Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transcendent Engineering - Terasem Journal of Personal Cyberconsciousness

My essay Transcendent Engineering ha just been published on the Terasem Journal of Personal Cyberconsciousness. A version of the essay is forthcoming in the Transhumanist Reader edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More.

The image above is part of a beautiful picture taken by Terasem editor Lori Rhodes to illustrate the article. Thanks Lori!

Expanding previous essays, I argue that science may someday develop the capability to resurrect the dead and build (and/or become) God(s), and propose to base a transhumanist religion (or, better, mythology) on this idea.

Read the rest here...

Discussion: you are welcome to join the ongoing conversation on the Turing Church Facebook group and/or the IEET site: Transcendent Engineering - IEET

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quantum Archaeology

I have often used the almost equivalent term "Time Scanning", but I see that more and more people are using "Quantum Archaeology". A short definition:

Quantum Archaeology is a set of hypothetical far future technologies that, presumably through the application of yet undiscovered quantum effects, will permit reconstructing past events up to any desired resolution in space and time. In particular, Quantum Archaeology will permit reconstructing the life, thoughts, memories and feelings of any person in the past, up to any desired level of detail, and thus resurrecting the original person via "copying to the future."

See this discussion on the KurzweilAI Forum. or search the Forum. QA is frequently discussed there, and Forum member eldras maintains an excellent Quantum Archaeology page with references.

A practical analogy for QA:

A few weeks ago I wiped clean an old website of mine (I deleted everything, html and php pages, and the entire mysql database). Only yesterday I realized that I had deleted the only existing copy of an article that I wrote in 2005 jointly with one of my favorite SF writers. The article was dead, and with no backup copies anywhere. I was really mad.

Then today I thought that perhaps the (Holy?) Ghost in the Machine (Internet) had made a backup copy of the article. I found a copy on the Internet Archive, incomplete but good enough as a starting point for reconstruction (resurrection).

So I have resurrected the article. It has taken some work, but here it is, and I think some people here may like it:

Shadows and the concept of self
By Giulio Prisco and Richard L. Miller

We die, and if we have no backup copies (e.g. a chemically preserved brain, a frozen body, a mindfile) our death is irreversible.

Or is it?

Perhaps the machinery of the universe creates backup copies, and if our descendants (or aliens, or AIs) find our backup copies, they will be able to resurrect us.

How? Some preliminary thoughts:

1) Other times are special cases of other universes (other branches of the MWI multiverse). If quantum entanglement extends across time, then it should be possible to find present systems correlated to past systems.

2) In the MWI there is no collapse of the state vector that irreversibly discards information. This should imply that information is preserved in the multiverse.

3) Reversible computing is the most energy-efficient form of computing, because only destroying information requires energy. If reversible computing is the most energy-efficient form of computing, it makes sense to think that the universe does reversible computing, and all information lost is available in "hidden output registers" that we could eventually find and read.

Turing Church Online Workshop 2

In the picture above taken in teleXLR8 I am with Frank Tipler, in a preparation meeting for the Turing Church Online Workshop 2. I am a big Tipler fan, see for example Interview with Frank. J. Tipler (Nov. 2002), and Review of The Physics of Christianity, by Frank Tipler.

Frank gave a great talk at the Workshop (see also this video for the full Q/A session).

Quotes from Tipler’s talk and Q/A:

“If we don’t move into space, if we and our downloads and our art int siblings do not move into space, the entire biosphere is doomed. if we are so foolish as to remain on the planet earth then we and the entire biosphere will be annihilated. Fortunately I don’t expect this to happen, I expect that the human race and its artificial intelligences and downloads will eventually move out into space and ultimately take over the universe.”

“Everything can be reduced to the laws of physics, in particular to the laws of physics which we now know.”

He mentions that we are used to think that Newtonian physics has been superseded by general relativity and quantum mechanics, so we cannot rule out that the physics which we now know will be superseded by new physics, but he thinks general relativity and quantum physics are implied by Newtonian physics.

“Newton was correct!”

“General relativity is really Newtonian mechanics made consistent with the idea that the speed of light is the same for all observers, which is an automatic consequence of maxwell’s equations.”

“As it was proved by the great mathematician Elie Cartan in the 1920s, gravity is curvature for Newton also, and once you combine that with the insights of Enstein and Lorentz then the Newtonian equations automatically become the Einstein equations.”
Ref.: General Relativity As an Aether Theory,

“Quantum mechanics really is a subset of Newtonian mechanics in its most general form called Hamilton-Jacobi theory, that means there was no scientific revolution in the 1920.”
Ref.: Hamilton-Jacobi Many-Worlds Theory and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle,

“We already have a theory of everything.”

“Reality is deterministic.”

“There are parallel universes out there. Many world, many universes, is already built into the laws of physics, was in the laws of physics in the early 19th centuty, physicists would just not admit what their own equation were screaming at them.”

He says that lack holes cannot evaporate because of unitarity, but in an ever expanding universe they would necessarily evaporate, which would violate the laws of physics.

He concludes that it is not possible for the universe to expand forever, it must eventually expand to a max size and then re-contract. but this would also lead to contradictions with thermodynamics. Only one possible re-contraction mechanism is consistent with all the laws of physics:

“Intelligent life manipulating the entire universe, forcing it into a series of patterns that allow this intelligent life to continue to exist.”

“Only this makes the laws of physics mutually consistent.”

“The laws of physics have dictated that we will survive.”

“If the laws of physics are for us, for the biosphere, for the eventual existence of human downloads and the eventual exist of artificial intelligence, what on earth can be against us. Inevitably we will take over the entire universe.”

“As we approach the final singularity, the laws of physics also dictate that our knowledge and computing capacity is expanding without limits. Eventually it will become possible to emulate, to make a perfect copy of, every previous state of the entire universe.”

“We will be brought back into the future, brought back into existence as computer emulations in the far future.”

“Since the computer capacity must by the laws of physics expand without limits as we are going into the final singularity, that means these emulations can also continue to exist forever and also interact with the various versions of themselves.”

“When we emulate basically all possibilities consistent with the laws of physics, we will actually get the particular one of you and I which are actually here in this auditorium.”

“These all possibilities are already there currently. This is called the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, but I claim it is not one interpretation, it is really the only interpretation consistent with the laws of physics.”

In the Q/A

“The expansion of the universe will be turned off by our human download descendants plus our artificial intelligence siblings.”

“The universe cannot expand forever because this would be inconsistent with the laws of physics.”

