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U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussed – Lifeboat Foundation (blog)

New article by Transhumanist Party:

Gennady Stolyarov II

The Spring 2017 issue of the magazine Issues in Science and Technology, published by the National Academy of Sciences, features an article by Professor Steve Fuller, the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. This article, entitled Does this pro-science party deserve our votes? discusses the Transhumanist Party from the time of Zoltan Istvans 2016 run for President.

In this article, which offers both positive discussion and critiques of Istvans campaign, Professor Fuller writes:

What Istvan offered voters was a clear vision of how science and technology could deliver a heaven on earth for everyone. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights envisages that it is within the power of science and technology to deliver the end to all significant suffering, the enhancement of ones existing capacities, and the indefinite extension of ones life. To the fans whom Istvan attracted during his campaign, these added up to liberty makers. For them, the question was what prevented the federal government from prioritizing what Istvan had presented as well within human reach.

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U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussed - Lifeboat Foundation (blog)

Secret to a better life? – Piqua Daily Call

Transhumanism, a controversial and interesting topic, could save the world from many things. It could lead the world to think smarter and faster. It could also make us live longer and happier lives. It could lead us to be able to take full control of our minds making us able to indefinitely remember things we enjoy and completely forget anything we dont want to remember. Transhumanism could make us who we want to be and be able to remove anything we dont like.

Technology has caused major changes throughout the human race. It has made us able to multi-task and produce things much faster than before. Transhumanism is the science of combining the human body with technology to improve many parts of ourselves. Transhumanism seeks to this as well, but there is one major difference. Transhumanism seeks to do this in your mind and body instead of in factories or computers. It will make you able to do all of the things a calculator can do but in your head.

When taken to the extreme transhumanism could make your eyes display the trajectory and movement path of a ball before you ever even throw it. This indeed could be used to cheat in various scenarios such as sports or college exams but when it comes down to it if we actually reach that level of technology and its in public hands then the majority of people would have and be using those skills.

Within the work force, a transhumanist would be at the top. They would be able to do more and get it all done more efficiently. This would push for more people to become transhumanist. Leading to people living longer and throughout their life almost always being in peak condition. This could make many people more happy and able to do whatever they want to in life.

This does not mean however that for things such as the Olympics participants would not have to train all of their lives or for jobs in Science or Law you would not have to attend school for many years. This is because we would still need to be taught and we would still need to earn our diplomas. Likewise the years of school and training will be made much easier through transhumanism.

An important part of transhumanism is to remember that it is expanding our control of ourselves. We would be able to expand our memories and control what resides in them. We would be able to learn things and never worry about forgetting how to do them. If you ever had a traumatic experience that you never ever wanted to remember again you could delete it like junk mail in your email. The expansion of our memories could lead to better solved crimes and putting fewer people in jail that dont deserve it. This could however be used against us in cases of brain washing but if we were to think of it as if our minds were computers, we could easily make an external backup of our entire brain.

The combination of technology and body could lead to many crazy and amazing things such as taking pictures and videos with your eyes to share with your friends, or being able to play video games or read books without ever physically touching a controller or book. Transhumanism could lead to extreme virtual reality in which you are mentally removed from your own body and put into the game world.

Though many people fear that things such as this could lead to detachment from humanity or cause people to forget about reality so that they may just live in the virtual world this would be impossible due to our bodies needing nourishment making so that if certain bodily things are required we would be pulled out of the virtual worlds without worry.

In conclusion, transhumanism can be used and advanced in many ways to improve the human race as a whole. Though there is still much that is unknown about transhumanism the movement continues to grow and develop becoming safer and more advanced with every discovery. In the end, transhumanism will have its ups and downs just as any other movement does. Transhumanism has great potential and if done correctly it has the ability to change the world forever.

Kalob Watkins is a student at Edison State Community College

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Secret to a better life? - Piqua Daily Call

Is Zoltan Istvan a Libertarian? – Being Libertarian

Like many libertarians, I was initially excited when Zoltan Istvan announced his candidacy for Governor of California.

Istvan is the founder of the Transhumanist Party and author of The Transhumanist Wager, which is considered a manifesto on transhumanist philosophy. The basic premise of transhumanism is that the next step in human evolution will be to improve our bodies and expand our lifespan with radical technology, eventually leading towards immortality. While he still needs to obtain the nomination, having someone announce their intents this early gave me hope that maybe the party would have a shot at making an impact in the California mid-terms.

As I learned about his transhumanist ideas, I became increasingly hopeful that his views on radical science and medical technology would be able to appeal to the far-left base of California and introduce a wider range of people to libertarianism. However, after doing some research Im not so sure Istvan is the best candidate to represent the Libertarian party.

On the surface, the former presidential candidate seems to align with the libertarian views of bodily autonomy (transhumanists call it morphological freedom) and the non-aggression principle, he even called himself a left-libertarian on the Rubin Report.

He believes people should be able to use technology to make modifications to their body as they please, if it doesnt harm anyone else. For example, Istvan has a chip implanted in his hand which allows him to open doors in his home and will send texts to a persons phone.

Also within his conversation with Dave Rubin, he discussed regulating industries for artificial intelligence multiple times. He went so far to say I dont believe we should develop artificial intelligence thats unregulated and part of the reason AI remains an unregulated industry is because no one knows how to regulate it.

During his 2016 run for the presidency, part of his platform was to, Create national and global safeguards and programs that protect people against abusive technology and other possible planetary perils we might face as we transition into the transhumanist era.

This type of language reminds one of the paternalism and protect one from themselves legislation typical of todays Democrats and Republicans.

Finally, one of the partys proposals is to adopt a Transhumanist Bill of Rights that would advocate for legal and government support of longer lifespans, better health and higher standards of living via science and technology.

While its not clear what government support would entail, state-funded creation of life-expanding technologies would pale in comparison to what the market could create.

Article I of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights claims that every citizen has a right to technology that reduces suffering, improves upon the body and can give one an infinite life-span, which reminds one of the current leftist agenda claiming healthcare is a basic human right.

The best way to ensure that everyone can have access to the technology that would accomplish Istvans Transhumanist vision, would be to allow private companies to produce these technologies and compete with other firms and bring prices down. As weve seen with universal healthcare, entitling a service to every citizen lowers quality, and increases prices.

While his intentions are noble, requiring access to this kind of technology would decrease the number of people who could obtain it and aggress on a business owners right to sell their product. This is one of many problematic parts of his presidential bid; others included free public education, mandatory college education and preschool, and a sort of affirmative action to create an equal representation of former careers in politicians.

To give the potential candidate some credit, he does oppose the War on Drugs and wants to shrink the size of government through technology.

Istvan seems to be a situational libertarian. While he may appeal to more Californians with his views on science and seeming acceptance of some forms of regulation, he would not be the person the party would need to explain libertarian philosophies and represent us to the masses.

* Luke Henderson is a composer, economics enthusiast, and educator in St. Louis, MO. He is a budding libertarian and joined the party in 2016.

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Is Zoltan Istvan a Libertarian? - Being Libertarian

Transhumanist Wants to Run for California Governor Under Libertarian Banner – The Libertarian Republic

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By Kody Fairfield

After realizing his chances to be President were over, Zoltan Istvan ofthe Transhumanist Party, has decided to take his platform and run for another elected office, and under a different political party.

Istvan didnt have much of a chance at being president, but that didnt stop him from campaigning as the Transhumanist Partys candidateto promote his pro-technology and science positions. Now, hes setting his sights a bit lower, and with a different party. Istvan announced this morning that he plans to run for governor of California in 2018 under the Libertarian Party, explainsEngadet.com.

In aNewsweekarticle Istvan wrote, We need leadership that is willing to use radical science, technology, and innovationwhat California is famous forto benefit us all. We need someone with the nerve to risk the tremendous possibilities to save the environment through bioengineering, to end cancer by seeking a vaccine or a gene-editing solution for it, to embrace startups that will take California from the worlds 7th largest economy to maybe even the largest economybigger than the rest of America altogether.

Engadet mentions that Istvan told the publication that he notonly identifies as libertarian, but that he also saw the benefit of working with a more established political party, instead of starting one from the ground up. The Transhumanist even mentioned to the website that should he run for President again, he would do as a Libertarian.

The most important thing I learned from my presidential campaign is that this is a team sport, Istvan said in an email to Engadet. Without the proper managers, volunteers, spokespeople, and supporters, its really impossible to make a dent in an election. Thats part of the reason I joined the Libertarian Party for my governor run. They have tens of thousands of active supporters in California alone, so my election begins with real resources and infrastructure to draw upon. Thats a large difference from my Presidential campaign, where we essentially were shoe-stringing it the whole time.

According to the article fromEngadet, Istvan has considered running for a lesser office, but has describe the competition for those lower seats a being much more fierce. Explaining that he sees an opening with disgruntled members of the two major parties, especially againstGavin Newsome, the rumored front-runner for the Democrats.

Istvan also toldEngadet that he seems a dire need for a pro-science candidate like himself, citing what he called PresidentTrumpsdisdain forfor science.

This idea that we should drop environmental science, or be cautious on genetic engineering, or focus on the revitalization of nuclear weaponry is something I disagree with, he said. I believe we should bet the farm on various radical technologies: artificial intelligence, gene therapies, 3D printed organs, driverless cars, drones, robots, stem cell tech, exoskeleton tech, virtual reality, brain wave neural prosthetics, to name a few. This is the way to grow an economywith much creative innovation, what California is famous for.

It should be noted that Istvans jump to the Libertarian Party does not guarantee him the Partys nomination for governor. He would have to face off versus any other primary challengers prior to taking that role. At this point, his comments are a mere statement of intent to seek the nomination, rather than his title.

Democratsgavin newsomeGovernor of Californialibertarian partyRepublicansscienceTranshumanist PartyZoltan Istvn

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Transhumanist Wants to Run for California Governor Under Libertarian Banner - The Libertarian Republic

Michael O’Connor : Does He See Himself being a Transhumanist? – Mobile Magazine


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Michael O'Connor : Does He See Himself being a Transhumanist?
Mobile Magazine
But first, let me tell you what transhumanists are. Transhumanists ought to exist since the 80's however they have come to be more noticeable in the past years as technology progresses and made our imagination seem more realistic. They are people who ...

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Michael O'Connor : Does He See Himself being a Transhumanist? - Mobile Magazine

Top 5 Transhumanist Technologies With Major Implications …

Transhumanism is one of those technologies that boggles most peoples minds. Do not be mistaken in thinking this has anything to do with being transgender, as transhumanists seek to improve their human capacities beyond what is assumed to be possible. They do so by using top-of-the-line technologies, rather than gadgets or other electronics. Most of these technologies go by unnoticed, which is why we have compiled a brief list below.

Some people may have heard of this technology before. Cryonics is a high-fidelity preservation of the human body after death. The primary reason why anyone would enter a cryogenic sleep is to anticipate a potential future revival. This technology has been widely available for some time, albeit it is rather on the expensive side. Through cryonics, it is feasible to stop cells from decaying. Moreover, the process requires no electricity to do so.

Tampering with the human bodys genes sounds rather risky, but significant advancements have been made in recent years. Gene therapy effectively replaces bad genes with good ones, which allows us to manipulate our genetic code. Scientists have discovered a way to remove genes coding for specific metabolic proteins, ensuring the host remains slim and fit at all times.

Anti-aging therapy is heavily influenced by gene therapy as well and it is believed scientists will eventually reach the longevity escape velocity soon. As a result, humans may become subject to indefinite lifespans. Whether or not that is a positive development, remains to be seen, though.

