Nick Bostrom – Simulations – Three Possibilities (Are you living in a simulation?)

This is a nice, short little video with Nick Bostrom.  In the video, Bostrom reiterates his ‘simulation argument‘.  I could explain it or you could watch it in the same amount of time…


Runtime: 2:41


This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlftshhkO4k

Video Info:

Published on Jan 24, 2013

http://www.simulation-argument.com/
The simulation argument is continuing to attract a great deal of attention. I regret that I cannot usually respond to individual queries about the argument.

http://www.simulation-argument.com/si…
ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

 

 

This short YouTube video on neurobiotics (called A Simulated Mouse Brain in a Virtual Mouse Body) talks about building a ‘virtual mouse’ by putting a computer model of a mouse brain in a virtual mouse body.  How cool is science?


 

Runtime: 2:28


This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldXEuUVkDuw

Video Info:

Published on Feb 23, 2015

Neurorobotics engineers from the Human Brain Project (HBP) have recently taken the first steps towards building a “virtual mouse” by placing a simplified computer model of the mouse brain into a virtual mouse body. This new kind of tool will be made available to scientists, both HBP and worldwide. Read more:https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/-/a-…

Useful Links:

Human Brain Project: http://www.humanbrainproject.eu
NEST simulator software for spiking neural network models: http://nest-simulator.org/
Jülich Press Release 2013, Largest neuronalnetwork simulation using NEST : http://bit.ly/173mZ5j

Open Source Data Sets:
Allen Institute for Brain Science: http://www.brain-map.org
Bioinformatics Research Network (BIRN): http://www.birncommunity.org

The Behaim Globe:
Germanisches National Museum, http://www.gnm.de/
Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, TU Wien, http://www.geo.tuwien.ac.at

 

What is Transhumanism? by Nick Bostrom at the World Transhumanist Association

What is transhumanism?  This part definition, part article on transhumanity is from the World Transhumanist Association website and was written by Nick Bostrom.


 

What is Transhumanism?

Over the past few years, a new paradigm for thinking about humankind’s future has begun to take shape among some leading computer scientists, neuroscientists, nanotechnologists and researchers at the forefront of technological development. The new paradigm rejects a crucial assumption that is implicit in both traditional futurology and practically all of today’s political thinking. This is the assumption that the “human condition” is at root a constant. Present-day processes can be fine-tuned; wealth can be increased and redistributed; tools can be developed and refined; culture can change, sometimes drastically; but human nature itself is not up for grabs.

This assumption no longer holds true. Arguably it has never been true. Such innovations as speech, written language, printing, engines, modern medicine and computers have had a profound impact not just on how people live their lives, but on who and what they are. Compared to what might happen in the next few decades, these changes may have been slow and even relatively tame. But note that even a single additional innovation as important as any of the above would be enough to invalidate orthodox projections of the future of our world.

“Transhumanism” has gained currency as the name for a new way of thinking that challenges the premiss that the human condition is and will remain essentially unalterable. Clearing away that mental block allows one to see a dazzling landscape of radical possibilities, ranging from unlimited bliss to the extinction of intelligent life. In general, the future by present lights looks very weird – but perhaps very wonderful – indeed.

Some of the possibilities that you will no doubt hear discussed in the coming years are quite extreme and sound like science-fiction. Consider the following:

bullet Superintelligent machines. Superintelligence means any form of artificial intelligence, maybe based on “self-taught” neural networks, that is capable of outclassing the best human brains in practically every discipline, including scientific creativity, practical wisdom, and social skills. Several commentators have argued that both the hardware and the software required for superintelligence might be developed in the first few decades of the next century. (See Moravec [1998] and Bostrom [1998].)
bullet Lifelong emotional well-being through re-calibration of the pleasure-centers. Even today, mild variants of sustainable euphoria are possible for a minority of people who respond especially well to clinical mood-brighteners (“antidepressants”). Pharmaceuticals currently under development promise to give an increasing number of “normal” people the choice of drastically reducing the incidence of negative emotions in their lives. In some cases, the adverse side-effects of the new agents are negligible. Whereas street drugs typically wreak havoc on the brain’s neurochemistry, producing a brief emotional “high” followed by a crash, modern clinical drugs may target with high specificity a given neurotransmitter or receptor subtype, thereby avoiding any negative effect on the subject’s cognitive faculties – (s)he won’t feel “drugged” – and enables a constant, indefinitely sustainable mood-elevation without being addictive. David Pearce [1997] advocates and predicts a post-Darwinian era in which all aversive experience will be replaced by gradients of pleasure beyond the bounds of normal human experience. As cleaner and safer mood-brighteners and gene-therapies become available, paradise-engineering may become a practicable possibility.
bullet Personality pills. Drugs and gene therapy will yield far more than shallow one-dimensional pleasure. They can also modify personality. They can help overcome shyness, eliminate jealousy (Kramer [1994]), increase creativity and enhance the capacity for empathy and emotional depth. Think of all the preaching, fasting and self-discipline that people have subjected themselves to throughout the ages in attempts to ennoble their character. Shortly it may become possible to achieve the same goals much more thoroughly by swallowing a daily cocktail pill.
bullet Space colonization. Today, space colonization is technologically feasible but prohibitively expensive. As costs decrease, it will become economically and politically possible to begin to colonize space. The thing to note is that once a single self-sustaining colony has been established, capable of sending out its own colonization probes, then an exponentially self-replicating process has been set in motion that is capable – without any further input from the planet Earth – of spreading out across the millions of stars in our galaxy and then to millions of other galaxies as well. Of course, this sequence of events will take an extremely long time on a human time-scale. But is interesting to notice how near we are to being able to initiate a chain of events that will have such momentous consequences as filling the observable universe with our descendants.
bullet Molecular nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the hypothetical design and manufacture of machines to atomic-scale precision, including general-purpose “assemblers”, devices that can position atoms individually in order to build almost any chemically permitted matter-configuration for which we can give a detailed specification – including exact copies of themselves. An existence-proof of a limited form of nanotechnology is given by biology: the cell is a molecular self-replicator that can produce a broad range of proteins. But the part of design space that is accessible to present biological organisms is restricted by their evolutionary history, and is mostly confined to non-rigid carbon structures. Eric Drexler ([1988], [1992]) was the first person to analyze in detail the physical possibility of a practically universal molecular assembler. Once such a gadget exists, it would make possible dirt-cheap (but perfectly clean) production of almost any commodity, given a design-specification and the requisite input of energy and atoms. The bootstrap problem for nanotechnology – how to build this first assembler – is very hard to solve. Two approaches are currently pursued. One of them builds on what nature has achieved and seeks to use biochemistry to engineer new proteins that can serve as tools in further engineering efforts. The other attempts to build atomic structures from scratch, using proximal probes such as atomic-force microscopes to position atoms one-by-one on a surface. The two methods can potentially be used in conjunction. Much research is required before the physical possibility of Drexlerian nanotechnology can be turned into an actuality; it will certainly not happen in the next couple of years, but it might come about in the first few decades of the next century.
bullet Vastly extended life spans. It may prove feasible to use radical gene-therapy and other biological methods to block normal aging processes, and to stimulate rejuvenation and repair mechanisms indefinitely. It is also possible that nothing short of nanotechnology will do the trick. Meanwhile there are unproven and in some cases expensive hormone treatments that seem to have some effect on general vitality in elderly people, although as yet nothing has been shown to be more effective at life-extension than controlled caloric restriction.
bullet Extinction of intelligent life. The risks are as enormous as the potential benefits. In addition to dangers that are already recognized (though perhaps inadequately counteracted?), such as a major military, terrorist or accidental disaster involving nuclear, chemical, viral or bacteriological agents, the new technologies threaten dangers of a different order altogether. Nanotechnology, for example, could pose a terrible threat to our existence if obtained by some terrorist group before adequate defense systems have been developed. It is not even certain that adequate defense is possible. Perhaps in a nanotechnological world offense has a decisive intrinsic advantage over defense. Nor is it farfetched to assume that there are other risks that we haven’t yet been able to imagine.
bullet The interconnected world. Even in its present form, the Internet has an immense impact on some people’s lives. And its ramifications are just beginning to unfold. This is one area where radical change is quite widely perceived, and where media discussion has been extensive.
bullet Uploading of our consciousness into a virtual reality. If we could scan the synaptic matrix of a human brain and simulate it on a computer then it would be possible for us to migrate from our biological embodiments to a purely digital substrate (given certain philosophical assumptions about the nature of consciousness and personal identity). By making sure we always had back-up copies, we might then enjoy effectively unlimited life-spans. By directing the activation flow in the simulated neural networks, we could engineer totally new types of experience. Uploading, in this sense, would probably require mature nanotechnology. But there are less extreme ways of fusing the human mind with computers. Work is being done today on developing neuro/chip interfaces. The technology is still in its early stages; but it might one day enable us to build neuroprostheses whereby we could “plug in” to cyberspace. Even less speculative are various schemes for immersive virtual reality – for instance using head-mounted displays – that communicate with the brain via our natural sense organs.
bullet Reanimation of cryogenically-suspended patients. Persons frozen with today’s procedure can probably not be brought back to life with anything less than mature nanotechnology. Even if we could be absolutely sure that mature nanotechnology will one day be developed, there would still be no guarantee that the cryonics customer’s gamble would succeed – perhaps the beings of the future won’t be interested in reanimating present-day humans. Still, even a 5% or 10% chance of success could make anAlcor contract a rational option for people who can afford it and who place a great value on their continued personal existence. If reanimated, they might look forward to aeons of subjective life time under conditions of their own choosing.

These prospects might seem remote. Yet transhumanists think there is reason to believe that they might not be so far off as is commonly supposed. The Technology Postulate denotes the hypothesis that several of the items listed, or other changes that are equally profound, will become feasible within, say, seventy years (possibly much sooner). This is the antithesis of the assumption that the human condition is a constant. The Technology Postulate is often presupposed in transhumanist discussion. But it is not an article of blind faith; it’s a falsifiable hypothesis that is argued for on specific scientific and technological grounds.