“What the mathematics is telling us is that actually there are three singularities out there, a final singularity, an initial singularity, and a third singularity, which you can see only if you look at the universe from the multiverse point of view, which connects the other two. So, really you have got three singularities, which, you can show mathematically, are one and the same. So, we have in other words a tri-une God, a God who is three but is one.”

“Christianity can be experimentally confirmed.”

The other speakers, James Hughes, Martine Rothblatt, Remi Sussan, Lincoln Cannon, Brent Allsop, Dan Massey, Mike Perry, Andrew Warner, Fred & Linda Chamberlain, and Ben Goertzel, gave great talks. The full videos of all talks and Q/A sessions are available online. The Workshop explored transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″, the convergence of science and religion, highly imaginative future science and technologies for resurrection, emerging science and technologies for immortality, social and memetic engineering. It was held on December 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the death of my mother, and I cannot think of a better memorial.

I could not deliver my own talk because my Internet connection was vary bad (it has been very bad for a few weeks after a power surge that must have damaged something in the router). The slides of my presentation are below.

The Turing Church Online Workshop 3 will be held in the winter of 2012 and focus on the elusive concepts of time scanning and resurrection by copying-to-the-future, often called Quantum Archaeology.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


INTERNET RISING is a digi-documentary investigating the evolving relationships between the Internet and collective consciousness of humanity. It provokes many questions about ancient and modern paradoxes of life, its pleasures and pains... and the gray area contrasts in between - but most of all it is meant to be an inspiring conversation starter.

INTERNET RISING is a labor of love comprising a rapid fire mashup stream of live interviews all conducted within the web sphere. The film's participants include many profound personalities and key internet influencers ranging from professors, corporate academics, futurists, researchers, writers, bloggers, media creators, activists, gamers, educators, scientists, artists, innovators - real humans, all of whom provide amazing insights into how our state of the world is changing and transforming via various forces of economic, social, geographic, political, philosophical development... all centered around technology's transformative and generative power.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

La Voz de la Ciencia - Is the Singularity Near?

A spectre is haunting the world - the spectre of the Singularity. All the powers of the old world have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The Pope and the ayatollahs, the banks and the political parties, and "bioethicists" of both the right and the left.

Read more on La Voz de la Ciencia (in Spanish)...

The futurists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at the Singularity. Humans 1.0 have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a universe to win.

Between the opening and closing paragraphs adapted from the Manifesto of Karl Marx, my article ¿Está cerca la Singularidad? (in Spanish), published by La Voz de la Ciencia.

The article is a simple and fairly standard overview of the Singularity, with some (less standard) considerations on Singularity politics and spirituality.

La Voz de la Ciencia is an open multidisciplinary project of Aviador Dro on the scientific and technological challenges of the XXI century, from the perspective of their impact on society and the human mind through a unified double vision, scientific and artistic.

Aviador Dro (short for El Aviador Dro Y Sus Obreros Especializados) is an electronic band from Spain formed in Madrid in 1979 with influences such as Gary Numan, Devo and Kraftwerk. They were part of the Movida Madrileña. The article includes the lyrics of their forthcoming musical El momento de la Singularidad.

In this video interview after a talk of Ray Kurzweil in Madrid, my good friend Alejandro Sacristán (aka Aviador Dro's CTA 102) outlines the Singularity (in Spanish).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turing Church Online Workshop 2, OpenQwaq, Sunday December 11

The Turing Church Online Workshop 2 will be held on Sunday, December 11, 2011, with a format similar to the Turing Church Online Workshop 1 on November 20, 2010, beginning at 9am PST (noon EST, 5pm UK, 6pm Continental EU).

The Workshop will explore transhumanist spirituality and “Religion 2.0″, the convergence of science and religion, highly imaginative future science and technologies for resurrection, emerging science and technologies for immortality, social and memetic engineering.

The technical implementation of the Workshop will be managed by teleXLR8 using the OpenQwaq VR technology. There are a limited number of seats available for those who wish to attend. On Sunday November 27 and Sunday December 4 at at 9am PST (noon EST, 5pm UK, 6pm Continental EU) there will be meetup and practice sessions for speakers and participants.

Some speakers in the pictures above.

Program: Turing Church online workshop 2 | KurzweilAI

Speakers, morning session, 9am PST to noon PST:
  • Giulio Prisco
  • James Hughes
  • Martine Rothblatt
  • Frank Tipler
  • Ben Goertzel
  • Remi Sussan
Speakers, afternoon session, 1pm PST to 4pm PST
  • Lincoln Cannon
  • Brent Allsop
  • Dan Massey
  • Andrew Warner
  • Mike Perry
  • Fred and Linda Chamberlain (pre-recorded talk)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

EU idiocracy

Pasted from The Telegraph | EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration:

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

See also Slashdot | In the EU, Water Doesn't (Officially) Prevent Dehydration.

See also my comments to Peter Wicks article on IEET | The Future of Europe, for example:

Europe is that place where there are long and byzantine regulations about the curvature of bananas (not a joke, but a fact). And of course the buddies of the politicians and civil servants responsible for this idiocy have companies that receive fat EU grants to measure the curvature of bananas, write long unread reports on the catastrophic sociological effects of non compliant bananas etc. All with my money and yours, and while there are some real problems to address.

I am the first to ridicule nanny-state idiocracy, of which Brussels gives us the funniest (and saddest) examples every day, but I don't think the scamocracy of big banks and corporations is any better. I find surreal the discussions between naive libertarians who love corporations and hate governments, and naive socialists who love governments and hate corporations. Today big governments, big banks and big corporations are one and the same entrenched power elite.

From a discussion on the zerostate blog:

Capitalism can be good:

Smart and hard working baker Joe knows how to make good bread. He finds a capitalist partner and opens a bakery. At the beginning he works in the bakery himself with his family, then he hires some workers. Then he opens a few other bakeries, treats and pays his workers well, and continues to make good bread and sell it at reasonable prices. Everyone wins, Joe and his family, the workers, the investors, and the rest of us who can eat good bread.

And capitalism can be bad:

Finance shark Jim bribes his buddies in government to pass regulations that put Joe (and all other small bakers) out of business. Then he opens a chain of bakeries that produce tasteless and toxic bread and sell it at outrageous prices. Of course, he continues to bribe his buddies in government to protect his monopoly. After a few years he is a billionaire who scams financial markets to bring entire currencies and economies down. He owns banks protected by the government and bailed out with citizen’s money when he needs. Every few years he (and his buddies in government) engineer a financial crisis to force people out of their homes and buy them back cheap. Everybody loses but Jim and his buddies.

