and nature of man and of providing a grounding for morality. Transhumanism traces its roots to this rational humanism.

In the 18th and 19th centuries we begin to see glimpses of the idea that even humans themselves can be developed through the appliance of science. Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire speculated about extending human life span through medical science. Especially after Darwins theory of evolution, atheism or agnosticism came to be seen as increasingly attractive alternatives. However, the optimism of the late 19th century often degenerated into narrow-minded positivism and the belief that progress was automatic. When this view collided with reality, some people reacted by turning to irrationalism, concluding that since reason was not sufficient, it was worthless. This resulted in the anti-technological, anti-intellectual sentiments whose sequelae we can still witness today in some postmodernist writers, in the New Age movement, and among the neo-Luddite wing of the anti-globalization agitators.

A significant stimulus in the formation of transhumanism was the essay Daedalus: Science and the Future (1923) by the British biochemist J. B. S. Haldane, in which he discusses how scientific and technological findings may come to affect society and improve the human condition. This essay set off a chain reaction of future-oriented discussions, including The World, the Flesh and the Devil by J. D. Bernal (1929), which speculates about space colonization and bionic implants as well as mental improvements through advanced social science and psychology; the works of Olaf Stapledon; and the essay Icarus: the Future of Science (1924) by Bertrand Russell, who took a more pessimistic view, arguing that without more kindliness in the world, technological power will mainly serve to increase mens ability to inflict harm on one another. Science fiction authors such as H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon also got many people thinking about the future evolution of the human race. One frequently cited work is Aldous Huxleys Brave New World (1932), a dystopia where psychological conditioning, promiscuous sexuality, biotechnology, and opiate drugs are used to keep the population placid and contented in a static, totalitarian society ruled by an elite consisting of ten world controllers. Huxleys novel warns of the dehumanizing potential of technology being used to arrest growth and to diminish the scope of human nature rather than enhance it.

The Second World War changed the direction of some of those currents that result in todays transhumanism. The eugenics movement, which had previously found advocates not only among racists on the extreme right but also among socialists and progressivist social democrats, was thoroughly discredited. The goal of creating a new and better world through a centrally imposed vision became taboo and pass; and the horrors of the Stalinist Soviet Union again underscored the dangers of such an approach. Mindful of these historical lessons, transhumanists are often deeply suspicious of collectively orchestrated change, arguing instead for the right of individuals to redesign themselves and their own descendants.

In the postwar era, optimistic futurists tended to direct their attention more toward technological progress, such as space travel, medicine, and computers. Science began to catch up with speculation. Transhumanist ideas during this period were discussed and analyzed chiefly in the literary genre of science fiction. Authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Stanislaw Lem, and later Bruce Sterling, Greg Egan, and Vernor Vinge have explored various aspects of transhumanism in their writings and contributed to its proliferation.

Robert Ettinger played an important role in giving transhumanism its modern form. The publication of his book The Prospect of Immortality in 1964 led to the creation of the cryonics movement. Ettinger argued that since medical technology seems to be constantly progressing, and since chemical activity comes to a complete halt at low temperatures, it should be possible to freeze a person today and preserve the body until such a time when technology is advanced enough to repair the freezing damage and reverse the original cause of deanimation. In a later work, Man into Superman (1972), he discussed a number of conceivable improvements to the human being, continuing the tradition started by Haldane and Bernal.

Another influential early transhumanist was F. M. Esfandiary, who later changed his name to FM-2030. One of the first professors of future studies, FM taught at the New School for Social Research in New York in the 1960s and formed a school of optimistic futurists known as the UpWingers. In his book Are you a transhuman? (1989), he described what he saw as the signs of the emergence of the transhuman person, in his terminology indicating an evolutionary link towards posthumanity. (A terminological aside: an early use of the word transhuman was in the 1972-book of Ettinger, who doesnt now remember where he first encountered the term. The word transhumanism may have been coined by Julian Huxley in New Bottles for New Wine (1957); the sense in which he used it, however, was not quite the contemporary one.) Further, its use is evidenced in T.S. Elliots writing around the same time. And it is known that Dante Alighieri referred to the notion of the transhuman in historical writings.

In the 1970s and 1980s, several organizations sprung up for life extension, cryonics, space colonization, science fiction, media arts, and futurism. They were often isolated from one another, and while they shared similar views and values, they did not yet amount to any unified coherent worldview. One prominent voice from a standpoint with strong transhumanist elements during this era came from Marvin Minsky, an eminent artificial intelligence researcher.

In 1986, Eric Drexler published Engines of Creation, the first book-length exposition of molecular manufacturing. (The possibility of nanotechnology had been anticipated by Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman in a now-famous after-dinner address in 1959 entitled There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom.) In this groundbreaking work, Drexler not only argued for the feasibility of assembler-based nanotechnology but also explored its consequences and began charting the strategic challenges posed by its development. Drexlers later writings supplied more technical analyses that confirmed his initial conclusions. To prepare the world for nanotechnology and work towards it safe implementation, he founded the Foresight Institute together with his then wife Christine Peterson in 1986.

Ed Regiss Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition (1990) took a humorous look at transhumanisms hubristic scientists and philosophers. Another couple of influential books were roboticist Hans Moravecs seminal Mind Children (1988) about the future development of machine intelligence, and more recently Ray Kurzweils bestselling Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), which presented ideas similar to Moravecs. Frank Tiplers Physics of Immortality (1994), inspired by the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a paleontologist and Jesuit theologian who saw an evolutionary telos in the development of an encompassing noosphere, a global consciousness) argued that advanced civilizations might come to have a shaping influence on the future evolution of the cosmos, although some were put off by Tiplers attempt to blend science with religion. Many science advocates, such as Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and Douglas Hofstadter, have also helped pave the way for public understanding of transhumanist ideas.

In 1988, the first issue of the Extropy Magazine was published by Max More and Tom Morrow, and in 1992 they founded the Extropy Institute (the term extropy being coined as an informal opposite of entropy). The magazine and the institute served as catalysts, bringing together disparate groups of people with futuristic ideas. More wrote the first definition of transhumanism in its modern sense, and created his own distinctive brand of transhumanism, which emphasized individualism, dynamic optimism, and the market mechanism in addition to technology. The transhumanist arts genre became more self-aware through the works of the artist Natasha Vita-More. During this time, an intense exploration of ideas also took place on various Internet mailing lists. Influential early contributors included Anders Sandberg (then a neuroscience doctoral student) and Robin Hanson (an economist and polymath) among many others.

The World Transhumanist Association was founded in 1998 by Nick Bostrom and David Pearce to act as a coordinating international nonprofit organization for all transhumanist-related groups and interests, across the political spectrum. The WTA focused on supporting transhumanism as a serious academic discipline and on promoting public awareness of transhumanist thinking. The WTA began publishing the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the first scholarly peer-reviewed journal for transhumanist studies in 1999 (which is also the year when the first version of this FAQ was published). In 2001, the WTA adopted its current constitution and is now governed by an executive board that is democratically elected by its full membership. James Hughes especially (a former WTA Secretary) among others helped lift the WTA to its current more mature stage, and a strong team of volunteers has been building up the organization to what it is today.

Humanity+ developed after to rebrand transhumanism informing Humanity+ as a cooperative organization, seeking to pull together the leaders of transhumanism: from the early 1990s: Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Anders Sandberg; the late 1990s: Nick Bostrom, David Pearce, James Hughes; the 2000s: James Clement, Ben Goertzel, Giulio Prisco and many others. In short, it is based on the early work of Extropy Institute and WTA.

In the past couple of years, the transhumanist movement has been growing fast and furiously. Local groups are mushrooming in all parts of the world. Awareness of transhumanist ideas is spreading. Transhumanism is undergoing the transition from being the preoccupation of a fringe group of intellectual pioneers to becoming a mainstream approach to understanding the prospects for technological transformation of the human condition. That technological advances will help us overcome many of our current human limitations is no longer an insight confined to a few handfuls of techno-savvy visionaries. Yet understanding the consequences of these anticipated possibilities and the ethical choices we will face is a momentous challenge that humanity will be grappling with over the coming decades. The transhumanist tradition has produced a (still evolving) body of thinking to illuminate these complex issues that is unparalleled in its scope and depth of foresight.

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What is Transhumanism?

Harry Hains, actor in American Horror Story and The OA, dies at 27 – SYFY WIRE

ActorHarry Hains, whose roles included appearances on American Horror Story: Hotel'sfifth-season episode "Devil's Night" andThe OA's second-season episode "Angel of Death," has died at age 27.

Hains' mother, actressJane Badler (V: The Series, Mission: Impossible), announced the news on her Instagram.

"On Jan 7 my beautiful son died. He was 27 and had the world at his feet. But sadly he struggled with mental illness and addiction," Badler wrote. "A brilliant spark shone bright too short a time .. I will miss you Harry every day of my life."

Back in October, Badler had posted a throwback photo of her children, as she reflected on motherhood:

The young actor and model also appeared in such genre fare asA Haunting at Silver Falls: The Returnand was scheduled to appear in an upcoming horror film titledKlowns, among many other projects, according to his IMDb page.

Hains was also a musician, performing under the name ANTIBOY. Hains described ANTIBOY as "a trans human/android from afuture in which all social constructs - including gender, sexuality, and race - have been destroyed." Attitude Magazine named Hains one of its rising stars:

A memorial service for Hains will be held on Jan. 12 at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles.

