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“…the concentration of economic and political power has not only made the man of science dependent economically, it also threatens his independence from within; the shrewd methods of intellectual and psychic influences which it brings to bear will prevent the development of independent personalities.“
Albert Einstein, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 195
ABOVE: SOUTH PACIFIC PIVOT ‘NOOSE’ OF 400+ U.S. BASES SURROUNDING CHINA
UNCLE SAM IS JEALOUS OF CHINA’S ECONOMIC SUPERIORITY
CLOSE TO 1000 BASES WORLD-WIDE. WHY?
“TO MAKE THE WORLD SAFE FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS”
JOHN PILGER VISITING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
WHO WERE NUKED BY THE ‘PEACEFUL ATOM’
“AUSTRALIA IS AMERICA’S MOST OBSEQUIOUS PARTNER”
EVERY AUSTRALIAN BASE IS A DE FACTO U.S. BASE
AUSTRALIA LOOKING AT MISSILE DEFENCE SYSTEMS
AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT: HAWAI’I, AUSTRALIA, THE WORLD
TALISMAN-SABRE: AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST WAR-‘GAME’ HAPPENING NOW AT SHOALWATER BAY, GREAT BARRIER REEF WORLD HERITAGE AREA
THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL JUGGERNAUT
WAGES ENVIRONMENTAL WARFARE BY ITS VERY EXISTENCE
This comprehensive and holographic broadcast of On the Brink radio (#207), transduced and recorded in the macro-nemeton of the Darwin Botanical Gardens, looks at three related trends in the socio-technological realms that are converging on what I call the ‘Atlantean threshold.’
LISTEN AND/OR DOWNLOAD ANYTIME ARCHIVE LINK FOR THIS SHOW
“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” Dr. Richard Horton, the current Editor-in-Chief of TheLancet
‘Climate’ science is most particularly riddled with bogosity, the U.S. Navy controls as much as 75% of all marine biology research, the pharmaceutical industry owns medical research, and the powers that be have almost succeeded in wiping awareness of the global nuclear scenario from the face of the public mind.
It’s not just about money. A quote from Albert Einstein says it all:
“The scientist of today is distressed by the fact that the results of his scientific work have created a threat to mankind since they have fallen into the hands of morally blind exponents of political power. He is conscious of the fact that technological methods, made possible by his work, have led to a concentration of economic and also of political power in the hands of small minorities which have come to dominate completely the lives of the masses of people, who appear more and more amorphous. But even worse: the concentration of economic and political power has not only made the man of science dependent economically, it also threatens his independence from within; the shrewd methods of intellectual and psychic influences which it brings to bear will prevent the development of independent personalities.“
Albert Einstein, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1952
What we need is to study and conduct science scientifically, and make knowledge the handmaiden of critical thinking, not a mistress of belief based on authority figures and the manufacture of consent.
“Just when we thought it could not get any worse….rescues now are going to use AI (artificial intelligence) to make decisions during mass stranding events. Like seriously, WHAT?? Here is some advice that will save them some time, money and computing power: every life matter, always try to save 100 %, if not, evaluate what went wrong, make changes, try again. Seriously, AI for strandings…Apart from being absolutely idiotic, it is actually very worrisome. Already AI in some shape or form makes some decisions whether or not to give you a loan, next step will probably be insurance rates, and after that whether or not you should be treated medically, because your probabilities are not that good. Once you take away ethics, compassion and humanity out of decision making process, you literally open one nasty Pandora’s box.“
Computare in Latin means ‘to think or reflect upon.’ So-called ‘computers’ do nothing of the sort, they are actually dinucruds or ‘digital number-crunching devices.’
Dinucruds and electricity are the foundations of megatechnology; without computers and alternating current none of our most lethal enterprises would be possible.
NAUTILUS/LOCKHEED DEEP SEABED MINING ROBOT
KOMATSU ‘AUTONOMOUS HAULAGE VEHICLE’ MINING ROBOT
DARPA’S ‘SEAHUNTER’ DRONE PREDATOR
A MILITARY SUPERCOMPUTER ELIMINATES WAR…BY ‘RESTRAINING MAN’
“I believe America may totally succumb to the fearful militarisation which engulfed Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. There is real danger that political power and the power to influence the minds of people will pass increasingly into the hands of the military, which is used to approaching all political problems from the point of view of military expediency. Because of America‘s supremacy, the military point of view is forced upon the world.’
