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Archive for the ‘bionic’ category: Page 2

Nov 1, 2014

‘I was blind… now I have bionic eyes’

Posted by in categories: bionic, biotech/medical

Oct 1, 2014

The Abolition of Medicine as a Goal for Humanity 2.0

Posted by in categories: biological, bionic, biotech/medical, ethics, futurism, genetics, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, philosophy, policy, transhumanism

What follows is my position piece for London’s FutureFest 2013, the website for which no longer exists.

Medicine is a very ancient practice. In fact, it is so ancient that it may have become obsolete. Medicine aims to restore the mind and body to their natural state relative to an individual’s stage in the life cycle. The idea has been to live as well as possible but also die well when the time came. The sense of what is ‘natural’ was tied to statistically normal ways of living in particular cultures. Past conceptions of health dictated future medical practice. In this respect, medical practitioners may have been wise but they certainly were not progressive.

However, this began to change in the mid-19th century when the great medical experimenter, Claude Bernard, began to champion the idea that medicine should be about the indefinite delaying, if not outright overcoming, of death. Bernard saw organisms as perpetual motion machines in an endless struggle to bring order to an environment that always threatens to consume them. That ‘order’ consists in sustaining the conditions needed to maintain an organism’s indefinite existence. Toward this end, Bernard enthusiastically used animals as living laboratories for testing his various hypotheses.

Historians identify Bernard’s sensibility with the advent of ‘modern medicine’, an increasingly high-tech and aspirational enterprise, dedicated to extending the full panoply of human capacities indefinitely. On this view, scientific training trumps practitioner experience, radically invasive and reconstructive procedures become the norm, and death on a physician’s watch is taken to be the ultimate failure. Humanity 2.0 takes this way of thinking to the next level, which involves the abolition of medicine itself. But what exactly would that mean – and what would replace it?

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Aug 2, 2014

What Else Could Smart Contact Lenses Do?

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, bionic, biotech/medical, cyborgs

By Suzanne Jacobs — MIT Technology Review

Last week Google and Novartis announced that they’re teaming up to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels and automatically adjust their focus. But these could be just the start of a clever new product category. From cancer detection and drug delivery to reality augmentation and night vision, our eyes offer unique opportunities for both health monitoring and enhancement.

“Now is the time to put a little computer and a lot of miniaturized technologies in the contact lens,” says Franck Leveiller, head of research and development in the Novartis eye care division.

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Jun 23, 2014

Tax haven Jersey now wants to become ‘Bitcoin Island’

Posted by in category: bionic

— BBC News
Jersey: Bitcoin Island

A campaign has been launched to make Jersey a world leader in digital currencies.

Bitcoin payments are already accepted in a handful of places but an industry expert says, if the States allow banks to accept and trade with it, Jersey could become a magnet for new business.

Robbie Andrews, of bit.coin.je, an industry body set up to promote and campaign for the currency, wants to create a “Bitcoin Isle”.

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Jun 19, 2014

Mind uploading won’t lead to immortality

Posted by in categories: bionic, biotech/medical, evolution, futurism, human trajectories, life extension, neuroscience, philosophy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Uploading the content of one’s mind, including one’s personality, memories and emotions, into a computer may one day be possible, but it won’t transfer our biological consciousness and won’t make us immortal.

Uploading one’s mind into a computer, a concept popularized by the 2014 movie Transcendence starring Johnny Depp, is likely to become at least partially possible, but won’t lead to immortality. Major objections have been raised regarding the feasibility of mind uploading. Even if we could surpass every technical obstacle and successfully copy the totality of one’s mind, emotions, memories, personality and intellect into a machine, that would be just that: a copy, which itself can be copied again and again on various computers.

THE DILEMMA OF SPLIT CONSCIOUSNESS

Neuroscientists have not yet been able to explain what consciousness is, or how it works at a neurological level. Once they do, it is might be possible to reproduce consciousness in artificial intelligence. If that proves feasible, then it should in theory be possible to replicate our consciousness on computers too. Or is that jumpig to conclusions ?

