Artificial limbs like these could be only the beginning of man-machine interfaces, the National Intelligence Council predicts. Photo: DoD
3-D printed organs. Brain chips providing superhuman abilities. Megacities, built from scratch. The U.S. intelligence community is taking a look at the world of 2030. And it is very, very sci-fi. More…
Sudanese security forces have captured what they describe as an electronically tagged vulture which was dispatched by the Israeli military on a surveillance mission over Sudan; the Sudanese claimed the vulture was equipped with a camera, a solar-powered satellite uplink, and a GPS device; the Sudanese also claimed that the surveillance gear was produced by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and that it was stamped with the university’s logo
Sudanese officials told the Egyptian Web site El Balad that Sudanese security forces have captures an electronically tagged vulture which was dispatched by the Israeli military on a surveillance mission over Sudan. More…
Apple will need to rely on automation to make its U.S. factory work
Computerworld – Apple’s planned investment of $100 million next year in a U.S. manufacturing facility is relatively small, but still important. Apple has the money, talent and resources to build a highly automated factory that turns out products that are potentially cost competitive with those it now makes in China.
A growing list of permaculture projects worldwide
This will be the premier place to find out who is doing what, and where, in the permaculture world. You can search for projects by keyword, and/or filter to specific project types. You can even constrain your search by climate zone, so you can find others working in similar conditions as yourself. As you search, you’ll see pins on the world map below appear or disappear to reflect your search results, and you can either browse the project cards or click on map pins to go to individual project profiles. More…
An anti-piracy company has found itself in the middle of a huge controversy. CIAPC, the company that had The Pirate Bay blocked by ISPs in Finland, tracked an alleged file-sharer and demanded a cash settlement. However, the Internet account holder refused to pay which escalated things to an unprecedented level. In response, this week police raided the home of the 9-year-old suspect and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop.
Very soon in the United States, letters will be sent out to Internet account holders informing them that they should stop sharing copyrighted material on BitTorrent.
The message in the US from mainstream rightsholders is designed to be educational, but more aggressive companies carry out the same process but with a sting in the tail – a request for cash-settlement to make potential lawsuits go away.
One such request for cash landed on the doorstep of an Internet account holder in Finland during the spring. Known locally as TTVK, Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC sent the man a letter informing him that his account had been traced back to an incidence of online file-sharing.
To stop matters progressing further the man was advised to pay a settlement of 600 euros, sign a non-disclosure document, and move on with his life. He chose not to give in to the demands of CIAPC and this week things escalated as promised.
The Husqvarna AB Automower 265 ACX. Source: Husqvarna AB
Europe’s backyards have become the latest front in the robot wars.
With a quarter of lawn owners saying they dislike mowing the grass, sales of machines that will do the job for them are taking off, especially in Europe where landscaping services are more expensive than in the U.S.
That has spurred a legion of manufacturers to challenge market leader Husqvarna AB. (HUSQB) Robert Bosch GmbH, Deere & Co. (DE) and Global Garden Products Italy SpA this year started offering robotic mowers, which Husqvarna sells for as much as 5,000 euros ($6,487). Honda Motor Co. (7267) plans to enter the fray in 2013. More…
Seasteading ambassador Lasse Birk Olesen has been one of the most effective messengers of our vision, and probably the most effective messenger in all of Europe. He has spoken to dozens of groups in his native country of Denmark, and reached countless others through online forums and his volunteer work for the Institute and Blueseed.
by David Pearce
Reality is big. So our optimism must be confined to sentient beings in our forward light-cone. But I tentatively predict that the last experience below “hedonic zero” will be a precisely dateable event several hundred years hence. Here are five grounds for cautious optimism:
We Shall Soon Be Able To Choose Our Own Level Of Pain-Sensitivity More…
By Hank Pellissier
“Yes (sort of),” says Chris Hables Gray, a “pragmatic anarchist feminist revolutionary” who works as a lecturer of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cal State Monterey. He believes “devolution” of large nations into smaller regions will improve democratic decision-making.
Is this a “transhumanist” topic? Indeed, it is.
The Terasem Survey revealed that 20.1% of H+ responders predict “Abolition of Government” in the next 100 years, with an additional 15.% foreseeing “Thousands of Small Fractured States.” California secession fits handily into the latter category.
Technology and regulation: A research project considers how the law should deal with technologies that blur man and machine
SPEAKING at a conference organised by The Economist earlier this year, Hugh Herr, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described disabilities as conditions that persist “because of poor technology” and made the bold claim that during the 21st century disability would be largely eliminated. What gave his words added force was that half way through his speech, after ten minutes of strolling around the stage, he unexpectedly pulled up his trouser legs to reveal his bionic legs, and then danced a little jig. In future, he suggested, people might choose to replace an arthritic, painful limb with a fully functional robotic one. “Why wouldn’t you replace it?” he asked. “We’re going to see a lot of unusual situations like that.” More…
Huffington Post reports that “(t)he plans of a University of Texas law student and amateur desktop gunsmith were put on hold last week when the company that had leased the sophisticated 3-D printer sent a team to his house and reclaimed it.” We reported on Defense Distributed’s open source weapon project here. This is significant because the capabilities of home produced weapons will eventually lead to technologies such as 3D printers and associated materials and designs being restricted by the state or outright banned. John Robb theorized about the eventual restriction and banning of drone technology. Widespread, cheap, home production of weapons is a serious threat to the state’s monopoly on violence, so you can imagine that they will be cast as dangerous to the public. However, John Robb says that widespread access to such weapons is necessary:
One big reason is that drones/bots make the emergence of police states more likely since they allow a very small number of people to automate their control over a great many people. So, in order to ensure the future doesn’t careen in that direction, we should democratize the technology as a counter-weight.