Insert standard clause “not saying it’s aliens, but …”
DAVE MOSHER, BUSINESS INSIDER 15 JUL 2017
Astronomers say they have detected “strange signals” coming from the direction of a small, dim star located about 11 light-years from Earth. Researchers picked up the mysterious signals on May 12 using the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope built inside of a Puerto Rican sinkhole.
The radio signals appear to be coming from Ross 128, a red dwarf star that’s not yet known to have any planets and is about 2,800 times dimmer than the Sun. Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, said the star was observed for 10 minutes, during which time the signal was picked up and “almost periodic”. Méndez said it’s extremely unlikely that intelligent extraterrestrial life is responsible, but noted the possibility can’t yet be ruled out. “The SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] groups are aware of the signals,” Méndez wrote in an email to Business Insider. While Arecibo is known for its role in efforts to search for signals from aliens, it’s also great for looking at distant galaxies and pinging near-Earth asteroids. Méndez thinks the signal is more likely from something humans put in space, perhaps a satellite that passed thousands of miles overhead.
“The field of view of [Arecibo] is wide enough, so there is the possibility that the signals were caused not by the star but another object in the line of sight,” Méndez said, adding that “some communication satellites transmit in the frequencies we observed.” However, in a July 12 blog post about the mystery of Ross 128, he wrote that “we have never seen satellites emit bursts like that” and called the signals “very peculiar”. Another possible explanation is a stellar flare, or outburst of energy from the star’s surface. Such bursts from the sun travel at light-speed, emit powerful radio signals, and can disrupt satellites and communications on Earth, as well as endanger astronauts. Solar flares can also be chased by a slower-moving yet more energetic coronal mass ejections: a flood of solar particles that can distort our planet’s magnetic field, generate geomagnetic storms, and cripple power grids and fry electronics. To see if the signals are still there, Méndez said Arecibo is going to stare down Ross 128 and its surroundings many more times, starting July 16. “Success will be to find the signal again in the star but not in its surrounding[s]. If we don’t get the signal again then the mystery deepens, ” he said. “We are not sure if we can get to the bottom of this mystery from just the next observations if that was a rare event.”
But FAST isn’t operational right now, since it’s being calibrated, and Méndez said he doesn’t know when it will be back online. Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, confirmed that the group is “well aware of the signals” and might use its powerful Allen Telescope Array in California “to check them out.” “The chances are high that they’re terrestrial interference, in fact. That’s really always been the case,” Shostak told Business Insider in an email. Right now there’s really only one compelling signal from outer space that might come from aliens: “[T]he WOW signal,” Shostak said. “That one is still quite odd.” This article was originally published by Business Insider.
The U.S. military is disclosing a super soldier project, revealing to have allocated funding of $65 million dollars for a program to develop a ‘Brain-Computer Interface’ that would allow participants to plug into a computer like the movie The Matrix. No this isn’t science fiction Neo, this is the future that the MIC wants for its soldiers. Earlier last year in January, DARPA launched Neural Engineering System Design to research technology that could turn soldiers into cyborgs.
The military wants to use these programs to “give soldiers supersenses and boost brainpower.” Four teams will be responsible for increasing vision and two on hearing and speech. The military adds that this will help develop “new treatments for patients with sensory disorders.” The program is being backed by Brown University, Columbia University, The Seeing and Hearing Foundation, the John B. Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics Inc and the University of California. These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration,’ official said. The goal of the project is ‘developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world,’ DARPA officials said. “Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem. Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics,” Phillip Alvelda, NESD manager for DARPA, said to The Guardian. They allege that this new study into technology and the human mind “will help treat people with blindness, paralysis and speech disorders.” Advancing neuroscience isn’t the only experiment that DARPA has been up to; they are also actively trying to merge man with machines … essentially transhumanism. The military industrial complex has been trying for years to develop robotic exosuits and mech robots to increase a soldier’s strength as documented by the Raytheon Sarcos XOS 2 exosuit. Which makes its wearer stronger, have an increased agility and endurance like a superhero.
