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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

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futureofhumans

Super Useful Read on Tech Body Implants: How Apple is putting Voices in Users’ Heads – Literally (Steven Levy)

This is a super insightful read on a very tangible example of where and how the enhancement of the human body already works today. In fact, hearing-impaired humans are the first beneficiaries or powerful use cases for audio transmission from electronic devices right into peoples’ brains. Think listening to music, audiobooks and no one even notices you have a technical devices plugged into you. Think amplifying voices from a conversation while muting surrounding sound. Many powerful use cases imaginable! As in many “bionic” or “human enhancement tech” scenarios, such tech is developed to help handicapped people and then finds its way into helping everyone. I wonder when we will see first non-handicapped humans tinker with tech like this in order to benefit from such advancements.

Here’s a glimpse; read more on WIRED:

“My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes—he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant—an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism…”

via How Apple Is Putting Voices in Users’ Heads—Literally | WIRED

Mind-bending read on a future challenge topic: “What Can We Share on a Mind-Melding Social Network?” (Sam Brinson)

I really loved this article which takes a deep-dive into the topic of brain-machine-interfaces and use-cases that could revolve around accessing the human brain from a machine/technology perspective in the future. What are the challenges, what needs to be considered? Do we believe this will be at all possible? Find some mind-bending ideas and considerations from Sam Brinson here.

“We’re still in the early days of brain science. The most complex thing in the universe still constantly surprises and confuses us. But, that won’t stop us from connecting them. I know that because we already have.

While the signals being sent back and forth are rudimentary words such as “hola,” we all know how quickly technology can change. Soon, perhaps, full blown telepathy will be here.

Exciting times these are. But let’s go further. What else might a network of brains be able to share? When the brain — the thing responsible for our memories, consciousness, and perception of the world — is open to interpretation…”

Read more at: What Can We Share on a Mind-Melding Social Network?

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…

https://2016.webcampzg.org/talks/view/superintelligence-the-idea-that-eats-smart-people/

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

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