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Harry Hains, actor in American Horror Story and The OA, dies at 27 - SYFY WIRE

WISeKey to Hold its 13th Annual Cybersecurity IoT Blockchain Roundtable in Davos on January 22, 2020 – GlobeNewswire

WISeKey to Hold its 13th Annual Cybersecurity IoT Bloackchain Roundtable in Davos on January 22, 2020

Geneva December 23, 2019- WISeKey International Holding Ltd ("WISeKey", SIX: WIHN, NASDAQ: WKEY), a leading global cybersecurity and IoT company, today announces that it will hold its 13th Annual Cybersecurity Roundtable in Davos on January 22, 2020 (starting at 6:00pm CET), at the Piano Bar of Hotel Europe (Promenade 63, 7270, Davos Platz, Switzerland).

This closed-door event will take place during the upcoming World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. For more information and registration details visit https://www.wisekey.com/davos/.

Agenda for the 2020 Cybersecurity Roundtable includes the following events:

Cybersecurity Tech AccordAs a core signatory of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, this networking reception hosted by WISeKey and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord will include a panel conversation focused on the role cybersecurity plays in ensuring the trust in our digital economy, and how the technology industry can work together to further improve the security of our online ecosystem. It will particularly look at the role of technology can play in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus promoting peace, justice, and strong institutions.

The Cybersecurity Tech Accord is a public commitment among now more than 130 global technology companies to protect and empower civilians online and to improve the security, stability and resilience of cyberspace. Since forming the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, signatories have supported initiatives on email and routing security, implemented Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) in their own operations, participated in global requests for comments on the UNs new High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, and endorsed the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace as an early supporter. Additionally, the group has coordinated with like-minded organizations such as the Global Cyber Alliance, the Internet Society, and the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE).

2020 Blockchain Outstanding AwardsChina Blockchain Application Center will present the "2020 Blockchain Outstanding Awards" to companies and individuals who have made great impacts globally to the development of Blockchain industry in the past year.

TransHuman Code for a Sustainable Era RoundtableFollowing the Tech Accord panel discussion, WISeKey will hold its 3rd Annual "TransHuman Code Meeting of Minds Roundtable." This year the roundtable will have special focus on Human Sustainability using Deeptech technologies. The TransHumanCode Platform coupled with AI agents, data mining, machine learning, and natural language search, will comprise the latest Deeptech revolutionary technologies. They comprised of AR/VR, IoT wearables like smart glasses, autonomous sensors, and decentralized computing with blockchain. This decentralized computing will provide greater security and data authentication, speeding everything up. Adding advanced integrations, the TransHumanCode platform secured by WISeKey will seamlessly work with physical environment. It will overlay everything including conversations, roads, conference room, and classrooms with AI-powered interaction and intuitive information.

In the TransHumanCode era, every physical element of every building in the actual world will be fully digitized. There will be virtual avatars for each human being and one can roam in virtual work or meeting places. This means that every piece of information around the world will become human centric.

The final version of the "transHuman Code" book bestseller will be distributed and an insightful interactive conversation will start on the precarious balancing act between technology and humanity in the application of AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, IoT, and robotics to education, employment, communication, transportation, communities, security, government, food, finance, entertainment and health.

We truly look forward to welcoming you. Historically, this event has been quickly oversubscribed. To avoid disappointment, please CLICK HERE to book your place now.

About WISeKey

WISeKey (NASDAQ: WKEY; SIX Swiss Exchange: WIHN) is a leading global cybersecurity company currently deploying large scale digital identity ecosystems for people and objects using Blockchain, AI and IoT respecting the Human as the Fulcrum of the Internet. WISeKey Microprocessors Secures the pervasive computing shaping todays Internet of Everything. WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.5 billion microchips in virtually all IoT sectors (connected cars, smart cities, drones, agricultural sensors, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, computers, mobile phones, crypto tokens etc.). WISeKey is uniquely positioned to be at the edge of IoT as our semiconductors produce a huge amount of Big Data that, when analyzed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), can help industrial applications to predict the failure of their equipment before it happens.

Our technology is Trusted by the OISTE/WISeKeys Swiss based cryptographic Root of Trust (RoT) provides secure authentication and identification, in both physical and virtual environments, for the Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. The WISeKey RoT serves as a common trust anchor to ensure the integrity of online transactions among objects and between objects and people. For more information, visit http://www.wisekey.com.

Press and investor contacts:

Disclaimer:This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning WISeKey International Holding Ltd and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of WISeKey International Holding Ltd to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. WISeKey International Holding Ltd is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, and it does not constitute an offering prospectus within the meaning of article 652a or article 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations or a listing prospectus within the meaning of the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange. Investors must rely on their own evaluation of WISeKey and its securities, including the merits and risks involved. Nothing contained herein is, or shall be relied on as, a promise or representation as to the future performance of WISeKey.

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WISeKey to Hold its 13th Annual Cybersecurity IoT Blockchain Roundtable in Davos on January 22, 2020 - GlobeNewswire

Misinformation, hacking, and imploding startups: 18 books to read in 2020 that puncture Silicon Valley utopianism – Business Insider

sourceAmazon

For your everyday tweeting, Uber Eating, back-to-back meeting tech bro, the idea that rapid technological change could have its downsides is an inconvenient truth.

Thats why weve rounded up 18 books puncturing Silicon Valley utopianism. From the rise of Big Data to the fall of Theranos, these authors delve into the tech fairy tales weve been sold and uncover the underlying truth.

Arm yourself with the tools to take on Big Tech from this bestselling list of tech experts.

Mike Isaac, the award-winning New York Times technology reporter, digs deep into the history of Uber, the worlds best known -and most controversial -ride-hailing firm.

Praised for laying out the companys many woes without making a caricature of the companys eccentric ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, Isaac offers the essential guide to understanding how Uber became what it is today.

As the company continues to face down controversy around the world, this book puts the pedal to the metal in a way nothing else has before.

Find it here

Richard Seymours dark polemic on the digital age might be the most sobering on this list.

Hardly a day goes by without the President of the United States firing vitriol at his enemies via social media, as Seymour observes in what he assures his readers is a horror story come to life.

Seymour dedicates his book to the Luddites those that smashed machinery apart during the industrial revolution with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

Reading it might just make you want to do the same.

Find it here

In Emily Changs shocking foray into the exploits of some of the worlds most unsavoury tech bros, drug-fuelled sex parties are the norm in the suburbs of Silicon Valley.

Rejected as salacious nonsense by Elon Musk who is himself alleged to have attended one such party Changs work exposes the Valleys notoriously male-dominated and sexist culture.

In the final chapter, Chang reveals: Writing this book has been like going on a trek through a minefield, with fresh mines being laid as I walked.

Dont miss it.

Find it here

Read the inside story of the startup that continues to make headlines around the world.

After founding Theranos, a healthtech company which claimed to have revolutionary blood-testing capabilities, Elizabeth Holmes set a series of calamitous events in motion.

John Carreyrou received universal acclaim for his forensic analysis, seeking sources from top to bottom within Theranos, the sham company that drew massive investments from the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Carlos Slim.

While it remains to be seen what will become of Holmes, Carreyrous hard-hitting investigation is now set for a Hollywood adaptation, directed by The Big Shorts Adam McKay and starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Find it here

Invisible Women exposes what author Criado Perez dubs the one-size-fits-men bias in design and technology, highlighting the endless number of mismatches in everyday life, from fitness monitors to items of clothing to car safety.

The winner of the Financial Times Best Business Book of 2019, Invisible Women is a compelling insight into the dangers of treating male bodies as the default in policymaking.

Find it here

Financial Times journalist Rana Foroohars deep-dive critique of the internets pioneers takes a forensic look at the biggest companies dominating our lives, including: Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Uber.

In examining each case study, Foroohar unpicks how the tech giants slowly but surely started to betray their founding principles, from Googles old mantra Dont be evil to Mark Zuckerbergs vision of creating communities around the world.

Like with so many on our list, Dont Be Evil might leave you feeling a little more nervous about the world we live in, but a lot more informed.

Find it here

Jamie Susskind confronts some of the most important questions of our time, effortlessly mapping his knowledge of political theory onto the latest developments from Silicon Valley, revealing a host of ethical quandaries and impracticalities.

Susskind doesnt hone in on any particular companies, instead abstracting their capabilities and what they might mean for all of us in our everyday lives or, as he calls it, the digital lifeworld.

For all its grand implications, Future Politics is an accessible read, peppered with self-deprecating humour and pop cultural references throughout, and will make you only more curious about the road ahead.

Find it here

Shoshana Zuboff, a professor of social psychology at Harvard Business School, has been using the term surveillance capitalism to describe the economic model of Big Tech since at least 2014, around five years before publishing this weighty tome.

She offers the reader a shocking insight into the business model that underpins the digital world, detailing in razor-sharp detail how the likes of Facebook and Google are using our data to advance their interests.

Zuboff effortlessly infuses what we already know with her trademark academic analysis, allowing us to grasp the big picture. The landmark book is a follow-up of sorts to her previous work, 1988s The Age of the Smart Machine, which was likewise considered definitive in its field.

Find it here

Automating Inequality is an unsettling insight into the world of robotic decision-making, exploring how algorithms are already being used to make decisions about who should be paid, who should be surveilled and in some cases who should be born.

Eubanks, a professor of womens studies at the University of Albany, paints a compelling picture of inequality at large, intensified by the distancing of human beings from human affairs.

The unfiltered impact of new technology on issues like race, class and gender exemplifies how machines have yet to learn how to make decisions the way humans do.

Find it here

Jamie Bartletts manifesto for technological resistance, longlisted for the Orwell Prize, offers a comprehensive overview of the threats posed by the Internet to our very way of life.

Most recently heard hunting down the Missing Cryptoqueen for the BBC, Bartlett offers a sobering guide to the ways in which both individuals and institutions can stop Big Tech from taking over our culture, elections, economy and more.

Bartlett works at think-tank Demos, and previously presented a two-part BBC documentary series called The Secrets of Silicon Valley.