I suggest that we forget the terms “capitalism” or “anti-capitalism”, and just build a system where Joe’s methods work and Jim’s methods don’t.

We need a real third-way (not one of the jokes proposed by traditional politicians, but a real third way). I want the fair EU society and its welfare safety nets without an idiotic and corrupted nanny-state bureaucracy, and I want the dynamic US society without savage social darwinism and religious fundamentalism. Is this too much to ask?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We have a cure to death right here

Ken Hayworth gave an interactive online talk and Q/A in teleXLR8 on How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond, on November 13 2011. See the complete report A Connectome Observatory for nanoscale brain imaging on KurzweilAI.

New technologies now permit imaging brain tissue at resolutions approaching 5x5x5nm. voxel size, down to the protein level. “This is more than sufficient resolution to determine all the connectivity and the properties of the synapses that are needed to explain the functionality of the brain circuits,” Ken said.

“In 100 years, if we have the technology to bring someone back, it won’t be in a biological body,” Ken said in a New York Times article last year. “It is these scanning techniques and mind-uploading that, I think, will bring people back. This is a taboo topic in the scientific community. But we have a cure to death right here. Why aren’t we pursuing it?”

In the Q&A, participants compared connectome preservation via the chemical brain preservation techniques proposed by Ken’s Brain Preservation Foundation to cryonics. See the full video of the talk and Q/A below.

Last year I wrote a post on Chemical brain preservation: cryonics for uploaders, also republished by the Cryonics Institute. Excerpt:

This resolution is sufficient to image the smallest brain structures which, according to current scientific knowledge, are the physical substrate of our thoughts, memories, feelings, emotional responses, hopes, dreams and identity. It is important to stress that this can be done with current technology... the information in a chemically preserved brain can be retrieved and run on a different substrate ("mind uploading"). This makes chemical brain preservation a storage technique optimized for future nanoscale scanning, and an ideal form of "cryonics for uploaders". For those who accept scanning the brain and running the information in the scan file on a different substrate as a valid form of identity preservation, chemical brain preservation seems clearly superior to cryopreservation.

After listening to Ken's talk, I am persuaded that the required brain imaging resolution can be achieved NOW with existing technology (and can only improve). So we just need to build operational pipelines for preparation, readout and storage and medical research facilities (and regulations or better absence thereof) able to preserve brains with sufficient accuracy for future readout and personality retrieval.

Ken prefers to discuss brain preservation technology as a scientific research topic instead of speculating on future availability for human patients (see his article on the Alcor Cryonics magazine and Mike Perry's reply). But in response to questions by Mike Perry and myself he said “If there was really a concerted effort to develop brain preservation technology, it would be easy to have highly reliable hospital brain preservation procedures ready to go in any hospital before the end of the decade. It is all a matter of will.”

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that we have a cure to death right here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Google+ Hangouts with extras combines multi-person video chat with screen sharing and collaboration in Google Docs

Last year after Google I/O 2010 I wrote "the most interesting development to watch, still a rumor, is Google Meetings: a multiuser videoconferencing application for the Google cloud. If Google Meetings is integrated with the other applications in the Google Apps suite, it could very rapidly become the favorite solution for desktop business videoconferencing and collaboration."

That was before Google+. The new Google+ Hangouts with Extras feature, recently announced, does just that: "Hangouts with extras, which combines multi-person video chat with screen sharing and collaboration in Google Docs, lets you work together on projects even when your team can't be in the same room. Whether you’re out of town, working on a project with a distributed group, or just don’t feel like walking to the next building for your meeting, Hangouts with extras can give your team the productivity boost it needs." Awesome.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Online talk next Sunday: Ken Hayworth on How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond

Ken Hayworth will give an online talk next Sunday Nov. 13 at 10am PST in teleXLR8, on How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond. If you wish to attend:
- If you have a teleXLR8 account created in 2011, you can just show up.
- If you have a teleXLR8 account created in 2010, I will need to create a new account for you. Please contact me.
Please read: IMPORTANT – invitations and logistics

How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond | KurzweilAI

Dr. Kenneth Hayworth will present an online talk and Q/A on How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond on Sunday, November 13, at 10am PST.

He will present a plan to map the mouse brain at very high resolution.

The talk will be in teleXLR8, a 3D interactive video conferencing space. Please contact the organizers if you wish to attend the talk.

Hayworth is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a co-founder of the Brain Preservation Foundation, and designer of the Automatic Tape-Collecting Lathe Ultramicrotome (ATLUM), which could allow efficient nanoscale imaging of brain tissues.

“In 100 years, if we have the technology to bring someone back, it won’t be in a biological body,” he said in a New York Times article last year. “It is these scanning techniques and mind-uploading that, I think, will bring people back. This is a taboo topic in the scientific community. But we have a cure to death right here. Why aren’t we pursuing it?”

See also:
Ken Hayworth on How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond, OpenQwaq, November 13 2011, 10am PST | teleXLR8

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back from trip to NYC and Vermont

In the picture taken by my daughter I am in the New York subway with my late lamented Terasem travel bag, which was stolen by an asshole on the Amtrak train to Vermont. To the asshole: I guess you can make some money by selling the computers and cellphones in the bag, and there was some cash too, but I hope you spend it all on diarrhea pills.

I was a few days in Vermont where I attended the Terasem monthly gathering and annual graduation. In the video below I listen to Martine Rothblatt who talks of satellite radio, electric cars and solar energy... driving an electric sport car powered by solar energy in beautiful Vermont. Awesome.

On Cctober 13 I gave a talk on Transhumanism and Religion at Manhattan College. Thanks to Robert Geraci for organizing the talk, and thanks to all participants for the great questions and comments.

On October 15 and 16 I attended the Singularity Summit 2011. See my Singularity Summit 2011 roundup report at KurzweilAI.

In the picture below I am with my good friend Guillermo Santamaria, whom I met at the Summit face to face for the first time. I met many other friends face to face for the first time, including Robert Geraci and Rachel Haywire, who is organizing the Extreme Futurist Festival in December in LA to bridge counterculture and academia ("if the original Burning Man was to meet the Singularity Summit, you would have Extreme Futurist Fest 2011"). An event not to be missed (though I am afraid I will have to miss it).