If we come to believe that there are good grounds for believing that Technology Postulate is true, what consequences does that have for how we perceive the world and for how we spend our time? Once we start reflecting on the matter and become aware of its ramifications, the implications are profound.

From this awareness springs the transhumanist philosophy – and “movement”. For transhumanism is more than just an abstract belief that we are about to transcend our biological limitations by means of technology; it is also an attempt to re-evaluate the entire human predicament as traditionally conceived. And it is a bid to take a far-sighted and constructive approach to our new situation. A primary task is to provoke the widest possible discussion of these topics and to promote a better public understanding. The set of skills and competencies that are needed to drive the transhumanist agenda extend far beyond those of computer scientists, neuroscientists, software-designers and other high-tech gurus. Transhumanism is not just for brains accustomed to hard-core futurism. It should be a concern for our whole society.

The Foresight Institute is an excellent source of information about nanotechnology-related issues. They organize annual conferences and have built up a substantial infrastructure of expertise in nanotechnology. The Extropy Institute has organized several international conferences on general transhumanist themes, and its president Max More has done much to get extropian memes out into the mass media. (Extropianism is a distinctive type transhumanism, defined by the Extropian Principles.) In 1997, the World Transhumanist Association was founded, with the aim of turning transhumanism into a mainstream academic discipline and also to facilitate networking between different transhumanist groups and local chapters and among individual transhumanists, both academic and non-academic. The WTA publishes the electronic Journal of Transhumanism, featuring leading-edge research papers by scholars working in transhumanist-related disciplines. The WTA web pages are one good starting place to find out more about transhumanism.

It is extremely hard to anticipate the long-term consequences of our present actions. But rather than sticking our heads in the sand, transhumanists reckon we should at least try to plan for them as best we can. In doing so, it becomes necessary to confront some of the notorious “big questions”, such the so-called Fermi paradox (“Why haven’t we seen any signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life?”). This problem requires delving into a number of different scientific disciplines. The Fermi paradox is not only intellectually stimulating, it is also potentially practically important since it could turn out to have consequences for whether we should expect to survive and colonize the universe (Hanson [1996]). At the present, though, it appears that the state of evolutionary biology is insufficiently advanced to allow us to draw any firm conclusions about our own future from this type of consideration. Another purported indirect source of information about our own future is the highly controversial Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument. This attempts to prove from basic principles of probability theory together with some trivial empirical assumptions that human extinction in the next century is much more likely than has previously been thought. The argument, which uses a version of the Anthropic Principle, was first conceived by astrophysicist Brandon Carter and was later developed by philosopher John Leslie [1996] and others. So far, nobody has been able to explain to general satisfaction what, if anything, is wrong with it (Bostrom [1998]).

While the wider perspective and the bigger questions are essential to transhumanism, that does not mean that transhumanists do not take an intense interest in what goes in our world today. On the contrary! Recent topical themes that have been the subject of wide and lively debate in transhumanist forums include such diverse issues as cloning; proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction; neuro/chip interfaces; psychological tools such as critical thinking skills, NLP, and memetics; processor technology and Moore’s law; gender roles and sexuality; neural networks and neuromorphic engineering; life-extension techniques such as caloric restriction; PET, MRI and other brain-scanning methods; evidence(?) for life on Mars; transhumanist fiction and films; quantum cryptography and “teleportation”; the Digital Citizen; atomic force microscopy as a possible enabling technology for nanotechnology; electronic commerce… Not all participants are equally at home in all of these fields, of course, but many like the experience of taking part in a joint exploration of unfamiliar ideas, facts and standpoints.

An important transhumanist goal is to improve the functioning of human society as an epistemic community. In addition to trying to figure out what is happening, we can try to figure out ways of making ourselves better at figuring out what is happening. We can create institutions that increase the efficiency of the academic- and other knowledge-communities. More and more people are gaining access to the Internet. Programmers, software designers, IT consultants and others are involved in projects that are constantly increasing the quality and quantity of advantages of being connected. Hypertext publishing and the collaborative information filtering paradigm (Chislenko [1997]) have the potential to accelerate the propagation of valuable information and aid the demolition of what transpire to be misconceptions and crackpot claims. The people working in information technology are only the latest reinforcement to the body of educators, scientists, humanists, teachers and responsible journalists who have been striving throughout the ages to decrease ignorance and make humankind as a whole more rational.

One simple but brilliant idea, developed by Robin Hanson [1990], is that we create a market of “idea futures”. Basically, this means that it would be possible to place bets on all sorts of claims about controversial scientific and technological issues. One of the many benefits of such an institution is that it would provide policy-makers and others with consensus estimates of the probabilities of uncertain hypotheses about projected future events, such as when a certain technological breakthrough will occur. It would also offer a decentralized way of providing financial incentives for people to make an effort to be right in what they think. And it could promote intellectual sincerity in that persons making strong claims would be encouraged to put their money where their mouth is. At present, the idea is embodied in an experimental set-up, the Foresight Exchange, where people can stake “credibility points” on a variety of claims. But for its potential advantages to materialize, a market has to be created that deals in real money and is as integrated in the established economic structure as are current stock exchanges. (Present anti-gambling regulations are one impediment to this; in many countries betting on anything other than sport and horses is prohibited.)

