… my view of where technology innovation will lead us



Great long-read: God in the machine – my strange journey into transhumanism (Meghan O’Gieblyn)

I first read Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, in 2006, a few years after I dropped out of Bible school and stopped believing in God. I was living alone in Chicago’s southern industrial sector and working nights as a cocktail waitress. I was not well. Beyond the people I worked with, I spoke to almost no one. I clocked out at three each morning, went to after-hours bars, and came home on the first train of the morning, my head pressed against the window so as to avoid the spectre of my reflection appearing and disappearing in the blackened glass…


via God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism | Technology | The Guardian

Great Read on Transhumanism: Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun. The road to immortality (Mark O’Connell)

Here’s what happens. You are lying on an operating table, fully conscious, but rendered otherwise insensible, otherwise incapable of movement. A humanoid machine appears at your side, bowing to its task with ceremonial formality. With a brisk sequence of motions, the machine removes a large panel of bone from the rear of your cranium, before carefully laying its fingers, fine and delicate as a spider’s legs, on the viscid surface of your brain. You may be experiencing some misgivings about the procedure at this point. Put them aside, if you can…

Source: ‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality | Science | The Guardian

An absolute Must-Read: Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? (Scientific American)

The digital revolution is in full swing. How will it change our world? The amount of data we produce doubles every year. In other words: in 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind through 2015. Every minute we produce hundreds of thousands of Google searches and Facebook posts. These contain information that reveals how we think and feel. Soon, the things around us, possibly even our clothing, also will be connected with the Internet. It is estimated that in 10 years’ time there will be 150 billion networked measuring sensors, 20 times more than people on Earth. Then, the amount of data will double every 12 hours. Many companies are already trying to turn this Big Data into Big Money…

Source: Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? – Scientific American

AI & Automation: The rise of the useless class (Yuval Noah Harari)

Historian Yuval Noah Harari makes a bracing prediction: just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class. The most important question in 21st-century economics may well be: What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans? This is not an entirely new question…

Source: The rise of the useless class |

Great Read: Welcome to the era of Transhumanism (Rich Haridy)

In a compelling webseries from 2012 entitled H+, we were introduced to a future world where much of the population has a hi-tech implant, allowing individuals a direct neural interface with the internet. As often is the case in science fiction, things don’t turn out well for those technological pioneers. A virus infects the implant and chaos quickly descends on a human race that has become biologically fused with technology.

The series was an overt examination of a transhumanist future, with the title H+ being an appropriation of the common transhuman abbreviation…

Source: Welcome to the era of transhumanism

Very noteworthy Keynote on putting AI into perspective: Superintelligence – The Idea That Eats Smart People (Maciej Ceglowski)

A skeptical view on the seductive, apocalyptic beliefs that prevent people in tech from really working to make a difference.

Apocalyptic ideas have traditionally been the province of religion, but nerds have found a way to import them into the world of computer programming. These ideas are a cognitive hazard that preferentially infects smart people, making them useless for more practical work. Like other forms of religious obsession, fantasies of superintelligence prevent us from tackling problems in this life by convincing us to focus on the life to come. This talk is an attempt to vaccinate the next generation of developers against the seductive ideas of existential risk, superintelligence, and the charismatic religious figures who will try to eat their brains…

Really great Long-Read on Genetic Engineering: Rewriting the Code of Life (Michael Specter)

Early on an unusually blustery day in June, Kevin Esvelt climbed aboard a ferry at Woods Hole, bound for Nantucket Island. Esvelt, an assistant professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was on his way to present to local health officials a plan for ridding the island of one of its most persistent problems: Lyme disease. He had been up for much of the night working on his slides, and the fatigue showed. He had misaligned the buttons on his gray pin-striped shirt, and the rings around his deep-blue eyes made him look like a sandy-haired raccoon.

Esvelt, who is thirty-four, directs the “sculpting evolution” group at M.I.T., where he and his colleagues are attempting to design molecular tools capable of fundamentally altering the natural world…

Source: Rewriting the Code of Life – The New Yorker

Great Read on the Future of Human Physical and Cognitive Development: Exponential Growth Will Transform Humanity in the Next 30 Years (Peter Diamandis)

Today’s extraordinary rate of exponential growth may do much more than just disrupt industries. It may actually give birth to a new species, reinventing humanity over the next 30 years.

I believe we’re rapidly heading towards a human-scale transformation, the next evolutionary step into what I call a “Meta-Intelligence,” a future in which we are all highly connected—brain to brain via the cloud—sharing thoughts, knowledge and actions. In this post, I’m investigating the driving forces behind such an evolutionary step, the historical pattern we are about to repeat, and the implications thereof. Again, I acknowledge that this topic seems far-out, but the forces at play are huge and the implications are vast. Let’s dive in…

Source: Exponential Growth Will Transform Humanity in the Next 30 Years

3D Printed Organs and the Super-Fast Hyperloop: Dubai is Accelerating the Future (Jolene Creighton)

In the 1960s, humanity was largely confined to planet Earth. In fact, most people were confined to their own home cities—even just communicating with someone on the other side of the globe was a trial, say nothing about traversing the distance yourself.

But fast-forward 50 years, and the world is an entirely different place.High-speed internet lets us have a seamless (and instantaneous) face-to-face conversation with people who are quite literally on the other side of the world. Planes are so readily available and flights so cheap that it is possible for most anyone to get a ticket and land on the other side of the planet that same day. Even autonomous cars are (slowly) becoming ubiquitous. And of course, man has walked on the Moon…

Source: 3D Printed Organs and the Super-Fast Hyperloop: Dubai is Accelerating the Future

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