The Long Poiesis
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Frontiers | Preparing synthetic biology for the world | Frontiers in Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation

Frontiers | Preparing synthetic biology for the world | Frontiers in Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Frontiers | Preparing synthetic biology for the world | Frontiers in Microbiotechnology, Ecotoxicology and Bioremediation publishes articles on the most outstanding discoveries across the research spectrum of Frontiers | Preparing synthetic...

- Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space? In this review, we explain how studies of genetically modified organisms lay groundwork for the future landscape of biosafety. Early in the design process, biological engineers are anticipating potential hazards and developing innovative tools to mitigate risk. Here, we survey lessons learned, ongoing efforts to engineer intrinsic biocontainment, and how different stakeholders in synthetic biology can act to accomplish best practices for biosafety.


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The Long Poiesis
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Elon Musk thinks humans need to become cyborgs or risk irrelevance

Elon Musk thinks humans need to become cyborgs or risk irrelevance | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Human beings are in danger of being eclipsed by artificial intelligence and need to evolve the ability to communicate directly with machines or risk irrelevance, Elon Musk said in a typically heartwarming speech from everyone’s favorite billionaire technologist.

“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence," Musk told an audience at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where he also launched Tesla in the United Arab Emirates, according to CNBC. "It's mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output."

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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, February 14, 11:47 PM

A scary glimpse of the future...it's coming whether we like it or not. Your best friend could be the cyborg in the carrel next to you. Musk believes humans will become irrelevant if we don't mesh our brains with our machine creations.  I keep thinking of such sci-fi thrillers as "Terminator", "Bladerunner", and "I, Robot."  Suddenly, I feel the end of our species is near if we don't figure a way out of this quandary.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

https://paper.li/f-1482109921

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Tomorrow’s Problem of Good and Evil: The Challenges of Trans- and Post- Humanism

Tomorrow’s Problem of Good and Evil: The Challenges of Trans- and Post- Humanism | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
A conception of evil that carries over from the Abrahamic religions into secular modernity is that of the ‘disorganization of the soul’. The idea here is that evil isn’t something separate from good but something that arises from the malformation or malfunctioning of good parts. Thus, Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost is God’s best angel gone rogue, the template for the villains faced by comic book superheroes. Many if not most mental illnesses, from neurosis to autism, are defined as some sort of ‘disorder’. In a similar but grander vein, cybernetics founder Norbert Wiener regarded entropy – the ultimate expression of disorganization in physics – as the material equivalent of evil, the source of all suffering, decay and death.
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Extraterrestrials May Be Robots Without Consciousness - Cosmos on Nautilus

Extraterrestrials May Be Robots Without Consciousness - Cosmos on Nautilus | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Humans are probably not the greatest intelligences in the universe. Earth is a relatively young planet and the oldest civilizations could be billions of years older than us. But even on Earth, Homo sapiens may not be the most intelligent species for that much longer.

The world Go, chess, and Jeopardy champions are now all AIs. AI is projected to outmode many human professions within the next few decades. And given the rapid pace of its development, AI may soon advance to artificial general intelligence—intelligence that, like human intelligence, can combine insights from different topic areas and display flexibility and common sense. From there it is a short leap to superintelligent AI, which is smarter than humans in every respect, even those that now seem firmly in the human domain, such as scientific reasoning and social skills. Each of us alive today may be one of the last rungs on the evolutionary ladder that leads from the first living cell to synthetic intelligence.

What we are only beginning to realize is that these two forms of superhuman intelligence—alien and artificial—may not be so distinct. The technological developments we are witnessing today may have all happened before, elsewhere in the universe. The transition from biological to synthetic intelligence may be a general pattern, instantiated over and over, throughout the cosmos. The universe’s greatest intelligences may be postbiological, having grown out of civilizations that were once biological. (This is a view I share with Paul Davies, Steven Dick, Martin Rees, and Seth Shostak, among others.) To judge from the human experience—the only example we have—the transition from biological to postbiological may take only a few hundred years.

