Tracking the Future
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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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Engineering human evolution

Cyborgs, brain uploads and immortality - How far should science go in helping humans exceed their biological limitations? These ideas might sound like science fiction, but proponents of a movement known as transhumanism believe they are inevitable.

In this episode of The Stream, we talk to bioethicist George Dvorsky; Robin Hanson, a research associate with Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute; and Ari N. Schulman, senior editor of The New Atlantis, about the ethical implications of transhumanism.

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Of Mice, Men, The Singularity and Playing Dice with the Universe

Of Mice, Men, The Singularity and Playing Dice with the Universe | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

En route to the singularity, can our grandiose plans to become immortal, super-intelligent, god-like beings turn out to be “the promised joy” that went awry?

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Substrate Independent Minds: A Brief Tutorial

Randal Koene, Neuroscientist and Neuroengineer, discusses Substrate Independent Minds with Stuart Mason Dambrot on Critical Thought TV. Topics covered include the science, technology and ethics of Whole Brain Emulation, Universal Darwinism, Pattern Survival and a possible very far-future universe.

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When creative machines overtake man

Machine intelligence is improving rapidly, to the point that the scientist of the future may not even be human! In fact, in more and more fields, learning machines are already outperforming humans.

Artificial intelligence expert Jürgen Schmidhuber isn't able to predict the future accurately, but he explains how machines are getting creative, why 40'000 years of Homo sapiens-dominated history are about to end soon, and how we can try to make the best of what lies ahead.

http://www.tedxlausanne.org

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Privilege Has Its Rewards — How Longevity Will Become The New Class Inequality

Privilege Has Its Rewards — How Longevity Will Become The New Class Inequality | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Here’s a news flash that isn’t really new: the rich live longer than everyone else. Now, on the surface, this seems like a no-brainer. The ability to afford the best of everything should translate into better health while the inability to pay for even basic care, not to mention preventative medicine, is going to cut a person’s life short. For the threshold of the average human life span to surpass say 100 years, everyone should live like the rich do. The upper class has access to better resources, such as quality food and health care. They are also more informed, have the best education and have access to more opportunities. As a result, all of these factors collectively contribute to an improved quality of life. And if infomercials for juicers have taught us anything it’s that a better quality of life extends longevity.
But the proof is in the pudding…and that pudding better be full of statistics to back up this kind of claim.
Fortunately, studies have been going on for years to investigate the longevity gap.

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When Death Becomes Optional

When Death Becomes Optional | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The year is 2032. You have just celebrated your 80th birthday and you have some tough decisions ahead. You can either keep repairing your current body or move into a new one.
The growing of “blank” bodies has become all the rage, and by using your own genetic material, body farmers can even recreate your own face at age 20.
In just 20 years, this is an industry that has moved from the equivalent of Frankenstein’s laboratory to the new celebrity craze, with controversy following it every step of the way.
The combination of a few high profile “accidents” along the way, coupled with those in the religious community who claim that body farmers are playing God, and asking “where does our soul reside?” has given it thousands of top media headlines around the world.
Every person on the planet has a different opinion about this moral dilemma, or whether its safe or dangerous, or whether we should just get better at repairing our existing bodies.
As medical advances continue, and we devise an entirely new range of health-enhancing options, I propose we set a new standard, raising the bar to the highest possible level. I propose we put an end to human death.

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We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction

We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and supervolcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves.

Bostrom, who directs Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones. But others are obscure or even exotic. Most worrying to Bostrom is the subset of existential risks that arise from human technology, a subset that he expects to grow in number and potency over the next century.

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Upgrading The Human Machine

Upgrading The Human Machine | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

I’m sure you’ve probably heard about the “man without a pulse” artificial heart recipient, who’s been in the news so much lately. I’m bringing it up today because it’s an illustration of one of the biases that we as transhumans will have to overcome to actually become “Trans” humans.

Which bias is that, you ask? The idea that the human body as it currently is constructed is either “perfect” or that any “enhancements” must mimic how the body currently functions

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Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future

Happy Future Day everyone! *http://futureday.org/

 

We have the reasons to be optimistic so let's celebrate with this video: 

Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I'm not saying we don't have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down."

http://www.ted.com

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What The Global Food Supply Will Look Like In 2021

What The Global Food Supply Will Look Like In 2021 | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Your food consumption might look quite a bit different a decade from now. Colony collapse disorder, foodborne disease outbreaks, and climate change are just some of the factors that are making our collective food future increasingly uncertain.

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Why Cognitive Enhancement Is in Your Future (and Your Past)

Why Cognitive Enhancement Is in Your Future (and Your Past) | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

It could be that we are on the verge of a great deluge of cognitive enhancement. Or it's possible that new brain-enhancing drugs and technologies will be nothing compared to how we've transformed our minds in the past. If it seems that making ourselves "artificially" smarter is somehow inhuman, it may be that similar activities are actually what made us human.

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Robert J. Sawyer on Humanity 2.0

What will it mean to be human in the future? Uploading consciousness into virtual worlds and prolonging life through biotechnology are already being contemplated. Canada's leading science fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer, offers his insights in a lecture entitled Humanity 2.0, produced in collaboration with the Literary Review of Canada.

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A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning's Vision.

In 2011, Corning Incorporated shared its vision for the near future in “A Day Made of Glass.” The video captured the imagination of millions with a glimpse into how glass, partnered with companion technologies, will help shape our everyday lives.

Today the story about a more connected world continues with “A Day Made of Glass 2.” This video is still a day made of glass, but it expands Corning’s glass innovations into a few different places and applications.