The transhumanist outlook can appear cold and alien at first. Many people are frightened by the rapid changes they are witnessing and respond with denial or by calling for bans on new technologies. It’s worth recalling how pain relief at childbirth through the use of anesthetics was once deplored as unnatural. More recently, the idea of “test-tube babies” has been viewed with abhorrence. Genetic engineering is widely seen as interfering with God’s designs. Right now, the biggest moral panic is cloning. We have today a whole breed of well-meaning biofundamentalists, religious leaders and so-called ethical experts who see it as their duty to protect us from whatever “unnatural” possibilities that don’t fit into their preconceived world-view. The transhumanist philosophy is a positive alternative to this ban-the-new approach to coping with a changing world. Instead of rejecting the unprecedented opportunities on offer, it invites us to embrace them as vigorously as we can. Transhumanists view technological progress as a joint human effort to invent new tools that we can use to reshape the human condition and overcome our biological limitations, making it possible for those who so want to become “post-humans”. Whether the tools are “natural” or “unnatural” is entirely irrelevant.

Transhumanism is not a philosophy with a fixed set of dogmas. What distinguishes transhumanists, in addition to their broadly technophiliac values, is the sort of problems they explore. These include subject matter as far-reaching as the future of intelligent life, as well as much more narrow questions about present-day scientific, technological or social developments. In addressing these problems, transhumanists aim to take a fact-driven, scientific, problem-solving approach. They also make a point of challenging holy cows and questioning purported impossibilities. No principle is beyond doubt, not the necessity of death, not our confinement to the finite resources of planet Earth, not even transhumanism itself is held to be too good for constant critical reassessment. The ideology is meant to evolve and be reshaped as we move along, in response to new experiences and new challenges. Transhumanists are prepared to be shown wrong and to learn from their mistakes.

Transhumanism can also be very practical and down-to-earth. Many transhumanists find ways of applying their philosophy to their own lives, ranging from the use of diet and exercise to improve health and life-expectancy; to signing up for cryonic suspension; making money from investing in technology stocks; creating transhumanist art; using clinical drugs to adjust parameters of mood and personality; applying various psychological self-improvement techniques; and in general taking steps to live richer and more responsible lives. An empowering mind-set that is common among transhumanists is dynamic optimism: the attitude that desirable results can in general be accomplished, but only through hard effort and smart choices (More [1997]).

Are you a transhumanist? If so, then you can look forward to increasingly seeing your own views reflected in the media and in society. For it is clear that transhumanism is an idea whose time has come.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific method
London School of Economics
nick@nickbostrom.com

References

Bostrom, N. 1998. “How long before superintelligence?” International Journal of Futures Studies, 2. (Also available at http://www.hedweb.com/nickb/superintelligence.htm)

Bostrom, N. 1998. “Investigations into the Doomsday Argument”
http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints/inv/investigations.html

Bostrom, N. 1997. “The Fermi Paradox”
http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~transhumanism/Fermi.htm

Chislenko, A. 1997. “Collaborative Information Filtering” http://www.lucifer.com/~sasha/articles/ACF.html

Drexler, E. 1992. Nanosystems. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Drexler, E. 1988. Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology. Fourth Estate. London. http://www.foresight.org/EOC/index.html

Hanson, R. 1996. “The Great Filter: Are we almost past it?”
http://hanson.berkeley.edu/

Kramer, P. 1994. Listning to Prozac. Penguin. U.S.A.

Leslie, J. 1996. The End of the World: The Ethics and Science of Human Extinction. Routledge, New York.

More, M. 1997. “The Extropian Principles”
http://www.extropy.com/~exi/extprn26.htm

More, M. 1995. “Dynamic optimism: Epistemological Psychology for Extropians”
http://www.primenet.com/~maxmore/optimism.htm

Moravec, H. 1998. Robot, Being: mere machine to transcendent mind. Oxford Univ. Press.

Pearce, D. 1997. “The Hedonistic Imperative”.
http://www.hedweb.com/hedab.htm

Institutes

Extropy Institute
http://www.extropy.org/

Foresight Exchange
http://www.ideosphere.com/fx/main.html

Foresight Institute
http://www.foresight.org/

World Transhumanist Association
http://www.transhumanism.com/

I am grateful to David Pearce and Anders Sandberg for extensive comments on earlier versions of this text. N. B.

 


This article can also be found here.

 

The coming transhuman era: Jason Sosa at TEDxGrandRapids [Transhumanism]

Dawn of Giants Favorite…

This video from TEDx Grand Rapids is probably one of the best introductions to transhumanism. The video is called The coming transhuman era: Jason Sosa at TEDxGrandRapids. Jason Sosa is a tech entrepreneur and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll be hearing more about him in the near future. This one is an absolute must see!