I was happy to meet again many good friends (too many to list). A special mention to Alison Gardner and Dan Massey (please see their website VenusPlusX and support their work), who also came to my talk on October 13. After David Brin's talk at the Singularity Summit (David said that the Singularity community should seek a dialog with religious people), Dan and I agreed that the religion of Science and the religion of Love are one and the same, or at least they should be.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Technoprogressives Should Join the Pirate Party

Join the Facebook group Space Piratez to discuss Why techno-progressives should join the Pirate Party?

IEET - Why Technoprogressives Should Join the Pirate Party

The liberation of people through technology, and the liberation of technology from the oppressive forces that want to control it, is part of the pirate DNA. This will be reflected at some point in actual policies of the Pirate Party, the party of the future...

Technoprogressives follow current developments in science and technology, and we see that someday, perhaps soon, we will be able to change the traditional human condition in novel and very radical ways. The next generations of technologies for human enhancement will permit overcoming unwanted biological accidents such as wrong gender, disability, undesired physical or cognitive shortcomings, perhaps even aging and death.

As it happened in information technologies, established research labs are leading the initial development phases, but open source citizen collectives of infohackers, biohackers, neurohackers, and nanohackers may gradually take the lead, in the open or underground. The latter may be the case, since the powers will try to control the development of human enhancement technologies, and the result can only be pushing development underground.

Make no mistake: hackers are much smarter than 9-to-5 workers, and they work much harder because they do what they like and like what they do. This will be a very unwelcome development for big governments, big corporations, and big banks, which, by their very nature, wish to control us-the-sheeple and keep us in chains. When these issue will be in the political arena they will fight back, and a very dirty fight it will be. We need a presence in mainstream politics to be prepared.

Read the rest at IEET...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

IEET - Hank Pellissier interviews German Pirate Party political director Marina Weisband

IEET - Hank Pellissier interviews German Pirate Party political director Marina Weisband

Last week, the Pirate Party of Berlin, Germany, garnered a shocking 8.9% of the votes in the city-state’s election to place 15 representatives in Berlin’s parliament. In a story on the result, the New York Times described Pirate Party leaders as "disarmingly honest… in their 20s and 30s… with no lack of confidence."

Hank Pellissier has interviewed the German Pirate Party political director Marina Weisband. Read the interview on the IEET website...

Buoyed by their Berlin success, the Pirate Party is sailing full speed towards the next German national election, scheduled in two years. A poll by the Forsa Institute indicates that 7% of the population aims to vote for the upstart new movement. Founded just five years ago in Sweden, the Pirates have quickly become a global force with chapters in more than forty nations.

The interview has been translated in many languages, here is an Italian translation.

I am persuaded that this young "Party of the Internet, and of the Future" is the best political outlet for H+ and technoprogressive policies. Why H+ and technoprogressives should join the Pirate Party? I can think of many reasons.

Perhaps the main reason is that Pirates want to combine personal liberty and social farrness, and clearly affirm the importance of both. Pirates are for BIG, and many of us here are for BIG. But Pirates are also for personal freedom and a slim administration.

The Pirate Party is the party of the Internet, and by extension it is the party of disruptive and revolutionary technologies, not afraid of radical change. The PP is the party of the future. It is the party of the young (like Marina), and I am one of those who think that the young are always right.

It is the only political party that I can see, in a future when these issues will be raised, clearly and openly embracing total self-ownership and morphological freedom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My talk on Transhumanism and Religion, Manhattan College, Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 4pm

I gave a talk on Transhumanism and Religion at Manhattan College, Thursday, October 13, 2011. Thanks to Robert Geraci for organizing the talk, and thanks to all participants for the great questions and comments.

Slides of the talk:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mind uploading in science fiction

I have written a review of mind uploading in science fiction (and perhaps, someday, science and social fact). Many reviews mention only the perils of mind uploading, but I prefer to think of the promises of mind uploading. Read more on the Space Collective website.

Interview with Stefano Vaj on Biopolitics and Transhumanism

Interview with Stefano Vaj on Biopolitics and Transhumanism
by Adriano Scianca (ed.). Translation from Italian by Catarina Lamm

Catarina Lamm has translated from Italian the booklet "Dove va la biopolitica?", by Stefano Vaj, interviewed by editor Adriano Scianca. The booklet is a summary of Stefano's "Biopolitica. The new paradigm".

See also my reviews:
Dove va la biopolitica? (Italian)
Review of Stefano Vaj's Biopolitica (English)

Monday, September 19, 2011

My talk at the Humanity+ community event in Second Life

See "Transhumanist Avatars Storm Second Life" on H+ Magazine: "More than 80 transhumanist avatars stormed the virtual world of Second Life for a community event organized by Humanity+ on September 15. This has been by far the largest virtual transhumanist event that I have seen, and I believe I have seen them all..." Read more on H+ Magazine, and see my presentation and the full video of the event below.

As I noted in my talk, we should forget the pessimism of the last decade, whose tone was set by 9/11, and go back to the solar and positive optimism of transhumanism in the 90s, occasionally naive, often politically incorrect, but always vibrant, full with energy and inspiring visions. Also, back to space, and why not back to the sixties (a truly magic decade.) I have been very happy to find the same spirit also in the talks of the other speakers, and the comments from the audience. Is this the beginning of a transhumanist Renaissance?

My presentation on Slideshare:

Video on Youtube

This video beginning with Ben’s talk (sorry Natasha, your opening talk is missing) was recorded from a fixed point of view behind the lectern. There is also a lower resolution but longer version of the same video, including the last part of the Q/A session. Thanks to Kim and Jack for recording the videos.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

H+ @ Second Life – September 15, 2011

UPDATE: My talk at the Humanity+ community event in Second Life

Humanity+ is hosting a virtual event in Second Life on September 15, in a week!

Humanity+ is an international nonprofit membership organization which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities. We support the development of and access to new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies and better lives.

Join us in Second Life to brainstorm how to move forward together!

More info on the event on the Humanity+ and KurzweilAI websites.

Where: Terasem Island in Second Life (coordinates: 121:155:30)
When: September 15, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. EDT

IMPORTANT NOTE for those who have never used Second Life, and for those who are not familiar with it. Everyone can create a free Second Life account, just go to the Second Life website. You should not expect to be a Second Life pro immediately after creating your account, but on the contrary you should take some time to "get it" and practice the user interface. It is very easy and everyone should be able to learn the basics in half an hour, but like everything it has a learning curve. So, please create your avatar and practice SL before the meeting. You should also learn how to "teleport" to Terasem Island in Second Life (coordinates: 121:155:30). We are available to help. I will use the avatar Eschatoon Magic, feel free to IM me if you have problems.