It is a dream for everyone as they grow older to turn back the clock and live in a younger body once again. While many have developed ways to make the body look younger cosmetically, there have been very few effective methods to combat the aging process within the body – until now.
For the first time ever, researchers have identified a crucial protein responsible for the decline of muscle repair and agility as the body ages. Upon this discovery, the scientists were able to effectively halt muscle decline in mice, giving hope to similar treatments for humans in the future.
Religion. Sports. War. Biologist E.O. Wilson says our drive to join a group—and to fight for it—is what makes us human.
Have you ever wondered why, in the ongoing presidential campaign, we so strongly hear the pipes calling us to arms? Why the religious among us bristle at any challenge to the creation story they believe? Or even why team sports evoke such intense loyalty, joy, and despair?
The answer is that everyone, no exception, must have a tribe, an alliance with which to jockey for power and territory, to demonize the enemy, to organize rallies and raise flags.
By Ted Kaczynski
The supreme luxury of the society of technical necessity will be to grunt the bonus of useless revolt and of an acquiescent smile.
— Jacques Ellul
The System has played a trick on today’s would-be revolutionaries and rebels. The trick is so cute that if it had been consciously planned one would have to admire it for its almost mathematical elegance.
1. What the System is Not
Let’s begin by making clear what the System is not. The System is not George W. Bush and his advisors and appointees, it is not the cops who maltreat protesters, it is not the CEOs of the multinational corporations, and it is not the Frankensteins in their laboratories who criminally tinker with the genes of living things. All of these people are servants of the System, but in themselves they do not constitute the System. In particular, the personal and individual values, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of any of these people may be significantly in conflict with the needs of the System.
By Davin Ng
New Asia Republic
What is the single most devastating threat to the existence of the modern nation-state? It is globalization and the new form of warfare that was spawned with it. Coined by the some as Fourth Generation Warfare or 4GW, it seeks to hamper globalization even if globalization enabled in the first place. In peacetime, the soldier’s task is to prepare for a future conflict. This task entails the anticipation of how the next war may be like, and this gets incrementally difficult over time.
The psychiatric literature is so confusing that even the dissidents disagree. Photograph by Dan Winters.
You arrive for work and someone informs you that you have until five o’clock to clean out your office. You have been laid off. At first, your family is brave and supportive, and although you’re in shock, you convince yourself that you were ready for something new. Then you start waking up at 3 A.M., apparently in order to stare at the ceiling. You can’t stop picturing the face of the employee who was deputized to give you the bad news. He does not look like George Clooney. You have fantasies of terrible things happening to him, to your boss, to George Clooney. You find—a novel recognition—not only that you have no sex drive but that you don’t care. You react irritably when friends advise you to let go and move on. After a week, you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. After two weeks, you have a hard time getting out of the house. You go see a doctor. The doctor hears your story and prescribes an antidepressant. Do you take it?
In science fiction the term “cyborg” is used to describe human beings whose bodily functions are aided or controlled by some type of technology. When you consider that what this actually refers to is enhanced capabilities through technology, we’re not talking about the bionic man. In reality these concepts allow people who suffered from accidents or with current disabilities to regain or exercise a set of skills.
The truth of it is, modifying or enhancing our bodies with technology is already possible and relatively common. Every year millions of pacemakers, cochlear and neural implants are successfully implanted in hospitals and clinics worldwide — would you call that transhumanism? What about prosthetic limbs? As these become more robotic and integrated into the human body the word “cyborg” may be becoming less of a fictional concept.
Developments in the area of robotic prosthetics may currently be seen in many different forms — Dawn O’Leary, a woman from Maryland who had both arms amputated after an accident was fitted with a prosthetic hand by Touch Bionics called i-Limb that offers her similar motor control of a real arm. This technology uses proprioception sensors to pick up nerve signals from her torso and translates these into commands for controlling a prosthetic hand which can grasp and move objects using the right amount of force. In the UK, Touch Bionics already offers a range of active prosthesis.
“Paging John Connor..”
DARPA’s Cheetah Bot Breaks Human, Robot Speed Records
By Stephanie Mlot
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Boston Dynamics have unleashed a legged robot that’s even faster than Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
The Cheetah recently broke its own land speed record of 18 mph, running a 20-meter split at 28.3 mph, faster than the world record for a human set in 2009 when Usain Bolt reached a peak speed of 27.78 mph.
Wisdom Dancer expresses scepticism about the Szaszian project…
Reading on the internet has probably already introduced you to the anti-psychiatric movement, which appeals to the dislike people have for the “disease model” and fear of medication for mental illness, which relates to their fears of being out of control of their own minds. Although they will have already experienced this as human beings, if not also as sufferers of particular disorders, they may not have accepted it any more than people can accept the fact of their future death.
In short, the anti-psychiatric movement, and specifically its anti-psychopharmacological message, appeals to the folk rejection of the mind or “soul” people think of as their unitary self being in some way integrated or derived—to some debatable degree—without conscious control, and being subject instead to the evolution, development, oddities and dysfunctions of a physical electrochemical brain, a compound, complex adaptive system. Despite mountains of scientific evidence, folk beliefs about the brain prefer to believe it is merely the seat of consciousness. This is just as true of secularists, who won’t use the word “soul,” but still believe in a metaphysical notion about the mind, falsely distinguishing the experience from the brain from which it emerges.