Runtime: 15:37

This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ugo2KEV2XQ


Video Info:

Published on Jun 24, 2014

Sosa is the founder and CEO of IMRSV, a computer vision and artificial intelligence company and was named one of “10 Startups to Watch in NYC” by Time Inc., and one of “25 Hot and New Startups to Watch in NYC” by Business Insider. He has been featured by Forbes, CNN, New York Times, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Business Insider, among others.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

The Transhumanist Future of Sex by Zoltan Istvan

This is an article by Zoltan Istvan called The Transhumanist Future of Sex.  Hm… Transhumanism and sex; if there were more articles like this, maybe more people would know about the singularity…

The Transhumanist Future of Sex

October 20, 2014 // 10:50 AM EST

Zoltan Istvan is a futurist, journalist, and author of the novel The Transhumanist Wager. He writes an occasional column for Motherboard in which he ruminates on the future beyond natural human ability.

The internet is rife with chatter about the transhumanist age we are entering, where radical science and technology are already changing the way we live. Everything fromrobotic hearts to personal drones to mind-reading headsets are here. The new tech coming in just a few years will touch nearly every aspect of our lives, including one of the most personal ones: sex.

Mammals use sex as a means to generate offspring, to experience pleasure, and for bonding with partners. Throughout the last few centuries, humans have embraced tools, drugs, and even surgical operations in an attempt to improve sex.

To date, the list of transhumanist-themed tools and apparatuses our species has created for sex is practically endless. Perhaps the best known one is the condom, where descriptions of their use and composition begin to appear in 16th century writings. The writings of 16th century physician Gabriele Falloppio includes one of the  first documented references to condoms, and describes them as linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution. Today, the condom is one of the leading life extension tools in the world, due to the protection it offers from disease, such as HIV.

Over 300,000 Americans underwent breast augmentation via plastic surgery, which typically aims to enhance sex appeal, in 2011. In the last century, one of the most sensationalized applications for sex is Viagra, whose name is almost as recognizableas Coca-Cola or Rolls Royce. Along with other options like Levitra and Cialis, erection drugs have helped return sexual health to millions of men (and their partners) around the world.

Today, sex—and technology for sex—is all around us, 24/7. The internet provides a continual stream of pornography, for better or worse, to millions of users everyday. A Forbes article citing neuroscientist Ogi Ogas says that between July 2009 and July 2010, 13 percent of web searches were for erotic content. It’s not just computers, though. Many people routinely use their cell phones for sexting. And the sex toy industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with thousands of workers and engineers dedicated to it.

Yet, whatever has happened so far in the history of sex is not going to be nearly as exciting or bizarre as what’s coming next. Whether by drugs, technology, or surgery, the future of sex is set to explode. Look for virtual sex and foreplay to become commonplace, where partners are linked into brain wave headsets and virtual reality goggles.

Some will take it further, and use full body haptic suits—a friend of mine called it the future hump suit—to experience full sexual immersion. Virtual worlds and Second Lives will keep people experiencing sexual acts they might not feel comfortable doing in real life—all without the risk of pregnancy or STDs.

I recently was asked by my wife what I wanted for Christmas. I replied: I want an exoskeleton suit. They’re going to be all the rage soon.

Image: Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia

Indeed, exoskeleton technology is significantly improving every year. Panasonic is getting ready to sell the first mass-produced robotic exoskeleton for just under $5,000. They are still crude, but in 5-10 years time, they are likely to make us faster runners, stronger climbers, and better athletes. I surmise an entire sporting and recreational culture will develop around them, similar to motorcycles and ATVs. Can you imagine the growing discipline of Parkour in one? Eventually, exoskeleton suits will look like the ones in the blockbuster movie Elysium starring Matt Damon.

But what about sex? Will they help? Yes! Potentially, a lot. Especially for disabled, obese, or unfit persons. Harvard is working on a soft exoskeleton suit. Someday soon, we will strap on exoskeleton suits and put ourselves in sexual positions once only possible for Bikram yoga experts—and then go at it. And we won’t be tiring very easily, either, not with the suits doing much of the work.

Almost as strange is the new internal skeletal stuff being developed, which combines structures inside your body to external artificial limbs. In a recent article forExtremeTech, engineer and neuroscientist John Hewitt writes:

In order to wield any artificial limb with full strength and confidence we are going to need to plug it in properly, so that it becomes a real part of our musculoskeletal system. Researchers at the Royal National Orthopedic hospital have now created an implant that does just that by interfacing a leg prosthesis directly to your endoskeleton.

We’ve already seen penile implants and surgical modifications of sexual organs. But this new musculosketelal technology is much more revolutionary. If scientists can connect internal human parts to external bionic parts, (and they’re already connecting robotic arms to the nervous system) then the age of the cyborg is truly here. Surely biohackers will remove body parts and limbs in an attempt to become a stronger, more agile entity.

