Why I Am No Longer A Skeptic
That's right: the nerds won, decades ago, and they're now as thoroughly established as any other part of the establishment. And while nerds a relatively new elite, they're overwhelmingly the same as the old: rich, white, male, and desperate to hang onto what they've got. And I have come to realise that skepticism, in their hands, is just another tool to secure and advance their privileged position, and beat down their inferiors. As a skeptic, I was not shoring up the revolutionary barricades: instead, I was cheering on the Tsar's cavalry.
Referenced in The Cult Of Bayes' Theorem [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 16, 2013 -
Friendship is Optimal
is not a "My Little Pony" fanfic, but a SF story that starts with a procedurally-generated MLP MMO, and crescendos to what could very well be the Best Possible Outcome if self-optimizing algorithms are given /almost/ the right goals.
Some readers are horrified by the implications; some want to move into "Equestria Online" anyway. Whichever camp you fall in, you'll never forget the phrase "satisfy human values through friendship and ponies".
posted by DataPacRat
on Nov 28, 2012 -
The Technological Apocalypse is Coming (Straight to DVD) Over the last 15 years a brilliant and charismatic self-made man has been campaigning across the United States, describing a near-future event that will deliver human salvation, immortality, and unlimited creative potential. After this event, he claims, the trappings of earthly life will no longer plague us: we will no longer age or get sick; we will be able to create our own worlds to our exact preferences; and we will no longer be restricted to our current physical forms. This man’s vision has become the center of a growing movement that already has tens of thousands of adherents, dozens of shared texts, and its own non-profit school that aims to “assemble, educate, and inspire a cadre of leaders” to one day “address humanity’s grand challenges.”
. Coming soon, the movie! [more inside]
posted by jhandey
on Jun 27, 2012 -
A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age
: Like Leary, Silva is an unabashed optimist; he sees humankind as a species on the brink of technology-enabled transcendence. Silva is an avid evangelist for the technological singularity---the idea that technology will soon bring about a greater-than-human intelligence. It's an idea that Ray Kurzweil has worked hard to popularize in tech circles, but Silva wants to push it out into the mainstream, and he wants to do it with the slickest, most efficient idea vehicle of our time: the viral video. He has spent the last three years making (really) short films that play like movie trailers for ideas; he compares them to shots of "philosophical espresso."
posted by troll
on Apr 13, 2012 -
In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these.
The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth
-- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect,"
a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger
. More: Table of Contents
- Publishing history
- Technical discussion
- Buy a paperback copy
- Podcast interview
- Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace"
- possible sequel discussion
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2011 -
When the machines take over, how will people make a living?
Paul Allen: Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Once these machines exist, Kurzweil and Vinge claim, they'll possess a superhuman intelligence that is so incomprehensible to us that we cannot even rationally guess how our life experiences would be altered. Vinge asks us to ponder the role of humans in a world where machines are as much smarter than us as we are smarter than our pet dogs and cats. Kurzweil, who is a bit more optimistic, envisions a future in which developments in medical nanotechnology will allow us to download a copy of our individual brains into these superhuman machines, leave our bodies behind, and, in a sense, live forever. It's heady stuff. [more inside]
posted by kgasmart
on Oct 26, 2011 -
John Baez (mathematical physicist and master popularizer, former operator of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics, current promoter of the idea that physicists should start pitching in on saving the world
) interviews Eliezer Yudkowsky (singularitarian, author of "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,"
promoter of the idea that human life faces a near-term existential threat from unfriendly artificial intelligence, and that people can live better lives by evading their cognitive biases) about the future, academia, rationality, altruism, expected utility, self-improvement by humans and machines, and the relative merit of battling climate change and developing friendly AIs that will forstall our otherwise inevitable doom. Part I
. Part II. Part III. [more inside]
posted by escabeche
on Apr 2, 2011 -
Ray Kurzweil: That Singularity Guy
In the year 2050, if Ray Kurzweil is right, nanoscopic robots will be zooming throughout our capillaries, transforming us into nonbiological humans.
Ray Answers the following questions & more:
Are we going to look like humans forever, or will we eventually just become ghosts in the machine while our physical bodies devolve into dwarves with lobster hands?
Is the ultimate goal to transcend biology and choose how long we would like to live?
posted by Fizz
on May 30, 2010 -
The Coming Death Shortage
We've talked about Aubrey De Grey and gerontology before, but what about the Anna Nicole Smith syndrome and compound interest? This piece from the Atlantic online brings up a scenario that that we may well have to deal with as the maximum possible age increases. Generational warfare, government subsidized longevity treatments ,30 year old adolescence and bio-engineered nations are just some of the things we will live to see if this forecast is accurate. (via Plastic
posted by daHIFI
on Sep 29, 2006 -
Italian & German researchers have created a "neuro-chip" for linking computers with mammalian neurons (A NewScientist
). They added neuron gluing proteins to the chip to attract the sodium pores, and genetically modified the neurons to add more sodium pores.
In the short term, the work is expected to aid the pharmaceutical industry in testing the effects of drugs on neurons, assist basic research into the workings of the brain, and perhaps help treat neurological disorders. In the long term, numerous sci-fi technologies are slightly closers, such as computers with living components, useful brain implants, and Beowulf clusters of humans.
posted by jeffburdges
on Mar 29, 2006 -
BT Technology Timeline 2006-2051
It's interesting to see a major company such as BT set a timeline such as this, especially as they say thier 1990 timeline has had around 80% accuracy. They predict a supercomputer as powerful as the human mind in 2006, self aware computers that pass the turing test by 2020, and the rise of a global computer dictator by and artificial brain around 2040. After that its hard to predict, you know with the singularity coming and all...
Some of the interesting things they predict: genetically engineered teddy bears; androids form 10% of the population around 2015; the Matrix is created, 2030; thought recognition as input device by 2014; the list goes on and on.
posted by daHIFI
on Dec 23, 2005 -