Second Life event listing

Click this SLURL to teleport to the event site

Sunday, August 28, 2011

teleXLR8, a telepresence community for cultural acceleration, now based on open source virtual reality and video software

Space Collective | teleXLR8, a telepresence community for cultural acceleration, now based on open source virtual reality and video software

The teleXLR8 online talk program based on OpenQwaq has been covered by Hypergrid Businessas an online open TED, using modern telepresence technology for ideas worth spreading, and as a next generation, fully interactive TV network with a participative audience.

At the end of 2010 the teleXLR8 project, based on the industrial strength commercial Teleplace platform, was put on hold waiting for funding.

In May 2011 Teleplace made the visionary decision to open source their technology as OpenQwaq. This permits continuing teleXLR8 as a free, invitation-only program based on OpenQwaq, with more frequent talks, workshops and conferences.

In August 2011 the teleXLR8 project has been re-launched. See my short presentation Welcome to the 2011 season! The first talk has been announced by KurzweilAI: “teleXLR8 is reopening on Sunday 21 10 a.m. PST with a talk by [experimental quantum physicist/programmer] Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!. The teleXLR8 online talk program is “a telepresence community for cultural acceleration,” as their blog puts it. Translation: an audiovideo seminar — think TED in Second Life, plus webcam videoconferencing and video session recording."

Suzanne outlined the basics of Quantum Computing, described the the D-Wave One quantum computer, and explained how to program it. For those who missed the talk, the full video coverage is on the teleXLR8 video channel on YouTube.

The teleXLR8 project will continue with more frequent talks, seminars, online conferences and mixed-reality extension of traditional conferences, interviews, talk shows, and e-learning courses. Thanks to the built-in video recording feature of OpenQwaq, we will post the full video coverage to our video sharing channels on, Youtube and Vimeo after a few days. Participation in the realtime interactive sessions is free, but invitation-only: if you wish to participate, please contact us, join the mailing list or the groups on Facebook and Linkedin, and ask for an invitation.

Read more on Space Collective...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Socrates Had Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea

Initially published as a comment to Mike Treder's excellent article Will you die? @ IEET.

I just found this gem of our old friend Carrico. He criticises this article because "That you are going to die is part of what it has always meant to be human..."

Inspired by previous debates (see below) I have taken the liberty to re-write his apology of death, changing a couple of words:

Everybody who has ever lived has suffered from haemorrhoids and diarrhea. Everybody has haemorrhoids and diarrhea. You have haemorrhoids and diarrhea. That you have haemorrhoids and diarrhea is part of what it has always meant to be human. If you didn't have haemorrhoids and diarrhea, you wouldn't be living a legibly human life. But of course you have haemorrhoids and diarrhea so there is no reason to belabor the point, and to do so is probably just to indulge in pathetic panic-stricken distraction or denialism about it anyway.

Mike Treder, Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (long-time readers may recall that I tend to call it "stealth Robot Cult outfit, IEET" and tend to call its high level muckety mucks as "Very Serious Futurologists" or, alternatively, "White Guys of 'The Future'"), asked the question in a post yesterday, Will You Continue to Have Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea? (The answer, for you kids keeping score at home, is: "Yes, Mike, yes, you will continue to have haemorrhoids and diarrhea, as will every single person who reads these words.")

It doesn't seem right to make fun of people this desperate and deluded and dumb, but, well, I say, go ahead. Especially rich for regular readers will be the robotic predictability with which the Robot Cultists and the industrial-militarist complex continue to announce the arrival of a Cure For Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea, Artificial Intelligence, Drexlerian Nanotech, Designer Babies, Clone Armies, Immersive VR, the Paperless Office, Energy Too Cheap to Meter, Orbital Space Hotels, the Cure for [insert disease], and the history-shattering Singularity when the Robot God inaugurates Tech-Heaven or eats the world for lunch (you decide). No less enjoyable is the accompanying illustration for the piece of drawing-board nanobots on graph paper backgrounds just like real engineers use and with orange arrows indicating the immortalization action, and also, too, the reference to cyber-immortalization via "uploading" presumably involving something called your "essence." Science!

It is interesting to note that in previous debates Carrico has, instead, considered haemorrhoids, diarrhea and similar things related to what he considers as the noblest parts of the sacred human anatomy and the holy human biology as better examples of your "essence." See for example:
Cyborg Angels Live Forever and Never Ever Have to Poop
The Power of Poop; or, Prisco Responds

Dale, my boy, please feel free to live a legibly human life and to pursue happiness and meaning your own way. If this means continuing to suffer from haemorrhoids, diarrhea and death, so be it. I would not wish these things upon my worse enemy, but you are the best judge of what is good for you and makes you happy.

But I hope you will forgive me for choosing to do my best to avoid haemorrhoids and diarrhea. And death. If these things must remain part of legibly human lives, then fuck legibly human lives.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SecondPlace, QwaqLife or TeleSim?

I am very much in love with both my two favorite virtual meeting technologies: Second Life, partly cloned by the open source OpenSim, and Teleplace, recently open sourced as OpenQwaq. In the pictures, two recent online conferences in Second Life and Teleplace.

I love both, but most VR users tend to strongly prefer one. I am interested in "serious" applications to, for example, online talks and e-learning (no value judgment intended, and please see "Telepresence Education for a Smarter World" for more), and I like both.

The Teleplace / OpenQwaq technology, on which my teleXLR8 online talk program and "telepresence community for cultural acceleration" is based, has much better built-in voice and support for multi user collaboration, document sharing and webcam videoconferencing, all very important features for "serious" applications, but those who prefer Second Life may find it too aseptic and square.

The Second Life / OpenSim technology, much closer to (and directly inspired by) the Metaverse of Snow Crash, has a certain built-in playfulness which is also very important (more important than I used to think) for "serious" applications, and is much more appealing to persons with strong artistic sensibilities, but those who prefer Teleplace may find its more, um, extreme aspects too annoying and distracting.

As I said, I like both. The "conflict" is mostly cultural and psychological, and I have no doubts that both technologies, especially in their open source versions, can easily support both work and play in both square and creative modes. For example, I have prototyped simple examples of videoconferencing and collaborative document sharing in Second Life, and OpenQwaq can import very creative 3D models and avatars.