If scientists can replicate that feeling through firing signals from an implanted chip or a brain wave headset, then it might even be the end of sex altogether.

With those acquisitions will come cyborg sex—something that is sure to be an upgrade to the usual romp. Don’t forget, those robotic fingers on those artificial limbs will soon have sensors that can detect some things, like heat and sweat, far more specifically than biological fingers. In time, every sense of ours will be improved and updated with technology that simply outmatches our biology.

How will this and all the other technologies affect sex for over seven billion people in the future? Probably dramatically—especially when it is combined with microchip implants. Erogenous zones and orgasms are simply the product of chemicals firing in the brain. If scientists can replicate that feeling by firing signals from an implanted chip or a brain wave headset, then it might even be the end of sex altogether. We’d turn on and off endless orgasms with our cell phone (or buzz our partners at will if they’ll allow us).

Hopefully it will be better than this.

Implants are becoming more commonplace. Recently, Dr. Theodore Schwartz and a New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center team put a cranial implant into an epileptic sufferer to help stop attacks. Other brain implant surgeries are now occurring to fight Alzheimer’s, a disease which affects over five million Americans. It’s not that big of a leap to imagine someone figuring out how to stimulate the sexual pleasure areas in the brain with an implant.

If all this seems crazy, then check out this WiFi-enabled vibrator called Vibease which will become available next month, according to its website. People can leave them in all day long, and enjoy for up to three hours of use whenever they want to. That might make you wonder about a lot of things in the future. Did your date really enjoy the spaghetti you made, or was something else going on?

The human species has come a long way in developing its sexual mores. Thankfully, many societies are philosophically and psychologically freer than ever to enjoy all that sex can be. But technologically, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg for all for all that is coming, regardless of tastes and desires. Transhumanism has long centered on technologies that grant better health and extended longevity to people, but we shouldn’t forget that it will also make some of our most cherished experiences—like sex—a lot more fun in the future.

 

This article can also be found on the Motherboard website at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-transhumanist-future-of-sex

The video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jae38H1_j-E

Video Info:

Published on May 1, 2014

Quantified Self Revolution

The quantified self revolution is the idea that as the data we accumulate on a daily basis grows and becomes more complete, our understanding of ourselves deepen and we can use that data to create better internal and external environments for ourselves.  The article is called Quantified Self revolution : Hello Human 2.0 and features a video in the Shots of Awe series with Jason Silva called Explore The “Quantified Self” Revolution with Jason Silva.

Quantified Self revolution : Hello Human 2.0

This week’s Quantified Self roundup features a filmmaker’s perception of the Quantified Self revolution, a platform that tracks everything in your life, and a design-savvy fitness tracker.

Human 2.0

Renowned filmmaker Jason Silva recently released a new video in his YouTube channel Shots of Awe wherein he talks about how amazing the Quantified Self revolution is.  Silva talks about how sensors obtaining all these data from millions of people can be used to better analyze a person and could well be the beginning of Human 2.0.

It’s certainly an interesting concept to ponder, and that’s what Silva does best.  The filmmaker’s been on a guest on theCUBE on at least one occasion, and we revisit his most recent appearance here, where he discusses Big Data and its impact on the consumer.

Tictrac

 

The biggest challenge right now in the Quantified Self revolution may be app fatigue, so it certainly doesn’t help that there are so many apps and gadgets available today.  To keep you get focused and on task, there’s a new platform that will help you keep track of all the tracking that matters.

Tictrac  allows you to sync all the apps and gadgets you are currently using so everything you need is in one place.  It tracks anything from your email, blood pressure, supermarket foods, food intake, your baby, and even the calories you burned during your workout.  And if you have just started with the quantified self revolution and your fitness tracker or app doesn’t offer other tracker, you can use Tictrac to track anything you please.

It is available in both mobile and web platform so you can check your progress anytime.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/64713784″>Tictrac</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tictrac”>Tictrac</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Via Heartbeat Bracelet

 

If you’re still looking for a fashionable fitness tracker, you might want to check out the Via Heartbeat Bracelet.  The Via Heartbeat is still a Kickstarter project and has a long way to go to achieve its $300,000 funding goal.

What makes this fitness tracker different is that it looks simple but elegant and if people aren’t familiar with it, no one would guess that it’s a fitness tracker.  It is designed to fit comfortably and stay in place no matter how rigorous your workout routine is.  Via it’s web app, you can set your goals.  This will automatically sync with your bracelet and will glow various colors depending on which of your goals is being achieved.

If you are interested with this project, make sure to check out the project and help fund it.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drbrenda/the-via-heartbeat-bracelet/widget/video.html

This article can also be found on the Silicone Angle website at http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/11/13/quantified-self-revolution-hello-human-2-0/

The first video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjflrXDDU-w#t=89

The second video can also be found at https://vimeo.com/tictrac

The third video can also be found on the Kickstarter website at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drbrenda/the-via-heartbeat-bracelet?ref=video

Video Info:

Published on Nov 5, 2013

“We will measure everything… and feed that information back into the system.”