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Jun 12, 2014

Could a machine or an AI ever feel human-like emotions ?

Posted by in categories: bionic, cyborgs, ethics, existential risks, futurism, neuroscience, philosophy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Computers will soon be able to simulate the functioning of a human brain. In a near future, artificial superintelligence could become vastly more intellectually capable and versatile than humans. But could machines ever truly experience the whole range of human feelings and emotions, or are there technical limitations ?

In a few decades, intelligent and sentient humanoid robots will wander the streets alongside humans, work with humans, socialize with humans, and perhaps one day will be considered individuals in their own right. Research in artificial intelligence (AI) suggests that intelligent machines will eventually be able to see, hear, smell, sense, move, think, create and speak at least as well as humans. They will feel emotions of their own and probably one day also become self-aware.

There may not be any reason per se to want sentient robots to experience exactly all the emotions and feelings of a human being, but it may be interesting to explore the fundamental differences in the way humans and robots can sense, perceive and behave. Tiny genetic variations between people can result in major discrepancies in the way each of us thinks, feels and experience the world. If we appear so diverse despite the fact that all humans are in average 99.5% identical genetically, even across racial groups, how could we possibly expect sentient robots to feel the exact same way as biological humans ? There could be striking similarities between us and robots, but also drastic divergences on some levels. This is what we will investigate below.

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May 10, 2014

What to make of the film ‘Transcendence’? Show it in classrooms.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, augmented reality, bionic, computing, cyborgs, disruptive technology, existential risks, fun, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, innovation, nanotechnology, philosophy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, singularity, transhumanism

transcendence
I recently saw the film Transcendence with a close friend. If you can get beyond Johnny Depp’s siliconised mugging of Marlon Brando and Rebecca Hall’s waddling through corridors of quantum computers, Transcendence provides much to think about. Even though Christopher Nolan of Inception fame was involved in the film’s production, the pyrotechnics are relatively subdued – at least by today’s standards. While this fact alone seems to have disappointed some viewers, it nevertheless enables you to focus on the dialogue and plot. The film is never boring, even though nothing about it is particularly brilliant. However, the film stays with you, and that’s a good sign. Mark Kermode at the Guardian was one of the few reviewers who did the film justice.

The main character, played by Depp, is ‘Will Caster’ (aka Ray Kurzweil, but perhaps also an allusion to Hans Castorp in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain). Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher based at Berkeley who, with his wife Evelyn Caster (played by Hall), are trying to devise an algorithm capable of integrating all of earth’s knowledge to solve all of its its problems. (Caster calls this ‘transcendence’ but admits in the film that he means ‘singularity’.) They are part of a network of researchers doing similar things. Although British actors like Hall and the key colleague Paul Bettany (sporting a strange Euro-English accent) are main players in this film, the film itself appears to transpire entirely within the borders of the United States. This is a bit curious, since a running assumption of the film is that if you suspect a malevolent consciousness uploaded to the internet, then you should shut the whole thing down. But in this film at least, ‘the whole thing’ is limited to American cyberspace.

Before turning to two more general issues concerning the film, which I believe may have led both critics and viewers to leave unsatisfied, let me draw attention to a couple of nice touches. First, the leader of the ‘Revolutionary Independence from Technology’ (RIFT), whose actions propel the film’s plot, explains that she used to be an advanced AI researcher who defected upon witnessing the endless screams of a Rhesus monkey while its entire brain was being digitally uploaded. Once I suspended my disbelief in the occurrence of such an event, I appreciate it as a clever plot device for showing how one might quickly convert from being radically pro- to anti-AI, perhaps presaging future real-world targets for animal rights activists. Second, I liked the way in which quantum computing was highlighted and represented in the film. Again, what we see is entirely speculative, yet it highlights the promise that one day it may be possible to read nature as pure information that can be assembled according to need to produce what one wants, thereby rendering our nanotechnology capacities virtually limitless. 3D printing may be seen as a toy version of this dream.