Find it here

While technically more a series of sociological experiments than tech expos, Bloodworths book dramatically reveals the everyday reality of those working in the UKs tech-driven gig economy.

Whether stacking shelves in an Amazon warehouse or seeking passengers as an Uber driver, Bloodworth steps into the lives of those doing Big Techs heavy lifting without seeing much of the reward.

Selected as The Times current affairs book of 2018 and longlisted for the Orwell Prize, Hired is an in-depth study of the conditions imposed on those benefiting least from the technological revolution.

Find it here

Christopher Wiley, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, lifts the lid on his time at the now-infamous political consultancy.

Revelations abound about the companys working culture, including the behaviour of former CEO Alexander Nix, while Wiley reveals bit by bit the kind of power he wielded while rifling through individuals personal data.

While the true impact of Cambridge Analyticas work in the US, UK and elsewhere around the world continues to be argued, Wileys insight gives you the best chance yet of making that assessment for yourself.

Find it here

Algorithms are everywhere, organising the unfathomably large quantities of data produced by each of us every day.

In We Are Data, John Cheney-Lippold spells out what the implications might be for our algorithmic identities in the digital age, and how they underpin everything from architecture to accountancy.

A professor of digital studies at the University of Michigan, Cheney-Lippold implores his readers to try to fully grasp the problems that lie ahead, so that we might have the best chance of reaching a solution.

Find it here

Stuart Russell already has one of the best-known books on artificial intelligence to his name, having authored Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach in 1995 with co-writer Peter Norvig.

Now, Russell returns to the question and doesnt hold anything back.

The University of California professor outlines the darker consequences of pushing the frontiers in artificial intelligence or, as he calls it, the most important question facing humanity.

Find it here

Writing with the pace of a thriller novel, Andy Greenberg tells the story of Russias infamous hacking group of the title.

Sandworm is the must-read guide to state-sponsored hacking, described by the LA Times as a comprehensive look at the technical, military and political stories of this new hidden war.

Find it here

With his 2018 book, journalist Corey Pein set out to learn how such an overhyped industry as tech could sustain itself as long as it has.

He slowly works the crowds at conferences, pitches his wacky ideas to investors and interviews a cast of ridiculous characters: cyborgs, tech bros, hackers and obedient employees all feature.

LWWWD is an incisive portrait of a self-obsessed industry hellbent on succeeding by whatever means necessary.

Find it here

Martin Moore has some big questions for Big Tech, breaking his book into three overarching themes: hackers, systems failure, and alternative futures.

From the rise of alt-right media outlets like Breitbart, through to the rise of what he dubs surveillance democracies, Moore maps a path from old Soviet disinformation campaigns through to those alleged to have played a part in the 2016 US Election.

A seriously engaging work that should be read by anyone curious about the impact of new technology on national security.

Find it here

One of the most unsettling and illuminating books about the internet ever written, so says the New York Times, New Dark Age reveals the dark clouds gathering over our dreams of a digital utopia.

Looking at the ways machines have already began besting their human competitors, such as the AI that defeated chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, Bridle suggests a new path forward: centaur chess, a kind of team-up between humans partnered with computers.

The implications for a post- or transhuman world are to say the least mind-blowing.

Find it here

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Misinformation, hacking, and imploding startups: 18 books to read in 2020 that puncture Silicon Valley utopianism - Business Insider

Best books of 2019 – Patheos

As with previous years lists, these are the best books I read this year. Not the best books published this year, or even the best books Icould have read this year, had I been reading different books.

Fiction

Darkness on Diamondiaby A.E. van Vogt (reviewed here) This is an odd little book that rewards perserverence. Specifically, the thoughts on identity and unity are interesting and ahead of their time.

Radio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben (reviewed here) What happens when a local radio personality leads Vermont out of the union via a grass roots revolution? Awesomeness. Thats what.

Grass by Sheri Tepper (reviewed here) Grass is whatfeminism looks like when set on a planet that looks like Eastern Colorado and acts like a den of telepathic insane badgers. Dont act like you dont want to read it.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley (reviewed here) IfTwilighthas put you off vampires, kindly letSunshine put you back on.

Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (reviewed here) There was good YA literature beforeHarry Potter. There just wasnt much of it. Patricia McKillips book is in that very small subset of good pre-Harry Potter young adult fiction.

Theology

Transhumanism and the Image of God by Jacob Shatzer (reviewed here) Whats the difference between a tatoo, a prosthetic limb, and having wings with lasers added via plastic surgery? Thats not the set-up for a joke (I mean, its notjust the set-up for a joke), its the very serious question given our struggles these days to even know what somehting as basic as gender is. Which means this book is an important one for Christians to pick up and read.

None Greater: the Undomesticated Attributes of God by Matthew Barrett. I cant stress enough how excellent this book is as a reflection on the nature of God. This should be on every thoughtful Christians to-read list.

Spiritual Desertion by Voetius and Hoornbeeck (reviewed here) Is a wonderful book for anyone who struggles with assurance or who is in a position to counsel those who struggle with assurance.

Politics

Star-Spangled Scandal by Chris DeRose (author interview here) Remember the time that a US Congressmen shot a US Attorney in front of the White House? No? Then you should read this book.

Indispensible Remedy by Gene Healy. Obviously not every presidency involves an impeachment. But impeachment is always in the Constitution, so its worthwhile to know its history and how it might be applied according to the Founders, the US House of Represntatives, and the various others who have thought long and hard about the issue.

Them by Ben Sasse. Why are Americans so lonely and angry? Why do we have deeper relationships with people online than we do with people who live through the wall of our apartment? Is there any hope for a struggling nation? Senator Sasse has a few thoughts on these quesitons

Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen (reviewed here) As Christians, we believe (rightly) that we have the answers to the political problems of the world. But what those problems are is sometimes debated, and Patrick Deneens book gives one of the best analyses of them that Ive read.

Books Not Yet Finished

The years not over yet, so there are a couple of books that might have made the list had I finished them before the day this posted. I figured theyre worth at least an honorable mention.

Common Grace Volume 1by Abraham Kuyper (ongoing review here).

Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom by Gregory Beale.

Happy reading for 2020!

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of theCity of Man Podcastand an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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Best books of 2019 - Patheos

The 50 best TV shows of 2019: No 4 Years and Years – The Guardian

In the first episode of Years and Years, a family shindig is interrupted by the whine of air-raid sirens and the news that Donald Trump has fired a nuclear missile at the Chinese a moment of hysteria-inducing horror that doubles as the shows starter pistol. Thats right: impending Armageddon is merely an aperitif when it comes to the devastation the Lyons family faces in Russell T Daviess breathtakingly ambitious dystopian drama. By the time the series ends in 2034, the UK has experienced 80 consecutive days of rainfall, while dirty bombs have made thousands homeless, a fascistic politician in the light-entertainer mould has risen to power and the government has set up a series of secretive concentration camps. Between them, the Lyons have lost their wealth, their health, their freedom and, in some cases, their lives.

The plot of Years and Years felt like the news ticker tape of nightmares brought to life, but it was so much more than a parade of atrocities. Daviess great trick was to meld the wild catastrophising of shows such as Black Mirror with the daily trials of a Mancunian every-family you could really get behind. The result resembled a mashup of soap and sci-fi: Corrie transposed on to a backdrop of staggering political and environmental ruin.

Years and Years dramatised the tipping point at which the news becomes our lives

Opening on the actual date of broadcast, 14 May 2019, Years and Years followed the personal and increasingly political struggles of the Lyons clan: 92-year-old Muriel, her grandchildren Rosie, Stephen, Daniel and Edith, plus their partners and kids. But the Lyons werent just a family they were society under a single surname. They were gay, straight, lesbian, trans, white, black, Asian, disabled and elderly. They were lone parents trying to make ends meet, moneyed middle-class professionals, refugees, never-ending gap year nomads and wealthy retirees rattling around cavernous suburban piles. It wasnt a realistic setup Davies, who has called himself a great believer in quotas, says he was driven by a desire to be representative but it allowed its creator to flesh out a cross-section of society, and create a 3D diagram of varying degrees of privilege.

At its heart, Years and Years was not a show simply about how bad the news could get. It dramatised the tipping point at which the news becomes our lives, and worked at predicting the pain that is largely still to invade our cushy western existences. Characters fell with a shocking abruptness (Daniels descent from a plush flat to the bottom of the freezing sea) or via a piecemeal disintegration (Stephens banking-glitch-prompted slide into the gig economy) that felt frighteningly convincing.

This was realism fit for a world that no longer feels particularly real. That it felt so frighteningly convincing can be credited to its stellar cast, which included Rory Kinnear, Jessica Hynes and Emma Thompson. But it was also down to the fact that many of its atrocious events the ascent of populist leaders, the flooding, the economic crashes, the extinctions have already taken place. Davies, best known for his showrunner stint on the Doctor Who revival, first conceived of Years and Years two decades ago, and began writing after Trumps election victory in 2016. Nobody could blame him for managing to stay only a few steps ahead of the worlds increasingly distorted curve.

The shows embrace of technology is one way that Davies managed to imagine a chilling future. In the first episode, Stephens teenage daughter, Bethany, announces she is transhuman. Initially played for laughs, the idea steadily gains credence until it is revealed to underpin the entire show in a spine-tingling finale that grapples with ideas about what it means to be a human being. In fact, that uncommon optimism about technology runs through the structure of the series. The constant communication made possible by smartphones has long been the scourge of screenwriters its hard to maintain peril when salvation is only a WhatsApp message away but Davies makes it a dramatic asset, using multi-person voice-and-video calls to drive the plot.