Around the same time as the release of the XOS 2 exosuit in 2015 the military also released “The Revision Kinetic Operation Suit.” The suit has a built-in night vision, computers, a communications system and a suspended metal exoskeleton that wraps 60% of a soldier’s body in armor. It’s so heavy that a motorized metal skeleton to carry the weight is needed to move the soldier.
It’s also worth mentioning that technocrats in Silicon Valley are interested in the transhumanist A.I. society. Tesla’s Elon Musk and former Google[X] Executive Mary Lou Jepsen both are planning mind reading technology and share the same interest of the privately owned military industrial complex to transition the human race to becoming more like machines.
The maximum human lifespan could far exceed previous predictions, according to work that challenges the idea that humans are approaching a hard limit on longevity. The latest research comes in response to a recent high-profile paper that concluded “maximum longevity has hit a ceiling of 114.9 years” – a claim that prompted extraordinary levels of criticism from the scientific community. Now five separate research teams have launched critiques of the work in a series of papers in the journal Nature. Together they present the case that there is no compelling evidence that we are approaching an upper limit on our mortality – or at the very least, that such a limit may be considerably higher than 115 years. Prof Jim Vaupel, a specialist in ageing at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany and one of the authors, said: “The evidence points towards no looming limit. At present the balance of the evidence suggests that if there is a limit it is above 120, perhaps much above – and perhaps there is not a limit at all.” The dispute between Jan Vijg, the geneticist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York who authored the original paper, and the critics, has become unusually heated, with both sides stepping beyond the typically restrained bounds of scientific discourse. “It’s the worst piece of research I’ve ever read in Nature magazine,” said Vaupel. “I was outraged that a journal I highly respect would publish such a travesty.”
Vijg is equally strident, implying that his critics are, to some extent, simply upset at being confronted with their own mortality. The original study used the International Database on Longevity, which compiles lists of the age of the oldest person to die in a given year. It found the maximum reported age of death increased rapidly between the 1970s and early 1990s, but then appeared to plateau in the mid-1990s at 114.9 years. The latest papers argue that this conclusion is wrong and offer a host of more optimistic interpretations. Prof Siegfried Hekimi from McGill University in Montreal said: “You can show the data are compatible with many different trajectories and not at all an ongoing plateau.” Under one such scenario, lifespans would be predicted to climb steadily upwards, such that the oldest person alive by the year 2,300 would be expected to be 150 years old. “The increase in average lifespan will not suddenly crash into a 115-year limit,” he said. Hemiki said there was annoyance about the levels of media attention the Vijg paper received, because “people like a number”, despite the fact that “the data were strikingly unconvincing”. One complaint was that Vijg’s analysis partitioned the data into two time periods – before and after 1995 – on the back of a visual inspection that appeared to show a levelling off around this year. When the two underlying trends were calculated, the period after 1995 had a flat gradient, appearing to confirm the hypothesis. “That’s something you shouldn’t do in statistics,” said Hekimi. “It’s circular.” Another problem is that when any data series is segmented, there may appear to be temporary plateaus or even declines, despite an overall upward trend – as seen in long-jump records, for instance. Another of the critiques notes that the headline result – the flat gradient after 1995 – is based on just 12 data points and could simply reflect the inclusion of Jeanne Calment, a French woman who died in 1997 at the record-breaking age of 122 years. If this datapoint was shifted forward a few years to 2004, the apparent plateau vanished. Vijg counters that a dataset focused on the oldest people on Earth is always going to be small. “When you look at these super-old people, there are not many of them. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?” Maarten Rozing of the University of Copenhagen said there was little to suggest the existence of a “biological clock” programmed to limit the length of life. “We now know not only that the idea of such a clock is highly implausible, but also that ageing is proving to be more amenable to change than used to be supposed,” he said. Vijg said he accepts “absolutely nothing” in the latest criticisms, dismissing them as statistical nitpicking by those who “hadn’t read his paper properly”. He compared the suggestion that there was no lifespan limit in sight to Zeno’s paradox, where an arrow is shot at a tree and first travels half the distance and, from the halfway point, half the distance again, in an apparently unending journey. “They try to come up with intricate models to show that mortality is actually decreasing with very old age,” he said. “It’s worse than science fiction.”
