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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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Technology Is Completely Upending the Traditional Idea of the Self

Technology Is Completely Upending the Traditional Idea of the Self | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A qualitative change in our information environment that is every bit as seismic as the meteor that marked the end of the dinosaurs. Deity-scale information capability. Complexity driving cognition to ever more competent techno-human networks. Perceptual, conscious, and subconscious processing increasingly outsourced to technology systems. Fragmentation of self across avatars in various increasingly engaging virtual realities. But any such list is misleadingly simplistic. The technological evolution impacting the self is not simply a case of interesting but isolated case studies but, rather, represents profound and accelerating evolution across the entire technological frontier. And the conscious self is where these must be integrated, or at least collated.

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Can we build an artificial superintelligence that won't kill us?

Can we build an artificial superintelligence that won't kill us? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

At some point in our future, an artificial intelligence will emerge that's smarter, faster, and vastly more powerful than us. Once this happens, we'll no longer be in charge. But what will happen to humanity? And how can we prepare for this transition? 

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Virtual afterlives will transform humanity

Virtual afterlives will transform humanity | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The question is not whether we can upload our brains onto a computer, but what will become of us when we do

 
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Mlik Sahib's curator insight, December 18, 2013 4:49 PM

"In the real world, two people can share experiences and thoughts. But lacking a USB port in our heads, we can’t directly merge our minds. In a simulated world, that barrier falls. A simple app, and two people will be able to join thoughts directly with each other. Why not? It’s a logical extension. We humans are hyper-social. We love to network. We already live in a half-virtual world of minds linked to minds. In an artificial afterlife, given a few centuries and few tweaks to the technology, what is to stop people from merging into überpeople who are combinations of wisdom, experience, and memory beyond anything possible in biology? Two minds, three minds, 10, pretty soon everyone is linked mind-to-mind. The concept of separate identity is lost. The need for simulated bodies walking in a simulated world is lost. The need for simulated food and simulated landscapes and simulated voices disappears. Instead, a single platform of thought, knowledge, and constant realisation emerges. What starts out as an artificial way to preserve minds after death gradually takes on an emphasis of its own. Real life, our life, shrinks in importance until it becomes a kind of larval phase. Whatever quirky experiences you might have had during your biological existence, they would be valuable only if they can be added to the longer-lived and much more sophisticated machine.

I am not talking about utopia.."

tina bucci's curator insight, December 30, 2013 6:38 PM

Very interesting question.

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The Bio-intelligence Explosion – David Pearce

The Bio-intelligence Explosion – David Pearce | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

How recursively self-improving organic robots will modify their own source code and bootstrap our way to full-spectrum

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Humans Are Already More "Enhanced" by Technology Than We Realize

Humans Are Already More "Enhanced" by Technology Than We Realize | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Time recently ran a cover story titled, “Can Google Solve Death?” The wording was a bit much, as the subject of the piece, Google’s new firm Calico, has more modest ambitions, like using “tools like big data to determine what really extends lives.” But even if there won’t be an app for immortality any time soon, we’re increasingly going to have to make difficult decisions about when human limits should be pushed and how to ensure ethics keeps pace with innovation

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Cyberskin Will Give You Real-Life Spidey Sense

Cyberskin Will Give You Real-Life Spidey Sense | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Recently developed cyberskin will one day give robots a sense of touch, and humans enhanced perception. When it does, we’ll need to be prepared for the ethical questions that come with it.

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Robots: The future of elder care?

Robots: The future of elder care? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Would you let a robot take over as a live-in nurse for your aging parent or grandparent?

In 2050, the elderly will account for 16 percent of the global population. That's 1.5 billion people over the age of 65, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Caring for those seniors - physically, emotionally and mentally - will be an enormous undertaking, and experts say there will be a shortage of professionals trained and willing to take on the job.

"We have to find more resources and have to get new ways of delivering those resources and delivering the quality of care," says Antonio Espingardeiro, an expert in robotics and automation at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.

Enter the elder-care robot.

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The Pros and Cons of Killer Robots

The Pros and Cons of Killer Robots | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The United Nations on Thursday was dealing with a surprisingly pressing issue: killer robots.
In Geneva, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, called for a moratorium on the development of drones that are programmed to target and fire without human intervention. “War without reflection is mechanical slaughter,” he said. “In the same way that the taking of any human life deserves at the minimum some deliberation, a decision to allow machines to be deployed deserves a collective pause, in other words, a moratorium.”