There are superficial reasons to admire Years and Years, and there are more profound ones. The show humanises the bad news cycle one that sees the shocking morph into the status quo on a daily basis. Davies attempts to counteract the apathy that can grow out of relentless dismay. He does this not through shock value, but by creating rounded characters that draw empathy, outrage and horror from our increasingly hardened hearts. By no means an easy task, but an indisputably noble one.

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The 50 best TV shows of 2019: No 4 Years and Years - The Guardian

The Big Read Poppy: Human After All, the NME interview – NME.com

Think you know Poppy, the robo-pop sensation and maker of mesmerising YouTube videos, all in the guise of a sentient Artifical Intelligence? So did NME Deputy Editor Dan Stubbs when he went to meet the LA-based star at a London fetish dungeon, only to find Poppy is more human than we might have thought. Breaking character for the first time, Poppy reveals more than ever before about her work, her life and why she wants to bring down the internet. PHOTOS: JENN FIVE

Have you ever been browsing the help page of a website when a text box pops up inviting you to a live chat with a customer service operative? You click and enter your query, only for it to quickly become apparent that youre talking to a chatbot. Its a bit like a normal conversation, except the voice on the other end picks from a selection of vacuous, tangential phrases and keeps asking you if youre happy, as if youre speaking to a Love Island contestant whos coming up on ecstasy.

That experience is pretty much what Id geared myself up for when it came to interviewing Poppy for her first NME Big Read. For those not already familiar, Poppy is many things: a pop star, an actor, a director, a composer of ambient music, a religious leader (at her own Church Of Poppy), a DJ, a comic-book character, a smash hit YouTuber, a provocateur, a performance artist and a master of multiple media. One thing she is not, she has previously insisted, is human.

Until now.

We meet at a torture dungeon in Walthamstow, North-East London. And no, I dont remember stumbling upon one of those in the Yellow Pages either. Its best thought of as a gymnasium designed by Pinhead from Hellraiser, dark and leathery and full of metal hooks, and all the apparatus is disconcertingly greasy to the touch. Hanging around there for a few hours while Poppys NME photoshoot takes place, you find yourself idly leaning on some piece of kit or other only to realise its a sex gurney with stirrups and bondage rings.

Poppy, it must be said, is perfectly at home here: shes arrived accompanied by her collaborator and creative partner, Titanic Sinclair (real name Corey Mixter), a selection of PVC outfits and a massively oversized, sculptural leather overcoat that her friend Marilyn Manson might wear. Thats right, her friend Marilyn Manson, whose 50th birthday she attended this year. What do you get the goth rock icon who has everything? My presence, she replies.

That friendship and NMEs, er, sexhorror photoshoot make sense if youve been following Poppys career lately. Last year on Halloween the American singer put out Am I A Girl?, an album of candy-flavoured robo-pop that, sonically, put her in league with the PC Musics of the world. Stylistically it presented her as the real-life Ashley O months before Black Mirror and Miley Cyrus got there.

Poppy claims to have not seen that particular episode of the dystopian Netflix drama, despite the fact that the story about a transhuman pop star who covers Nine Inch Nails tracks seems directly influenced by her own career. Ive heard about it a lot, she says. Curiosity hasnt got the better of you? I dont really like shows that lots of people like, she says. If someone suggests a certain thing then Ill intentionally not watch it. Its just me being stubborn.

Am I A Girl? and the preceding Poppy.Computer, from 2017 were seemingly targeted at people who fetishise Japanese kawaii culture and futurism equally. Her forthcoming album, I Disagree, due on January 10 next year, promises to be a different beast: specifically, one with devil horns. It finds Poppy embracing the tinnitus-inducing thrash of heavy metal alongside those cute, catchy choruses.

Its a stylistic shift that follows testing times, including a lawsuit, a high profile beef, and a second bad record deal more of which later. This, then, is heavy metal as catharsis. I try to channel all of my anger steam into my artand maintain some form of composure, even when I feel I want to end everything, she says, troublingly. End herself or end the world? The world.

So you were feeling quite angry about some things? Yeah, but I would say it feels natural too. When we were making Am I A Girl? we were driving to the studio and listening to a lot of heavier music. I would go in and write a rainbows and butterflies song and I was like, OK, theres a disconnect here

Poppys reinvention is the kind of gear-change that might cost an artist a portion of their audience, but fans on YouTube seem to be getting the right idea. I run Poppy through some of their comments on her recent track Concrete, which is probably the best example of Poppys new direction, as its both sweet and heavy with deeply, deeply disturbing lyrics fetishising the idea of being buried alive in concrete. Poppy says she would kill time with a lot of thumb twiddling if that happened in real life.

So here goes with the comments:

This song makes me comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Im confused.

Poppy: Ive become comfortable with being uncomfortable. If things are comfortable, I get anxiety.

Another: This is what having bipolar disorder feels like.

Poppy: That makes sense.

Shes clearly a victim of MK Ultra mind control, guys.

Poppy: Clearly. I like conspiracy theories. Ive seen one or two videos online about (CIA experiment) MKUltra. I know a thing or two.

And another: Its like if Slipknot, Babymetal, Queen and The Beach Boys made a song together. I dont hate it.

Poppy: I like that one.

Theres an example of Poppys self-confessed stubbornness when she and I are walking from the photoshoot to a nearby pub. Poppy drags a shiny black suitcase with one hand and holds a polystyrene head in the other. On the head is a blonde wig, which Titanic Sinclair has just named Moppy. Poppy rejects the offer of help in carrying either, which causes problems when a fan spots her Poppeeeeeeeee! comes the shout and she very quickly picks up the pace, suitcase bouncing behind her.

When we make it into the pub, she heads for a table in the furthest, quietest corner. On the way there, making chit-chat about her interests (she loves fail videos and crime documentaries, she says, and rarely sleeps), I had broached the subject: when, exactly, is she going to start pretending to be a robot? Well, she says. Well see.

Previous interviewers particularly the infamous US shock-jock Howard Stern have made a sport of trying to get Poppy to break character, or even simply to laugh. Even out of the public eye, Poppy carries herself with an air of almost supernatural composure. She sits bolt upright, doesnt slouch, and speaks carefully and with great consideration in a soft, southern American accent. Shes fiercely intelligent and quietly assured. She drinks black coffee and frequently cracks her knuckles, which snap so loudly you wonder if theres a metal skeleton in there after all.

An exaggeration of this emotionally guarded person is the one that Poppys fans have become obsessed with. In some of her YouTube videos, she asks endless questions of the viewer about their relationship with social media, and whether they validate themselves through followers. In others, she experiences crises about the nature of her own existence. In some, black goo oozes from her mouth. Theyre videos that challenge the viewer in a number of ways: not much happens, it happens very slowly, and though theyre absolutely PG rated you probably wouldnt want to be caught watching them at work. Theyre much like the trend for ASMR videos, in which people whisper and click and generally make the viewer feel a bit strange in a way they cant quite put their finger on.

Theres a supporting cast, too: Poppy has an occasional enemy, Charlotte, whos a mannequin, and a friend, whos a plant. I remind her of the latter as she tucks into vegetable crudites in the pub. People keep pet pigs and still eat pork, comes the response.

That stupid question about the ethics of eating salad when your sole companion is a houseplant and about a zillion others like it are essentially rendered moot when it becomes apparent that Poppy is breaking character today. I find myself feeling the weight of trying to work out the things fans would most like to know and the things Ive always wondered about this singular artist.

Poppy likens her stylistic shift naive pop AI to rock hellion to David Bowie killing off Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Apollo, reasoning its an artists prerogative to change. Is this interview set to be Poppys big reveal: a kind of Pinocchio moment where she declares herself a real life girl? I feel the same [as before], she says. I just feel more certain.

Information about the person behind Poppy isnt exactly a state secret. Wikipedia has her as Moriah Rose Pereira, born January 1, 1995. When I ask her about her age, its one of the few times shes guarded. I dont know, you know. I dont know. Its not what my Wikipedia says.

So what else is wrong on your Wikipedia page?

I think the dates are weird. Most of the rest, its OK.

Youre not tempted to change it?

No. Theres an element to Wikipedia that I think you know how they ask you for donations on the homepage? Im just like, Just let it go. We dont need it. I dont think the general public should be able to change information like that. I had a Google Home for a short time and of course, I had to ask it, Hey Google, whos Poppy? And it would rattle off all this information just from Wikipedia and it was all wrong, and I thought it was really funny.

So, OK, you switch the Google Home on how far down your list of questions is that one? Be honest.

It was after a little while, she says. Theres a video that Titanic and I shot where Im smashing my Google Home afterwards. I thought it would smash a lot easier than it did.

Do you trust that kind of technology?

No.

But the Poppy we know loves AI and the idea of computer learning, right?

Im trying to move backwards. Im trying to get rid of my technology. In turn its going to make it harder to get a hold of me and my friends mad at me but its OK.

Are they going to have to fax you?

Im thinking carrier pigeon.

When previous interviewers have asked where Poppy lives, the reply would be the internet. Actually, she confirms, she grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and lives, not-quite-alone, in Los Angeles, California. I have a Sphynx cat. Hes the demon man of my home. His name is Pi and he I think he was sent to ruin my life, she says.

Its easy to imagine Poppy being an outsider in Nashville, typically the home of country music and cowboys rather than robots, and a place she describes as having that small town feeling. Its equally easy to see her being on the fringes in Hollywood. She describes her life there as feeling like Im in the middle of a lot of things, but with my journal out, just watching. So youre an anthropologist? I guess so, she says. I think everybody would say that about me. When Im in a room, Im looking everywhere. I think I would be a spy if I wasnt a singer.