Introducing cyber enhancements to the human body remains a very risky business to this very day. Implants and other electronics can address a lot of problems our bodies are faced with. Cybernetics are designed in such a way they will be invisible to the casual observer, as they reside beneath the hosts skin. Most current bio modifications are all external, as we have covered in a previous article. Cybernetic systems will improve our everyday experience and even boost the economy as humans will be able to do more work in less time.

While a lot of people are concerned over what the future will bring in terms of robotics, self-replicating robots may be the least of our concerns right now. Replacing manual labor with robots doing the task for us seems like a no-brainer, albeit it will cause some job losses. Self-replicating robots, on the other hand, would be quite beneficial. For example, they can turn uninhabitable areas into living spaces, clean up waste generated by us humans, or even pave the way for human colonization of space.

As creepy as this concept may sound at first, mind uploading or nonbiological intelligence can be quite valuable to our society. Implementing cognitive processing on anything that is not human would be a massive breakthrough. The general public is not too keen of this concept, even though our minds are by far our greatest assets. Synthetic brains are not impossible to achieve by any means, although a lot of research is required before this can become a reality.

If you liked this article, follow us on Twitter @themerklenews and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and technology news.

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The Transhumanist’s Quest for Godhood: ‘Remember, Thou Art Mortal’ – CNSNews.com


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The Transhumanist's Quest for Godhood: 'Remember, Thou Art Mortal'
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History tells us that when victorious generals in ancient Rome returned home, they would hold triumphal processions through the streets. Singers, dancers, and adoring citizens would shower the general with effusive praises. But to guard him against ...

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The Transhumanist's Quest for Godhood: 'Remember, Thou Art Mortal' - CNSNews.com

‘To Be A Machine’ Digs Into The Meaning Of Humanity – NPR

"Flesh is a dead format," writes Mark O'Connell in To Be a Machine, his new nonfiction book about the contemporary transhumanist movement. It's an alarming statement, but don't kill the messenger: As he's eager to explain early in the book, the author is not a transhumanist himself. Instead, he's used To Be a Machine as a vehicle to dive into this loosely knit movement, which he sums up as "a rebellion against human existence as it has been given." In other words, transhumanists believe that technology specifically, a direct interface between humans and machines is the only way our species can progress from its current, far-than-ideal state. Evolution is now in our hands, they claim, and if that means shedding the evolutionary training wheels of flesh itself, so be it.

O'Connell, who comes from a literary rather than a scientific background, plays up his fish-out-of-water status, which is one of the book's great strengths. To Be a Machine isn't written as an insider-baseball account of transhumanism; instead, it's framed as an investigation. With a winning mix of awestruck fascination and well-chilled skepticism, he tracks down various high-profile transhumanists on their own turf, immerses himself in their worlds, and delivers dispatches wryly humorous, cogently insightful that breathe life into this almost mystical circle of thinkers and doers.

Big names in the tech field such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Bill Gates, and Ray Kurzweil are part of the story, but O'Connell digs deeper. His quest takes him to Anders Sandberg, a monklike proponent of cognitive enhancement; Max More, founder of the world's foremost cryonics company, who freezes the heads of deceased clients in the hopes they can one day be revived; and Arati Prabhakar, former director of the Pentagon's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), whose competitive development of robotics has fostered everything from killer robots to those designed, eerily enough, to hug people.

'To Be a Machine' is a lucid, soulful pilgrimage into the heart of what humanity means to us now and how science may redefine it tomorrow, for better and for worse.

Jason Heller

Not only does O'Connell apply a healthy curiosity to his subjects, he places them in illuminating context. Amid vivid firsthand reportage, he dwells on the history and ramifications of transhumanism: economically, anthropologically, sociologically, theologically and culturally. He deftly probes the existential risk to humans in regard to the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence. He balances the impulse for self-betterment with the potential recklessness of runaway innovation. And he uses the transhumanists' current efforts to transfer the human mind to a digital vessel as a way of rephrasing the age-old philosophical question, "What is consciousness?"

Unexpectedly, faith becomes a large component of his query he cites the writings of Saint Augustine and the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas alongside the physicist John von Neumann and the science fiction visionary Philip K. Dick, and a conversation with a Buddhist transhumanist reveals a profound unity in how ancient religions and modern futurists view suffering.

To Be a Machine packs in a lot, but it never feels overstuffed. O'Connell lays the book out like a travelogue, going from one tech conference to another and never failing to tap into his own mix of awe and incredulity in the face of what he calls the "metaphysical weirdness" and "magical rationalism" of the transhumanist scene. He injects just enough personal background and anecdotes into his story to help humanize it up to and including some beautifully funny and poignant insights into his own everyday struggle with technology, fatherhood, and mortality.

In one of the book's most shocking chapters, he visits a collective of biohackers, or "grinders," in Pittsburgh who surgically implant sensors into their flesh in order to more intimately interface with the machine world. The details are both horrifying and strangely noble, and O'Connell depicts them with sensitivity, sympathy, and a novelist's eye for narrative. Rather than a dry treatise on science, To Be a Machine is a lucid, soulful pilgrimage into the heart of what humanity means to us now and how science may redefine it tomorrow, for better and for worse.

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

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'To Be A Machine' Digs Into The Meaning Of Humanity - NPR

‘They want to be literally machines’ : Writer Mark O’Connell on the rise of transhumanists – The Verge

The strangest place writer Mark OConnell has ever been to is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation where dead bodies are preserved in tanks filled with nitrogen, in case they can be revived with future technology. There was a floor with the stainless steel cylinders and all these bodies contained within them and corpses and severed heads, he tells The Verge. That imagery is something that I will take with me to a grave, whether thats a refrigerated cylinder or an actual grave.

OConnell, 37, visited Alcor while writing To Be a Machine, which comes out February 28th. The nonfiction book delves into the world of transhumanists, or people who want to transcend the limits of the human body using technology. Transhumanists want to be stronger and faster; they want to be cyborgs. And they want to solve the problem of death, whether by freezing their bodies through cryonics or uploading their consciousnesses. Transhumanists have been around since at least the 1980s, but have become more visible in the past decade as technology advances have made these ideas seem more feasible and less like sci-fi.

OConnell had known about transhumanists for years, but they stayed in the back of his mind until his son was born and he became more preoccupied by questions of mortality and death. I was looking for a topic that would allow me to write about these things, he says. Even when I was writing specifically about the movement, I was also writing about just how weird it is to be alive in a body thats decaying and dying.

He ended up visiting the Alcor cryonics lab, talking to researchers who want to save us from artificial intelligence, hanging around with biohackers in Pennsylvania, and following transhumanist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan on his campaign trail. The Verge spoke to OConnell about the philosophy behind the movement, his experiences in the transhumanist world, and whether his own beliefs and hopes for humanity have changed since writing the book.

How exactly do you define transhumanism? Doctors, for example, are interested in extending human life, but you could hardly say that all doctors are transhumanists.

Right, theres a way of defining transhumanism thats so broad that youre almost just describing a scientist. There are lots of different definitions, but for me its someone who thinks that we should incorporate technology into ourselves, to use technological evolution to push forward the evolution of the human animal. These people want to not be human in a very sort of radical and thoroughgoing way. They want to be literally machines.

I can identify with wanting to not die, but I cant with wanting to live indefinitely.

Its a disparate movement with many different beliefs. For example, not all of them buy into cryonics. Its almost like talking to a Catholic who goes, I dont take communion, dont go to Mass, but Im still basically Catholic. They believe in the general principle but dont sign up for all the things along the way. [Then} you get people saying, I should really sign up for Alcor, should get the paperwork done and provide for my future almost like you talk to people of my generation who are like, I really need to get started on a pension.

Its common to be frustrated by what our bodies cant do. But its another thing to implant electronics under your skin, or plan to preserve your body after you die. What drives people who consider themselves transhumanists?

They all have a similar origin story, all came to it in a similar kind of way. When you talk about their childhoods, most of them were already obsessed with not just death, but the sort of general limitations of being human, of the frustrations of not being able to do certain things, not being able to live infinitely, not being able to explore space, not being able to think at the level they wanted. All obsessed with human limitations. And most of them shared a similar moment where they went online, they discovered that there was this whole community of people who had the same concerns and philosophies, and they became transhumanists, even though they were without knowing the name.

Theyre all largely tech people and science people. Its hugely a white male thing and it tells you a lot about privilege. Its very difficult to be concerned that youre going to die someday if youre dealing with structural racism or sexism or just feeding your family. Transhumanism seems to come from a position of privilege. Big proponents like Elon Musk have sort of conquered all the standard human problems through technology, and they have infinite amounts of money to spend.

What were some of the transhumanist ideas that seemed the strangest to you? Did any of that change after writing the book?

When I started to look into what the basic ideas were around transhumanism, the thing that I found most alienating and weird and completely speculative was the idea of becoming disembodied and uploading your brain. Its called whole brain emulation. Its the endpoint of a lot of transhumanist thought.

But then I met Randal Koene [who runs Carboncopies, a foundation that supports research on whole brain emulation]. I find him incredibly charismatic. I was really struck by the tension between what seems to be the complete insanity of what he was saying to me the madness of the idea that he might be able to eventually convert the human mind into code and talking to this normal, really smart guy who was explaining really clearly his ideas and making them seem, if not imminently achievable, quite sensible. I was quite swayed by him and in a weird way Randals work seems like some of the least crazy stuff.

Were you swayed by the overall philosophy? You mention in the book that you dont consider yourself a transhumanist. Why?

When I was with the Grindhouse biohackers in Pittsburgh, one night we were in the basement trying to envision our futures. One of them talked about wanting to become this disembodied infinitely powerful thing that would go throughout the universe and encompass everything.

When you talk to transhumanists, in one way or another, they all aspire to knowing everything and to being gods basically. And I just sort of thought, this is actually something I cant relate to at all. The idea of being that all-powerful and omnipresent, its almost indistinguishable from not existing and I cant quite justify that.

Theyd say, youve got Stockholm syndrome of the human body. But that kind of idea is very unappealing to me. I cant see why that would be your idea of your ultimate human value. I was always trying to come to grips with these ideas and come to grips with what it meant for these people to be post-human, and just wind up getting more confused about what it meant to be a human at all in the first place. I can identify with wanting to not die, but I cant with wanting to live indefinitely.

Hanging out with all these people and spending time with all these weird ideas about mechanism and human bodies forced me into a position [to identify myself] as not even a human, but as an animal, a mammal. To me, what it means to be human is inextricably bound with the condition of being a mammal, being frail and weak and loving other people for their frailty and weakness.

Speaking of limitations of the human body, what about disability? When youre so focused on transcending the human body and its limitations, does that mean denigrating disability?

Transhumanists see disability in a completely opposite way. The people I talked to said, Look, were all disabled in one way or another. For example, there was a proposal to make Los Angeles cities more wheelchair accessible. And [transhumanist presidential candidate] Zoltan Istvan wrote this bizarre, wrongheaded editorial about how this was a crazy use of public funds, which should be putting it into making all humans superhuman. What he was getting at was that being physically disabled should not be a barrier to being superhuman anyway, so whole-body prostheses should be the thing that were investing money into. A huge number of people in the disability community were horribly offended and he couldnt quite see why.

Do you think transhumanist ideas are going to gain credence and become a lot more mainstream?

I have no crystal ball, so I dont know any more about the future now than when I started looking into this. But I can see that maybe human life will change so radically in the future that all of this will come to pass. And it wont have come to pass because of transhumanists agitating for it but just because technology has this internal momentum that keeps moving, and theres nothing we can do about it.

Writing the book felt like writing about a very particular cultural moment. Its a very specific cultural phenomenon that has gained quite a foothold in Silicon Valley for reasons that seem quite obvious. My sense is that there are a lot of people out there who would never call themselves transhumanists but share a lot of these ideas about the possibilities for the human future. Silicon Valley has generated this amazing amount of money and cultural power and this sense of possibility around technology. We think we can fix anything with technology, so the idea that we would be able to solve death the human condition seems to be the natural outflow of that.