At last, it looks like the future is finally here: the Cold War has officially made its way into space. Over the last few years, the world’s military superpowers have been bolstering their space combat capabilities, mainly centered around so-called “killer” satellites which have the ability to take out or commandeer enemy spacecraft. The threat of some new form of space combat is looming close enough for the U.S. military to create a new space command position, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations. Not to be outdone by its western rival, Russia just this week launched a mysterious new satellite believed to be part of the growing arms race in space.
The launch was broadcast by Russia state news agencies. According to RussianSpaceWeb.com, the satellite launched on June 23rd after a series of scrubbed attempts. The launch site was the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia’s icy northwest near its border with Finland. A Soyuz-2-1v rocket carried the satellite over the Arctic and Canada, dropping its boosters into the Barents Sea along the way before entering a tight orbit around the north pole. Put this launch alongside other strange developments in the Arctic recently, and it’s becoming clear that the north pole could be the next big front in the new Cold War that’s brewing.
The launch site and trajectory of the secret satellite. Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency reported the launch but kept the satellite’s purpose out of their reporting, noting only that the satellite, named Napryazhenie (“voltage”) is a Russian defense ministry satellite. Aerospace watchdog blogs believe the satellite is likely an instrument used to take geodetic measurements, which are a way of measuring the size and shape of Earth. Why would Russia’s defense ministry be interested in charting the dimensions of the Earth, you ask? Why, to plot trajectories for intercontinental ballistic missiles, of course. What other purpose does technology serve other than to realize our mutually-assured destruction?
Scientists have been working on a hypothesis which suggests that the majority of stars are formed in a binary system, meaning there would be more than one star.
Researchers from the UC Berkeley and the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory have been studying a dust cloud in the Perseus constellation, and concluded that the ‘born together’ theory is probably correct.
UC Berkeley astronomer Steven Stahler said: “We ran a series of statistical models to see if we could account for the relative populations of young single stars and binaries of all separations in the Perseus molecular cloud, and the only model that could reproduce the data was one in which all stars form initially as wide binaries.”
The research, as part of the VLA nascent disk and multiplicity (VANDAM) survey, shows twin stars separated by 500 astronomical units or over are ‘Class 0’.
The star could be responsible for major extinction events
One astronomical unit is the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
Class 1 star systems are closer, at about 200 AU from each other.
The giant ball of fire at the centre of our solar system would be no exception, researchers say, and that it’s twin, which has been dubbed ‘Nemesis’, could be responsible for mass-extinction events throughout history.
Our sun would likely be part of a Class 0 system, which would explain why we can’t see its twin.
The ‘born together’ theory could fit with a devastating hypothesis suggested 23 years ago by another UC Berkley astronomer, Richard Muller.
Mr Muller came up with the idea there was a red-dwarf star on an egg-shaped orbit which travels from our solar system, into the depths of space and back again every 27 million years, with its gravitational pull bringing back the likes of asteroid.
As the other star travels through our solar system, asteroids clash with planets. This, Mr Fuller says, could be the reason why there are extinction events every 27 million years – including the one which wiped out the dinosaurs.
Mr Stahler says this could be the case, but that Nemesis is likely gone by now.
He said: “We are saying, yes, there probably was a Nemesis, a long time ago.”
The Nemesis theory has been around for a while, so the MSM’s “shock” claim may be a bit OTT (Even inspired a couple of popular songs). Of course “Nemesis” has never been found, hence the revised claim that our “evil twin” sun has since departed the solar system. So does that mean the end of mass extinction events? Is that what these scientists are saying? No doubt Nibiru believers will disagree (Nibiru has been “imminent” for an awfully long time now, fuelling my scepticism!). Personally I’d say this is one of many valid theories about the mechanism for mass extinction, and we aren’t out of the woods by any means.