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Gene Pool Rules

Gene Pool Rules | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

For thousands of years, humans have used genetic engineering to control the evolution of plants and animals. So it is inevitable that we will use it to shape our own evolution. Our efforts so far have been modest: online dating services are beginning to match subscribers on the basis of their genetic compatibility; parents increasingly screen embryos and fetuses, allowing only those with the healthiest genes to be born; geneticists are only slowly improving their ability to manipulate DNA directly; and no one is trying to make germline changes in humans that will be passed on to succeeding generations.
Full-scale human evolutionary engineering is still far off, but, at some point in the future, it may well become routine. The challenge for humanity is twofold: to survive long enough to reach that point, and to cause the least amount of harm while getting there.

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Waking the Brain: Advances in Neuroscience

Recent advances in neuroscience show that the damaged brain has a remarkable ability to respond. Patients who were otherwise diagnosed as "vegetative" are responding to tests and in some cases -- even learning how to walk again.

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Beyond Asimov: the struggle to develop a legal framework for robots

Beyond Asimov: the struggle to develop a legal framework for robots | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

"Robots are no longer science fiction, as they have left the factory and are arriving in our homes," says Salvini from the BioRobotics Institute at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA) in Pisa, Italy. And Asimov's Three Laws simply aren't sufficient.
As part of the unique EU-backed €1.5 million RoboLaw Project, Salvini is managing a team of roboticists, lawyers and philosophers (yes, philosophers) from a consortium of European universities, who are working hard to come up with proposals for the laws and regulations necessary to manage emerging robotics technologies in Europe in time to present them to European Commission a year from now. The consortium comprises the University of Tilburg (the Netherlands), the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Reading and the SSSA.

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Sophie Martin's curator insight, March 19, 2013 2:19 AM

 

What laws, how to define them about such unconceivable object …heu…thing…euh person? Well some note :
"I can't define a robot, but I know one when I see one"(Joseph Engelberger, one of the fathers of robotics)
The list, says Salvini, takes into account autonomous robots, including neurobiotics -- robots controlled via a brain-computer interface -- and service robots that operate in the home, cities and other public roles.
"These are exactly the kind of problems that roboticists will struggle with, as while they need to test their robots outside of the laboratory they are not always good at dealing with the social and legal environment."
After all, there are some schools of thought see robots as autonomous individuals with the same or comparable rights as those of humans. "Or how do you actually describe a robot? You can address it like an animal or pet, but if your dog attacks someone then you are liable."
‘A key issue is the lack of public awareness and debate about these issues. "So many people see our research as 'science fiction work', although we are working mainly on problems society is facing right now," explains Beck, adding that it's necessary to inform society about the existing research -- often taking place behind closed doors -- and potential applications.”
"After all, lawyers cannot answer questions for society." Society has first to decide which robots it wants to accept, which risks it wants to take, who should be responsible for damages caused by robots, she warns.”
Ect ….ect …
hughrlk...
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Will we ever… have cyborg brains?

Will we ever… have cyborg brains? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
After recent triumphs showing that implants could repair lost brain function, Martin W. Angler explores how soon we can use this technology for creating enhanced humans.
Via Robert Farrow
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vidistar's curator insight, December 19, 2012 5:47 AM

Will we ever… have cyborg brains?

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How Smart Drugs and Cybernetics Could Create a Superhuman Workforce

How Smart Drugs and Cybernetics Could Create a Superhuman Workforce | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
Imagine becoming superhuman. Or, at the very least, becoming superhumanly good at your job. A new prescription allows you total focus. Total composure. Genius-level clarity of thought, and the ability to stay up, in the zone, for two days straight. Aural and optical implants, gene transfers, and even bionics keep you sharp and operating at peak ability well into your retirement years.
Imagine that those technologies used by the military to augment soldiers are turning you into a super-worker capable of moving ahead in your profession, and up the career ladder, with beyond-human, almost Übermenschen abilities.
Now, imagine that everyone in your office is on the same tip. Imagine that you’re being forced to stay in line, too, just to keep up—that you're becoming a medical experiment in human efficiency just to retain your job.
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The New Rules of Robot/Human Society

As technology speeds forward, humans are beginning to imagine the day when robots will fill the roles promised to us in science fiction. But what should we be thinking about today, as robots like military and delivery drones become a real part of our society? How should robots be programmed to interact with us? How should we treat robots? And who is responsible for a robot's actions? As we look at the unexpected impact of new technologies, we are obligated as a society to consider the moral and ethical implications of robotics.