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'They want to be literally machines' : Writer Mark O'Connell on the rise of transhumanists - The Verge

Transhumanists, biohackers, grinders: Who are they and can they really live forever? – ABC Online

Updated February 23, 2017 13:17:22

Can transhumanists, biohackers and grinders live forever?

The answer is maybe soon at least according to them.

Ok. So what's a transhumanist?

Like some scientists, they believe that ageing is a disease, and they are not afraid of taking human evolution into their own hands by harnessing genetic engineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Sydney-based IT innovation manager and self-described transhumanist Peter Xing says Australians aged in their 20s and 30s could now end up living long enough to live forever.

It is called "longevity escape velocity".

"That means staying healthy for as long as you can until such a point that there's the technology to enable you to live indefinitely," Mr Xing explains.

Fellow transhumanist Meow-Ludo Meow-Meow (yes, that's his real name, changed by deed poll) believes he could be one of the first generations of humans to live forever.

"I'm 31. I think with technology improving exponentially I have a very good chance of living forever."

"We know a lot of the causes of ageing and we're actively working on technology to address them.

"If we can increase our life span by more than one year for every year of our lives, then we become functionally immortal."

Have you got a question? Join the live QandA with Peter Xing and Margot O'Neill on Facebook tonight at 8:00pm (AEDT).

In the last couple of years, researchers have extended the life of mice by up to 40 per cent through various means including gene therapies.

Human trials are a long way off because of tight government regulations, but many researchers have started experimenting on themselves.

In 2015, American genetics activist Liz Parrish flew to Colombia to avoid US regulatory constraints.

Once there she says she injected herself with an unproven anti-ageing gene therapy.

Ms Parrish, the CEO of biotechnology company BioViva, is now known as Patient Zero.

She says results show the treatment rejuvenated part of her DNA, called telomeres, that shorten with age, and she claims her telomeres have now grown by 9 per cent, or about 20 years.

Many scientists question her claims.

Grinders or biohackers are people who augment their bodies with technology.

This could be as crude as implanting magnets under your skin a procedure that can be done at some tattoo and body piercing studios or slightly more high-tech like getting microchips placed inside your body.

Mr Meow-Meow has a micro-chip implanted in his left thumb and has downloaded some smartphone functions directly into his body.

"I can open doors, authenticate myself to my credit card, activate my phone, activate drones and I can program the chip in my thumb from my phone anytime," he said.

US grinder Rich Lee has more than seven implants, including magnets in his finger tips which twitch in response to electro-magnetic fields.

"You can feel it because all those nerves in your fingertips have grown around the magnet and it has a texture and you're feeling this otherwise invisible world," he said.

Mr Lee also has magnets in his ears which serve as earphones: "being able to hear through walls is cool."

Yes.

And Mr Meow-Meow warns would-be biohackers against trying to implant themselves with DIY kits.

"Anything that's put under the skin provides an environment in which bacteria can grow," he said.

"This is why it's very important that you go and see a professional."

Hmmm.

Aside from physical modifications, the race is also on to reach a new, super intelligence.

Billionaire Elon Musk wants to develop a neural lace which would layer onto the human brain and connect digitally to AI.

Without it, he says humans will risk becoming like a "house pet", because AI will eventually outstrip human intelligence perhaps this century.

Mr Xing says all this is vital so humans don't lose their jobs to robots and it will also help us adapt to space travel.

"The question is at what point does the incorporation of all this technology make us a different species and what are the ethics behind that?"

Watch Margot O'Neill's report tonight on Lateline at 9.30pm on ABC News 24 or 10.30pm on ABC TV.

Topics: science-and-technology, pseudo-science, biology, robots-and-artificial-intelligence, australia

First posted February 23, 2017 06:02:40

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Transhumanists, biohackers, grinders: Who are they and can they really live forever? - ABC Online

Wow! Really? The Hungarian-American Transhumanist Who Wants to Become a CyborgAnd Live Forever – Hungary Today

In the latest installment of our new (semi)regular segment, Wow! Really?, we examine little-known or unexpected facts about Hungary and Hungarian culture. Today, we turn to a Hungarian-American who wants to fundamentally change the nature of humanity.

Zoltn Istvn, a Hungarian-American journalist entrepreneur, and candidate in last years US presidential election, is one of the leading voices in the world of Transhumanism, a movement whose core belief is that, through the extensive use of technology and scientific advancement, humans will eventually be able to live forever.

Speaking to The Atlantic, Istvn likewise described how he came to embrace the tenants of transhumanism. The former journalist came to this realization in 2003, when, while working for National Geographic in Vietnam, he nearly activated a landmine. This experience led him to quit journalism and become a full-time advocate for transhumanism: I thought, death is horrible,How can we get around it?

Likewise, Istvn is extremely enthusiastic about the integration of technology and the human body. He has a chip implanted in his hand that opens his front door at a wave, and would like to replace his limbs with bionics so he can throw perfectly in water polo. He sees such physical integration of humans and machines as a key part of the future, and told the Atlantic that he would be surprised if we dont start merging our children with machines in the near future.

Istvn has appeared at events all over the world promoting his vision of a future that many would consider to be something straight out of science fiction; last summer, he took part in the Brain Bar Budapest festival, a gathering of world class scientists and thinkers held in June in the Hungarian capital. You can view his Brain Bar discussion below:

Upon launching his 2016 presidential campaign, Istvn took Transhumanism on the road, driving around the US spreading his message in his signature Immortality Bus, a campaign bus that had been modified to look like a coffin. While traveling as the self-described science candidate, he received plenty of criticism for the atheistic nature of his views, particularly in more religious areas of the country. By his own admission, however, Istvns goal in running was never to win, but rather to increase the visibility of, and drum up support for, the idea of transhumanism.

And the idea itself is catching on, particularly in Silicon Valley, where it would seem that dreams of immortality are dancing in tech barons heads. Nor was the 2016 election Zoltans last foray into politics; earlier this month, the journalist-entrepreneur-transhumanism evangelist announced his intention to run for Governor of California as a Libertarian.

If all this wasnt enough, Zoltn Istvn is also the self-proclaimed inventor of an entirely new extreme sport: Volcano Boarding.

Wow!.Really?

Via BBC, the Atlantic, the Guardian, zoltanistvan.com, and Newsweek

Images via memory-alpha.wikia.com, zoltanistvan.com, the BBC,

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Wow! Really? The Hungarian-American Transhumanist Who Wants to Become a CyborgAnd Live Forever - Hungary Today

Are We Mature Enough to Deal with Climate Change? – Yahoo News

The world is getting hotter, as the scientists predicted. Not a week seems to go by without some new temperature record being set or some new sign emerging that the climate and other natural systems are changing more rapidly than they should be. The strong correlation between our excessive burning of fossil fuels and global warming is becoming a more compelling argument every day. Despite this, however, arguments over anthropogenic climate change and what to do about it continue with seemingly little progress being made in some countries.

The current national governments in the USA and Australia, for example, are making the case for increasing fossil fuel consumption and creating and developing new sources. They are at the same time actively obstructing action to address climate change. They are doing this on several fronts; the science is un-proven, it is not politically expedient, any action will retard economic growth and the latest, lack of base-load power will compromise energy security.

I argue, however, that the argument is not primarily about science, politics, the economy or energy security, but whether we are mature enough to deal with it. This is a deep philosophical argument, thousands of years old, over what we understand to be the best trajectory of development for human beings.

One side of the argument sees our best trajectory to be transcendence of nature. This has long been a position of several religious traditions but is now also represented by the secular philosophy of transhumanism. The other sees our best trajectory to be an eventual re-connection with nature. This is also a position held by some religious traditions and is also represented by several secular, holistic philosophies. Which side prevails in this age old debate will largely determine our future.

The fact that we have an anthropogenic warming problem at all indicates that it is the transhumanist position which is currently prevailing and has been for some time. In its current manifestation, this position represents the dream of what philosopher Isiah Berlin called negative freedom; freedom from all constraints as opposed to positive freedom, or freedom to, which recognizes constraints as the condition for freedom.

Transhumanism is generally regarded as a fringe philosophy promoted by extremists such as Max More and Ray Kurzweil. They predict and welcome a future technological singularity in which our machines will become self-conscious and in doing so, exceed our own intelligence. This will necessitate us fusing with our machines in order to survive, becoming omnipotent, immortal cyborgs in the process (if the machines let us).

It is this wet dream which inspired the controversial novel, The Transhumanist Wager, written by self-declared transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan. In this story, the protagonist, transhumanist philosopher, Jethro Knights, goes about creating his own omnipotence at the expense of anyone who chooses to obstruct him. The novel has been described as a modern version of Atlas Shrugged, the infamous novel written by the philosopher of selfishness, Ayn Rand.

For Jethro Knights, the height of human development is total self-interest and the ability to use any means which will ensure ones own autonomy and immortality. Any concern for others, including other species and future generations, is considered irrational. Knights, a scientific materialist and crude utilitarian sees nature, purely as a resource to be utilized to provide for his needs. In this, he and transhumanism in general, continues the destructive utilitarian tradition of 16th Century philosopher, Francis Bacon.

To regard transhumanists as a lunatic fringe would be a serious mistake. Thinkers such as Katherine Hayles, Philip Mirowski and Australian philosopher, Arran Gare, reveal transhumanism to be the dominant philosophy of our time with links to computer science, scientific management, neo-liberalism, supply-side economics and anti-democratic corporatocracies. It is transhumanist philosophy which is driving the human quest for omnipotence, through for example, the generation of high energy demanding abstract electronic virtual worlds created at the expense of natural systems, such as climate systems.

The problem with transhumanisms ideal development goal, however, is that it is a form of retarded development. It aspires to the ego-centric cognitive level of a three or four year old child and remains there (what psychologists term the pre-operational stage). Rather than a new utopia, it is creating an all too familiar dystopia run by self-centered and self-deluded brats. This has been revealed by a long history of developmental psychology examining stages of moral and consciousness development.

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Perhaps the best synopsis and synthesis of this history is provided by the enigmatic philosopher and psychologist, Ken Wilber. He links the perennial philosophies associated with the axial period to the more modern theories of those such as Kohlberg, Loevinger, Maslow, Piaget, Gilligan and Habermas, as well as modern neuroscience. What emerges is a convergent story of what constitutes a good human development process. This is one which involves the integration and transcendence of ego-centrism and the continual de-centering of the self. It involves an expansion of consciousness over time to include larger wholes, from understanding your immediate primary relationships to understanding yourself as one with the universe.

A key component of this story is our relationship with technologies, particularly information technologies. At an early age human beings enter the semiotic realm of information technologies augmenting our abilities to think abstractly and synchronically. This is a condition for the development of our self-consciousness, but one which also has an alienating effect separating us from our worlds and each other. Much of our lives are then spent trying to understand this alienation and the nature of our relationships with everything.

In the holistic process tradition I represent, which has similarities to Buddhist views such as Wilbers, maturity comes through the ability to re-connect. It is the ability to create a coherent narrative out of the fragments of a life and create a sense of wholeness. It is coming to understand that the feelings of separateness we suffer are abstract and that we always were, and are, connected with everything and everyone. One does not transcend nature; one transcends the abstractions which alienate us from it.

Human-generated climate change, therefore, is not the product of super beings but of under-developed ones, also known as transhumanists. The obstructions to effectively dealing with it are being produced by ego-centric three-year-olds living small and fragmented lives and throwing tantrums whenever adults try to impose constraints on their bad behavior. As I said, it is the dream of negative freedom; freedom from constraints such as responsibility for anything other than yourself. But as some of our more mature philosophers have understood as well as any responsible parent, there can be no freedom without suitable constraints, such as a narrow global temperature range suitable for life.

