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The Long Poiesis
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General Semantics -- Korzybski

General Semantics -- Korzybski | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

The term general semantics originated with Alfred Korzybski in 1933 as the name for a general theory of evaluation, which in application turned out to be an empirical science, giving methods for general human adjustment in our private, public, and professional lives. His study has led ultimately to the formulation of a new system, with general semantics as its modus operandi.

This theory was first presented in his Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

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Could the Organic Singularity Occur Prior to Kurzweil’s Technological Singularity?

Could the Organic Singularity Occur Prior to Kurzweil’s Technological Singularity? | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

Many of us have heard of the “Technological Singularity”[1] predicted by Ray Kurzweil—the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human-intelligence based on computer systems. Kurzweil looked at the famous “Moore’s Law,”[2] which predicts the ever-increasing power of computers based on ever-increasing chip density, and concluded such power inevitably would exceed that of the human brain. Kurzweil, a pioneer in several areas of technology, relied on a straightforward projection of improvements in computing and software technology and didn’t envision any radical transformation in computing techniques themselves. While others have argued that Kurzweil understated the technical challenges—especially regarding the software needed to replicate human cognition—even today we see systems and networks of systems that far exceed the communications powers of any single human being. Google is one example, not to mention the Internet itself. Although these systems don’t fulfill Kurzweil’s prediction, they certainly do demonstrate that many human intellectual abilities can be exceeded through technical means.

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Report from the Alcor-40 Conference

Report from the Alcor-40 Conference | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

This past weekend I attended the Alcor 40conference, hosted by the cryonics organization Alcor to celebrate its 40th year of operation, and I was extremely impressed.(Full disclosure: I am an Alcor member, signed up in 2005 so that in the unfortunate event my body comes to meet the criteria of legal death, they will preserve it in liquid nitrogen until the advance of technology is sufficient to allow my reanimation in one form or another.)

The crowd consisted largely but not entirely of Alcor members; there was also a fair number of non-members interested in the technology and ideas. A bunch of folks signed up as members during the conference, as well.

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Victoria Vesna: Towards a Third Culture or Working in Between

Victoria Vesna: Towards a Third Culture or Working in Between | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

Artists working with computer and other technologies that are a product of the scientific world are also informed and inspired by the exciting innovations and discoveries taking place in science. We are keenly interested in what the cultural critics and commentators from the humanities have to say on the meaning and impact these discoveries and innovations have on culture and society. Scientists can relate and understand our work easier primarily because we use the same tools-computers. Because our work and tools are in constant flux, we are forced to articulate the reasoning and meaning informing the art produced, which has traditionally been the role of art critics and historians. This creates room for an active dialogue with both humanists and scientists. Thus we are placed in between these "Two Cultures," which creates a triangle and promises to an emergence of a Third Culture. This is a privileged and dangerous position, at least in this transitional stage. Therefore it is important to take a look at the background and current status of these Two Cultures.

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Paul E. Baxter: The work of von Foerster: summary of a summary

Paul E. Baxter: The work of von Foerster: summary of a summary | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

The academic work of Heinz von Foerster was, and remains, highly influential in a number of disciplines, namely due to the pervasive implications of his distinction between first and second order cybernetics (and its antecedent ideas). Where first order cybernetics may be simply described as the study of feedback systems by observation, second-order cybernetics extends this observation of a system to incorporate the observer itself: it is reflexive in that the observation of the feedback system is itself a feedback system to be explained. While I am familiar with this concept, I am not particularly familiar with the body of work produced by von Foerster to instantiate this concept, although I have encountered numerous references to him, particularly when the subject is related to enactivism.

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Towards programming languages for genetic engineering of living cells - Microsoft Research

Towards programming languages for genetic engineering of living cells - Microsoft Research | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

Synthetic biology aims at producing novel biological systems to carry out some desired and well-defined functions. An ultimate dream is to design these systems at a high level of abstraction using engineering-based tools and programming languages, press a button, and have the design translated to DNA sequences that can be synthesized and put to work in living cells

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David Deutsch - Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence

David Deutsch - Philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
David Deutsch: AI is achievable, but it will take more than computer science and neuroscience to develop machines that think like people...To state that the human brain has capabilities that are, in some respects, far superior to those of all other known objects in the cosmos would be uncontroversial. The brain is the only kind of object capable of understanding that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists. Nor are its unique abilities confined to such cerebral matters. The cold, physical fact is that it is the only kind of object that can propel itself into space and back without harm, or predict and prevent a meteor strike on itself, or cool objects to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or detect others of its kind across galactic distances.
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Blue Brain Project Accurately Predicts Connections Between Neurons

