His project, called the 2045 Initiative, for the year he hopes it is completed, envisions the mass production of lifelike, low-cost avatars that can be uploaded with the contents of a human brain, complete with all the particulars of consciousness and personality. [more inside]
Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. The Barbed Gift of Leisure in The Chronicle Review looks at how robots, by replacing our need to work, can change our relationship with leisure. The problem with robots is that (1) they are scary and (2) if you don't have to do any work, your ability to enjoy your time-off dissipates. It's nothing that Veblen, Marx, and Debord didn't anticipate.
From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones, the Cessna-sized workhorses that have dominated unmanned flight since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less known is the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it.(via) [more inside]
"What can escape the eye of God all seeing?" Milton asked. The impossibility of escape from "the eye" is often the very root of what it means to be, like Kokusai Omocha, a "cyborg." The inescapable eye fantasy powers brilliant, archetypal designs of prisons, low brow toy sales and the scourge of the Internet. 108 years ago, the fear of "the eye" induced entrepenuers to invent lead underwear to foil newly invented X-Rays from seeing too much. Today, in the name of security, these metaphors, fantasies and fears all are coming together at a few airports near you.
World's first brain prosthesis revealed. Well, first hippocampus replacement at least. If this is not a dead end for science (which I doubt), I am gonna get my soul fully digitalized in 2020, then spreading it on the whole net with some new version of a code-red virus. :-)
The Soul of a New Machine is the title of an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the recent proliferation of cyborgs in the humanities. Growing outside of science, and inspired by science fiction, cyborgs have invaded economics, anthropology, and even philosophy. Cyborgs are indeed taking over the academic world. NASA is interested, too. In fact, NASA's Cyborg Program was based on the research of Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline. More inside...
Professor becomes world's first cyborg Surgeons have carried out a ground-breaking operation on a cybernetics professor so that his nervous system can be wired up to a computer. It is hoped that the procedure could lead to a medical breakthrough for people paralysed by spinal cord damage, like Superman actor Christopher Reeve. Prof Warwick believes it also opens up the possibility of a sci-fi world of cyborgs, where the human brain can one day be upgraded with implants for extra memory, intelligence or X-ray vision. The medical possibilities with this are amazing, so why does it make me feel so uneasy?
Brain Cells Used To Make Working Semiconductor "This is the first direct functional interfacing of a living neuronal network with an electronic semiconductor chip," said co-author Dr. Peter Fromherz of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, in an interview with Reuters Health. "It is a further step on our road to combine the elements of brains and computers," he added.