Humanity, therefore, has a choice: do we end our lives as we live them, alienated and dissatisfied, using the resentment this creates to destroy all life in our self-interest, or, do we seek to re-connect to feel at home in our world and universe? Those few mature people left in our society have come to understand their co-dependent nature and the natural limits to human progress. They have learned that what gives life meaning does not generate much greenhouse gas. Our experiment with giving power to children is failing. In order to avoid the worst of climate change, we must put our trust again in the wisdom that only comes with maturity and re-connection.

Featured image by Karlostachys Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Are We Mature Enough to Deal with Climate Change? - Yahoo News

Zoltan Istvan, Nick Bostrom, and the Anti-Aging Quest – The Atlantic – The Atlantic

So, you dont want to die? I asked Zoltan Istvan, then the Transhumanist candidate for president, as we sat in the lobby of the University of Baltimore one day last fall.

No, he said, assuredly. Never.

Istvan, an atheist who physically resembles the pure-hearted hero of a Soviet childrens book, explained that his life is awesome. In the future, it will grow awesomer still, and he wants to be the one to decide when it ends. Defying aging was the point of his presidential campaign, the slogan of which could have been Make Death Optional for Once. To (literally) drive the point home, he circled the nation in the Immortality Bus, a brown bus spray-painted to look like a coffin.

He knew hed lose, of course, but he wanted his candidacy to promote the cause of transhumanismthe idea that technology will allow humans to break free of their physical and mental limitations. His platform included, in part, declaring aging a disease. He implanted a chip in his hand so he could wave himself through his front door, and he wants to get his kids chipped, too. Hed be surprised, he told me, if soon we dont start merging our children with machines. Hed like to replace his limbs with bionics so he can throw perfectly in water polo. Most of all, he wants to stick around for a couple centuries to see it all happen, perhaps joining a band or becoming a professional surfer, a long white beard trailing in his wake.

Istvan made his fortunes in the real-estate business, but in 2003, he was working as a reporter for National Geographic in Vietnam when he almost tripped a landmine. The experience shook him so badly he quit journalism and devoted his life to transhumanism. I thought, death is horrible, he told me. How can we get around it?

But his central goalpushing the human lifespan far beyond the record 122 years and possibly into eternityis one shared by many futurists in Silicon Valley and beyond. Investor Peter Thiel, who sees death as the great enemy of man, is writing checks to researchers like Cynthia Kenyon, who doubled the life-spans of worms through gene-hacking, as the Washington Post reported last April. Oracle founder Larry Ellison has thrown hundreds of millions toward anti-aging research, according to Inc magazine, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched the Google subsidiary Calico specifically with the goal of curing death. Under President Donald Trump, the quest for immortality might pick up steam: Among the candidates he is reportedly considering to head the Food and Drug Administration is Jim ONeill, who sits on the board of the anti-aging SENS Research Foundation.

Some life-extension endeavors are already here. Several companies already offer cryogenic freezing to people who wish to have their dead bodies cooled with liquid nitrogen and stored for centuries, with the hope that new medical technologies will by then be available to re-animate them. A British teenager who sued for the right to be cryogenically frozen after her death from cancer in October now floats in frosty slumber in a Michigan cryostat facility.

Meanwhile, scientists in California are expected to launch a clinical trial in which participants will have their blood cleaned of age-related proteins, the Guardian reported, with the goal of helping them live longer and healthier lives. A drug called rapamycin, which extended the lives of mice by a quarter, is also being tested. The thinking is, if we figure out what chemical event signals to the body that its time to wrap things up, said Sheldon Solomon, a psychology professor at Skidmore College, you could be at a certain age for a long time.

The billionaire technologists obsession with living forever can approach a sort of parody. Oracles Ellison once said, Death makes me very angry"suggesting this pillar of nature is just another consumer pain-point to be relieved with an app.

But lets assume, for the sake of argument, that it can be. Lets say human lives will soon get radically longeror even become unending. The billionaires will get their way, and death will become optional.

If we really are on the doorstep of radical longevity, its worth considering how it will change human society. With no deadline, will we still be motivated to finish things? (As a writer, I assure you this is difficult.) Or will we while away our endless days, amusing ourselves towell, the Process Formerly Known as Deathwhile we overpopulate the planet? Will Earth become a paradise of eternally youthful artists, or a hellish, depleted nursing home? The answers depend on, well, ones opinion about the meaning of life.

I didnt realize how much mainstream support there was for eternal life until I had dinner with a friend who, its worth noting, is even more traditional than I amhes not even on Twitter.

I interviewed this guy who wants to live forever, I said. Isnt that wild?

What do you mean? my friend asked. You dont want to live forever?

If he never died, he explained, he could finally pursue all the hobbies and dreams hes never had time for. Even alternate careers, like architecture. (Hes a lawyer.) Hes never quite understood calculus, but with all the time in the world, he could master it. He would take a sabbatical every four years to travel the world.

Ill admit, his passion for a long life of solving integrals and kayaking through rainforests did drag me closer to the immortality corner. Even if I extended my life by just a few years, I could finally get to the bottom of my Netflix and Pocket queues.

And I had been silently dismissing life-extension enthusiasts spiels about seeing their great-great-grandkids grow up, since I dont have kids and probably never will.

Butbutif I was certain I could stay sharp and energetic well into my 90s, maybe my stance on motherhood would change. I wouldnt worry so much about kids cutting into my productivity if my ability to produce was limitless. Sure, Id probably have a few sleepless nights and groggy days in the early years. (Unless, of course, Silicon Valley really gets cracking on those robot wet-nurses.) But once Olga Jr. was out of the house and working as a Martian News correspondent or whatever, I could more than make up for lost time.

This feeling of abundant possibility is one of the chief motivations of the pro-longevity crowd. Projects and ambitions like mastering every musical instrument in the orchestra, writing a book in each of all the major languages, planting a new garden and seeing it mature, teaching ones great-great-grandchildren how to fish, traveling to Alpha Centauri, or just seeing history unfold over a few hundred years are not realistic: there is simply not enough time to achieve them given current life expectancy, wrote Nick Bostrom, an Oxford philosopher and grand-daddy of life-extension (so to speak), with fellow philosopher Rebecca Roache in 2008. But, they continue, if we could reasonably expect from an early age to live indefinitely, we could embark on projects designed to keep us occupied for hundreds or thousands of years.

Among the many downsides of dying is the prospect of never reaching ones full potential. Right now, Im projected to die when Im about 82. But what if it takes me until I'm 209 to write the great American blog post?

Still, a common fear about life in our brave, new undying world is that it will just be really boring, says S. Matthew Liao, director of the Center for Bioethics at New York University. Life, Liao explained, is like a partyit has a start and end time. We get excited because the partys going on for an hour, and we dont want to miss it. We try to make the most of it while were there.

But imagine theres a party that doesnt end, he continued. It would be bad, because youd think, I could go there tomorrow, or a month from now. Theres no urgency to go to the party anymore.

The Epicureans of ancient Greece thought about it similarly, Solomon said. They saw life as a feast: If you were at a meal, youd be satiated, then stuffed, then repulsed, he said. Part of what makes each of us uniquely valuable is the great story. We have a plot, and ultimately it concludes.

Dan McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, explains that people make sense of their lives through narrative arcs. Without an ending, there cant be a story. How would we process life events differently, given infinite do-overs? For example, because we have a vague sense that people are supposed to die at roughly 80, we now grieve people who die at 20 more than those who die at 78. But if people began living to 500, that might change, McAdams pointed out. There might be far more tragedy in the world if were mourning the loss of every 90-year-old the way we now would a child. Were just so much trained by evolution and culture to know that our life is going to be relatively short and constrained, he said, and to be somewhat cautious so we dont screw it all up. (Of course, if technology also makes us smarter as it makes us live longer, who knows what types of new arcs well construct for ourselves.)

Bostrom dismisses the thought that theres something about impending death that adds meaning or motivation to our days. It often seems the young are most energetically pursuing different kinds of activities, and the closer you get to death, the more people lean back, he told me. Partly its due to their reduced energy and health.

Which, of course, he hopes we can fix.

Once living longer becomes possible, who will get to do it? Istvan believes life-extension technology should be available to everyone, not just the wealthy. He supports a universal health-care system with life extension as one of its core benefits. (Health-care costs wouldnt spiral out of control, he and some others think, because the longer-living humans would also be healthier. Istvan plans to pay for this universal Zoltancare by selling government land in the western United States.)

Others believe that soon after life-extending technology becomes available, the price will drop rapidly and it will become attainable by mostjust as occurred with personal computers.

But the worry in the short-term, is what happens? The rich could get richer and the poor could get poorer, Liao said. Because the rich could afford to extend their lives first, and life-extenders could amass more resources over the course of their long lives, income inequality could grow even more profound.

Then again, thats how things work now. If someone comes up with a new cancer drug, we dont say lets not use it until every person has access to it, Bostrom told me. By that logic, we should stop kidney transplants.

Even if eternal life gets equitably distributed, theres still the problem of what to do with all the excess centenarians running around. Eventually, were going to run out of room here on Earth. One solution would be to dramatically curtail reproduction, focusing instead on the health and longevity of those already here. As the philosopher Jan Narveson put it, we are in favor of making people happy, but neutral about making happy people. That might mean, though, that you wont have a great-great-great-grandkid to attend the dance-recitals of.

There is a chance that worrying less about death might short-circuit our naturally tribalist natures, easing resource-allocation issues in the process. Solomon, the Skidmore psychologist, researches terror management theory, which suggests the knowledge of our eventual demise makes people psychologically retrench. Being reminded of death causes study subjects to adhere more firmly to their existing worldview, mistrust outsiders more, and even to, ahem, support charismatic leaders who may not be very qualified. So in some ways, eliminating the prospect of death might make us want to ratify all the climate treaties and equitably divvy up the worlds food supply.

... That is, of course, unless immortality has the opposite effect, making us paranoid that well die too soon for no reason. After all, even if we can eliminate aging, we cant eliminate chance. Lets say you expected to live to 5,000 and your heads being frozen, theres a power outage, and it turns into a pile of mush, Solomon said. We might become even more hyper-vigilant.

Liao and others think one answer to the overcrowding problem might be interstellar space travelwhich, they assume, will be invented by then. When Earth turns into an overpopulated dump, Liao says, the immortal can just hop between planets.

I told him an eternity spent on Venus among youthful billionaires does not appeal to me.

What if all your friends go to Venus? he asked. He offered an earthly comparison: Youll be here while everyones in Brooklyn?

(Everyones already in Brooklyn, though, and Im still here in Northern Virginia.)

Space travel is also how Liao envisions us overcoming the boredom problem. Right now, the journey between solar systems is too long for a human to accomplish in a normal lifespan, but with life extension, that wont be a concern anymore. We wont run out of things to do, the thinking goes, because there will always be another planet to explore. Well all cheerfully grow old aboard our interstellar minivan.

And in general, Liao explained, humans engage in lots of pleasures that arent repetitive, like forming new relationships, making music, learning things, and experiencing natural wonders.

If thats what human existence is about, and you can continue to do that, why not be able to live longer? he asked me.

I guess I do like hiking, I said.

You might even enjoy hiking on Mars, he said.

Eh, dont push it.

* * *

The somber side to the debate is whether life extension will cause us to lose our appreciation for natural human vulnerability. In other words, society might begin to preference those who have swallowed anti-aging drugs, making un-enhanced humans a sort of rotting underclass.

