Babel, hubris, and humanism unchained

Scarcely a week goes by without the BAM content feeds getting a ping or two from the Singularity Symposium, with its key focusing points being Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism. The latter is defined as “the belief that technology can allow us to improve, enhance and overcome the limits of our biology”. For an inspiring two minutes by the typically electric “performance philosopher” Jason Silva on the no-limits frontiers of transhumanism, try this Shot of Awe. Continue reading Babel, hubris, and humanism unchained

Robots, waiters and the service economy

This recent posting from the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies is one of the more thoughtful among recent reflections on the increasingly popular topic of robots replacing human workers. Like so many of these, however – especially those articles with clever calculators embedded in the story – there may be too much emphasis on jobs as functional and outcome-oriented. Something needs making, or doing, or transporting: and robots are getting better at delivering these outcomes. Continue reading Robots, waiters and the service economy

I Me Mine and the deconstruction of cryonics

I think, therefore I am. So as I once thought, I was, once upon a time. Can it follow that if, after a period of time in which I am not thinking at all, I begin thinking again, can I begin being again and, if so, do I pick up being where I left off thinking or do I renew being from the point at which I renew thinking? The idea of the self and the possibility of its continuity can get even more complicated if we imagine the re-constitution of someone not as they were when they ceased thinking (decrepit in their palliative care bed) but as they were at the peak of their vitality, possibly many decades before the mortal coil was shuffled off. Continue reading I Me Mine and the deconstruction of cryonics