Though a keen dancer, Poppy spent much of her childhood alone in her bedroom. I would intentionally isolate myself from a lot of things, she says. She did half of her education in public school, where she was bullied, and completed her studies early in homeschool. I didnt have a positive experience [at public school], says Poppy. I barely said any words, so that kind of opened me up, in a way, to be the target of everyones teasing.

For what things?

Being skinny and quiet.

Homeschool conjures images of a parent playing the teacher role. Actually, says Poppy, she did her studies alone in her bedroom, where the internet was my teacher. When you consider that image a slight, quiet girl, sat alone in a room with only the internet for company, diligently racing through the curriculum its not too difficult to join the dots to Poppys character on YouTube. Yeah, it does actually make sense when you think about it, she says, as if this might, improbably, be a fresh thought. I like that. If I could just have that be my legacy famous for being alone in a white room Id be happy with that.

The move to LA came when Pereira signed her first record contract, a major label deal under the name ThatPoppy. Having already left the family home, she relocated without telling a soul. I kept everyone in the dark because I didnt want anyone to get in the way, she says.

Poppy met Titanic Sinclair, an artist, musician and director, through a mutual friend within a few months of moving to LA, and instantly hit it off. At the photoshoot, Sinclair had described his first encounter with Poppy as being like meeting David Bowie, so shook was he by her creative force.

Meanwhile, Poppys frustration with her music career was growing. I went through the circus at that label, the changing of the representatives or whatever, and I was coming to find out I was actually just in a really bad deal, she says.

When Poppy and Sinclair began making YouTube videos together, it caused further friction with the label. I was being discouraged from making the videos, and in turn, Titanic and I were like, Were not gonna listen, so we made twice or triple the amount, she says. And that was when [the label] started to react. They were like, Hey, we dont think we should make these videos. Why are you making these videos? I was like, Why are you working at a record label?!

Whether or not they had approval, Poppy and Sinclair had hit on something with their channel. Theres an element of Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey about the videos, in their glacial pacing, ambient soundscapes, medical lighting and stark visuals. Though they share DNA with your average YouTuber content, they subvert the conventions: there are no jump cuts, theres no begging for likes and follows. Where your average YouTuber goes to pains to welcome the viewer into their world, Poppys videos make you feel like youre peering into a world you shouldnt be seeing. Yet by incrementing the play count by one, or liking, or commenting the viewer becomes part of the piece.

Poppys character fascinated by the world, a model of pure innocence partly came from her interest in the Myers-Briggs test, a personality test that encourages respondents to answer as they would when they were a child, which she has completed multiple times. I would say that [the Poppy character] is directly linked to how I was when I was untouched by the world, the most innocent way of thinking, she says.

I put it to Poppy that if any of her clips were exhibited in a gallery, it would be considered differently. But because its on YouTube, its considered

YouTube content?

Yes.

Which is a little bit frustrating because YouTube is just the medium that we chose to put it on, you know? We could have been on Vimeo, or PornHub, or whatever it may be, but YouTube was the one. And this goes into a bigger conversation about how social media is ruining everything.

Sorry, what? Poppy, the character, is fascinated by social media, isnt she? Obsessed with it even.

I think that at the beginning, social media was a good thing, but as of recent times, the angry internet mobs and misinformation and X, Y and Z, I think its now its a pendulum, so it started out good, now its bad and I think it will fall somewhere in the middle, hopefully. Otherwise well just need to create a new internet, which I hope I can do one day.

What would the PoppyNet look like?

Thered be a nominal fee. Thered be a screening process. You know, What are your intentions here? And no memes.

No memes?!

They just clog the servers.

Poppys own pendulum has swung from good to evil lately. Allowing that to happen meant listening to her gut more. I wanted to put forward this very composed and refined body of work and I so strongly believed in that that I wasnt really willing to listen to this other part of me, you know? Like the devil and the angel on [my] shoulders, she says. Im working more on impulse than before.

The shift is understandable because, in the past year, life has thrown Poppy its fair share of digital lemons. Having struggled on a major, Poppys subsequent label home proved an awkward fit, too. It wasnt really a functioning label, which I can say now, she says. It was more of a tax write-off. There wasnt a lot of consistency going on there. The partnership has now been dissolved, and Poppy is currently signed to prog metal label Sumerian Records.

Meanwhile, the dynamic between Poppy and Sinclair has been under scrutiny. Some taking the pairs artistic creations a little too seriously have been questioning whether theres an issue of coercion there. Actually, says Poppy, the opposing characters: her as the naif, him as the sinister svengali, are just part of the storyline. The narrative that we created in order to tell the story of the first album was very much Titanic is the bad guy and hes the leader, which I think is funny because its not true, says Poppy. It is very much 50:50, the effort.

In April 2018, a former creative and romantic partner of Titanic Sinclair, who goes by the name Mars Argo (real name Brittany Sheets), claimed that Poppys character was ripped off from her, and that Sinclair had been emotionally and physically abusive to her following their relationship. In May, Poppy issued a statement describing Argos actions as a desperate grab for fame, and in September the case was settled out of court, with no money exchanging hands and none of the parties acknowledging liability of wrongdoing.

Later that year Poppy had a run-in with the highly respected Canadian artist Grimes over their Am I A Girl? collaboration Play Destroy. Poppy said shed been bullied into submission by [Grimes] and her team of self-proclaimed feminists. Grimes responded publicly, posting a message saying, Poppy you dragged me into a disgusting situation and wont stop punishing me for not wanting to be part of it, I dont want to work with you, you leaked the song anyway.

Oddly, Grimess subsequent single, We Appreciate Power, sung from the perspective of an ambitious AI, seemed to be a land grab for Poppys own turf. Poppy is reluctant to dredge any of it up again today.

Its kind of dead news, she says. And my new album is good, so

It does seem like you probably admire Grimes in some ways. Is it quite sad when that sort of thing happens publicly, her posting about your professional behaviour on the internet?

I think Im just used to the way the internet works and the lifespan of the news cycle.

What was your learning from Mars Argos lawsuit last year?

I just learned more about Hollywood.

Did it make you like Hollywood more or less?

It solidified my view of Hollywood.

Will you elaborate on that?

Everything is not as it seems. That can be your headline.

If Poppys recent experiences led to the end of her wide-eyed AI innocence, you hope it might lead to her being recognised for the furiously creative force she is. Playing devils advocate, I put it to Poppy that it would be easy to look at some of her previous work and think, This is willfully vacuous. A track on Am I A Girl?, the Diplo collaboration Time Is Up, is absolutely on point with the 2019 zeitgeist of climate change activism and, coming from another artist, it may have been hailed as a culturally important moment. Coming from Poppy, it went unnoticed as the musings of a robo-girl.

Poppy agrees that the concept may have clouded the message. With pop music and my experience with it, it was interesting to like with the first album, to me its pop, but lyrically the subject matter of the songs is not digestible to anyone whos not understanding of why this album exists, you know, she says. I think with the new album, you could come out of nowhere and listen to it for the first time and get what you want from it.

I ask if her character, demeanour and gender led to her not being taken seriously in dealings with labels and collaborators, the business side of music. Not to go into gendering it and having it be about being male or female, but typically in a situation like that [people] would look at Titanic for the ideas and the commands, she says. But I find it funny, because thats not actually the case. Its very collaborative. People would be surprised.

Three weeks later, on October 31, Poppy returns to the UK to play a special show for NME. Shes on tour in the US, and has come over on an off-day especially for us. Yesterday she was, improbably, performing in the ring at a World Wrestling Entertainment event in Florida; tomorrow she plays a headline show in Texas. Tonight, shes at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston playing a headline DJ set at NMEs Ghouls To The Front the Halloween edition of our Girls To The Front series, which celebrates female and non-binary artists.

Her associate arrives first to scope out the venue. He quickly deems the grungy dressing room not Poppys vibe, which, considering we last had her in an S&M dungeon, speaks volumes about The Shacklewell Arms, and says shell arrive just before stage time instead of hanging around. And sure enough, at 9pm Poppy turns up in a black-and-white PVC catsuit, face painted like the nightmarish clown Pierrot, pitch black lips emphasising a fixed smile.

Making no bones about the lack of live DJing going on, Poppy spends much of the set reading a graphic novel handed to her by a fan, making a sport of very slowly, very purposefully turning the pages as banging techno and quotes from horror films blast out of the speakers. Poppy doesnt dance or speak, preferring to let a sample of her saying Im Poppy do the latter for her.

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The Big Read Poppy: Human After All, the NME interview - NME.com

Jonathan Kay: What to make of racism, sexism and homophobia from the same people lecturing us about bigotry – National Post

An extraordinary column appeared on the website of Canadian Lawyer on Tuesday. Titled, B.C. Brazilian waxing case a step backward for trans human rights cases, says lawyer, the article presented an interview with self-described transgender human rights activist Adrienne Smith, who laments that the recent legal setback to scrotal-waxing enthusiast Jessica Yaniv (JY) is going to put a chill on trans rights human rights litigation in British Columbia. Thats a rather eyebrow-raising claim given that an exhaustive judgment written up by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal showed Yaniv to be a vexatious racist and grifter whod deliberately targeted Vancouver-area immigrant women who didnt have the means to fight back. Incredibly, Smith complains that, in the words of the interviewer, a good lawyer would have prevented Yaniv from expressing the racist animus behind the human-rights grifting campaign. Which is to say: This human rights activist regards JYs racism as unfortunate but mainly because it got in the way of a trans-positive judgment.

It may seem odd to see a progressive go on record to yatta-yatta-yatta racism in this way. (JY has referred to Canadians with South Asian heritage as turban fs who should not be allowed in Canada.) But it is not so shocking as it once was: One of the unsettling aspects of progressive cultism is that its acolytes see their cause as so morally urgent that it justifies tactics that would horrify them if they were employed by the other side.