The earliest known existence of modern humans, or Homo sapiens, was previously dated to be around 200,000 years ago. It’s a view supported by genetic analysis and dated Homo sapiens fossils (Omo Kibish, estimated age 195,000 years, and Herto, estimated age 160,000 years), both found in modern-day Ethiopia, East Africa.
But new research, published today in two Nature papers, offers a fresh perspective. The latest studies suggest that Homo sapiens spread across the entire African continent more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.
This evidence pushes back the origins of our species to 300,000 years ago, and supports the idea that important changes in our biology and behaviour had already taken place across most of Africa by that time.
Our work focused on samples collected at the archaeological site Jebel Irhoud in Morocco. It’s a place that is well known for hominin fossils – that is, bones from early humans – first excavated in the 1960s.
However, the interpretation of the first fossils and identification of their age was compromised previously, due to uncertainty about the geological dating of the sediment layers in which the remains had been found.
More than 40 years later, in 2004, an international team of scientists reopened the excavation. They discovered 16 new Homo sapiens fossils and a large number of Middle Stone Age artefacts. Now in 2017 we’re able to report on these remains thanks to improved dating techniques.
The new analysis proposes a revised version of the evolutionary history of modern humans that involves the entire African continent, and long before the “out-of-Africa” spread of Homo sapiens to other continents (dated at around 100,000 years ago).
Jebel Irhoud is the richest African Middle Stone Age site associated with the earliest known representative of our species.
Bones with modern and ancient features
The fossil remains excavated included numerous skulls and jawbones, long bones such as femur (from the leg) and humerus (from the arm), and teeth of several individuals. They reveal a mixture of modern human and more archaic, or ancient, features.
Of particular note is the slim, “gracile” face seen in living humans, which is also present in Jebel Irhoud specimens. Compared with the more robust face and elongated skull of Neanderthals or older hominins, the faces of Jebel Irhoud specimens are slender, relatively short, and sit under a rounder braincase (the part of the skull in which the brain sits).
However, while tomographic scans (which create 3D images through digital sectioning) reveal that the facial shape in the fossil samples is practically indistinguishable from humans nowadays, there are differences in the skull structure. In particular, the structure of the cranium, or skull bone, is different.
Compared with modern humans, in the Jebel Irhoud specimens we see a more elongated shape of the braincase, plus elongated temporal bones (on the sides of the skull, forming the temple), flatter parietal bones (along the sides and top of the skull) and different occipital shape (at the rear of the skull). This results in a longer and lower braincase.
Anatomically, this analysis places the 300,000-year-old Jebel Irhoud Homo sapiens somewhere between Homo erectus and African archaic Middle Pleistocene hominins. In this way it challenges the hypothesis that Homo sapiens derived from a later intermediate species that lead to the emergence of both the modern human and Neanderthal lineages.
These differences have implications for our understanding of Homo sapiens evolution. They suggest that our facial shape was established early in our history, whereas certain cognitive functions may have appeared later with the evolution of the Homo sapiens lineage and modifications of the braincase.
How we dated the Jebel Irhoud samples
In addition to the fossils, stone artefacts found at the Jebel Irhoud site consisted of Middle Stone Age material of Levallois technology (a distinct method of creating stone tools), with a high proportion of retouched tools, especially pointed forms.
Materials from Jebel Irhoud were accurately dated using two distinct techniques.
Thermoluminescence (TL), which works by measuring the irradiation dose received from the surrounding sediment since the material was last exposed to heat or fire, was applied to the stone artefacts.
Techniques known as Coupled Uranium-Series and Electron Spin Resonance (together referred to as US-ESR) were applied to the fossil remains directly. By calculating the diffusion of natural elements (uranium and thorium) into the dental tissues as fossilisation occurred over time, combined with the amount of surrounding radiation from the sediment the enamel crystal has been exposed to, we are able to work out the burial time of the remains.
While TL established clearly a chronology for the sediment layers which contained the hominin fossil remains, the US-ESR dates gave a direct age of one of the Jebel Irhoud jawbones (Irhoud 3 mandible). This was possible through new high-resolution radioactivity measurements of the geological context and important methodological improvements which allowed us to understand the impact of irradiation onto the tooth enamel crystal structure.
