Technology and human evolution are developing exponentially, entering the steep of an asymptotic curve. Unfortunately, so is the possibility of setting back human evolution hundreds if not millions of years. Which will prevail? It's a nail biter!
http://www.ted.com Inventor, entrepreneur and X-Prize founder, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that with the exponential rise of many arenas of technology we're rapidly inventing, innovating and creating ways to solve the massive challenges that loom over us.
The Asymptotic Leap's insight:
From 2012 but the message is as relevant now as it was then.
Scientists at the University of Bristol have developed a haptic system, with the help of which it is possible to see and touch virtual 3D models.
Haptic technology simulates the sense of touch in virtual reality (creating so-called touch feedback) and is widely used in mobile phones and gaming. It has also found a number of applications in medical training and surgical simulation, and now it has been used by British scientists to create haptic holograms which can be seen and felt.
The Asymptotic Leap's insight:
We have officially entered the age where we will have less certainty about what is real and what is not.
A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard's Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data -- around 700 terabytes -- in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times.
Since the rise of the internet people have changed from mere audiences into authors and editors. With pieces of technology small enough to fit the whole world into your pocket, a revolution might be on its way. The net is now mightier than the sword... "If that's not a revolution, then I don't know what is."
A Colorado man made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two of the Laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Most importantly, Les Baugh, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs,
"The asymptotic rate in which boundaries are being dissolved and databases are being fused is driving the historical process with a momentum that no person or institution can control...history is a kind of alchemical sublimation...nature is trying to birth itself in a new way, almost trying to epigenetically explode itself out of ordinary biological existence."
If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won’t look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It’s likely they won’t be biological creatures at all, but rather, advanced robots that outstrip our intelligence in every conceivable way. While scores of philosophers, scientists and futurists have prophesied the rise of artificial intelligence and the impending singularity, most have restricted their predictions to Earth. Fewer thinkers—outside the realm of science fiction, that is—have considered the notion that artificial intelligence is already out there, and has been for eons.
Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is one who has. She joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, program, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper “Alien Minds," written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think.
When you think about it, the brain is really nothing more than a collection of electrical signals. If we can learn to catalogue those then, in theory, you can upload someone’s mind onto a computer, allowing them to live forever as a digital form of consciousness, just like in the Johnny Depp film Transcendence.
But it’s not just science fiction...but now an international team of researchers have managed to do just that with the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.
The ultimate goal of the project is to completely replicate C. elegans as a virtual organism, but for now, they’ve only managed to simulate its brain, and they’ve now uploaded that into a simple Lego robot.
Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York have implaneted human brain cells to create a part-human “supermouse.” The modified mouse is said to be four times as smart as a normal mouse.
The two concepts, drugs and computers, are migrating toward each other [The Archaic Revival].
McKenna explained in 1999: Both computers and drugs are what I would call “function-specific arrangements of matter,” and as we develop nanotechnological abilities as we move into the next century, it will be more and more clear that the difference between drugs and machines is simply that one is too large to swallow. And our best people are working on that ["Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines]".
The Asymptotic Leap's insight:
"Launch your meme boldly and see if it will replicate" - Terence
One of the things that happens when you write books about the future is you get to watch your predictions fail. This is nothing new, of course, but what’s different this time around is the direction of those failures.
Flexctrl brain is a 32-channel brain-machine interface wearable on the head, providing a new generation contact between man and machine. It is capable of observing brain activities in real time, enabled by the use of Electroencephalography (EEG) measurement. This way the device provides the possibility of a better understanding of what is going on in our brains and of using it in several fields of life. Due to its design, it can be used safely regardless of age: by children, adults, elderly or even ill people.
Micro-motor powered nanobots created by UC, San Diego researchers, and propelled by gas bubbles made from a reaction with the contents of the stomach in which they were deposited, have been succes...
"In Austen Heinz’s vision of the future, customers tinker with the genetic codes of plants and animals and even design new creatures on a computer. In a makeshift laboratory in San Francisco, his synthetic biology company uses lasers to create custom DNA for major pharmaceutical companies. With the latest technology and generous funding, a growing number of startups are taking science and medicine to the edge of science fiction. In the works or on the market are color-changing flowers, cow-free milk, animal-free meat, tests that detect diseases from one drop of blood and pills that tell doctors whether you have taken your medicine."
The Asymptotic Leap's insight:
"In the future a new generation of artists will write genomes with the fluency that Blake and Byron wrote verses" - Freeman Dyson
Today we enjoy basic conversations with our smart phone, desktop PC, games console, TV and soon, our car; but voice recognition, many believe, should not be viewed as an endgame technology. Although directing electronics with voice and gestures may be considered state-of-the-art today, we will soon be controlling entertainment and communications equipment not by talking or waving; but just by thinking!
“This doesn’t require any new breakthroughs,” he said. “It only requires that we’re on the same path we’re on.” Here is a timeline of the technologies Wadhwa says will completely change the world we live in.
"Among the hacker community an alternative way of running the internet is being built already: an internet where no one is in control, where no one can shut you down, where no one can manipulate your content. A decentralised internet."
"A walking molecule, so small that it cannot be observed directly with a microscope, has been recorded taking its first nanometre-sized steps.
'In the future we can imagine tiny machines that could fetch and carry cargo the size of individual molecules, which can be used as building blocks of more complicated molecular machines; imagine tiny tweezers operating inside cells,' said Dr Gokce Su Pulcu of Oxford University's Department of Chemistry"
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