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Why bees could be the secret to superhuman intelligence

Why bees could be the secret to superhuman intelligence | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
A tool inspired by swarming insects is helping people predict the future - making groups of people smarter than their members are by themselves.
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Creepy Futures: Nicholas Carr’s History of the Future - Los Angeles Review of Books

Creepy Futures: Nicholas Carr’s History of the Future - Los Angeles Review of Books | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
The history of the future is replete with horrible utopias.

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MIT Technology Review Events Videos - A.I.'s Next Leap Forward - Artificial Intelligence At Work

MIT Technology Review Events Videos - A.I.'s Next Leap Forward - Artificial Intelligence At Work | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Artificial Intelligence At Work
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Genetically engineered humans will arrive sooner than you think. And we're not ready.

Genetically engineered humans will arrive sooner than you think. And we're not ready. | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
"What's happening is bigger than any one of us": a conversation with historian Michael Bess.
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AI Is Not out to Get Us

AI Is Not out to Get Us | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Hollywood’s dark vision of machines taking over belies how far AI is from meaningful reality—and what it will look like when it gets there
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Two A.I. Experts Explain How Westworld's Robots Function

Two A.I. Experts Explain How Westworld's Robots Function | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
A.I. experts, Stephan Bugaj and Oren Etzioni, explain what's making the androids in 'Westworld' so humanlike, and so (artificially) intelligent.

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Beyond "Pokémon Go": Future Games Could Interact with Real Objects

Beyond "Pokémon Go": Future Games Could Interact with Real Objects | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
The augmented-reality game "Pokémon Go" may be the hottest thing in mobile gaming right now, but new advances in computer science could give players an even more realistic experience in the future, according to a new study. In fact, researchers say a new imaging technique could help make imaginary characters, such as Pokémon, appear to convincingly interact with real objects.

A new imaging technique called Interactive Dynamic Video can take pictures of real objects and quickly create video simulations that people, or 3D models, can virtually interact with, the researchers said. In addition to fueling game development, these advances could help simulate how real bridges and buildings might respond to potentially disastrous situations, the researchers added.

The smartphone game "Pokémon Go" superimposes images onto the real world to create a mixed reality. The popularity of this game follows a decades-long trend of computer-generated imagery weaving its way into movies and TV shows. However, while 3D models that can move amid real surroundings on video screens are now commonplace, it remains a challenge getting computer-generated images to look as if they are interacting with real objects. Building 3D models of real items is expensive, and can be nearly impossible for many objects, the researchers said. [Beyond Gaming: 10 Other Fascinating Uses for Virtual-Reality Tech]

Now, Interactive Dynamic Video could bridge that gap, the researchers said.

"When I came up with and tested the technique, I was surprised that it worked quite so well," said study lead author Abe Davis, a computer scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Ray Kurzweil: To Merge With Technology Is to Enhance Our Humanity

Ray Kurzweil: To Merge With Technology Is to Enhance Our Humanity | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Technological shifts outpace our awareness of them. While we're busy with our day-to-day lives—getting a new smartphone or downloading the next updates—we often don't notice how these incremental changes shape our relationship with technology. According to Ray Kurzweil, this trend will continue as we become more closely integrated with the tech around us.

“At some point, we’ll be literally a hybrid of biological and nonbiological thinking, but it's a gradual transition,” Kurzweil says.

Instead of happening overnight, he predicts we’ll steadily enhance ourselves using technology, not by replacing the parts that make us human but by building on them over time.

One of the biggest concerns people express about this idea is the fear of losing one’s body or mind in the process—that we’ll become less and less human in the future.

“I don’t want to give that up. I’m not talking about giving things up,” Kurzweil says. “I’m talking about enhancing our experience and our bodies and our brains.”

He likens this process to what happens as we grow and change through life. At what point do we cease to be our "old selves" and become our "new selves"? There isn’t a clear line. We change and grow incrementally. And day to day, those incremental changes aren’t obvious.

“You’re not the same person you were when you were four years old—where is that four-year-old girl? Is she gone, should we mourn her? Well, no, she’s contained in you. You’ve enhanced yourself to become who you are today,” Kurzweil argues.

One thing is clear: Most of us rarely go a day without technology. What do you think will happen in the coming years? Will we become even more closely tied to our tools? Should we?