Both dating of the jaw bone and the dating of the stone artefacts gave us an age of 300,000 years.
A complex human journey
The new find is consistent with a picture of complex, Africa-wide origin of Homo sapiens.
The observed skull shapes and calculated ages of the bones and tools have implications for interpreting other human-like fossils found in Africa. The enigmatic partial skull of Florisbad from South Africa is also a very important Middle Stone age sample, and presents a mix of modern and ancient features.
Whether Florisbad should be classified as Homo heidelbergensis or Homo helmei has been a subject of prolonged debate. But with the anatomical features observed in Jebel Irhoud specimen, Florisbad skull can be more securely described as an early Homo sapiens form.
This discovery is also interesting in light of the newly dated Homo naledi from South Africa. This species, which survived until 250,000 years ago, overlaps in time with the Jebel Irhoud specimens. As Homo naledi represents a different branch of the genus Homo (not a direct ancestor to Homo sapiens), this is evidence that more archaic forms of hominins coexisted with the early representative of our species.
Similarly, Homo erectusSalé – also discovered in Morocco, not far from Jebel Irhoud – dates back to 250,000 years ago and might have coexisted with the early form of Homo sapiens, although the identification and age of the Salé specimen remains highly debated.
More than ever, as humans our complex evolutionary journey to end up as the lone surviving hominid species appears to be anything but linear. With African archaic Middle Pleistocene hominins overlapping in time with the Jebel Irhoud specimens, our discovery advocates for a complex African-wide evolutionary history of Homo sapiens. This new evidence adds more detail to the debate around the birthplace not only for our species, but also for the entire genus homo.
The famous drawing of a linear and simplistic evolution from ape-like individual morphing to an upright modern human is anything but accurate.
This work was performed by teams of scientists from around the world, including those in Australia, Germany, USA, Morocco, France, UK and Italy.
We acknowledge resources from AusSMC in preparing this article.
For anyone who has seen Ex Machina — an independent science fiction psychological thriller — the idea of transhumanism is nothing new. Ava, a humanoid robot, far exceeds expectations of what we normally associate with a machine. She displays an intelligence and adaptability to changing circumstances with the emotional sophistication of a real person — which, in turn, blurs the line between what we consider human and what we consider to be a soulless mechanical imitation. While Ava is a true robot — meaning she doesn’t possess any human material — the film depicted her in a way that was so totally adaptable to human emotions and logic, that it was easy to forget she wasn’t at least part human.
I found the timing with the release of the film in 2015 interesting — largely because, over the last five years or so, we’ve been bombarded with subtle imagery in advertising and the media of people who are half-human, half-machine. Examples can be seen in films like Transcendence, Avatar,Nexus and The Transhumanist Wager. Futurist video game developers, visual artists and techno-musicians have also jumped onto the transhumanist bandwagon in recent years, celebrating the idea of technologically upgraded human beings, who enjoy immortality and are free from all the annoying human maladies that we experience today.
Jason Silva, founder of Shots of Awe, is one of the most well-known futurists and has a large following of younger generations. Here’s one of his most popular films, viewed over a quarter of a million times on YouTube. Notice the sweeping, emotional music — as well as the quick moving imagery, which overlays photographs of humans with some form of technology. Silva also speaks with a fast, convincing and confident style.
“To Be Human Is To Be Transhuman”
These transhuman “amalgams” are portrayed as “super-humans” that will solve all our health, psychological and physical problems. Personally, I find the whole sales-pitch and movement towards transhumanism to be exceptionally disturbing. Many, however, suffer no qualms about it. In fact, they are enthusiastic supporters. One such person is Ray Kurzweil, an inventor, futurist and current director of engineering at Google.
A Brave New World of Transhumanism
In just over a three decades, we will be able to upload our entire mind into computers and become digitally immortal — a process classified as “singularity” — according to Kurzweil. He also predicts that biological parts of our body will be completely replaced with mechanical parts as early as 2100.
What exactly is singularity and where did the idea originate?