Blue Brain Project Accurately Predicts Connections Between Neurons | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Proof of concept: Researchers identify principles to support brain simulation models.One of the greatest challenges in neuroscience is to identify the map of synaptic connections between neurons. Called the “connectome,” it is the holy grail that will explain how information flows in the brain. In a landmark paper, published the week of 17th of September in PNAS, the EPFL’s Blue Brain Project (BBP) has identified key principles that determine synapse-scale connectivity by virtually reconstructing a cortical microcircuit and comparing it to a mammalian sample. These principles now make it possible to predict the locations of synapses in the neocortex.
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Meet Nexi – Who (and what) can you trust?

Meet Nexi – Who (and what) can you trust? | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

People are fidgety – they’re moving all the time. So how could the team truly zero-in on the cues that mattered? This is where Nexi comes in. Nexi is a humanoid social robot that afforded the team an important benefit – they could control all its movements perfectly. In a second experiment, the team had research participants converse with Nexi for 10 minutes, much like they did with another person in the first experiment. While conversing with the participants, Nexi — operated remotely by researchers — either expressed cues that were considered less than trustworthy or expressed similar, but non-trust-related cues. Confirming their theory, the team found that participants exposed to Nexi’s untrustworthy cues intuited that Nexi was likely to cheat them and adjusted their financial decisions accordingly. “Certain nonverbal gestures trigger emotional reactions we’re not consciously aware of, and these reactions are enormously important for understanding how interpersonal relationships develop,” said Frank. (source: EurekaAlert)

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How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge

How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

[JOSEPH HENRICH:] The main questions I've been asking myself over the last couple years are broadly about how culture drove human evolution. Think back to when humans first got the capacity for cumulative cultural evolution—and by this I mean the ability for ideas to accumulate over generations, to get an increasingly complex tool starting from something simple. One generation adds a few things to it, the next generation adds a few more things, and the next generation, until it's so complex that no one in the first generation could have invented it. This was a really important line in human evolution, and we've begun to pursue this idea called the cultural brain hypothesis—this is the idea that the real driver in the expansion of human brains was this growing cumulative body of cultural information, so that what our brains increasingly got good at was the ability to acquire information, store, process and retransmit this non genetic body of information.

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How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge

How Culture Drove Human Evolution | Conversation | Edge | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

The main questions I've been asking myself over the last couple years are broadly about how culture drove human evolution. Think back to when humans first got the capacity for cumulative cultural evolution—and by this I mean the ability for ideas to accumulate over generations, to get an increasingly complex tool starting from something simple. One generation adds a few things to it, the next generation adds a few more things, and the next generation, until it's so complex that no one in the first generation could have invented it. This was a really important line in human evolution, and we've begun to pursue this idea called the cultural brain hypothesis—this is the idea that the real driver in the expansion of human brains was this growing cumulative body of cultural information, so that what our brains increasingly got good at was the ability to acquire information, store, process and retransmit this non genetic body of information.

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Stigmergy: An Introduction « Deep Change

Stigmergy: An Introduction « Deep Change | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
You have probably heard of hierarchy, and also anarchy. These two terms used socially refer to the way we organise our socio-economic lives. Well these are not mutually exclusive sole alternatives in our political lives.

Via Spaceweaver
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The Human Connectome Project

Researchers are going to learn how all 85 billion neurons in the human brain are wired up.
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Robin Hanson: Extraordinary Society of Emulated Minds

Robin Hanson predicts what the extraordinary society of the future will look like when emulated minds are ushered in.
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Full text of "On growth and form" - D'ARCY WENTWORTH THOMPSON

Full text of "On growth and form" - D'ARCY WENTWORTH THOMPSON | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

D'Arcy's most famous work, On Growth and Form was written in Dundee, mostly in 1915, though wartime shortages and D'Arcy's many last-minute alterations delayed publication until 1917. The central theme of On Growth and Form is that biologists of its author's day overemphasized evolution as the fundamental determinant of the form and structure of living organisms, and underemphasized the roles of physical laws and mechanics. He advocated structuralism as an alternative to survival of the fittest in governing the form of species.

On the concept of allometry, Thompson wrote:

"An organism is so complex a thing, and growth so complex a phenomenon, that for growth to be so uniform and constant in all the parts as to keep the whole shape unchanged would indeed be an unlikely and an unusual circumstance. Rates vary, proportions change, and the whole configuration alters accordingly."