Parents who have babies with mild disabilities might be blamed for not doing Gattaca, as Liao puts it. (Istvans platform reads, Develop science and technology to be able to eliminate all disabilities in humans who have them.) Well have to wrestle with whether those who dont take fountain-of-youth pills should be charged more for health insurance. Worse yet, by jetting off to a new planet, the enhanced and immortal could abandon Earth to mere mortals, the cruelest and most extreme form of segregation.

Life-extensionists zeal for perfect cells does, to some, sound like an invective against uniqueness. Thats what Melinda Hall, a philosophy professor at Stetson University and author of a recent book about transhumanism, takes issue with. People with disability are saying, this is a primary part of my identity, she told me, so when youre saying you want to get rid of disability, it sounds genocidal.

Istvan dismisses disability-rights advocates as a fringe minority, saying I would bet my arm that the great majority of disabled people will be very happy when transhumanist technology gives them the opportunity to fulfill their potential. (Betting your arm is, of course, no biggie when you can just get a bionic one.)

In general, Hall said, the transhumanists have the wrong idea about the problems facing humanity. People are going to be starving and dying, but were going to build a colony on Mars? she said, Thats going to cost billions of dollars, and I think that should be spent somewhere else.

Of course, that wont stop the billionaires from following their dreams. Perhaps our best hope is that on the path to immortality, theyll discover something useful to broader swathes of society. Metformin, an old diabetes drug recently shown to extend the life of animals, is now being tested as an anti-aging pill. If it really does allow people to stay healthy in old age, some would regard it a public health revolutioneven if it fails to help Peter Thiel meet his cyborg-descendants in 2450.

In that way, todays life extensionists might follow the proud tradition of other explorers who shot for another galaxy and ended up straddling the moon. The alchemists write about trying to find elixirs of gold and immortality. They never find that, but they discovered chemistry, Solomon said. Ponce de Leon never found the fountain of youth, but he found Florida.

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Zoltan Istvan, Nick Bostrom, and the Anti-Aging Quest - The Atlantic - The Atlantic

Why Elon Musk’s transhumanism claims may not be that far-fetched – Wired.co.uk

Kirill_Savenko/iStock

We must all become cyborgs if we are to survive the inevitable robot uprising. That's the message from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who wants to send the human race to Mars. At the World Government Summit in Dubai, Musk argued that to avoid becoming redundant in the face of artificial intelligence we must merge with machines to enhance our own intellect. The merging of humans and machines is happening now

"Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence," Musk said at a Tesla launch in Dubai, according to a report in CNBC. "It's mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output."

Transhumanism, the enhancement of humanitys capabilities through science and technology, is already a living reality for many people, to varying degrees. Documentary-maker Rob Spence replaced one of his own eyes with a video camera in 2008; amputees are using prosthetics connected to their own nerves and controlled using electrical signals from the brain; implants are helping tetraplegics regain independence through the BrainGate project. At the lo-fi end of the spectrum, aspiring cyborgs have been implanting magnets under their skin for years. In the February issue of WIRED, former director of the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arati Prabhakar, wrote: From my perspective, which embraces a wide swathe of research disciplines, it seems clear that we humans are on a path to a more symbiotic union with our machines.

But the theory isn't new. In March 2013, Zoltan Istvan published a novel called The Transhumanist Wager. The book asks a simple question: how far would you go to fight an anti-science world in order to live indefinitely through transhumanism? Protagonist Jethro Knights would start a world war - and does so in the book. It is seen, by some, as a political manifesto and 18 months after publishing it, Istvan announced he was running for the US presidency.

"Transhumanism will lead humanity forward to understand what seems like a simple truth: that the spectre of ageing and death are unwanted, and we should strive to control and eliminate them," Istvan said last year. "Today, the idea of conquering death with science is still seen as strange. So is the idea of merging with machines - one of transhumanists' most important long-term goals. But once bionic eyes are better than human eyes - something that will likely happen within the next decade or so - the elective upgrades will start. So will using robots for household chores and getting chip implants (I have one in my hand). So will CRISPR genetic editing create a new age of curing of disease and enhancing our physical form."

These separate, yet parallel, views suggest Musks claims are not particularly far-fetched. For many people, phones, tablets and laptops are near to hand through most of the day - the Tesla boss simply believes we will need to integrate that processing power, rather than keep it exterior. The resulting potential of this would be extraordinary. At the Dubai Summit, Musk compared our current communication capability (typing) of 10 bits per second, to that of a computers, at a trillion bits per second.

"Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem."

Justin Sullivan/Getty

According to the CNBC report, Musk went on to call the future of AI, at a time when it eventually outsmarts humanity, as dangerous. The founder is part of the Future of Life Institute, a group of academics, activists, scientists and technologists that have tasked themselves with safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future. In 2015 the group, which includes Stephen Hawking and Morgan Freeman, warned that a global robotic arms race would be "virtually inevitable" unless a ban were to be imposed on autonomous weapons. Meet Earth's Guardians, the real-world X-men and women saving us from existential threats

Musks seemingly pessimistic outlook is not at odds with the optimism of his own work, but a reasoned prediction of what could come to be if human oversight is not at the heart of artificial intelligence progress. His latest statement seems to imply that to keep on top of that role, we will need to become the machine. He is not alone in his concerns, either. At WIRED2016, pioneer in deep learning neural networks Jrgen Schmidhuber warned that robots will eventually colonise our galaxy

Despite being at the launch of his own semi-autonomous car brand, Musks statements were designed to encourage society to ensure tech like his does not put everyone out of a job, predicting that 12-15 per cent of the global workforce will be unemployed 20 years from now as a result of AI. Autonomous cars will be spearheading that change. It was a kind of, sorry, not sorry, statement from the billionaire.

There are many people whose jobs are to drive. In fact, I think it might be the single largest employer of people...driving in various forms. So we need to figure out new roles for what do those people do, but it will be very disruptive and very quick."

Originally posted here:

Why Elon Musk's transhumanism claims may not be that far-fetched - Wired.co.uk

Mark O’Connell’s Journey Among the Immortalists – The Ringer (blog)

Few people want to die. Nevertheless, like taxes and The Big Bang Theory reruns, death is an inevitability of the modern human condition. Its the status quo. And tech-sector eccentrics adore little more than disrupting the status quo, which is why Slate books columnist Mark OConnell zagged from a dingy warehouse full of surly biohackers in Pittsburgh to various Bay Area dive bars to a tour bus shaped like a coffin, surveying Americas subcultures devoted to living forever. The result is To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death, a travelogue through the well-funded fringe communities seeking to live forever.

OConnells book is skeptical but not cynical, and it functions as a witty overview of transhumanism, a movement defined by the desire to use technology to enhance and eventually transcend the mortal body, as well as a meditation on how people deal with death. Last summer, I attended an immortality conference, and my experience there made To Be a Machine mandatory reading.

Many of the same people I saw at the conference showed up as subjects of OConnells book, including excessively bearded scientist Aubrey de Grey, who has proclaimed that the first person who will live to be 1,000 years old is alive today. Theres also hardbody transhumanist Max More, who sells the chance to live forever as the CEO of the Arizona-based cryonics company Alcor, which charges people to freeze their bodies and brains, with the assumption that science will figure out a way to revive them later.

I called up OConnell, who lives in Dublin, to learn more about what happened on his raucous reporting journey for To Be a Machine. This interview has been edited and condensed.

One of the reasons I loved your book is that it uses philosophy, literature, and mythology to illustrate the ideas that transhumanists and life extensionists have. Even though they can seem like new-fangled science-fiction, theyre really manifestations of the old human desire to live forever. I know you have a background in writing about literature, so Im curious what sparked your interest to go on this journey of writing about transhumanism and life-extension movements, specifically?

I was intrigued by this stuff for a really long time before it occurred to me that I might be able to write a book about it. I used to work for a magazine in Ireland, years ago, after I left college. I stumbled across transhumanism on some website and I wrote a short piece about it. I went back and read it while I was writing the book, and its a frivolous, crappy pieceyou know the pieces you wrote years ago and youre kind of ashamed ofbut it never went away, I was always thinking about the topic.

I dont want to say Im preoccupied with death, but, like everyone else, I think about it a lot. I think about how weird it is that were alive and dying, and we all know this is happening to us, and we dont ignore it, but we sublimate it in various ways. I like literature that approaches that. Not only does transhumanism come from the same place as religion, but a lot of art comes from the same place as well. Its this sense that this is unacceptable; its a bullshit situation that we have to die.

I think whats weird and interesting and crazy about transhumanism is that, while I dont want to characterize it as very American, it has this American, can-do, capitalist attitude, where you roll up your sleeves and you attack the problem and throw money at it and think, We can do this thing. [The book] rolled together all these things I was fascinated with anyways, like salesmanship. Theres a lot of really great, eccentric salesmen in the movement. Ive always been drawn to people who are great at selling stuff. And I think the salesmanship aesthetic is very American, and Im interested in that aspect of American culture. It was a way to write about America that wasnt just European guy goes to America and just walks around in wide-eyed bafflement at American culture, but a way that was more oblique and specific than that.

I attended an immortality conference last year, and I found it upsetting how much of the immortality movement that I saw on that weekend was focused around buying products and services. I saw people who seemed like true believers, but at the same time they were also selling stuff. It made me concerned that it was just a big grift. I was wondering, since you met with a lot of the same people, like [transhumanist presidential candidate] Zoltan Istvan and Max More, what you think of their motivations. Do you think most of them are true believers?

There were moments where I felt it was just a sales pitch, a grift. But I think the true salesman is someone who is not a grifter. They believe absolutely in what theyre selling. I dont think, on any level, for any of those people, its just snake oil. I think it goes much deeper than that, and in a very personal way theyre obsessed with these technologies and possibilities. In a way they are unable to see the extent to which it looks like a bunch of baloney to most people. But it is fascinating how smoothly this stuff segues into money-making.

Peter Thiel is not a huge figure in my book. I never met with him, and hes mostly lurking in the background throughout the book, but in almost all of the major technologies that I looked into, his money was there, or thereabouts. I think he sees a way to make massive amounts of money with all of these technologies. Whether hes right or not, I have no idea. Its definitely that, but its also a true belief that this is a way to address the problems of the human condition. And I think thats the truth for most of these people. Ive never met anyone who was at once such an amazing salesman and someone who clearly believes absolutely in everything hes selling as Aubrey de Grey. So, yeah, I think the two things arent mutually exclusive.

Aubrey de Grey ended up moving from London to Silicon Valley because it was a better culture fit for his life-extension project. A lot of time in the book is spent in Silicon Valley, and it seems like a hub for transhumanism and the life-extension movement. I think that follows from the overall Silicon Valley culture of techno-utopianism. Did your feelings about Silicon Valleys culture change over the course of this book? Did you become more of a believer or more of a skeptic as you were researching?

Im not sure Id be comfortable saying it went in either direction completely. I went into it definitely very skeptical. But I also really did not want to go in with a skeptical attitude and come out having my skepticism confirmed. I wanted to emerge slightly different from the experience of reporting and writing the book than I went in. I dont know if that actually happened. Id love to be converted to radical techno-optimism, but it was never going to happen. Im not wired that way, to use a slightly transhumanist-sounding term. But I wanted to at least be open to the possibility. While my attitude never really changed, I became more open to people who have those attitudes. I could see what it meant to them, whereas before I would have just seen a bunch of rubes or grifters or wide-eyed, nave optimists. In every case I saw something much more complex than that, much more human and sophisticated and messy.

I both loved and was afraid of your discussion of artificial intelligence, where you go over how some of the figures in the book believe that AI is a potential key to immortality, since it could possibly allow people to upload their consciousness. But then you talk to other people who believe that AI could destroy humanity, because the artificial intelligence would end up killing humans as part of its programming imperative. And those are such different, extreme conclusions of what AI can do.