Open ended, comments welcome.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

On pseudonymous identities on the Internet

One month after the introduction of Google+, the debate on "real vs fake identities" goes on. I see a lot of that on Google+ and Facebook because I have many Second Life users in my network, and many of them have chosen to be pseudonymous.

I have written an article on pseudonymous identities on the Space Collective website (I prefer to write long articles elsewhere and post excerpts here). Excerpt:

I often voice my very deep concerns about our once free Internet becoming the property of nanny states and greedy corporations, and I think we must protect the Internet at all times. Our society is becoming a global nanny state and a dictatorship of self-righteous control freaks and idiotic "moral majorities", and we should keep and protect at least some pockets of personal freedom and privacy online.

Or else (see below). At this moment I am not affected by real-dentities-only policies, because I chose to represent myself via my legal name anyway. I must also confess that, sometimes, I am mildly annoyed by some aspects of my pseudonymous friends' behavior. But I am happy to accept a moderate level of annoyance for the privilege of living in a free society, and I try to be tolerant of others' little annoying habits because I hope they will be equally tolerant of mine. And I remember "First they came..."

Read the rest on Space Collective...

PS Today is the 20th birthday of the World Wide Web and we MUST NOT FORGET that the Web was "Born out the dreams of Libertarian hippies in 1970s California, and the anti-authoritarian aspirations of internet-pioneers." We must keep the spirit alive.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DominoLife for Android

In the last few months I have been busy developing the Android application DominoLife for Terasem Movement Transreligion. After a couple of months of beta testing, version 1.5 has been uploaded to the Android Market.

DominoLife is a multimedia application for non-linear note taking, story telling, mind mapping and presentations. It permits easily organizing pictures, text notes, audio clips and freehand drawings in trees. A tree is composed of nodes, where each node is a bundle which can include text, pictures, audio and graphics. Each node has one parent and up to 3 children. This data structure called a ternary tree is very suitable for mobile devices, with horizontal and vertical scrolling. The 4 scrolling directions (back, forward, up and down) permit reaching the 4 links (one parent and 3 children) from a node, which defines a simple, intuitive and powerful user interface. DominoLife is very easy to use, and new users can start composing trees seconds after launching the application for the first time. See more...

DominoLife is a social application integrated with file sharing services and social networks. After composing a DominoLife tree, users can export it as a zipfile and share it via any sharing service. The internal QuickShare tool permits one-click social sharing by: 1) Storing the tree in the public folder of the user's Dropbox account; 2) Storing a viewable reference in our DominoLife web repository; and 3) Publishing a link on Facebook or Google+. See more...

DominoLife links to the DominoLife web repository where users can preview and rate trees, and download them to their phone for viewing and further editing. Take a look, for example, at my DominoLife multimedia album of a trip to Lake Balaton, with my wife and doggy and two friends. This is a simple example of using DominoLife to record impressions of a day trip with pictures, text and audio. You can preview it on the web (without audio). If you have the DominoLife app, you can download it to your Android phone for full viewing and editing. I will post other more interesting example of use cases soon.

DominoLife is available on the Android Market at a price of 1.95 US$ (less than a coffee).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In memory of Robert Ettinger

Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger (4 December 1918 – 23 July 2011)

My first reaction after hearing of Bob's death and successful cryopreservation has been: "A great man has left the party. I hope to meet him at another party soon." The very fact that we, scientists and engineers who have never believed in a supernatural afterlife, dare hoping to meet Bob again, is the best tribute to him.

I have been reading the last emails of Bob to the mailing list of the Cryonics Institute. Well into his 90s and until a few weeks ago, Bob continued to write very cogent and challenging Internet posts. He started the cryonics movement, wrote three seminal books, and is now cryopreserved, with his two wives, at the Cryonics Institute that he founded. He has lived one of the fullest and richest lives that a person can ever live. And he will live again.

I never met Bob face to face, but we started exchanging emails in 2000 or 2001. In 2002 I published this Interview with Robert Ettinger. Then Bob sent me a preview of his book Youniverse, which I reviewed in Youniverse, by Robert Ettinger (Sneak Preview), published by Betterhumans. I then became a member of the Cryonics Institute and continued to exchange private and public emails with Bob until a few weeks ago.

In one of the last discussion threads he started on the Cryonics Institute mailing list, Bob said "Not long ago someone suggested that we suspend the uploading debate and just agree to disagree... Let's start by repeating that, with unimportant exceptions, a description of a thing (material object or system) is not that thing." It is well known that Bob, the father of cryonics, was not a uploading enthusiast (see also the interview above). I disagree (see my article on Chemical brain preservation: cryonics for uploaders), but when an intellectual giant like Bob says something we should at least listen to him, and I have certainly listened to Bob's objections (without changing my mind).

However, I don't see Bob's life work as limited to promoting one specific preservation technology. He is the man who introduced us all to the revolutionary and beautiful idea that, someday soon, science and technology can eliminate death. The eventual success of any personal preservation technology, be it cryopreservation, chemical brain preservation or mind uploading, will be part of Bob's heritage.

In honor to Bob, I have changed this blog's icon to a picture of a Nano Snowman.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7th Terasem Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology in Second Life

Each year on July 20th, Terasem conducts a workshop on the subject of geoethical nanotechnology. The purpose of the event is to provide the public with informed perspectives regarding geoethical nanotechnology via expert presentations, challenges and discussions. Of course the date of July 20th is symbolic, and we all should always remember what it means.

This year's workshop, at the Terasem Island Amphitheatre in Second Life, has been an exchange of scholarly views regarding the transplanting of organs/limbs, prosthetic devices, hybrid machines and nanotechnology employed in the body, with a goal of optimizing the rights and understanding of enhanced humans. The workshop has been a very solid and intense two-hours event, with two great talks followed by interesting questions and answers, and a final discussion mainly centered on future AIs, their civil rights and possible threats to biological humans1.0. Like the organizer Martine Rothblatt, I consider future sentient AIs as part of our own species and I don't think of "us" vs. "them". It will be just US.

I attended with my Second Life avatar Eschatoon Magic who has recently been resurrected in cyberspace as, according to Terasem, we may all be someday. The Terasem island, which had recently been repaired after having been hit by digital heavy weather, is now one of the few (perhaps the only) remaining transhumanist meeting points in Second Life, and I look forward to attending other forthcoming events.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Transhumanism: a “secular spirituality” of life extension and cosmic consciousness finds mainstream hearing

RELIGIOSCOPE has an interesting article on "Transhumanism: a “secular spirituality” of life extension and cosmic consciousness finds mainstream hearing": "A broad-based movement pressing for life extension and radically enhancing human consciousness through technology is gaining mainstream support and adopting a unique kind of “secular spirituality.”"

