Monthly Archive: February 2011

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Mixed Messages: Tantrums of an Angry Sun

When examining the delicate balance that life on Earth hangs within, it is impossible not to consider the ongoing love/hate connection between our parent star- the sun- and our uniquely terraqueous home planet.

On one hand, Earth is situated so perfectly, so ideally, inside the sun’s habitable zone, that it is impossible not to esteem our parent star with a sense of ongoing gratitude. It is, after all, the onslaught of spectral rain, the sun’s seemingly limitless output of photons, which provides the initial spark to all terrestrial life.

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Technological Transcendence: An Interview with Giulio Prisco

A host of transhumanist thinkers have explored the connections between transhumanism and spirituality, seeking to do so in a manner that pays proper respect to both. One of the most prominent among these has been Giulio Prisco, an Italian physicist and computer scientist, who is the author of the much-read transhumanist/spiritual essay “Engineering Transcendence”, and the leader of the online transhumanist/spiritual discussion group The Turing Church.

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Best of H+: Gesture Recognition, Mind-Reading Machines, and Social Robotics

“Domo Arigato, Mister Roboto.”

Recall the classic Styx song and ask yourself a simple question: how can you tell that the band members are pretending to be robots? It’s the stiff, jerky movements, right?

When we think of a gesture or a voice as “robotic,” we mean that it’s abrupt, rigid, emotionless. To be “robotic” is the opposite of “human.” Human and animal motion is fantastically complex and responsive to the environment, in a way that robots can’t yet replicate. What’s more, human motion is social: our faces and gestures respond to social cues, and we modulate our body language to deal with the presence of others. For example, we can negotiate a crowded hallway without colliding. We’re very good at moving and expressing ourselves physically in a social environment. Robots don’t have such subtle modulation, yet. But new research is helping them catch up.

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Mutate or Die: a W.S. Burroughs Biotechnological Bestiary

 "When you cut into the present, the future leaks out.”
  from the Brion Gysin/W.S. Burroughs Third Mind

“Mutate or Die” is a bioart project being conceived of and executed by Tony Allard and Adam Zaretsky. Bioart tends to use cutting edge biotechnology as an art making device and specializes in presenting living organisms as art. In this project, a DNA sample from William S. Burroughs will be isolated, amplified and shot into the nuclei of some cells. 

What is the process? –

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Itamar Arel on the Path to Artificial General Intelligence

Whether or not you not agree with me that Artificial General Intelligence is likely to be the core technology driving progress in the next century — I guess you have to concur that IF we could achieve advanced AGI, the implications would be pretty damn profound.

So it’s exciting that an increasing number of AI researchers believe we could have human-level AGI within decades (or even years), not centuries.

But even the optimists in the AGI research community show little agreement on the optimal path for getting to their common end goal.

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The Uncertain Future Forecasting Project Goes Open-Source

We are proud to announce the open-sourcing of The Uncertain Future, the first web-based application for making rigorous, scientific forecasts of transhumanist technologies. The Uncertain Future was started in early 2008 with funding from the Singularity Institute, to allow anyone interested in futurism to form their own, mathematically consistent model of what the future of technology and civilization holds. The code is now available for download here under the GPL.