You get people who believe both at the same time. Which is not completely irrational. But you get people who think that AI could or very likely will destroy us all. Most of them believe if that doesnt happen, well be setwell be uploaded to the cloud and be powerful and intelligent and itll be great. We just have to forestall the annihilation issue.

Thats a really strong example of where I would be speaking to people who were incredibly rational, and in most cases were so far ahead of my intelligence that I could barely keep up, but at the same time I was thinking, This is crazy, and these people are nuts. As a journalist, its kind of uncomfortable to be the dumbest person in the room, but there were so many situations when I was writing that book where I felt like a bit of a dud. I probably shouldve done a crash course in basic coding or formal logic before I embarked on the book. Didnt happen.

In the chapter The Wanderlodge of Eternal Life you describe riding around in a coffin-shaped tour bus with Zoltan Istvan, who is this transhumanist figurehead. You also describe Roen Horn, Zoltans sidekick, who is saving himself for a sex bot. He doesnt eat or drink that much, and I was honestly not sure if he was going to be OK based on your depiction of him. Im wondering if you kept in touch.

Were friends on Facebook, and Ive talked to him since. That chapter was excerpted on The New York Times Magazine [February 9], so I know he read that. Youre always wary of how people will react to their depictions, and people might read about Roen in the book and in the excerpt and think, Wow, this guy is off the charts completely. So I wondered if he was going to see a distorted version of himself in that depiction. You try not to do that, but its impossible not to reflect people in different ways than they see themselves. But he was fine with it! He thought it was good promotion for his eternal life racket. Hes still doing what he was doing when I hung out with him. Hes still doing the Eternal Life Fan Club and hes living with his parents.

He subsequently, and this shouldnt have surprised me at all, but he became a really vocal Trump supporter at a certain point after the election, after the coffin-bus episode. Hes a very eccentric guy who knows what his motivations were, but at some point he started to see Trump as the vehicle who will deliver eternal life. I think hes still there; Im not sure. He seems to have adopted his philosophy to the current political climate.

Maybe hes taking his cues from Peter Thiel.

Who knows, if youre susceptible to the sales pitch of eternal life, you might certainly be open to the pitch of making America great again.

Whats your relationship like with the other people you wrote about in the book? Was Zoltan happy with his depiction in the New York Times Magazine excerpt?

Yes, Zoltan was super happy; he was delighted. Hes obviously a guy who likes to promote himself in whatever way he can. You try to represent someone as accurately as you can, and there are certain comic elements to Zoltan as a person that you cant ignore. There was always the possibility that hed be uncomfortable with it, but he was thrilled. So thats good. Im not sure what his next move is, I think hes doing quite well [from the] self-promotion that hes getting from the tour, so hell continue to capitalize on that. There may be more political gambits.

As far as the other people I wrote about, I havent really been in touch with them since stopping reporting beyond checking up on things here and there. I dont really do that. Its not like I spent all that much time with them. I wasnt living with any particular person for a long period of time. Id hope that theyre not going to be disgusted about it, or sue me or my publishers, but you never know. People have different reactions to things.

I want to talk about the grinder community [a group of people who want to augment their bodies with technology to live extended or infinite lives as cyborgs]. When you went to Pittsburgh to meet biohackers, I thought it was interesting that the grinder subculture seems a lot grittier and DIY-focused and much less into the idea of courting corporate interests and Peter Thiel than, say, the artificial intelligence research community. Do you have any theories on why the grinders are less interested in going corporate, why theyre rougher around the edges?

Grinders are inherently quite extreme people. Theyre dedicated, and they were much different from the other transhumanists Id met. Most of the people I spent time with were very scientific people, and they had much more in common with any other kind of scientist than with the grinders. Theyre an anomaly within transhumanism. They dont have that much connection to the overall movement; theyre not really that big a part of the community. They do call themselves transhumanists, but theyre sort of punk. What theyre doing is literally and physically so extreme. They get a kick out of that in the same way extreme body-piercing people would. So theres a visceral element to it thats absent from transhumanism more generally. The DIY element attracts a particular kind of person, and the personalities were completely different. I guess most transhumanists are fascinated by the idea of grinders and becoming cyborgs but they dont want to do the disgusting stuff, where you put a giant whatever under your skin. I regretted not getting to see implants being done. That wouldve been a thing I missed out on in the book, but Im kind of glad I didnt as well. Im sort of squeamish.

I was going to ask, what would it take for you to get technology implanted in your body?

I did think about it. At a certain point I thought it might be a good thing for the book, if I had that kind of extreme, edgy experience. But I dont think I cared about the book that much, to be honest.

I dont think you needed to get cut open for it. Ive seen photographs of [book subject Tim Cannons body-monitoring] implant and they still haunt my dreams.

It was enough for me, in terms of extreme experiences, to see video of Tim getting the implant done. I mean, people have done it. In a way its an obvious thing for a writer to do, and I think a guy who wrote for Vice did that, and a German magazine. So I didnt go down that road, nor would I have, probably. I wouldve come up with some medical excuse.

On the other end of the spectrum of people you interviewed, you went to a religious service for a group called Terasem. They dont do anything to their bodies, but they believe in the spiritual side of transhumanism. Im not sure where the meeting was happening. Was it in a church? How parallel was it to a traditional mosque or church or temple experience?

It was in a room in a veterans hall in Piedmont, California, which is where a transhumanist conference I was at was happening. Id been at the thing all day, and although this part comes late in the book, it was the first bit of reporting I did. So, it was my first experience with actual transhumanism. Itd been a really long day, and the conference was mostly quite boring, as conferences tend to be, and it was 9 oclock and I was thinking about getting out of there when the organizer told me that the Terasem thing was happening. We were in this makeshift room, and it was nothing like an actual religious meeting Ive ever been to, but my experience with religion is exclusively Catholicism and the Church of Ireland, where its grandiose. I imagine it might have something in common with Protestant church meetings, maybe Quakerism, in an odd way. It was one of the weirdest experiences I had writing the book. And it was the first thing that I did.

Did anyone else you talked to while reporting ever bring Terasem up? Did it seem like something most transhumanists even knew about? I went to its website and it hadnt been updated recently. The only updates from 2016 were posts that say Hacked By GeNErAL.

That was one of the things I noticed early on, that transhumanists are a group that is so deeply embedded in the culture of technology and futurism, but their websites are universally shitty and bad. The web design looks like it was made in the late 1990s and left to fester. It is surprisingly low-tech. But yeah, its very niche, even within the overall niche of transhumanism its a tiny niche. The conference [about religion and transhumanism] I went to was very badly attended, because while the overlap between transhumanism and religion does exist, within the movement its taboo. They in no way want to be connected to religion, they dont want to be seen as a cult at all, so things like Terasem are sort of noncanonical, if you know what I mean.

At the same time, Terasem comes from the writings and philosophies of [biotechnology CEO and Sirius XM founder] Martine Rothblatt, who is a significant figure in transhumanism. Shes a very wealthy woman who funds a lot of transhumanist endeavors, so its not completely obscure. People are curious about it, but its so obviously out there, even within the context of transhumanism. I could never get a grip on what it was, and I think my complete bafflement is obvious in the book. I had no idea what was happening in that meeting, and I dont think anyone else does either. I dont even think the guy who was holding the meeting knew what was happening. And its so full of obvious nonsense language, with no reference to anything in the world, that it was almost like a parody of religion in a way that was completely sincere.

Im curious how involved Martine is now in Terasem. Did you try to talk to her?

I reached out a couple times but never heard anything back. There was a big profile in New York magazine around the same time I started writing, and it was amazing. But I didnt get to meet her, and its a shame, but at the same time she didnt quite fit into any of the major things I was hoping to look at in the book. There were a couple people I tried to talk to who just werent into it, like Peter Thiel. You can imagine the channels you have to go [through] to get to him. I didnt hear back from him at all. [Ray] Kurzweil wasnt into talking either. Fair enough! I was always more interested in talking to the less-prominent people anyways.

I was also wondering if you had any luck talking to anyone who worked for Googles life-extension wing, Calico. Ive tried many times to get them to talk to me and have never had success.

Nor did I, so its not just you. It seems like a closed shop. They have no need to talk to the press. I guess they will at some point, when they have something to sell, but thats probably very far off. There was some writing around the margins, because Calico is the most interesting thing happening in that area. It sucks not to be able to write about that in a direct way. But I wouldve been getting their media pitch anyways, and thats not interesting.

Id always rather talk to regular employees instead of the press people. Its the only way to get information.

I guess I couldve gotten a car and driven up there and broken the door down. Maybe a better journalist would go do that, but I never got to that.

I think that would have been a really quick way to get arrested.

But it might have been interesting for the book!

Originally posted here:

Mark O'Connell's Journey Among the Immortalists - The Ringer (blog)

Transhumanist politician wants to run for governor of California – Engadget

"We need leadership that is willing to use radical science, technology, and innovationwhat California is famous for--to benefit us all," he wrote in a Newsweek article. "We need someone with the nerve to risk the tremendous possibilities to save the environment through bioengineering, to end cancer by seeking a vaccine or a gene-editing solution for it, to embrace startups that will take California from the world's 7th largest economy to maybe even the largest economy--bigger than the rest of America altogether."

When we spoke to him in November, Istvan made it clear that he would be looking at the Libertarian Party if he were to run for president again. Not only does he identify as libertarian, he also saw the benefit of working with a more established political party, instead of starting one from the ground up.

"The most important thing I learned from my presidential campaign is that this is a team sport," Istvan said in an email. "Without the proper managers, volunteers, spokespeople, and supporters, it's really impossible to make a dent in an election. That's part of the reason I joined the Libertarian Party for my governor run. They have tens of thousands of active supporters in California alone, so my election begins with real resources and infrastructure to draw upon. That's a large difference from my Presidential campaign, where we essentially were shoe-stringing it the whole time."

While Istvan says he considered running for local positions around the Bay Area, he described the competition as "fierce." He believes there's a better shot at snagging Republican and disgruntled Democrat votes by running against California Governor Gavin Newsom, who's already declared that he's running in the next gubernatorial election.

Istvan also sees the need for a pro-science and technology candidate today, especially given the Trump campaign's disdain for science. "This idea that we should drop environmental science, or be cautious on genetic engineering, or focus on the revitalization of nuclear weaponry is something I disagree with," he said. "I believe we should bet the farm on various radical technologies: artificial intelligence, gene therapies, 3D printed organs, driverless cars, drones, robots, stem cell tech, exoskeleton tech, virtual reality, brain wave neural prosthetics, to name a few. This is the way to grow an economy--with much creative innovation, what California is famous for."

Of course, just because Istvan wants to run doesn't mean he'll actually score the Libertarian Party nomination. His announcement, at this point, is basically just a statement of intent.

See more here:

Transhumanist politician wants to run for governor of California - Engadget

Stunning Transhumanism Dominates New ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Trailer – Inverse

Though Blade Runner is coming back this fall, Ghost in the Shell will give it a run for its cyberpunk money. As the Major (Scarlett Johansson) regains her quasi-human memories, her story doesnt just dabble in cyberpunk, it revels in it.

The arresting new trailer for Ghost in the Shell makes previous cyborg or transhumanist cyberpunk movies like The Matrix seem quaint. Literally everyone in in this trailer sports some kind of biohacking or cyborg accoutrements. But Scarlett Johanssons the Major mashes up visual cyberpunk cues with a convincing and totally immersive aesthetic. Its not just that the new Ghost in the Shell trailer looks cool; its that it looks believable.