Now on to the two more general issues, which viewers might find as faults, but I think are better treated as what the Greeks called aporias (i.e. open questions):

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Apr 29, 2014

Bionic Athletes With Exoskeletons, Robotic Limbs, and Brain-Control Devices to Compete in 2016 Cybathlon

Posted by in categories: bionic, cyborgs, engineering, exoskeleton, transhumanism

Jason Dorrier — Singularity Hub

While traditional sports only grudgingly accept technological augmentation, the 2016 Cybathlon, a kind of hybrid between the XPRIZE and Olympics, embraces it with both robotic arms. Disabled competitors (or pilots) will compete using assistance devices like powered exoskeletons, robotic prostheses, and brain-control interfaces.

We’ve chronicled the continuous evolution of such technologies over the years, but they’re still largely out of reach for most folks.

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Apr 25, 2014

R U Ready to be Uploaded?

Posted by in categories: big data, biological, bionic, biotech/medical, entertainment, evolution, health, human trajectories, neuroscience, policy, posthumanism, singularity, sustainability, transhumanism

How has your work, your life, your humanity, been improved by the promise of Big Data?

What apps and online media do you use to upload personal and other info?

Singularity has flopped – that is to say, this week Johnny Depp’s new film Transcendence did not bring in as much as Pirates of the Caribbean. Though there may not have been big box office heat, there is heat behind the film’s subject: Big Data! Sure we miss seeing our affable pirate chasing treasure, but hats off to Mr. Depp who removed his Keith Richards make-up to risk chasing what might be the mightiest challenge of our century.

Singularity, coined by mathematician John von Neumann, is a heady mathematical concept tested by biotech predictions. Made popular by math and music wunderkindt turned gray hair guru of an AI movement Ray Kurzweil, Singularity is said to signify the increasing rate at which artificial intelligence will supersede human intelligence like a jealous sibling. Followers of the Singularity movement (yes, with guru comes followers) envision the time of override in the not to distant future with projections set early as 2017 and 2030. At these times, the dynamics of technology are said to set about a change in our biology, our civilization and “perhaps” nature itself. Within our current reach, we see signs of empowered tech acting out in the current human brain mapping quest and brain-computer interface systems. More to the point, there is an ever increasing onslaught of Google Alerts annoucing biotech enhancements with wearable tech. Yes indeed, here comes the age of smart prosthetics and our own AI upload of medical and personal data to the internet. Suddenly all those Selfies seem more than mere narcissistic postings against the imposing backdrop of Big Data.

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Apr 1, 2014

The White Swan’s Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments! [TREATISE EXCERPT] By Mr. Andres Agostini at www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, alien life, astronomy, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, cyborgs, defense, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, evolution, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, transhumanism, transparency, transportation

The White Swan’s Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments: How To Fundamentally Cope With Corporate Litmus Tests and With The Permanent Impact of the Dramatic Highly Improbable And Succeed and Prevail Through Transformative and Integrative Risk Management! [TREATISE EXCERPT]. By © Copyright 2013, 2014 Mr. Andres Agostini — All Rights Reserved Worldwide — « www.linkedin.com/in/andresagostini AND www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini » — The Lifeboat Foundation Global Chief Consulting Officer and Partner, Lifeboat Foundation Worldwide Ambassador —

(An Independent, Solemn, Most-Thorough and Copyrighted Answer. Independence, solemnity, thoroughness, completeness, detail, granularity of details, accuracy and rigor, hereunder, will be then redefined by several orders of nonlinear magnitude and without a fail).

[TREATISE EXCERPT].

To Nora, my mother, who rendered me with the definitiveness to seek the thoughts and seek the forethoughts to outsmart any impending demand and other developments. To Francisco, my father: No one who has taught me better. There is no one I regard most highly. It is my greatest fortune to be his son. He endowed me with the Agostini family’s charter, “…Study and, when grown up, you will neither be the tyrants’ toy, nor the passions’ servile slave…” I never enjoyed a “…Mom…”, but considerably enjoyed a gargantuan courageous Mother, Father, Grandparents and Forbears.

Continue reading “The White Swan's Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments! [TREATISE EXCERPT] By Mr. Andres Agostini at www.AMAZON.com/author/agostini” »

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