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​The Worst Lies You've Been Told About the Singularity

​The Worst Lies You've Been Told About the Singularity | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

In a nutshell, the Technological Singularity is a term used to describe the theoretical moment in time when artificial intelligence matches and then exceeds human intelligence. The term was popularized by scifi writer Vernor Vinge, but full credit goes to the mathematician John von Neumann, who spoke of "ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue."

By "not continue" von Neumann was referring to the potential for humanity to lose control and fall outside the context of its technologies. Today, this technology is assumed to be artificial intelligence, or more accurately, recursively-improving artificial intelligence (RIAI), leading to artificial superintelligence (ASI).

Because we cannot predict the nature and intentions of an artificial superintelligence, we have come to refer to this sociological event horizon the Technological Singularity — a concept that's open to wide interpretation, and by consequence, gross misunderstanding.

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Emerging ethical dilemmas in science and technology

Emerging ethical dilemmas in science and technology | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

As a new year approaches, the University of Notre Dame's John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values has released its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology for 2014.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, December 10, 2013 5:22 PM

The Reilly Center explores conceptual, ethical and policy issues where science and technology intersect with society from different disciplinary perspectives. Its goal is to promote the advancement of science and technology for the common good.

 

The center generates its annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology with the help of Reilly fellows, other Notre Dame experts and friends of the center.

 

E-trucit's curator insight, December 11, 2013 12:47 AM

several interesting things

Saranne Davies's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:48 AM

Interesting article.

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How Close Are We to Building a Full-Fledged Cyborg?

How Close Are We to Building a Full-Fledged Cyborg? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The dream of the cyborg is coming true at an exhilarating rate. As humans gets better and better at making machines, we keep attaching those machines to our bodies to make ourselves better humans. It seems at times that the only question left is if we can put a human brain in a robotic frame. Actually, it's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when.

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Will super-human artificial intelligence (AI) be subject to evolution?

Will super-human artificial intelligence (AI) be subject to evolution? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

There has been much speculation about the future of humanity in the face of super-humanly intelligent machines. Most of the dystopian scenarios seem to be driven by plain fear that entities arise that could be smarter and stronger than us. After all, how are we supposed to know which goals the machines will be driven by? Is it possible to have “friendly” AI? If we attempt to turn them off, will they care? Would they care about their own survival in the first place?

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The Age of Anatta Machines: Kicking the Ghosts out of AI

The Age of Anatta Machines: Kicking the Ghosts out of AI | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The Singularity is not a religion; the pursuit of AI is not a religion. It seems like it is enough to ignore spirituality and claim the scientific ground. But that is not enough. For it is only when we seek the opposite of spirituality – when the barrier between the self and the other begins to fade – that we can hope to find a way to create entities that may peacefully transcend current human constraints.

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The Rise of Artificial Intelligence | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Artificial intelligence is an ever evolving goal for researchers, and the object of endless fascination for writers, filmmakers, and the general public. But despite our best science fiction visions, creating digital intelligence is incredibly difficult. The universe is a very complicated place, and humans have had millions of years to evolve the ability to navigate and make sense of it. Contemporary attempts to create AI have us looking more at how our own brains work to see how a computer could simulate the core activities that create our intelligence. No matter how we get there, it is certain that artificial intelligence will have tremendous impact on our society and economy, and lead us down a path towards evolving our own definitions of humanity.

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The Transhumanist Delusion

The Transhumanist Delusion | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

While we can measure the degree to which technologies transcend physical and physiological boundaries, we can merely speculate about the ethical consequences of these developments and about their effect on human self-perception. The merging of human consciousness and technology changes not only the latter, but also the former. And the question is whether technology will become more human in the long run, or whether humans will become more technical.

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luiy's curator insight, May 6, 2013 2:50 AM
A unique evolutionary moment

The human body sits squarely at the center of this debate. Until today, we have largely conceived of technology as a collection of external objects. Now, technology enters the body, merges with it, becomes a constitutive part of its host. This presents us with a unique moment in evolutionary history. The biggest drivers of change can be found in the military and the pharmaceutical sectors of the economy. And the big unknown is whether we will be able to put the new possibilities to good use.