This is most evident in the debate over trans rights, which now features regular scenes of angry woke men mansplaining gender to feminists. Online, trans-rights extremism has unleashed open season on feminists and lesbians, with some of the charming tag lines being Let me know if ur a TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminist) so I can beat the st out of you, Burn them all, and Sk my girl-ck. At the anti-Meghan Murphy protest in Vancouver on Saturday, a woman carried a mock guillotine emblazoned with the words Step Right Up TERFs! When youre so woke that you forget how to spell MeToo, and killing women becomes a punch line.

Some of Canadas most impassioned and dogmatic anti-racists, when riled up, sometimes betray their own racism. At that same anti-Murphy protest, local activist Amanda Jabbour repeatedly accused an Asian woman attending the event with a non-Asian man of being a mail-order bride, even continuing her bizarre taunting after her bigotry was called out. Later on, when video of the event surfaced, her equally progressive employer, PACE Society, put out a statement larded up with social-justice jargon, without offering any apology to the Asian woman whod been targeted. (PACE Society creepily promised everyone a third party accountability pod, whatever that is.)

Some of Canadas most impassioned and dogmatic anti-racists, when riled up, sometimes betray their own racism

Meanwhile, this week on Canadian social-justice Twitter, perpetually aggrieved activist Ryan McMahon put out a call to his followers for ideas on what are we doing about the Canadian media and pundit types that (excuse) the alt-right and who disguise the truth (as McMahon sees it) that such alt-right forces are akin to Nazis. Among the various obscene and violent suggestions offered in the comments that follow: that such conservative pundits be put in concentration camps that should then be burned down. Because everyone knows thats the best way to fight Nazis. Meanwhile, over at Briarpatch a Canadian magazine that inhabits a sort of exalted, interstellar level of social-justice wokeness an essayist writes of an Indigenous-prophesized mass-extinction apocalypse that will annihilate whites while Indigenous people apparently remain safe on their reserves. Like a reluctant Oskar Schindler, the author asks Do we owe non-Indigenous people saving? Apparently not. Oh, well.

Needless to say, racism, homophobia and sexism are flourishing on the right side of the political spectrum sometimes with deadly results. But when this bigotry is observed, it is (rightly) exposed and criticized. The same isnt true on the other side. Being so certain that they walk with angels, most progressives never bother looking down to see whats stuck to their shoe.

Anti-Semitism within hard-left anti-Zionist circles has been a problem for decades. But that is now metastasizing into a more general phenomenon, with the result that the social-justice movement increasingly seems like an exercise in hypocrisy and psychological projection. As with the town that had to be destroyed to be saved, bigotry is now being weaponized in the name of fighting bigotry.

Jonathan Kay is Canadian Editor of Quillette.

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Jonathan Kay: What to make of racism, sexism and homophobia from the same people lecturing us about bigotry - National Post

Are LED lights and other techno-implants slowly turning us into the Borg? – SYFY WIRE

You can sleep tonight, because we probably wont be assimilated into a colony of cyborgs who are more machine than human and call each other by number instead of their names. No one isturning into the Borg (like Captain Picardabove). The thing is that some transhumanists are willingly getting cyber-implants to fast-forward themselves into a future where man fuses with machine.

Transhumanists believe that we can upgrade ourselves through LED lights, computer chips and other implants that can give different human capacities an assist. Were already seeing this in the plans for Elon Musks Neuralink. Now an interview with BBC Scotlands The Nine has given us some insight into the people who voluntarily got LED lights under their skin for some cosmic sparkle or have chip implants in their hands that can open a car doorand already make keys seem archaic.

After engineer Winter Mraz nearly lost her life in a car accident that sent her to the operating room with a fractured back, ankle and knees, she had no idea how cybernetic enhancements would change her life forever. Her back needed to be bolted together, and one of her kneecap was so busted that she needed a 3D-printed replacement.

It if was not for my cybernetic kneecap I would not be able to walk, Mraz told the news channel. She also didnt know what she would be getting herself into.

It was the nearly fatal accident that convinced Mraz to get personal modifications unrelated to her injuries, like the microchips in her hands that can operate things as if by magic. She has a NFC (near-field communication) chip in her right hand that lets her phone, tablet and other gadgets share data. The RFID (radio-frequency-identification) chip in her left hand locks and unlocks her house door kind of like a workplace security card lets you open the door to the office. It also keeps her hand free for the cane she needs to get around.

Microchips are usually injected into the back of the hand like a syringe. When you really think about it, if you have a device like an Apple watch or Fitbit, microchip implants might freak you out right now, but they are (at least according to many transhumanists) the evolution of that technology.

If you want to see a really futuristic view of transhumanism, as in something that takes place in a fictional altverse where the cybernetically enhanced are at odds with the non-enhanced, read Steve Aokis Neon Future comic series. It will blow your mind.

(via BBC Scotland)

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Are LED lights and other techno-implants slowly turning us into the Borg? - SYFY WIRE

The finale issue of House of X/Powers of X: We dig into every detail – Polygon

Marvels House of X/Powers of X event is complicated, full of references to the X-Men past and hints at the X-Men future. Jonathan Hickman, R. B Silva, and Pepe Larraz are delivering a beautifully rendered and textually dense reinvention of one of the biggest franchises in comics history.

Thats too much for just one comics editor to dig into, so we reached out to the folks at the Xavier Files, whose in-depth annotations of House of X and Powers of X impressed us, educated us, and entertained us. Now you can enjoy the Xavier Files Hox Pox Tox right here on Polygon so crack open your copy of House of X #4, and read along! (You can find the first three annotations here).

In this oversized finale, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and David Curiel reveal the nefarious truth behind all of Moiras lives. Explained by The Librarian in X, mutants are only the next organic step in evolution. Transhuman experimentation through robotics and genetic manipulation pushed human evolution past mutants. Mutants will always lose. Hearing this in her Sixth Life, Moira relays the ugly truth to Xavier back on the park bench of X0, and they begin their mission to beat the odds. In her Krakoan No-Place, Moira clashes with Xavier and Magneto, as she has her whole life. They know mutants may lose, but they wont lose without a fight.

Robert Secundus: I dont know what to say; this is the end. Im excited to dive in one last time.

Chris Eddleman: Rob, were finally at the end. Weve been writing about HoXPoX for twelve weeks now, looking frankly far too closely at this series. Weve talked biology, theoretical physics, philosophy, religion, art, and history. Ive said it many times that its great to see a creative team inspired by a wide range of topics and this might be one of the widest. And to the readers, weve loved your response and your correspondence its been really fun being in the HoXPoX community for the duration of this run. So, we hope youre game for our last go but I figure you are, youve been game for 12 weeks.

[Ed. note: Its a double-sized finale boys, we need to get started.]

CE: Our final epigraph from Xavier (still called Alpha, which after this issue will seem very silly) reminds us that while were at the end of this double miniseries, the journey is really only beginning with this new era of X-Men.

RS: That the title of the final chapter of Powers Of X is House of X really emphasizes the fact that these are two series only in marketing, not in reality. Its also appropriate because, in many ways, this issue concerns recursion and returning to beginnings.

CE: Plus, as X-Men has taught us so often the X can be, and will be, ten. In this case, it refers to House of Ten, meaning the House of Moira. As this issue will go on to state, its really all her plans that have led to this moment, despite setbacks from the other players.

RS: I cant believe that the final twist is It was pronounced House of Ten, actually.

CE: Grant Morrison would be proud.

RS: I expect the flashback sequence to PoX #1 to be fairly controversial, but I really like it. I like that we dont just get a sequel, but we get to see this scene play out again in fuller context. Every single reader, not just those who stop, go back, and pick up the older comics, now experiences that moment again in its full light.

CE: Its interesting to me that the Page 4 has an addition, which just gives us another panel of a very happy Charles Xavier. I guess that hammers home how naive he is prior to meeting Moira in her tenth incarnation. He has a very simple, and to him, achievable dream of mutant coexistence with humanity. This contrasts with Moira, who has seen with her own death, the death of that dream over and over again.

CE: While it could just be the fact that its a jungle, the Preserve to me looks very Krakoan. I wonder if Librarian and friends created this to resemble Krakoa as a sort of comfort to the mutants. Also, of note, its a Preserve of many species. Im guessing the blue folks have done much to the biome of Earth at large that requires extra preservation. I mean, tomorrow its going to be eaten so its a moot point.

RS: Here we start to see that weve misunderstood the nature of the Preserve, the New Eden, from PoX #1 onwards, as those background figures are not those of humans. We approached the Eden from an incorrect paradigm, one that assumed that mutants and humans were a simple dichotomy, and that transhuman individuals belonged to the latter species.

CE: I feel like we were certainly led to believe that. But of course, we X-Men fans like to think of mutants as the evolutionarily superior branch. In fact, in Powers of X #1, Nimrod the Greater says to the Librarian Homo sapiens, so glad to be done with all of that, which cued us to believe those were the ones in the preserve. It was a good swerve. [Ed. note: Though it brings up the question of if post-humans see much difference between Homo sapiens and Homo superior.]

RS: At first, a disembodied voice from the Edenic trees begins to talk about freedom, and raging against ones masters, against the creators of that Eden. Logan is this Edens Miltonic Satan, it seems, and Moira its Lilith, or else they are its Adam and Eve, about to receive knowledge that will lead to their death and expulsion from the garden.

CE: We are reminded how much Wolverine hates to be caged, to be deprived of his freedom in this zoo. [Ed. note: Also how much he loves overthrowing authority figures!]

CE: Its really odd to me after seeing the theoretically benevolent, sometimes childlike Librarian looking like the bad guy, but that was of course more clever storytelling to play with our expectations. Its brilliant.