Journalist Victoria Woollaston explains in the Daily Mail:
Technological singularity is the development of ‘super-intelligence’ brought about through the use of technology.
The first use of the term ‘singularity’ refer to technological minds was by mathematician John von Neumann.
Neumann in the mid-1950s said: ‘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.’
The term was then used by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge who believes brain-computer interfaces are causes of the singularity.
Ray Kurzweil cited von Neumann’s use of the term in a foreword to von Neumann’s classic The Computer and the Brain.
Kurzweil predicts the singularity to occur around 2045 while Vinge predicts it will happen before 2030.
In Kurweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near, he explores the journey that is leading us in the direction toward transhumanism. Recent advancements in neural engineering and brain modeling, as well as technologies that replace biological functions, will make it possible.
Already we’re seeing examples, like an implant that is attached to the brain’s cochlear nerve and elect…. Other technologies are being developed that re-establish motor skills after the nervous system has suffered damage. 3D printing is also making strides in creating human body parts, such as the prosthetic ear created at Cornell University.
Kurzweil goes on to say that “we’re going to become increasingly non-biological … [where] the biological part is not important any more.” He adds, “We do need a body, our intelligence is directed towards a body but it doesn’t have to be this frail, biological body that is subject to all kinds of failure modes.”
He believes that we will also have a variety of non-biological bodies in the future.
‘We can create bodies with nano technology, we can create virtual bodies and virtual reality in which the virtual reality will be as realistic as the actual reality. The virtual bodies will be as detailed and convincing as real bodies.
‘But in the future it’s not going to be a little picture in a virtual environment you’re looking at. It will feel like this is your body and you’re in that environment and your body is the virtual body and it can be as realistic as real reality.
‘So we’ll be routinely able to change our bodies very quickly as well as our environments. If we had radical life extension only, we would get profoundly bored and we would run out of things to do and new ideas,’ he said.
Sounds like progress. Or is it?
The Dark Side of Transhumanism
Whenever I hear about a new technology that increases longevity, I have a mixed reaction. On one side, it gives those who are struggling with life-threatening illness hope. But let’s face it, even when we’re in the prime of health, our attena perk up whenever we hear about any discovery that might extend our health and lengthen our lives. On the other side, I feel that all the advancements in medicine over the last hundred years or so have contributed to many of the problems facing humanity today, mainly because of overpopulation. However, when we venture into the realm of transhumanism — which has the potential to extend human life indefinitely — we open a whole new Pandora’s box of ethical questions.
Transhumanism: a Pandora’s box of ethical questions.
Kyle Munkittrick, Program Director for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, gives us some good food for thought to mull over before we race headlong into a transhumanist future:
Then there is the question of overpopulation. Already there are 6.7 billion of us, “ever-hungry and all want SUV’s and flat screens and will do whatever it takes to man or beast to get them … and are stripping the earth”, according to Munkittrick.
Massimo Pigliucci, Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, agrees.
“There are several problems with the pursuit of immortality, one of which is particularly obvious. If we all live (much, much) longer, we all consume more resources and have more children, leading to even more overpopulation and environmental degradation,” he said. “We simply don’t have space, water and other prime materials to feed a forever exponentially increasing population [regardless of the advances in agricultural technology].”
For myself, as someone who has delved deeply into Buddhism for almost two decades, I can’t help but believe transhumanism is nothing more than a way to deny what it means to be human: birth, aging, death. Think about all the time monks around the world meditate on their own death, the fleeting nature of life and the irrefutable truth of change.
From a Western perspective, you would assume this kind of orientation creates a very dour, depressed, “why bother?” kind of person. But it actually does just the opposite. Contemplating these facts of life actually make one more appreciative and aware, while lessening the auto-pilot habit most of us are in each day. Life is treasured as the precious thing it truly is, something to be honored. All the major religious traditions acknowledge the brief nature of physical life and how we should value it accordingly. I, for one, believe they’re onto something.
Maybe the question shouldn’t be how to extend life indefinitely through technological advancement, but rather how do we fully embrace our transient humanity to the fullest.
Carolanne Wright enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.
Through her website Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. You can also follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.