 

New ideologies have emerged that frame the techno-narrative and justify its propagation. The most influential among them is the ideology of transhumanism, a worldview predicated on the notion of transcendence. By merging man and machine, transhumanists hope to open up new avenues of human development. A core group of transhumanist thinkers has found a home at Oxford University, from where they fight against the humanist desire to protect and examine humanity in its current form...

 

 

Man, machine, industry

This changes everything: Not only our human self-perception (which has always been important for our conception of present and future) but also our definition of civilization. Some of these developments proceed at a breathtaking pace, and it’s only justified to ask whether members of the transhumanist vanguard and advocates of “inversive” technologies actually grasp the consequences of their work.

 

Hence the following assertion: The emerging global neuro-technological industry is more significant than all current political uprisings and military conflicts. Experiments are good. Careless tinkering with human nature is not.

 

The crucial point is that we simply don’t know enough about ourselves to speedily abandon our current view of humanity and to turn ourselves – as some transhumanists desire – into cyborg creatures. Our confusion starts at the fundamental level: For example, what does it mean to “know”? Is it possible to transfer all knowledge online if we can develop algorithms with adequate levels of sophistication? Can knowledge become de-corporealized?

Nacho Vega's curator insight, May 7, 2013 1:35 AM

Technology will become more human in the long run!

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The Future of Artificial Intelligence

The Future of Artificial Intelligence | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Robots are here to stay. They will be smarter, more versatile, more autonomous, and more like us in many ways. We humans will need to adapt to keep up.

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luiy's curator insight, March 25, 2013 2:36 PM
New technologies, new moralities

Religious and other organizations will define and attempt to regulate the ways in which human treat humanoid robots, since they will be considered quasi-human, sentient creatures that must be treated with respect and not abused. Thus, the changing legal and social framework will deal with the proper use of robots by humans as well as the proper behavior of robots toward humans, and new sets of “post-Asimov” laws will emerge.

 

Finally, a few concluding thoughts. The rapid increase in the number and sophistication of autonomous systems, including humanoid robots, lead to dramatic changes in society. Robots will assume an increasing share of human work and responsibility, thus creating a major social problem with unemployment and the relations of humans and robots. I believe that new frameworks for these interactions will emerge within the next 25 to 50 years. If they do not, there may be neo-Luddite rebellions, in which humans will attempt to destroy large numbers of robots. Those of us who design, program, and implement robots have a major responsibility to assist in the creation and implementation of patterns of behavior and legal systems to ensure that robots and humans co-evolve and co-exist for the benefit of society.

 

Robots are here to stay. They will be smarter, more versatile, more autonomous, and more like us in many ways. We humans will need to adapt to this coming world.

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Should we put robots on trial?

Should we put robots on trial? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With most robot-like machines that exist today, any serious problems can be easily traced back to a human somewhere, whether because the machine was used carelessly or because it was intentionally programmed to do harm. But experts in artificial intelligence and the emerging field of robot ethics say that is likely to change. With the advent of technological marvels like the self-driving car and increasingly sophisticated drones, they say we’ll soon be seeing the emergence of machines that are essentially autonomous. And when these machines behave in ways unpredictable to their makers, it will be unclear who should be held legally responsible for their actions.
With their eyes on this apparently inevitable future, some specialists have started to argue that our legal system is woefully unprepared—that in a world in which more and more decisions are made by entities with no moral compass, the laws we have are not enough. In fact, some are arguing that it’s time to do something surprising: to extend our idea of what it means to be an “independent actor,” and perhaps even hold the robots themselves legally culpable.

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Exponential Technology Literacy

Niell Jacobstein of NASA's Singularity University describes how artificial intelligence will change the world.

at TEDxSanMigueldeAllende

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

Excellent talk. A fresh perspective on the topic.

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Should We Live to 1,000?

Should We Live to 1,000? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
On which problems should we focus research in medicine and the biological sciences? There is a strong argument for tackling the diseases that kill the most people –diseases like malaria, measles, and diarrhea, which kill millions in developing countries, but very few in the developed world.
Developed countries, however, devote most of their research funds to the diseases from which their citizens suffer, and that seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Given that constraint, which medical breakthrough would do the most to improve our lives?
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