Archive for May, 2009
The narrator falls short in this video on his understanding of transhumanism. At the end of the video his shortcomings are evident. Transhumanism is not an all or nothing belief system (religion or science. not in-between), but rather it is a ‘bi-spectic’ philosophy that integrates bits and pieces of spiritual, technological, political, artistic, cultural, and many other parts that make up a belief system/philosophy/religion. The narrator (and you) should read the book ‘Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto’ by Simon Young. While I take issue with some parts of the philosophy Young lays down for transhumanists, they are minor issues. That is what I feel it is about – much like different interpretations of other systems of belief (Christianity, Zen Buddhism, Muslim) it is possible for each transhumanist to develop his/her own guidelines for living an ethical/moral life that maintains the roots of transhumanist aspirations.
The Declaration was originally written in 1998 by an international group of authors, and then modified and re-adopted by the Humanity+ membership in 2002.
(1) Humanity will be radically changed by technology in the future. We foresee the feasibility of redesigning the human condition, including such parameters as the inevitability of aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering, and our confinement to the planet earth.
(2) Systematic research should be put into understanding these coming developments and their long-term consequences.
(3) Transhumanists think that by being generally open and embracing of new technology we have a better chance of turning it to our advantage than if we try to ban or prohibit it.
(4) Transhumanists advocate the moral right for those who so wish to use technology to extend their mental and physical (including reproductive) capacities and to improve their control over their own lives. We seek personal growth beyond our current biological limitations.
(5) In planning for the future, it is mandatory to take into account the prospect of dramatic progress in technological capabilities. It would be tragic if the potential benefits failed to materialize because of technophobia and unnecessary prohibitions. On the other hand, it would also be tragic if intelligent life went extinct because of some disaster or war involving advanced technologies.
(6) We need to create forums where people can rationally debate what needs to be done, and a social order where responsible decisions can be implemented.
(7) Transhumanism advocates the well- being of all sentience (whether in artificial intellects, humans, posthumans, or non- human animals) and encompasses many principles of modern humanism. Transhumanism does not support any particular party, politician or political platform.
The following persons contributed to the original crafting of this document in 1998: Doug Bailey, Anders Sandberg, Gustavo Alves, Max More, Holger Wagner, Natasha Vita More, Eugene Leitl, Berrie Staring, David Pearce, Bill Fantegrossi, Doug Baily Jr., den Otter, Ralf Fletcher, Kathryn Aegis, Tom Morrow, Alexander Chislenko, Lee Daniel Crocker, Darren Reynolds, Keith Elis, Thom Quinn, Mikhail Sverdlov, Arjen Kamphuis, Shane Spaulding, Nick Bostrom.
HOW TO CURE AGING
Aubrey de Grey has a seven-step plan he says will “cure” aging and allow people to live for a very long time. Here it is:
1. The problem: Cell loss or atrophy
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Develop stem cells to replace lost cells. Or use chemicals that stimulate the division of cells to produce new ones.
2. The problem: Cancer
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Aggressive gene therapy will make it impossible for cancer cells to reproduce. Stem-cell therapy will prevent side effects.
3. The problem: Mitochondrial mutations
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Mitochondria are the cell’s power plants, and they house separate genes that are prone to harmful mutations that cause diseases. To prevent those problems, copy the critical mitochondrial genes and insert the copies in the cell’s nucleus, where they will be better protected.
4. The problem: Unwanted cells (such as fat cells)
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Possibly stimulate the immune system to kill unwanted cells.
5. The problem: Stiffening of proteins outside the cell
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Proteins outside cells help support tissues, making arteries elastic and ligaments strong. But chemical reactions throughout life link those proteins and make them less mobile. Specific chemicals could break those links and allow the proteins to move more easily. One chemical is already in clinical trials, says Mr. de Grey.
6. The problem: “Junk” outside the cell
Mr. de Grey’s solution: Plaques accumulate outside the cell and may lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Small molecules called beta-breakers may break these plaques down.