The Quantified Self Revolution. You’ve heard the buzz term, but it’s the idea that as we extend computation into everything, and as we extend sensors into everything, we’re increasingly extending those sensors into ourselves – creating a data rich, always on stream of information about our biological functioning.

Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday.

Watch More Shots of Awe on TestTube http://testtube.com/shotsofawe

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Jason Silva on Twitter http://twitter.com/jasonsilva

Jason Silva on Facebook http://facebook.com/jasonlsilva

Jason Silva on Google+ http://plus.google.com/10290664595165…

Tictrac is a Lifestyle Design Platform that empowers people through their own data. Users can connect with health and fitness apps and devices they may already use, from blood pressure monitors, wireless weight scales, sleep/stress trackers, diet and activity monitors to email, calendar, weather and much more. We currently sync with over 50 services/devices from fitness (MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Endomondo) medical (Withings, VitaDock) personal (Fitbit, BodyMedia, Garmin) even social (Facebook, Twitter, Klout) adding new API integrations every week.

Users can visualise their data about themselves in personal dashboards that give them insights into how to improve their lifestyle. Users can also cross reference disparate sets of data to see how one aspect of their lives may affect another. They can then share their dashboards with professionals like their physician, personal trainer or coach who can interpret that data and tailor their programmes accordingly.

External Links

Transhumans: Technology Powered Superhumans (Slideshow)

I found this presentation (Transhumans: Technology Powered Superhumans) on SlideShare.  Some of the pictures are a bit cheesy, but these 46 slides touch base on almost every category of transhumanism you can imagine.

Transhumans: Technology Powered Superhumans

Published on Nov 18, 2013

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”//www.slideshare.net/UXTrendspotting/transhumanism-technology-powered-superhumans” title=”Transhumans: Technology Powered Superhumans” target=”_blank”>Transhumans: Technology Powered Superhumans</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”//www.slideshare.net/UXTrendspotting” target=”_blank”>Institute of Customer Experience</a></strong> </div>

Transhumanism is the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations by means of science and technology. The more we explored this subject, the more we got fascinated to see how people are riding on the current era technologies to surpass the capabilities of human body. If the current explorations in transhumanism are anything to go by, then, we believe the future will be very exciting!

In this report we explore the various technologies, people involved and the advancements made in the field of Transhumanism. We would love to hear your feedback, comments and suggestions. Please mail us at ice@humanfactors.com

Published in: Design, Technology, Spiritual

 

The original presentation can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/UXTrendspotting/transhumanism-technology-powered-superhumans

Humans 2.0 with Jason Silva

This is one of the Shots of Awe videos created by Jason Silva.  It’s called HUMAN 2.0.  I don’t think a description is in order here since all the Shots of Awe videos are short and sweet.

Runtime: 2:15

Video Info:

Published on Dec 2, 2014

“Your trivial-seeming self tracking app is part of something much bigger. It’s part of a new stage in the scientific method, another tool in the kit. It’s not the only thing going on, but it’s part of that evolutionary process.” – Ethan Zuckerman paraphrasing Kevin Kelly

Steven Johnson
“Chance favors the connected mind.”
http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johns…

Additional footage courtesy of Monstro Design and http://nats.aero

For more information on Norton security, please go here: http://us.norton.com/boldlygo

Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz. New episodes every Tuesday.

Watch More Shots of Awe on TestTube http://testtube.com/shotsofawe

Subscribe now! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…

Jason Silva on Twitter http://twitter.com/jasonsilva

Jason Silva on Facebook http://facebook.com/jasonlsilva

Jason Silva on Google+ http://plus.google.com/10290664595165…

This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXB5-iwNah0

Eye Play the Piano with FOVE

This is a video of a physically disabled boy playing the piano with his vision via an ‘eye tracking head mount display’ developed by FOVE.  The title of the video is Eye Play the Piano.  Pretty amazing!

Runtime: 3:26

Video Info:

Eye Play the Piano is a universal piano system that allows one to play the piano without the use of the hands or arms but simply through the use of sight using the eye tracking head mount device, FOVE.

The Eye Play the Piano project started from the willingness to spread the possibility of each and every student child’s freedom of expression along side the medical possibilities, which could be applied in the field of special needs education through the use of the eye tracking head mount device. The project was made possible in accordance with the University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged.

This video captures a second year high school student, Kota Numajiri taking part at their Christmas concert by playing the piano using the Eye Play the Piano system.

About the system:
1. FOVE perceives the users eye movement through the mounted eye tracking technology
2. The preferred note can be triggered by looking at the panel within the interface, which has been developed to be played by sight.
3. The user blinks on the preferred panels within the interface to trigger the selected note, which is then conveyed to the connected piano via MIDI signal.
4
. Furthermore, tilting down of the head plays the role of the piano pedal which lengthens the selected note.