Giving audiences the most extensive visual details yet, the trailer also introduces what will probably be the films primary baddie: the mysterious Kuze. In the narrative of previous iterations of Ghost in the Shell (a manga and an anime movie), the Majors human consciousness is put inside of robot body, making her a spiritual cyborg. In the new film, Kuze is seemingly at the center of the conspiracy surrounding her complex origin.

Ghost in the Shell opens on March 31.

Photos via Paramount/Dreamworks

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Stunning Transhumanism Dominates New 'Ghost in the Shell' Trailer - Inverse

Editor’s Picks #463 – Archinect

For the latest in the newish series, Small Studio Snapshots, Nicholas Korody chatted with Los Angeles-based studio MILLINS. Daniel Elmorefelt "these guys sound legit in their intentions and I'm looking forward to seeing what they produce in the future...The rest of the article is uncommonly decipherable for architects".

Plus, Stefano Colombo,Luca MarulloandEugenio Cosentino went "Looking for a picture that represents something related to the internet and ending up thinking about the desert."Max Headroom, F.AIA got excited "the phrase 'last existing encrypted space is genius on many many levels. exciting work!"

News In an interview with NPRs MarketPlace Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, explained how computers are superior (in some things) to human designers.JamesJoist got serious

"Spoken like true transhumanist scum; I often think AutoCAD was one of the worst things to happen to architecture. As you might expect the overall reception was poor."

Reacting to the all-female lineup for the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture's Spring '17 lecture series, b3tadine[sutures] quipped "Now I understand why SCI-Arc couldn't get any women to lecture, there aren't any left. Is SCI-Arc being run by former Jay Leno bookers?"

Steven Holl Architects released plansfor a, pair of white concrete buildings, new Cultural and Health Center in Shanghai.

With I am sure tongue firmly in cheek, archanonymous offered up Mr. Holl some advice "i love your work but if you don't do an emergency shelter and social housing in the next 5 years you're never going to get that Pritzker."tduds chimed in "Really, though, this is beautiful. Holl was a tough sell for me when I was younger but he's really won me over lately."

The AIA's Equity in Architecture Commission Releases Report, with its eleven priority recommendations for action, is required reading.

Mayfair House in London, UK by Squire and Partnersand Charles Street Car Park in Sheffield, UK by Allies and Morrison, are just two of the great projects from the latest Ten Top Images on Archinect's "Fancy Facades" Pinterest Board.

Firms/Work Updates Farzam Kharvaristarted Radio Architecture a new blog, and introduced himself.

Meanwhile, over at his blog Elemental Urbanism, James Pereirawrote about MaMuCre. Which led Max Headroom, F.AIAto note "David Ruy once said in my grad class Algorithms are recipes. The cooking analogy is great, always thought that was the best analogy and real portrayal of detailing in architecture."

For anyone looking for a new job and wanting to live in New Orleans,Eskew+Dumez+Rippleis looking to hire a Sustainability Enabler. Or the City and County of San Francisco needs an Urban Designer/Architect.

Anton Romashovbegan sharing photos of architecture (both modern and ancient) in Peru.

School/Blogs

Due to an unexpected surge in applications, the Free School of Architecture (FSA) will significantly increase its inaugural class size for 2017.

For a theory course at UIC, Jamie Evelyn Goldsboroughand her fellow students are researching an architectural typology that has been disrupted / effected by American capitalism. She selected Motels / Hotels. The project is heavily rooted in Eisenman's Frankfurt Rebstock Competition project of "the Fold." Jamie also posted a process drawing.

For those interested in a job in academia, University of Kentucky is accepting applications for either an Associate or Full Professor in Interior Design. Or an Associate or Full Professor, Director of Design Technology, with a focus on "developing, implementing and conducting courses that integrate technology within the curriculum."

UCLAAUD6 put out the call for POOL Issue No.2., submissions of communicative media surrounding the authorities that prescribe, the bodies that obey, and the administrators who implement rules. The deadline is February 20, 2017.

Discussions/Threads

johnshoe was looking for thoughts on the use of anADA Cheat Sheet. The earliest commenters recommended just learning ANSI A117.1 "Learn the code as it's written. You'll be more valuable to your firm, the profession, and the general public."senjohnblutarsky reminded folks of the Adobe "search function". As tintt sees it "Construction documents are supposed to be clear and concise and not have redundancies or conflicting information."

mbcube2 is in need of some career advice.Josh Mingsinitial response "I never would have taken such a pay cut. Volunteer is on point."gruen thought the story sounded familiar "Oh, is NBBJ still up to their old tricks? LOL, legendary."Contrary to manyshellarchitect counseled sticking it out "Having the local manager on your side is a great ally...I have a hard time believing that people would be purposely deceitful (wishful thinking?)...More likely the decision makers have changed."

Finally, daerquestioned how to structurally support his staircase, for a school project. Andrew.Circle expanded upon earlier suggestions from archanonymous and Non Sequitur. He also called attention to a deficient for the US guardrail, in the rendering. mightyaa answered the original question simply "Basic Physics" Later randomised posted an example from japan of a gorgeous staircase. (yet tduds nightmare) without a railing.

Additionally

ICYMI, back in November of last year, Keefer Dunn dove "into the failed thinking about the ways in which architecture creates change in order to unpack some of the lessons valuable to architects who are becoming activists and wondering what to do now."

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Editor's Picks #463 - Archinect

Meet the Body Hacker Trying to Become a Human Vibrator – Gizmodo – Gizmodo

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Rich Lee wants to give you an orgasma cyborgasm.

For years, Lee has been beset by a dream of becoming a human vibrator, a bionic man endowed with an implant designed explicitly to bring pleasure to the opposite sex. By upgrading his parts down under to include a tiny vibrating device implanted just below the skin, he hopes to also upgrade his status from average Utah dad to that of a cyborg-era Cassanova. Turn it on, and the device will give his male appendage machine-powered capabilities that rival some of the worlds most popular sex toys, at least in theory. He calls itwait for itthe Lovetron 9000. And he doesnt just envision this cybersexual future for himself. He wants to sell it to you, too.

Lee is a grinder, a member of a niche community of biohackers pushing the limits of what it means to be human by augmenting their bodies with all sorts of synthetic parts. He has tiny magnets implanted into his ear that function as built-in earbuds and other magnets in his finger just for fun. He has an implant to sense his temperature and another outfitted with near-field communication technology that he uses in conjunction with a text-to-speech app to make his phone read aloud bits of text.

In his most recent experiment, Lee installed tubes of energy-absorbing non-Newtonian foam under the skin of his leg to act as a sort of built-in shin guard. It was a disaster. After flying to California to have two friends with day jobs in the ER install the long, thin tubes of armor on both shins, his legs swelled up so much that his stitches burst, exposing the implant. Every time he stood up, his body was hit with a rush of sharp, tingling pain. One night, in a feat of grisly bravery, he braced for the worst and just yanked the implants out himself.

Still, he was not deterred. Some might view Lees body modification avocation as self-mutilation, but he sees it as self-improvement.

Someday Id like to live in a world where everything youre dealt is changeable, fluid, Lee told me. My conception of an ideal self is something like a Mr. Potato Head, where I can just swap in and out different prosthetics for different senses and abilities.

The LoveTron 9000 is Lees riskiest and most ambitious project yet.

Documenting his modifications on YouTube has turned Lee into celebrity of sorts within the grinder community. Even among those that count having bits of electronics implanted in their body as fun, Lees excursions veer toward the extreme. But he is betting that wont be the case forever. He foresees a world not too far in the future where the average person has implants that do everything from unlock their front door to, yes, improve their sex life.

I met Lee last month at the second annual Body Hacking Con in Austin, where hundreds had gathered to see early visions of this future on display. On the runway, models showed off new fashions meant to bestow new senses, among them direction and echolocation. In the exhibition hall, multiple booths offered to implants magnets and RFID chips on the spot. One booth offered high-tech manicures that embedded LED lights and NFC chips into sparkly acrylic nails. A fellow cyborg, the Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence, gave a presentation on his quest to transform himself into Eyeborg after losing an eye in a hunting accident and replacing it with an analog camera.

None of the wearables or implants on display, though, went quite as far as Lees vision for a cybernetic penis.

Next year, Lee hopes the Lovetron 9000 might have its own booth at the conference, too. He plans to market the implant to kink-friendly consumers in hopes that it might become the next it sex toy, selling it via the Lovetron website directly to consumers who can then have the device implanted by a piercer or body modification artist from off his companys pre-approved list. The procedure is relatively non-invasive, as far as implants go, and will likely skirt regulatory approval thanks to a lack of laws that anticipated anyone might ever want to implant electronics below their skin for kicks.

As planned, the Lovetron 9000 will consist of a thumb-sized haptic device to be implanted just below the skin of the pubis, in the fatty skin just above the penis. After shaving, disinfecting and numbing the area with local anesthetic, a piercer would make an inch-and-a-half-long incision, creating a tiny pocket to slide the device into before stitching it all up. The Lovetron will consist of a motor, battery and a switch that allows the wearer to turn it off and on with magnetic force. Switch it on, and it will send a wave of vibration down the shaft of the penis. Lee doesnt have any formal medical training, but a biotech company is assisting him in the design of the device. After two weeks of healing, Lee said, the device will be ready for recreation. A partner, he shyly pointed out, might also enjoy grinding directly atop it.

To Lee, the vibrating penis implant is an obvious and necessary expression of the blurring lines between man and machine.

It was just low-hanging fruit, he said.

If theres anyone in the world who might seem like an obvious booster for a kinky cyborg sex revolution, it isnt Rich Lee. With a bushy beard, nerd glasses and a penchant for plaid, his look is more Seattle coffee snob than extreme body modification enthusiast. Lee is a divorced dad of two young kids, and lives in southwestern Utah where he manages a warehouse for a packaging sales firm. When I asked him to draw me a sketch of his implant, afterward he was so embarrassed by the appearance of a penis on my notebook pages that he quickly disguised his handiwork as a goofy looking face with a long skinny nose.

Lee got into the grinder scene back in 2008, long before there was a conference devoted to it. He grew up religious, feeling like there was little sense in considering the future since the Rapture was imminent.

While I was interested in space travel and extreme technological advancement, it seemed frivolous in light of the approaching apocalypse, he said. So later in life I masturbated my way out of church and eventually found atheism. I replaced God and heaven with science and transhumanism.

Years later, he was leafing through a stack of old magazines recently left behind by his grandmother. He was struck by the headlinesdecades old news stories proclaiming that a world free of death and disease was just around the corner. Obviously, neither of those promises had ever been fulfilled.

I started to panic, he said. Once again I had taken a passive role in a future which someone else promised me and that I had zero guarantees of realizing.

He decided to take matters into his own hands.

I started plotting ways to become the immortal mutant cyborg I always wished I was, he said.

On the internet, he found the blog of a well-known early biohacker, Lepht Anonym. Anonym presented an approachable vision for transhumanism, achievable with little more than some homemade cybernetics and a basic understanding of human biology. One of Anonyms hacks was a finger magnet, an implant first pioneered by Steve Haworth, the Godfather of body hacking. As soon as he read about the implant, Lee made an appointment and drove 400 miles to Arizona get his first implant from the Godfather himself.

From there, his experiments grew bolder, with varying degrees of success.

In 2013, his earbud implants became his first undertaking to go viral. The idea was to create implants that would give him the ability to listen to music in a room full of people, on the sly. Haworth implanted two small magnets under the skin of Lees tragus, the small inner flap of his ear. Lee could wear a loose magnetic coil around his neck, hidden under his collar, and it would create a magnetic field that caused the implants to vibrate and produce sound. His plans for the device were ambitious. I can see myself using it with the GPS on my smartphone to navigate city streets on foot, he wrote at the time.