Set on the same day, “A Day Made of Glass 2” follows the same futuristic family as they journey through day, but instead focuses on the father and two daughters. As the characters work, learn, and play, the applications for specialty glass extend into the classroom, hospital, and home of the near future.

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Synthetic biology: the best hope for mankind's future?

Synthetic biology: the best hope for mankind's future? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The UK government has just declared that synthetic biology – the science of making novel living organisms – could lead to a new industrial revolution and should be a research priority. Many environmentalists argue instead that creating new life forms could endanger the existing ones. But it may be that synthetic biology is our best hope of preserving life on our planet.

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David Agus at TEDMED 2011

A very important talk from David Agus, author of #1 New York Times bestseller "The End of Illness" 

 

We may not wholly understand complex diseases, but we can stop them, Agus says, with a preventive approach boosted by genomics, technology and a hard look at existing research data.

 

http://davidagus.com/

 

http://www.tedmed.com/home

 

 

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Future Trends in Health Care

Jack Uldrich discusses 10 emerging trends in the field of healthcare

Filmed at a Health.Inspired Event in Minneapolis.

Jack Uldrich is a renowned global futurist, independent scholar, sought-after business speaker, and best-selling author.

http://jumpthecurve.net

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Will corporations prevent the Singularity?

Will corporations prevent the Singularity? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

It occurred to me recently that the world possesses some very powerful intelligent organisms that are directly and clearly opposed to the Singularity — corporations.

Human beings are confused and confusing creatures. We don’t have very clear goal systems, and are quite willing and able to adapt our top-level goals to the circumstances. I have little doubt that most humans will go with the flow as Singularity approaches.

But corporations are a different matter. Corporations are entities/organisms unto themselves these days, with wills and cognitive structures quite distinct from the people that comprise them. Public corporations have much clearer goal systems than humans: to maximize shareholder value.

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The Reign of Robots May Be Closer Than You Think

The Reign of Robots May Be Closer Than You Think | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The futurist Ray Kurzweil has famously predicted that humanity is approaching a “singularity,” a fateful moment when our technology becomes smarter than us and able to learn faster than we can, when it becomes the principal creator of new technologies and machines race far ahead of us. Humans may effectively fall out of the loop -- a species demoted, if not eliminated.
For now, this world remains science fiction, at least at the level of humanity. But finance is flirting with a similar transition, as ever-faster computing and communications technology takes high-frequency trading into a regime of speed where human beings can no longer keep up. In fact, we may have already arrived.

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Redesigning People: How Medtech Could Expand Beyond the Injured

Redesigning People: How Medtech Could Expand Beyond the Injured | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Radical human modification is coming, like it or not, by the end of this century -- if not earlier. How much are you willing to alter yourself?

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The future of computers: 3D chip stacking

The future of computers: 3D chip stacking | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

In a few weeks, Intel will release Ivy Bridge, the first mass-produced 22nm parts, and more importantly the first to use 3D “tri-gate” FinFET transistors. These CPUs will be incredibly fast and use very little power, but ultimately they are just another last-gasp effort to squeeze a little more life out of a material and process that will soon hit a wall. Computing is still predominantly single-threaded; throwing more transistors and more cores at a problem will only take you so far.

Fortunately, there’s another maturing technology that should provide a much-needed lease of life to the silicon industry: Chip stacking, or to give its formal name, 3D wafer-level chip packaging. 

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When the Turing Test is not enough: Towards a functionalist determination of consciousness and the advent of an authentic machine ethics

When the Turing Test is not enough: Towards a functionalist determination of consciousness and the advent of an authentic machine ethics | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Empirical research that works to map those characteristics requisite for the identification of conscious awareness are proving increasingly insufficient, particularly as neuroscientists further refine functionalist models of cognition. To say that an agent "appears" to have awareness or intelligence is inadequate. Rather, what is required is the discovery and understanding of those processes in the brain that are responsible for capacities such as sentience, empathy and emotion. Subsequently, the shift to a neurobiological basis for identifying subjective agency will have implications for those hoping to develop self-aware artificial intelligence and brain emulations. The Turing Test alone cannot identify machine consciousness; instead, computer scientists will need to work off the functionalist model and be mindful of those processes that produce awareness. Because the potential to do harm is significant, an effective and accountable machine ethics needs to be considered. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to develop a rigorous understanding of consciousness so that we may identify and work with it once it emerges.

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Singularity or Decline?

Is a new, more prosperous age beyond a technological Singularity on the horizon? Or does human civilization now face an inevitable decline? This video by futurist Christopher Barnatt discusses the great debate at the heart of future studies.


Via Khannea Suntzu
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Computing’s next 50-year frontier all about the ‘learning age’

Computing’s next 50-year frontier all about the ‘learning age’ | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Computing is now starting a “learning age” that will ultimately result it cognitive devices that learn.

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A Bright and Shining Future Awaits

We've looked into the future, and it's dark. Increasingly, we've lost a progressive view of our future. Instead of seeing promise and lives made better by technology, we're seeing lives filled with cyborgs and an uninhabitable society. Should we be afraid? Or are we being unnecessarily pessimistic?

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The Art of Being Wrong: Failed Predictions

The Art of Being Wrong: Failed Predictions | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Human history is rife with blunders. If life was a film, it would be full of bloopers and hilariously dramatic fictional statements said by men and women alike. With hindsight, we can look back and laugh at strange beliefs and outlandish predictions, but at the time, why would anyone have doubted what was said?

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