The article is centered on the field work of Abou Farman (City University of New York) who, at a conference on non-institutional spirituality at Columbia University in New York, presented a paper on a fast-growing network of technological thinkers and groups that he called “informatic futurists” that both borrow concepts from religion and spirituality while seeing themselves in competition with traditional faiths. Farman is also the author of "The Intelligent Universe": "The next stage in evolution -- a machine consciousness able to manipulate time and space -- is just around the corner. The catch: humans will no longer be in charge."

The conclusion of the RELIGIOSCOPE article: "Farman says that the influence of the informatics futurists and their promotion of a convergence between science and human consciousness will “shape more and more of our lives, whether it be through neuroscience research, NSF priorities, Silicon Valley venture capital or popular conferences and ideas.” These challenges will likely change the shape of the relationship between religion and secularism. He concludes that it may be the case that “secular humanism and religion will find each other closer than ever before as the informatic cosmologists try and move away from both gods and humans, as well as from the earth itself.”"

Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!, OpenQwaq, August 21 2011, 10am PST

UPDATE – NEW DATE: Sunday, August 21, 2011, at 10am PST (1pm EST, 6pm UK, 7pm continental EU)

The new phase of the teleXLR8 project will start with a talk by one of the most popular speakers of the first phase in 2010. Suzanne Gildert will give an interactive online talk on "Hack the Multiverse!", using the new open source OpenQwaq telepresence technology, on Sunday July 31 2011, at 10am PST.

Suzanne is currently working at D-Wave Systems, Inc. See the D-Wave blog "Hack the Multiverse". See the announcement and abstract of Suzanne's talk. OpenQwaq is one of the best 3D applications for telework, online meetings, group collaboration, and e-learning in a virtual 3D environment (v-learning). There are a limited number of seats available, please contact us if you wish to attend. Join our mailing list, our Facebook group, or our Linkedin group.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Google+: First impressions and thoughts

I have been one of the lucky few to receive an invitation to Google+ on the first day it went public as a beta field test, and I have been playing with it a lot. Google+ is Google's new social network, very similar to Facebook with extra features similar to Twitter and Diaspora. Google+ is already interoperable with other Google services, e.g. Profiles and Picasa. In time, it may be seamlessly integrated with the rest of the Google ecosystem (Gmail, Groups, Docs, Calendar, Blogger, Maps, Latitude, Youtube, Apps...) and become something huge.

I have written a review of "Google+: First impressions and thoughts" on the Space Collective site. Excerpt: "I think selective sharing is both a strong and weak point. It is strong, because you can share a post with your friends without sharing it with your mother and your boss. It is weak, because sharing with everyone is simpler than categorizing your contacts in circles, and things must be made really very simple in these KISS days. Most of my own posts are shared with all my circles like on Facebook and also public (shared with everyone who chooses to follow me like on Twitter), but I can certainly see the advantages of selective sharing. Especially for young people who can now have different Family, Friends, School and Work circles, but strangely I think most young people may stay on Facebook and ignore Google+, leaving the latter to us grown-ups. Also, perhaps only persons with some degree of computer literacy will use Google+ frequently: if Wave is for computer geeks only, and Facebook is for everyone including your granddaughter and grandfather, Google+ may occupy the mid ground."

Read the rest on Space collective...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Engineering Transcendence: Addendum from 2011

My article "Engineering Transcendence: Addendum from 2011" has just been published on H+ Magazine. In this sequel to my old article "Engineering Transcendence" I discuss transhumanist spirituality, its parallels with religions and its potential as a better alternative to religion. The inspiring picture above is taken from Extropia DaSilva's very good follow-up post, also posted to KurzweilAI Forums with some interesting comments.

Back to the 60s, back to the future, and onwards to the stars

I am honored of having been included in the 200th episode of The Future And You: "Over a hundred never before heard predictions about the future from dozens of past guests, a few possible future guests, several listeners and an assortment of people actively building the future we are all going to live in."

Stephen Euin Cobb's question for the 200th episode was: "The next episode of my show (The Future And You) will be the 200th episode. If you would, please send me a prediction of the future I can read into the show. Especially good would be a prediction based on a trend most people have been ignoring or just not aware of."

The main point that I made in my own trend spotting is: "...Sadly my short term predictions are far less optimistic, at least as far as the future of our "western" society is concerned. I see that we are becoming old, ossified, with far too much obsession for safety, control and political correctness, like old people afraid of their own shadows in a safe, PC and sad retirement home..."

I have written an article on Space Collective to elaborates on this. I conclude with "I think the free spirit of the anti-authoritarian 60s, the hippie and New Age movements, the cultural and social experimentation and the widespread protests were healthier than our contemporary, geriatric western societies... Let's go back to the 60s, back to freedom, back to the future, back to space, forward to the next phase of our evolution as a species, and onwards to the stars!" Read the rest on Space collective...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Magical thinking

What the fuck is wrong with magical thinking? It is what got Columbus to America.

This has been my first reaction to the article What’s the Likelihood of the Singularity? Part One: Artificial Intelligence, by Alex Knapp on Forbes.

I define magical thinking as imagination applied to overcoming obstacles that are very difficult (or impossible) to overcome according to current science and common sense. Science and common sense used to say that you cannot fly and you cannot talk to people far away, but magical thinking gave us the telegraph, the telephone, air travel, the Internet, mobile phones and Facebook. And I am confident that someday before the end of the century magical thinking will give us brain implants, telepathy and mind uploading. There are many comments to the Forbes article by transhumanist friends (notably, some very cogent comments by Ben Goertzel) who insist that transhumanism is not magical thinking. Well, I think it is - magical thinking in its purest and noblest form, the kind of magical thinking that has taken us from caves to the Moon, and will take us to the stars and beyond.

Note on mind uplaoding: The second part of the article What’s the Likelihood of the Singularity? Part Two: Uploading the Brain is just out. I will just make one comment at this moment: denying the possibility of mind uploading is crude dualism, because it assumes that carbon biology has some mystical property that science will never be able to explain and engineering will never be able to replicate and improve. With this attitude, we would be still living in caves. I will to comment to both articles and I have just created an account on Forbes.