Eye Play the Piano website
http://eyeplaythepiano.com
Eye Play the Piano Making movie
http://youtu.be/IW37j4APN-E
For donation
http://japangiving.jp/c/11343

This video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHXx7XTPULE#t=14

Ray Kurzweil’s Mind-Boggling Predictions for the Next 25 Years from SingularityHUB

This is an article from SingularityHub called, “Ray Kurzweil’s Mind-Boggling Predictions for the Next 25 Years.”  For those of you already familiar with Ray Kurzweil, you’ve probably heard all this before, but this is a great introduction to his work if you are not already familiar with it.

Ray Kurzweil’s Mind-Boggling Predictions for the Next 25 Years

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In my new book BOLD, one of the interviews that I’m most excited about is with my good friend Ray Kurzweil.

Bill Gates calls Ray, “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.” Ray is also amazing at predicting a lot more beyond just AI.

This post looks at his very incredible predictions for the next 20+ years.

Ray Kurzweil.

So who is Ray Kurzweil?

He has received 20 honorary doctorates, has been awarded honors from three U.S. presidents, and has authored 7 books (5 of which have been national bestsellers).

He is the principal inventor of many technologies ranging from the first CCD flatbed scanner to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. He is also the chancellor and co-founder of Singularity University, and the guy tagged by Larry Page to direct artificial intelligence development at Google.

In short, Ray’s pretty smart… and his predictions are amazing, mind-boggling, and important reminders that we are living in the most exciting time in human history.

But, first let’s look back at some of the predictions Ray got right.

Predictions Ray has gotten right over the last 25 years

In 1990 (twenty-five years ago), he predicted…

…that a computer would defeat a world chess champion by 1998. Then in 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov.

… that PCs would be capable of answering queries by accessing information wirelessly via the Internet by 2010. He was right, to say the least.

… that by the early 2000s, exoskeletal limbs would let the disabled walk. Companies like Ekso Bionics and others now have technology that does just this, and much more.

In 1999, he predicted…

… that people would be able talk to their computer to give commands by 2009. While still in the early days in 2009, natural language interfaces like Apple’s Siri and Google Now have come a long way. I rarely use my keyboard anymore; instead I dictate texts and emails.

… that computer displays would be built into eyeglasses for augmented reality by 2009. Labs and teams were building head mounted displays well before 2009, but Google started experimenting with Google Glass prototypes in 2011. Now, we are seeing an explosion of augmented and virtual reality solutions and HMDs. Microsoft just released the Hololens, and Magic Leap is working on some amazing technology, to name two.

In 2005, he predicted…

… that by the 2010s, virtual solutions would be able to do real-time language translation in which words spoken in a foreign language would be translated into text that would appear as subtitles to a user wearing the glasses. Well, Microsoft (via Skype Translate), Google (Translate), and others have done this and beyond. One app called Word Lens actually uses your camera to find and translate text imagery in real time.

Ray’s predictions for the next 25 years

The above represent only a few of the predictions Ray has made.

While he hasn’t been precisely right, to the exact year, his track record is stunningly good.

Here are some of my favorite of Ray’s predictions for the next 25+ years.

If you are an entrepreneur, you need to be thinking about these. Specifically, how are you going to capitalize on them when they happen? How will they affect your business?

By the late 2010s, glasses will beam images directly onto the retina. Ten terabytes of computing power (roughly the same as the human brain) will cost about $1,000.

By the 2020s, most diseases will go away as nanobots become smarter than current medical technology. Normal human eating can be replaced by nanosystems. The Turing test begins to be passable. Self-driving cars begin to take over the roads, and people won’t be allowed to drive on highways.

By the 2030s, virtual reality will begin to feel 100% real. We will be able to upload our mind/consciousness by the end of the decade.

By the 2040s, non-biological intelligence will be a billion times more capable than biological intelligence (a.k.a. us). Nanotech foglets will be able to make food out of thin air and create any object in physical world at a whim.

By 2045, we will multiply our intelligence a billionfold by linking wirelessly from our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud.

I want to make an important point.

It’s not about the predictions.

It’s about what the predictions represent.

Ray’s predictions are a byproduct of his (and my) understanding of the power of Moore’s Law, more specifically Ray’s “Law of Accelerating Returns” and of exponential technologies.

These technologies follow an exponential growth curve based on the principle that the computing power that enables them doubles every two years.

exponential-growth-of-computing-1

As humans, we are biased to think linearly.

As entrepreneurs, we need to think exponentially.

I often talk about the 6D’s of exponential thinking

Most of us can’t see the things Ray sees because the initial growth stages of exponential, DIGITIZED technologies are DECEPTIVE.

Before we know it, they are DISRUPTIVE—just look at the massive companies that have been disrupted by technological advances in AI, virtual reality, robotics, internet technology, mobile phones, OCR, translation software, and voice control technology.

Each of these technologies DEMATERIALIZED, DEMONETIZED, and DEMOCRATIZED access to services and products that used to be linear and non-scalable.

Now, these technologies power multibillion-dollar companies and affect billions of lives.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com; Singularity University; Ray Kurzweil and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc./Wikimedia Commons

This article can also be found at http://singularityhub.com/2015/01/26/ray-kurzweils-mind-boggling-predictions-for-the-next-25-years/