Thompson pointed out example after example of correlations between biological forms and mechanical phenomena. He showed the similarity in the forms of jellyfish and the forms of drops of liquid falling into viscous fluid, and between the internal supporting structures in the hollow bones of birds and well-known engineering truss designs. His observations of phyllotaxis (numerical relationships between spiral structures in plants) and the Fibonacci sequence has become a textbook staple.

Perhaps the most famous part of the work is chapter XVII, "The Comparison of Related Forms," where Thompson explored the degree to which differences in the forms of related animals could be described by means of relatively simple mathematical transformations.[7]

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An Idea to Change All Ideas

An Idea to Change All Ideas | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Ray Kurzweil is a prolific inventor and futurist that believes that humanity is reaching a new epoch in the history of the universe, life and humanity: the technological singularity.
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Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World | KurzweilAI

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World | KurzweilAI | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Where will you be in a singular world?In Ray Kurzweil’s New York Times bestseller The Singularity is Near, the futurist and entrepreneur describes the...
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Chemical Brain Preservation: How to Live "Forever" - A Personal View

A number of neuroscientists, working today with simple model organisms, are investigating the hypothesis that chemical brain preservation may inexpensively preserve the organism's memories and mental states after death. Chemically preserved brains can be stored at room temperature in cemeteries, contract storage, even private homes. Our 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Brain Preservation Foundation (http://brainpreservation.org), is offering a $100,000 prize to the first scientific team to demonstrate that the entire synaptic connectivity ("connectome") of mammalian brains can be perfectly preserved using either chemical preservation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_brain_preservation) or more expensive cryopreservation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryonics) techniques.

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9 Historical Figures Who May Have Predicted Our Future

9 Historical Figures Who May Have Predicted Our Future | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
We like to think that many of our fantastic dreams of the future — from space colonization to artificial intelligence and human enhancement —...
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Minsoo Kang: Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination (2011) at Monoskop Log

Minsoo Kang: Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination (2011) at Monoskop Log | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

From the dawn of European civilization to the twentieth century, the automaton—better known today as the robot—has captured the Western imagination and provided a vital lens into the nature of humanity.

Historian Minsoo Kang argues that to properly understand the human-as-machine and the human-as-fundamentally-different-from-machine, we must trace the origins of these ideas and examine how they were transformed by intellectual, cultural, and artistic appearances of the automaton throughout the history of the West.

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Forever Young (BBC Documentary)

Broadcast (2005) The twenty-first century will be shaped by a revolution in biology that will enable us to read the genetic code of life as easily as we would read a book. We have gained the power to control the destiny of our species and the ability to manipulate and build humans at will. This fascinating new series will take us on an incredible journey into the future of being, and give a glimpse of things to come in the new age.

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Why technology might not make children stupid, after all

Why technology might not make children stupid, after all | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
All this newfangled technology is going to make young people stupid. This is a very old argument, dating back (at least) to 370-ish BC, when Plato wrote the The Phaedrus.
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Hypernature « NextNature.net

Hypernature « NextNature.net | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

Much of the so-called ‘nature’ in our lives has taken on an artificial authenticity. Engineered tomatoes are redder, rounder, and larger than the ones from our gardens. We have made fluorescent fish, featherless birds, and botanical gardens that contain species from every corner of the globe.

Human design has made nature hypernatural. Hypernature is an exaggerated simulation of a nature that never existed. It’s better than the real thing: a little bit prettier, slicker and safer than the old kind. Hypernature is culture in disguise.

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Designing a new Internet with more choices | KurzweilAI

Designing a new Internet with more choices | KurzweilAI | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from four U.S. universities is poised to lay out the key components for a networking architecture to serve as the backbone of a new Internet that gives users more choices about which services they use.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) asked the researchers to design a blueprint for a future version of the Internet.

Making choices

The new Internet architecture will hinge on users being able to make choices about which features and services they want to use, and which entities they want to pay to provide those services. As such, the work being done under the NSF grant is guided by three principles:

1). Encourage Alternatives: Any new network must be able to provide different types of services, allowing users to select the service that best meets their needs.

2). Vote With Your Wallet: Any new network must allow users to reward service providers that offer superior and/or innovative services. This will encourage innovation and discourage inferior service.

3). Know What Happened: Any new network must be able to give users and service providers the ability to exchange information about the quality of the service being provided.

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Biotech is thrusting us into new political territory - opinion - 28 August 2012 - New Scientist

Biotech is thrusting us into new political territory - opinion - 28 August 2012 - New Scientist | The Long Poiesis | Scoop.it
Stem cells, embryo research and synthetic biology are just a few of the issues that will force strange new political alliances, says Jonathan D.
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