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Why upgrading your brain could make you less human – Michael Bess | Aeon Ideas

Within the lifetimes of most children today, bioenhancement is likely to become a basic feature of human society. Personalised pharmaceuticals will enable us to modify our bodies and minds in powerful and precise ways, with far fewer side-effects than today’s drugs. New brain-machine interfaces will improve our memory and cognition, extend our senses, and confer direct control over an array of semi-intelligent gadgets. Genetic and epigenetic modification will allow us to change our physical appearance and capabilities, as well as to tweak some of the more intangible aspects of our being such as emotion, creativity or sociability.

Do you find these ideas disquieting? One of the more insidious effects of such self-editing is that it will blur the boundary between persons and things. The reason is simple: bioenhancements are products. They require machines, chemicals, tools and techniques that develop over time. They become obsolete after a number of years. They are likely to be available for purchase on the open market. Some will be better than others, and more expensive than others. Some – like cars or jewellery or your house – will confer a greater or lesser degree of prestige.
But if we’re not careful, we ignore the fact that these ‘products’ are altering key aspects of a human being’s selfhood. Without realising it, we drift into an instrumental mode of thought, which would reduce a person to the sum total of her modified or unmodified traits. We could lose sight of the individual’s intrinsic value and dignity, and start comparing people as if they were used vehicles in a car lot.

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New realities are imminent: how VR reframes big questions in philosophy | Aeon Videos

The virtual reality (VR) industry is currently in its infancy, but in just a few decades it’s possible that virtual environments will be nearly indistinguishable from reality. Along with transforming everyday life, a VR revolution could fundamentally change how we understand and define what is real. In this installment of Aeon In Sight, the renowned Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers considers how VR is reframing and shedding new light on some of philosophy’s most enduring questions about cognition, epistemology and the nature of reality.
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Aging Is Reversible--at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice

Aging Is Reversible--at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
New research suggests it is possible to slow or even reverse aging, at least in mice, by undoing changes in gene activity—the same kinds of changes that are caused by decades of life in humans.

By tweaking genes that turn adult cells back into embryoniclike ones, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reversed the aging of mouse and human cells in vitro, extended the life of a mouse with an accelerated-aging condition and successfully promoted recovery from an injury in a middle-aged mouse, according to a study published Thursday in Cell.

The study adds weight to the scientific argument that aging is largely a process of so-called epigenetic changes, alterations that make genes more active or less so. Over the course of life cell-activity regulators get added to or removed from genes. In humans those changes can be caused by smoking, pollution or other environmental factors—which dial the genes’ activities up or down. As these changes accumulate, our muscles weaken, our minds slow down and we become more vulnerable to diseases.

The new study suggests the possibility of reversing at least some of these changes, a process researchers think they may eventually get to work in living humans. “Aging is something plastic that we can manipulate,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the study’s senior author and an expert in gene expression at Salk. In their study Belmonte and his colleagues rejuvenated cells by turning on, for a short period of time, four genes that have the capacity to convert adult cells back into an embryoniclike state.

In living mice they activated the four genes (known as “Yamanaka factors,” for researcher Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobelist who discovered their combined potential in 2006). This approach rejuvenated damaged muscles and the pancreas in a middle-aged mouse, and extended by 30 percent the life span of a mouse with a genetic mutation responsible for Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, which causes rapid aging in children.

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Scientists reverse ageing in mammals and predict human trials within 10 years

Scientists reverse ageing in mammals and predict human trials within 10 years | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
An end to grey hair and crows-feet could be just 10 years away after scientists showed it is possible to reverse ageing in animals.
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How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution

How AI can bring on a second Industrial Revolution | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
"The actual path of a raindrop as it goes down the valley is unpredictable, but the general direction is inevitable," says digital visionary Kevin Kelly -- and technology is much the same, driven by patterns that are surprising but inevitable. Over the next 20 years, he says, our penchant for making things smarter and smarter will have a profound impact on nearly everything we do. Kelly explores three trends in AI we need to understand in order to embrace it and steer its development. "The most popular AI product 20 years from now that everyone uses has not been invented yet," Kelly says. "That means that you're not late."
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China is at the forefront of manipulating DNA to create a new class of superhumans

China is at the forefront of manipulating DNA to create a new class of superhumans | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Would you want to alter your future children’s genes to make them smarter, stronger, or better looking? As the state of science brings prospects like these closer to reality, an international debate has been raging over the ethics of enhancing human capacities with biotechnologies such as so-called smart pills, brain implants, and gene editing. This discussion has only intensified in the past year with the advent of the CRISPR-cas9 gene editing tool, which raises the specter of tinkering with our DNA to improve traits like intelligence, athleticism, and even moral reasoning.