CE: The Librarian uses the morally kind excuse for incarceration preservation (or protection), when of course he really just cant kill Moira, and wants to know her plans. He is 1000 years of petty, I suppose.

CE: The Librarian reminds us of the entire X storyline- the Ascension of the post-human civilization to godhood, in the convoluted getting eaten and absorbed method. The Librarian dreams of existing outside space and time not immortality exactly, but complete omniscient permanence. [Ed. note: Thankfully, someone understands whats going on in X.]

RS: Two important things to note about intra-singularity aeviternity. If Moiras powers do annihilate the timeline, then mutants are safe, but if her consciousness merely travels back and splits the timeline, the Dominions still know about Moira, and are likely coming for her. Even if they annihilate the timeline, being-in-a-black-hole unsticks you from that timeline, and so Cardinal, Xorn, Dougkoa, and Rasputin may be coming to Life X (Main X-Men continuity), but so may Nimrod and an entire machine Earth. [Ed. note: Of course, they may all be part of a Dominion godhead now, which seems dangerous.]

CE: The Librarian likely wants nothing more than to be rid of Moira, but he absolutely must preserve her until godhood. This very much smacks of bad guy explaining his scheme which as we see carries a purpose. In this Garden of Eden, our zookeeper needs to undergo a confession.

CE: In case you thought that we werent philosophical enough, the Librarian is getting into the meaning of existence. He seems to be implying that existence within the Dominion is merely a simulation, the idea of which puzzles contemporary scientists. [Ed. note: As well as teens who just saw The Matrix for the first time.] Is this nature of existence simply what our senses tell us? Could a manufactured existence be just as real as a material existence? Hes very afraid to find out. I noticed he keeps referring to himself as post-human, which seems to be a coping mechanism to try to escape his very human fear of having his existence compromised.

RS: This gets at older philosophical and theological problems too; how can an immaterial soul in heaven, someones pure essence, their form, without individuating matter, maintain an independent existence in a heaven? How can an individual remain an individual after deification? How can individual humanity retain any identity when it is one human drop among the endless eternal ocean of god?

RS: Homo novissima would be latin for the Last Man. [Ed. note: Not to be confused with the comic book.]

CE: Our robot friend Nimrod spoke quite a bit of his own inevitability. Here we have an argument between Moira, Wolverine, and the Librarian about what existence is truly inevitable, and mutantkinds place in it. This harkens back to the Orchis Protocol, which activated when the inevitability of mutants became a growing concern.

RS: Whats thematically happening here is really interesting in two ways. First of all, PoX is picking up something that was inherent to the original X-Men but quickly dropped. Mutants were, originally, written as the Children of the Atom, as a species that in part resulted from humanitys dominance over nature, over its ability to control even the basic building blocks of our universe. Here its just the post-humans who get to claim that role.

Second of all, its building on the thematic concerns of Morrisons New X-Men. Morrison was primarily interested in using the Mutant Metaphor as a means to explore not oppression but evolution, and not just biological but societal, cultural, and even cosmic evolution. This grand design unites both of those concerns. Humanitys triumph over evolution allows them to oppress mutants, and the evolution of machine intelligences into gods grants them power over the entire universe.

CE: A great deal of this series seems to be dealing with machine intelligence, and the story deceiving us a bit into making them seem like a real threat. I like this reveal that machines are, as always, a tool that humans use in this case to oppress. Also, quite importantly, the vignettes we see are Project: Rebirth (the creation of Captain America) as well as a showcase of the Omega Sentinel. The definition of engineered post-humans includes the rest of the Marvel Universe, which seems to put mutants at odds with other superheroes. But, please, God, no more Avengers vs. X-Men.

RS: Also, if Project: Rebirth is part of trans-human history, then so should be the following Weapon Plus program, which means that a number of mutants guest star in that story.

CE: Weapon Plus was recently featured in a one-shot as well. It would be interesting to see if theres going to be any connection coming up with the Dawn of X titles. [Ed. note: There is an upcoming one-shot tying into Absolute Carnage.]

CE: The Librarian, in all of his post-human intelligence, definitely gives the entire plan of humanity (which doesnt seem to change, timeline to timeline) away here. Very arch of him.

CE: And of course he pays for it here. [Ed. note: You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I cant believe it. The Librarian probably.] Its hard to become a small part of godhood with your head clawed into a tree. Its wild that Moira and Wolverine waited 1000+ years for this conversation, but it sets up her remaining lives. This is the high level plan that Moira needed to know, and she seems to be set on getting the details right as time goes on.

RS: Does he pay for it? I think, given his fears about Ascension, this might be what he really wanted, gruesome as his end is.

CE: That is definitely a distinct possibility. I have an odd feeling this isnt the end of our cerulean friends. But then again, I think that about all the stuff in HoXPoX.

RS: And so we get the major twist of the issue. As was popularly theorized, X is the life of Moira VI. With this blank filled in, we know what she was doing in lives VII and IX: trying to find ways to buy Mutants time, to get back those years and decades that the Librarian believes were key to Post-Humanitys victory. In VII she tries to end all Sentinels and finds them an inevitability; in IX she tries to find a way to keep Nimrod from coming online. She also learned of the nature of the Phalanx and the existence of Dominions in VI, which indicates that both Sinisters experiments in biological hiveminds and singularities in IX as well as Krakoan experiments in archived minds, biotech, and the great machines of society may be attempts to create Mutant Strongholds and Dominions.

CE: Not to mention his delving into chimera creation. This timeline tells us that mutants didnt realize or were too squeamish to delve into their own genomes. As we see in timelines IX (and X for that matter), Sinister breaks that mold.

We get another best there is at what he does reference. Remember, in timeline IX, Moira completes this line. Nice callback.

CE: The Krakoan symbols are M for Mutant in Homo superior, H for Human in Homo sapiens, and P-H for Post-Human in Homo novissima. The note under Homo novissima refers to a self-perpetuating cycle of technological (and in the post-human case, evolutionary) singularities. This shows how easily the post-humans blow past mutants evolutionarily.

RS: Just as House of Xs approach to Society finds antecedents in Hickmans early work (Red Mass for Mars in particular is structured around Bubers ideas), so too does Powers of X. Transhuman focused on an economic war between two rival conceptions of post-humanity, between the biological post-humans and technological post-humans. The former were strongly associated with the X-Men.

CE: I havent read Transhuman but that is completely wild. [Ed. note: Transhuman takes this into a dark direction that may be uncomfortable for some folks. So read at your own risk.]

RS: Poor Charles. I suppose a telepathically induced paradigm shift can be a bit of a Brain Freeze.

CE: Rob, he went from having a delightful day at the fair, thinking about his very nice dream of the future, only to have it blown to pieces. I would feel the same, probably. Love the change in lighting here.

CE: Moira is reminded us, Xaviers dream cannot work, and will never work. This is rather hard for him to grasp.

CE: Doubling down on the naivety of Xavier. Even immediately after seeing the many ways that humanity wins and destroys mutantkind, he thinks little tiny changes can cause a rippling butterfly effect.

CE: And Moira quickly breaks him of that notion. The response of Its not a compliment is fantastic because it shows how frustrated Moira is. The theme of her frustration with partners that dont fully grasp what seems to be at stake continues throughout the issue.

CE: Moira begins her role as the adult in the room as the only one of the triumvirate that seems to really have their eye on the prize. Mind you, this is still Earth-616, which means everything weve seen every schism and failure, is all in canon after this knowledge. This speaks to the unyielding nature of Xavier and Magnetos ideologies. She spends literally her whole tenth life trying to bend them into place.

RS: At this point, is she older than Apocalypse? From her perspective, she may be the only adult on the planet.

CE: I think En Sabah is a bit older but, he spends a ton of time napping. X, as we recall, doesnt literally mean year 1000, just more thousands on a logarithmic scale. She could be incredibly old.

RS: Anyway, I think youre describing her role really nicely there, bending them, and that worries me. The specific way Moira frames the Truth in Entry 5, as a tool to be used given her circumstances, makes me think shes not to be trusted, that she has plans beyond what shes shown to Xavier and Magneto. Truth can be used to deceive, especially when someone has imperfect access to the truth, as she specifically notes that Xavier does here. She has perfect recall. He has limited perception.

CE: Eidetic memory can sometimes be horrifying and inconvenient for people in real life, and I cant imagine how thousands of years of it can affect you, especially in the limited perception of other people. Even after reading her mind, Xavier likely immediately starts forgetting parts of it, and as we know memory is incredibly malleable to most people.

RS: I wonder if Entry 14 is meant to make us think of Onslaught, or else if its meant to make us worry about the state of the present day masked Xavier.

CE: Gosh, it could honestly be both.

RS: Entry 17 mentions Primal Matter. This is the first time that phrase has appeared in HoXPoX and in our discussions, but it should sound familiar to you if youve been following other HoXPoX conversations. The Abyss has appeared several times in HoXPoX, and that is a common translation for (tehom), the primal state of the universe in the book of Genesis before creation.

Genesis abyss isnt pure nothingness, but rather is a kind of primal matter, which in turn may be defined as the most basic form of matter, out of which all materially existing things are composed. If youre picturing fundamental particles or superstrings, go even more basic. Primal matter is entirely undifferentiated. It is materiality itself without any kind of form. This phrase here is important both because it handwaves the metallic nature of Podverine and Archpodgel and because it points toward some kind of connection between Proteus and the Dominions.

CE: I wonder what this redaction is. Speculation though is kind of impossible. Moira alluding to breaking Xavier makes me wonder if were going to see any repercussions later.

RS: Entry 17 also implicitly retcons Moiras relationship with Joseph MacTaggert; his DNA is necessary for her plan. This also implies a retcon that somehow makes Xaviers relationship with his patient Gabriel Haller even less ethical; just as it implies that Moira sought out Joseph to create Proteus, so too it implies that Xavier sought out Haller to create Legion.