In practice, though, its capabilities have been underwhelming. The audio quality is not quite good enough to be audible in a room full of people. But Lee says he does still use the implants regularly, to listen to music and the news to unwind at the end of the day, headphone free.

His modifications often come with a sense of humor. His NFC chip was once programmed to make his phone say self destruct sequence initiated. Detonation in 10...9...8... any time he waved the finger with the implant under his phone. (It was a neat party trick, he recalled.)

Two years ago, Lee nearly electrocuted himself in the bath while trying to come up with a mechanism to defeat hypothermia. He filled a bathtub with ice, then strapped an electric heating pad around his arm and got in. His question was whether a heating device implanted in one part of the body, like the arm, might be able to heat the bodys blood up sufficiently enough to stave off hypothermia as it circulated through the body. As he sat shivering and taking notes in the ice-filled tub, he noticed that the heating pad had sunk below the water, plug and all. He has yet to repeat that experiment, though fellow grinders revere it as the ultimate tale of grinder grit.

For the LoveTron 9000,Lee is working with a vaguely transhumanist company named Ascendance Biomedical to develop a prototype. Lee expects it to be ready for implant in three to four months. Hes even received a small investment from the company to help develop the custom micro electronics necessary to get a strong enough motor to sufficiently power the device while also keeping it small enough to implant without being too cumbersome or noticeable. He is currently seeking beta testers, though his first test subject, of course, will be himself.

Lee insists all this is safethe device will come hermetically sealed and he is relying on medical consultation to work out the details of the procedure. But medical professionals are wary of this growing set of DIY surgeons.

Without even getting into the ethics of whether or not this type of body modification should even be attempted, I think any licensed surgeon would recommend against these kinds of do-it-yourself surgeries, said Michael Terry, a professor in the plastic surgery department at University of California, San Francisco. Without a trained surgeon or sterile operating room, Terry said there is a much higher risk of infection, uncontrolled bleeding or nerve damage. In addition, he said, its hard to tell how the body might react to the implants themselves.

These are just a few of the many reasons why there is such a complicated credentialing procedure for surgery centers, and why it takes years of research and clinical studies to obtain approval for any implanted medical device, Terry said.

Lee, though, is not the only one banking on the economic potential of implantables. For years, startups like Grindhouse Wetware and Dangerous Things have sold implantables and the kits to implant them with to a growing community of grinders across the U.S. and Europe. The demographics of that community may not surprise you: its largely young, white nerds, the same groups of people who populated early hacker collectives and internet message boards.

But some see that starting to change.

In the beginning all the questions I got were technical, said Amal Graafstra, the founder of the Seattle-based Dangerous Things, as horde of conference goers swarmed him to watch a demonstration of him unlocking a door lock with his hand. Now its like, what can I do with this? The general public is interested.

Moon Ribas, a performance artist and cyborg activist who has a chip implant that allows her to feel seismic activity, recently co-founded Cyborg Nest, a company designed to bring whimsical implants to the masses. Their first product is an implant that allows the wearer to sense north by vibrating every time their body faces magnetic north. Rather than being embedded below the skin, it sits just on top, held in place with four piercings. Since launching in December, the North Sense has sold about 250 units. Ribas said that she was surprised to discover that the buyers were not all grinder types. One set of parents, she said, even bought the implants for them and their kids.

Lee is trying to curb his expectationshe doesnt exactly expect vibrating pelvis implants to go flying off the virtual shelves.

I think it will take a while to catch on, he admitted.

Still, he anticipates enough people will be interested to make for a viable business.

I plan on selling 100,000 in the next five years, he said.

At a hotel room meeting of some of the communitys most prominent grinders, they discussed how to deal with the eventual regulatory scrutiny that growing public interestand concernmight invite. Regulations for implants typically only apply when the implant is considered a medical device, but the magnets and RFID chips body hackers gravitate toward for now dont fall into that category. But the community is quickly moving beyond those boundariesone company said it was planning to have an implant that interfaces directly with the bodys nervous system ready within a year.

Lee and his fellow grinders are ready to move forward whether the world is ready for them or not.

Genetic modification is the moral and ethical thing to do, Graafstra argued during a talk on the ethics of biohacking. The ethical thing is to advance human society.

Its clear, though, that the rest of the world is not quite there yet.

Lee has experienced this firsthand. This fall, Lees ex-wife petitioned for custody of their two children, arguing that his hobby is a disturbing and dangerous one that makes him a worse parent. I stopped sharing joint physical custody, the motion read, because Rich has chosen to expose our children to his disturbing behavior of do-it-yourself surgeries and bio-hacking. Until a court date later this year, Lee has been stripped of shared custody.

The custody battle, though, has so far not impeded his plans for the Lovetron. For Lee, implanting vibrating cybernetics in his nether regions isnt just about being the guy at the party with the most interesting hobby. Its destiny, the obvious path of human evolution, low-hanging fruit.

On the last morning of the conference, I sat in a hotel room where five or six grinders were crashing, as a revered (and anonymous) DIY surgeon worked to extract a poorly implanted magnet out of a mans finger. The man sat stoically, looking in the opposite direction as his surgeon anesthetized him, then pulled back a flap of skin and began digging around in his finger for the magnet. Thirty minutes of digging elapsed, and still the rogue magnet had not been found. The room sat in near silence, following an earlier scolding.

Fuck man, the DIY surgeon said, pacing back and forth, then taking a hit from a vape.

The magnet, it turned out, had slid into a pocket of skin near that mans tendon, deep in his finger. A stronger magnet had been necessary to pull the magnet out. The culprit of this conundrum was only slightly larger than a broken tip of pencil lead. After a bad implant at a piercing salon in Portland, the magnet had been causing him discomfort for over a year. Undaunted, he got two more chips implanted while at the conference.

Anything you implant will eventually have to come out, Lee told me. We implant them with that in mind.

Maybe, in that case, we are not quite ready to embrace our inevitable cyborg future after all.

Original post:

Meet the Body Hacker Trying to Become a Human Vibrator - Gizmodo - Gizmodo

Filthy Assistance: Revisiting ‘Transmetropolitan: Lust for Life’ – ComicsAlliance

Image Credits: Vertigo

In the 1990s,Warren EllisandDarick Robertson foresaw a future of twisted behavior, renegade politics, and uncontrollable technology inTransmetropolitan. Wererevisiting the series book by book, because in a time of unrest anduncertainty we could all usesome Filthy Assistance.

In book two, Lust For Life, the world is brought into sharper relief as the new and the old crash into each other repeatedly, leaving our characters dealing with the fallout. Spider Jerusalem also confronts assassins putting a hit on his life as part of a convoluted scheme tied up in a messy divorce in a storyline that may go a bit too far

In the second volume of Transmetropolitanthe world and our narrator and guide to it come into focus more clearly.

Three one-shot stories open the volume, which was written by Ellis, with pencils by Darick Robertson, inks by Rodney Ramos, colors by Nathan Eyring, and letters by Clem Robbins. In the first, Channons boyfriend is leaving her, joining a transhumanist movement where he is literally going to be uploaded to the cloud. (If Dropbox formed a human face and created flowers, I might be more forgiving of those times theres a data breach that leaks all its files to the world.)

Neural uploading nicknamed braintaping in the cyberpunk fiction I read growing up, back when magnetic tapes existed and the occasional dinosaur roamed the Earth is a long-speculated end goal for transhumanist perspectives on the human race, a cure for death itself. Heaven on Earth. Except that in Transmetropolitan, anyone selling you on Heaven is either lying to you or to themselves.

One of Channons boyfriends first acts as a foglet is to get intimate with another foglet, right in front of Channon, andthe story ends with Spider in the unique position of running out to comfort Channon. All this brings into sharp relief one of the running themes of Transmetropolitan: that better cars and better computers didnt make us better people, and the worst frailties of the human condition are frailties of compassion and the heart.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the second story, arguably the best story in all of Transmetropolitan, and certainly my favorite. Spooling out of a single panel of shell-shocked street people in the first issue, this story takes the promise of the post-death future and reaches back into the past, to tempt us with it; you too, can be immortal, since in the future death will have been conquered.

But none of us float alone in a void; all of us are shaped by the forces around us. (This life extension service is specifically only available in first-world countries; like William Gibson said, the future is here, but unevenly distributed, and the fly in the ointment of transhumanism is that one-third of the world still lacks electricity.) We have family; we have friends; we have a society we understand, jobs we know how to do, favorite hobbies, favorite keepsakes, wedding bands and knickknacks, and our favorite coffee mugs.

For Mary, the subject of the story that Spider tells the reader, all of this is stripped away as she is reborn in a future that doesnt preserve any of that (or it does see the next story but again, the future is distributed unevenly). She is even stripped of most of her voice there is only the bare snippet of a conversation with a faceless man, the rest conveyed via Spiders writing, which forces us to look at her at a remove, and to empathize with her anyways.

She is shoved out into the world without all of the context that makes her her, and she is lost without it, realizing just how small in the face of the towering forces of society we all are, buoyed along by an ocean we cant tame and a wind we cant predict. The future is a place where death has been beaten back, making life so cheap that any excuse not to care about it is one that societys taken.

The last of the three one-shot stories is about the future reaching back into the past via different means, sending people back to live out the ultimate in LARPing, fully stepping into a long-decayed culture. That no-one thinks to match up the Revivals of the previous story with one of the cultural preserves from this story, where they might live in comfort, is a testament to how much the City suffers from institutional failure; an obvious solution forgotten because, again, not enough people care.

One of the preserves is less a preserve of times long past and more a quarantine zone where legal regulations of technology are relaxed, and it sets up years in advance Spiders tragic ailment, a testament to the power that playing the long game can bear out, much as it did with Preacher. Robertson and Nathan Eyring are the stars of this one shot, illustrating a variety of cultural periods and a realm of future-tech beyond the neon-cyberpunk aesthetic of the City proper.

The final story in the book, clocking in at multiple chapters, is an extended shaggy dog story with a literal shaggy dog (okay, a sentient shorthaired pitbull who also is a cop, because comics are great). Spider is deprived of his legal protections and attacked in his home

and the artful cussing and choreography of, say, Preacher is a million miles away. The fight is bloody and horrifying, making Spider sick, and robbing him of his gift with words.

It also does some notable worldbuilding, based around Ellis and Robertsons conception of the future as monocultural in many ways, down to the French language being eradicated in the name of the cultural supremacy of English, showing us a world where colonialism marches on in search of new targets to eradicate. It also gives us naked newscasters, which became a reality one year later. (Okay, so that wasnt a difficult one to predict.)

It also features an extremely sketchy plot point, in the form of Indira Ataturk, the woman on the inside who helped orchestrate an assassination attempt on Spider as part of the longest, messiest divorce in history. In The Words medieval-style interrogation room, she confesses that due to at best criminal negligence and at worst deliberate action, going on assignment with Spider exposed her to the electronic equivalent of an aphrodisiac, and she was filmed having sex with an entire room.

While underage.

This feels like it crosses a line, since shes made out to be a villain of a sort, but her motivation is honestly 100% justifiable. Spider is meant to be a good journalist, but this is the action of a bad one; hes supposed to be a charming bastard, our bastard, but this just makes him into a bastard. It barely comes up again, other than a running gag about how Spider treats his assistants, and I have to ask if the creators decided this was best swept under the rug.

Of course, nothing stays buried under the rug forever, especially in politics, and in the next volumeSpider confronts the journalists natural enemy: politicians. Well see you all next time, two weeks into the future.

If you would like to support good journalism which never stops being necessary in any era these organizations can always use your help:

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Filthy Assistance: Revisiting 'Transmetropolitan: Lust for Life' - ComicsAlliance


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