So are we on the brink of a brave new world of genetically enhanced humanity? Perhaps. And there’s an interesting wrinkle: It’s reasonable to believe that any seismic shift toward genetic enhancement will not be centered in Western countries like the US or the UK, where many modern technologies are pioneered. Instead, genetic enhancement is more likely to emerge out of China.
Attitudes toward enhancement

Numerous surveys among Western populations have found significant opposition to many forms of human enhancement. For example, a recent Pew study of 4,726 Americans found that most would not want to use a brain chip to improve their memory, and a plurality view such interventions as morally unacceptable.

A broader review of public opinion studies found significant opposition in countries like Germany, the US, and the UK to selecting the best embryos for implantation based on non-medical traits like appearance or intelligence. There is even less support for editing genes directly to improve traits in so-called designer babies.

Opposition to enhancement, especially genetic enhancement, has several sources. The above-mentioned Pew poll found that safety is a big concern—in line with experts who say that tinkering with the human genome carries significant risks. These risks may be accepted when treating medical conditions, but less so for enhancing non-medical traits like intelligence and appearance. At the same time, ethical objections often arise. Scientists can be seen as “playing God” and tampering with nature. There are also worries about inequality, creating a new generation of enhanced individuals who are heavily advantaged over others. Brave New World is a dystopia, after all.

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Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Startup Changing Computing Forever

Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Startup Changing Computing Forever | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Top-secret startup Magic Leap has raised a record-breaking amount of money in pursuit of a radical concept: blending the digital and the physical.

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Elon Musk provides more details about how first Mars colonists will live

Elon Musk provides more details about how first Mars colonists will live | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
When he delivered his Mars colonization presentation at the International Astronautical Conference in September, SpaceX founder Elon Musk spent a lot of time discussing the Interplanetary Transport System rocket and spacecraft, But he offered precious little information about what the firsts visitors' life on Mars would look like.

During an AMA on Reddit Sunday afternoon, he filled in a few of those details. After a user named El-Psy-Kangaroo asked about initial missions to Mars, Musk replied that the first "Red Dragon" spacecraft sent to Mars, possibly in 2018 but more likely 2020, would prove the company could land propulsively on the red planet, and then experiment with chemical reactions to find the best way to derive methane and water from the Martian atmosphere. The resulting propellant would, eventually, be used for return missions from Mars.
Further Reading
Musk’s Mars moment: Audacity, madness, brilliance—or maybe all three

The first large ITS spacecraft sent to Mars, nicknamed "Heart of Gold" after the ship in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, would likely be filled mostly equipment to build a propellant plant on Mars. The first crewed mission would then carry perhaps a dozen colonists and the equipment needed to build a "rudimentary" base and finish the propellant plant. The company would then try to double the number of flights every 26 months, during each Earth-Mars orbital rendezvous. "We are still far from figuring this out in detail," Musk acknowledged.

Another user, Ulysius, asked about permanent habitation on Mars. "Initially, glass panes with carbon fiber frames to build geodesic domes on the surface, plus a lot of miner/tunneling droids," Musk said. "With the latter, you can build out a huge amount of pressurized space for industrial operations and leave the glass domes for green living space."

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Now it’s time to prepare for the Machinocene – Huw Price | Aeon Ideas

Human-level intelligence is familiar in biological hardware – you’re using it now. Science and technology seem to be converging, from several directions, on the possibility of similar intelligence in non-biological systems. It is difficult t
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Yuval Noah Harari on the Rise of Homo Deus

Filmed at the Emmanuel Centre on 5th September 2016. “Studying history aims to loosen the grip of the past… It will not tell us what to choose, but at leas
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IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing

IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
IBM researchers in Zurich created artificial phase-change neurons that behave like biological neurons.
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