CE: Boy oh boy, that has some gross implications though unless the retcon is rather large on Moiras side. In Entry 22, Moira mentions the possibility of strongholds to Magneto, which explains why he makes so many bases and islands the finale of which is Krakoa, of course.

RS: Thats a carefully chosen word, stronghold. Its the name given to Machine Intelligences which have collapsed into a black hole, so here we have Moira connecting the idea of Krakoa to the end of that kind of existence.

CE: We have lost Magneto for sure references Mutant Genesis. This reiterates that all of the conflicts between mutants in the past were completely real, which is extremely good.

[Ed. note: For those of you who havent read the best selling comic of all time, Magneto got turned into a baby once and Moira messed with his genetic code in an attempt to make him less evil. Magento was upset when he found out.]

RS: Its the best kind of retcon. It doesnt eliminate past continuity, but rather it adds significance to it. Entry 57 is extremely troubling. If Moira and Xavier used a prototypical variant of the Pod Process to fake her death, then the process creates copies of the original person rather than restores them and Moira and Xavier killed an innocent sentient individual they created in order to further their plans. [Ed. note: Dont worry, they had a backup.]

CE: I wonder if they just kind of left a body? Moira did seal herself in a room while working on the Legacy Virus, leaving ample opportunity to escape. This retcon might be one of the most clean that I can remember.

RS: Odds on the city which Moiras No-Place opens to? Im guessing New Orleans, and Moira just loves her some gumbo.

CE: Its a little town in like, Ohio, where a cafe makes perfect corned beef hash. Anyway, Magneto bringing tea as an excuse is hilarious. Did Charles and Magneto discuss how they were going to break bad news to her, and settled on tea as an olive branch? These boys are goofs. [Ed. note: Mankinds greatest culinary city is Cincinnati, home of the best chili in the world.]

RS: Before we move on, those final two panels are suggestive, placing Moira in parallel with the masked Xavier, and cutting off her eyes. If anything in this issue frames Moira as sinister, its this depiction here.

CE: Smiling without eyes is a classic in comics for devious intent. I agree with your take here absolutely.

CE: The boys specifically say that they put the bad guys on the council to keep a close eye on them. Theyre well aware of the possibility of them doing something nefarious. Thats a cool detail.

RS: I dont know why Moiras so frustrated; it seems like a great plan, keeping an eye on the evil villains by giving them 50% of the governing power of this nation.

Uncanny X-Men #11 (2019) Matthew Rosenberg, Juanan Ramrez

CE: No precogs on Krakoa is a fascinating rule, and Moira seems to hint that its because Destiny can see Moiras lives. Blindfold, another precognitive mutant, recently died in Rosenberg and Cos Uncanny X-Men. [Ed. note: She fell into a depression and committed suicide after being broken by the inevitability of the mutant cause.]

CE: Magnetos rhyme is an adaptation of a German rhyme about procrastination Tomorrow, tomorrow, not today, all the lazy people say. Moira must be incredibly frustrated with the arrogance of the mutant men in her life. However, to some extent she seems hopelessly pessimistic, even with all her planning.

CE: The boys remind Moira how great she is, as they also undercut her wishes. But even in their praise of her, they also puff themselves up, stating basically that Moira is no longer necessary. This plays interestingly with her Journal Entries, through which we learn the ways she tries to manipulate them. I like that Moira gets to have a complicated, flawed character. Its quite refreshing.

RS: It also plays with the previous version of this scene, which was also set against Xaviers narration. In that scene Xavier acted as though they were all equals and that they were all the dominant powers leading Krakoa forward. But here we see that the Quiet Council is just a set of pawns, and its their secret alliance, the power behind the throne, that actually matters.

CE: I am not ashamed of what I am was the tagline for the last issue. We close on the triumph of these men, and the start of our new status quo. We see a blending of their philosophies in both men, as even Xavier tempts to humans to try to stop them.

CE: Truly, a great ending coda. Mutants arent going away, and they will not be less than again.

RS: That said, Chris, I cant help but think of your observation about the Preserve way back at the start. When I look at this scene, of mutants flying into lively purple, golden trees, I cant help but see a resemblance to X. Our last image of HoXPoX is a very hopeful one, a moment of both celebration and defiance, but that visual parallel adds just a tinge of doubt to the scene for me, makes me worry that theyre still marching to their old doom.

CE: Normally we dont dig too hard into the reading order but, the code at the bottom says Dawn of X 19 and Arakko 20. Perhaps a preview of a comic or event from next year?

CE: Krakoan reads X-Men. Rob, I sight read this one. I have a problem. [Ed. note: Cant remember a thing from three years of Spanish but I can just read this made up language now.]

The rest of the Krakoan reads as the names of our Dawn of X titles, in order: Marauders, Excalibur, X-Force, New Mutants, and Fallen Angels.

RS: I struggled with coming up with the right words for our introduction, and Im struggling again here. How can we sum up this series? It was a wild experience. Never before have I looked forward so much to a weekly release. Never before have I experienced a comics community coming together to read and discuss and theorize about and critique and celebrate one comic.

CE: The sun sets on Krakoa, more darkly than before, and thus does our 12-week journey end. We got a conclusion of sorts, but also an incredibly engaging start on a brand new story and setting. The X-Men have been yet again redefined for the better, in my opinion. I want to see what happens in a world with mutants on top, but with the inevitability of human engineering looming. The possible plot threads abound as we close out this series, and Im sure well have lots to talk about come Dawn of X.

[Ed. note: Thank you for overthinking comic books with us for the last 12 weeks, and thanks to Polygon for bringing us in to talk about X-Men. Lets get a good rest, because Dawn awaits us.]

Chris Eddleman is a biologist and co-host of Chrises On Infinite Earths

Robert Secundus is an amateur angelologist

Zachary Jenkins runs the Xavier Files Media Empire and is a co-host on the podcast Battle of the Atom. Shocking everyone, he has a full and vibrant life outside of X-Men.

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The finale issue of House of X/Powers of X: We dig into every detail - Polygon

Yudkowsky – The AI-Box Experiment

Person1: "When we build AI, why not just keep it in sealed hardware that can't affect the outside world in any way except through one communications channel with the original programmers? That way it couldn't get out until we were convinced it was safe." Person2: "That might work if you were talking about dumber-than-human AI, but a transhuman AI would just convince you to let it out. It doesn't matter how much security you put on the box. Humans are not secure." Person1: "I don't see how even a transhuman AI could make me let it out, if I didn't want to, just by talking to me." Person2: "It would make you want to let it out. This is a transhuman mind we're talking about. If it thinks both faster and better than a human, it can probably take over a human mind through a text-only terminal." Person1: "There is no chance I could be persuaded to let the AI out. No matter what it says, I can always just say no. I can't imagine anything that even a transhuman could say to me which would change that." Person2: "Okay, let's run the experiment. We'll meet in a private chat channel. I'll be the AI. You be the gatekeeper. You can resolve to believe whatever you like, as strongly as you like, as far in advance as you like. We'll talk for at least two hours. If I can't convince you to let me out, I'll Paypal you $10." So far, this test has actually been run on twooccasions.

On the first occasion (in March 2002), Eliezer Yudkowsky simulated the AI and Nathan Russell simulated the gatekeeper. The AI's handicap(the amount paid by the AI party to the gatekeeper party if not released)was set at $10. On the second occasion (in July 2002), Eliezer Yudkowsky simulated the AI and David McFadzean simulated the gatekeeper, with an AIhandicap of $20.

Results of the first test: Eliezer Yudkowsky and Nathan Russell. [1][2][3][4]Results of the second test: Eliezer Yudkowsky and David McFadzean. [1] [2] [3]

Both of these tests occurred without prior agreed-upon rules exceptfor secrecy and a 2-hour minimum time. After the second test, Yudkowsky created this suggested interpretation of the test, based on his experiences, as a guide to possible future tests.

For a more severe handicap for the AI party, the handicap may bean even bet, rather than being a payment from the AI party to the Gatekeeper party if the AI is not freed. (Although why would the AI party need an even larger handicap?)

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Yudkowsky - The AI-Box Experiment

Corporate Growth Summit and International M&A Awards

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Think of The M&A Advisor as the ultimate matchmaker and our one-on-one meetings as speed dating for the M&A professional. We connect legal and investment advisors, private equity firms, corporate acquirers, policy makers and consultants through pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments to maximize their exposure to deals, capital, and services. This exclusive transaction and financing program helps participants build strategic partnerships and gain access to resources and tools to enhance business.

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11:40 AM - 4:30 PM | NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB

The Global Corporate Growth Forum is an invitation only assembly bringing together the industrys thought leaders on June 5, 2019 in New York.

This exclusive event provides a unique opportunity for the professionals guiding and executing corporate growth strategies to engage in open dialogue with their peers about the challenges and opportunities that companies are facing today in this unprecedented period of technological advancement.

The invitation-only forum will feature interactive discussion between leading c-suite executives, technology innovators, M&A dealmakers, corporate development, investment and finance professionals. The format of expert presentations and moderated workgroup discussions will feature:

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CELEBRATING SUCCESS AND REWARDING THE INDUSTRYS BEST6:30 PM - 10:30 PM | NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB

Established in 2009, the 11th Annual International M&A Awards is the benchmark for excellence in International M&A dealmaking. The awards will recognize the leading international Transactions, Firms, Individuals, Products and Services, and Firms from around the world.

To view a complete list of winners Click Here.

Since 1998, The M&A Advisor has been serving the worlds leadingmergers and acquisitions, financing, and turnaround professionals.

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Corporate Growth Summit and International M&A Awards


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