7. The problem: “Junk” inside the cell
Mr. de Grey’s solution: As cells age, molecules can change in ways that make them stop working. Those structures can accumulate in cells and and eventually overwhelm them. Extra enzymes from bacteria could be given to cells to degrade the unwanted material.
Move over, Roomba. Make way for Fukitorimushi, an autonomous floor-cleaning robot that crawls like an inchworm and uses a super-absorbent nanofiber cloth to wipe up microscopic dust and residue that ordinary vacuums leave behind. Unveiled at the recent Tokyo Fiber Senseware exposition in Milan, Fukitorimushi (lit. “wipe-up bug”) is designed by Panasonic and incorporates nanofiber technology developed by textile maker Teijin, Ltd.
The robot cleans by simply dragging its nanocloth belly across the floor as it slowly crawls around in search of dirt. (Watch the video.)
Fukitorimushi, which moves around by flexing and stretching its body like an inchworm, uses “feelers” of blue-white light to search for floor grime. When it finds a dirty spot, the robot emits a red light and devotes extra effort to cleaning that area. After it has finished cleaning, the machine returns to its charging station to replenish its battery.
Fukitorimushi’s body is covered in Teijin’s Nanofront cloth, which is made of polyester filament fibers measuring 700 nanometers in diameter (about 7,500 times thinner than the average human hair). The nanofibers significantly increase the fabric’s surface area and porosity, giving it superior wiping characteristics and the ability to absorb oil and ultra-fine dust particles less than one micron in diameter. The large surface contact area also increases the fabric’s friction with the floor and makes it resistant to sliding. The robot relies on this increased friction to push itself forward while wiping the floor.
According to its creators, Fukitorimushi is also designed to engage the emotions and foster a closer relationship between humans and machines. The way the machine creeps across the floor may seem a little strange at first, but the designers say people tend to grow fond of the robotic creature after watching it for a while. In addition, the owner must periodically replace Fukitorimushi’s nanocloth cover with a clean one. The designers suggest this task of looking after the Fukitorimushi may encourage a pet-like affection for the machine.
Source | Pink Tentacle
Nothing says “marriage or bust” quite like the Marriage-Hunting Bra (Konkatsu Bra), a new concept lingerie by Triumph International designed to help the marriage-minded woman find a husband by displaying how much time remains until she hopes to tie the knot. (Watch video.)
In addition to the easy-to-read LED display that shows the number of days until the wearer’s ideal wedding date, the white lace bra — which has the look and feel of a wedding dress — features a ring holder and convenient pockets for a pen and official stamp seal, which will be needed when filling out the marriage license application.
Triumph, which unveils a new concept bra every six months, hopes the Marriage-Hunting Bra will encourage more people to get hitched, even though it is not for sale. The creators were inspired by Konkatsu-Jidai (”The Times of Marriage-Hunting”), a recent best-seller by Toko Shirakawa that looks at Japan’s declining marriage rate and the growing difficulty that people in their 30s and 40s face when seeking marriage partners.
Recent statistics indicate that 47 percent of men and 32 percent of women in their early 30s are unmarried. These figures appear to be on the rise as people focus more on career than on family, and as people increasingly view marriage as a personal preference, not an essential part of life.
Upon returning to class after the Golden Week holidays, students at a Tokyo elementary school were delighted to find their teacher had been replaced by a robot. The talking humanoid, named “Saya,” was originally developed as a receptionist robot in 2004 by professor Hiroshi Kobayashi of the Tokyo University of Science, but has recently begun taking on work as a substitute teacher.
Amused students poke Saya’s soft face
The robot, which can speak multiple languages, uses facial expressions to facilitate communication. With an array of motors in her head that stretch the soft synthetic skin into various positions, Saya can display emotions ranging from happiness and surprise to sadness and anger.
However, Saya needs to work on improving her classroom management skills. At present, she can’t do much more than call out names and shout orders like “Be quiet.” But that does not make her any less popular with the kids.
Source | Pink Tentacle