You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Reddit interviews Peter Norvig (reddit discussion) related: Seeds of AI at Google -- how the internet is shaping intelligence and learning and, in turn, the role of human culture in natural selection1,2 and why we are not living in western civilization. (via)
The origins and evolution of human intelligence: parasitic insects? viruses? mushrooms? neural darwinism? foraging? machiavellian competition? emergence? or something else?
As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end and the faked life begin? Are we simulating life synthetically? or just speeding up an entirely natural process? Technologically engineered life is here to stay. Its not far fetched to speculate that simulacra may become all there is.
The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons: Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness the idea of the Transhuman is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science of fiction? a comfortable humanist illusion?
It's raining cats and dogs this summer! GEEZ! Pearl Harbor, Shrek, and The Mummy Returns are already in the theaters. This weekend we get Swordfish, Evolution, and even Atlantis: The Lost Empire in limited release. What's next? Oh nuthin. Just stuff Angelina Jolie's been kicking around, Eddie Murphy's little pet project, something Jay & Silent Bob tossed off in the shower, Stephen Spielberg's thoughtful adult film coupled with his token bloodfest for the kiddies... Final Fantasy, Planet of the Apes, Kiss of the Dragon, a painfully predictable looking sequel to American Pie, a predictable but funny-lookin' sequel to Rush Hour, and a predictable sequel to Scary Movie, and the ever present SO MUCH MORE! I skipped half the movies coming out but those are the highlights. Is this gonna be the best summer blockbuster festival ever thrust upon the world's populous, or are we true fans of cinema about to once again take it up the ass? Whatcha think?