Both articles are inspired by an article by Charlie Stross on Three arguments against the singularity. The article is very interesting and written by someone who understands these things much better than Knapp. I just left this comment:

Charlie, I am more optimist than you on the feasibility of and timeline for strong AI and mind uploading, but I am probably closer to your cautious assessment than to the wild optimism of, say, Kurzweil. I think both technologies will be developed someday because they are compatible with our scientific understanding of reality, but not very soon.

In reply to: "I can't disprove [the Simulation Argument], either. And it has a deeper-than-superficial appeal, insofar as it offers a deity-free afterlife... it would make a good free-form framework for a postmodern high-tech religion. Unfortunately it seems to be unfalsifiable, at least by the inmates (us)."

My question is, what is wrong with this. Some persons function better _in this life_ if they can persuade themselves to contemplate the possibility of an afterlife compatible with the scientific worldview. They become happier and better persons, help others, and try to make the world a better place.

In other words, the pursuit of personal happiness without harming others. Charlie, what the fuck is wrong with this?

Read Charlie's reply and many other interesting comments on Charlie's blog.

Now also the third article of Knapp's series is out: What’s the Likelihood of the Singularity? Part Three: A Simulated World. There is an interesting discussion on quantum mechanics, of all things. My last comment:

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the universe does not compute things that nobody is observing, but leaves them in a undetermined state to be defined only when somebody actually observes them. This makes sense from a computational perspective (why waste useful resources to compute useless things?) and this is why we use the same strategy in our own synthetic worlds like World of Warcraft. So, without stretching the analogy too far, I rather consider quantum mechanics as suggestive evidence in favor of a simulation theory.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bitcoin: a CryptoCurrency for a free Internet and a free society

Some info, linke and thoughts on Bitcoin: a CryptoCurrency for a free Internet and a free society: "I think Bitcoin is important. We must protect the Internet and the right to free speech, pseudonimity and anonimity online, and we need a untraceable anonymous currency. Of course I realize that Bitcoin can also be used by bad people to do bad things, but I am sure it will be mainly used by good people to do good things, and I think the benefits outweigh the dangers. All things considered, I prefer to live in a world with untraceable anonymous currency than in a world without."

Read more on Space Collective

Monday, June 6, 2011

Join the free Diaspora and build YOUR mindfile

I have a post on Join the free Diaspora and build YOUR mindfile on the Space Collective website Some excerpts:

Eventually, Diaspora may become a social web: a large decentralized network of pods operated by different individual and groups, linked by common protocols, and able to deliver all the things (friends, status updates, chat, groups, pictures, video, like, unlike, share...) that we have in Facebook and many more.

Once you are connected to users on other pods, you see their activity in almost real time like if they were on the same pod. If the Diaspora network takes off and achieves critical mass, it will be an open, decentralized, distributed P2P social web.

Billions of digital natives born in the 00s will have deep and detailed records of their lives, thoughts, feelings and personalities, on future social networks. According to the Bainbridge-Rothblatt hypotesis which seems more and more plausible in light of recent scientific advances, sufficiently advanced future technologies may be able to ignite these "mindfiles" and bring them back to life.

Read more on Space Collective.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shuttle, sea, clouds and birds

OK, I did not take these pictures of the Shuttle launch myself, but I was on the Florida Space Coast near the launch site on the scheduled launch date April 29 and I would have loved to take similar pictures. I have extracted these from the launch video recorded by Fred Chamberlain, and thanks Fred for the nice dedication!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update: Budapest, Terasem, MOM, Second Life, OpenQwaq

A quick update. We are living in Budapest since beginning April. At the end of April I visited Terasem in Florida (photo composition below).

I have been meaning to join Terasem for quite some time, and I am happy I finally joined. See my joinership video here. I plan to be more and more active in Terasem: more thoughts in a forthcoming article, and please see the great Terasem multimedia website maintained by Fred and Linda Chamberlain. Unfortunately I cannot participate regularly in Terasem gatherings in the US, but I can and will participate regularly in Terasem gatherings in Second Life (picture below). I had not been in SL for ages, but I plan to attend all Terasem events and, I hope, other interesting events. My new SL avatar is, guess, simply giulioprisco (the blue skinned old astronaut in the picture).

After Florida I went to see my daughter for a few days. Her film making team just successfully completed their first fundraising project on Kickstarter! On my way back at the airport I received an email announcing OpenQwaq (the open source version of Teleplace). This is very exciting news, because it permits reloading the teleXLR8 project which was stalled for lack of funds.

We are planning to re-open teleXLR8's virtual doors in a couple of months. We will probably launch a Kickstarter project for teleXLR8 (always learn from the young). In the picture above, a first test of OpenQwaq. Watch the teleXLR8 blog for more related news and thoughts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thoughts on space, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first flight

This is a follow-up to my last post on Cosmists Knocking on Heaven’s Door on 50th Yuri's Night, and to my older Thoughts on space, on the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing. In the picture, the very nice banner appeared on Google's main search page on April 12.

Please read the two posts. A short summary of the main points:

The Cosmist thinking of Nikolai Fedorov and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky has inspired the daring and sexy space program of the 60s and early 70s.

Despite their scientific value, later phases of the space program have been dull, boring, uninspiring and less sexy than a washing machine. I have worked for many years in public space agencies, for example in ESA in the eighties and nineties.I used to say that the emphasis on cost-effective pragmatic mission with only a scientific return and no PR value would kill both public and political support for space, and the facts have given me reason.

We need new initiatives able to ignite the imagination of people, especially young people, all over the planet. In order to support spending money in space, people need to see other people in space taking risks to do momentous things. On this 50th Yuri's Night, we Cosmists and space enthusiasts should think of going back to space, back to the Moon, and onward to Mars and the stars.

But things are not going to change as long as the only actors are governments and industry. In today's world, the obsolete nation-states are part of the problem and not part of the solution. International organizations are paralyzed by power struggles between different national interests. And industry cannot be expected to see beyond next year's financials. Why not forming a global P2P space agency of the people, by the people, and for the people? Such a World Space Agency, whose members are not nation-states but individual citizens acting as a focused P2P laser (reference to The Millennial Project of Marshall T. Savage), could act in the best long-term interest of our species and prepare the way for its, our, journey to the stars.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cosmists Knocking on Heaven’s Door on 50th Yuri's Night

This show must not be missed, as a Cosmist and a space enthusiast I hope I will get a digital copy soon.

BBC - Knocking on Heaven's Door: April 12th 2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space, hailed by the Soviet Union as a triumph for socialist science over capitalism. But the true story is much stranger. George Carey's film shows how the Russian space programme was kick-started by a mystic who taught that science would make us immortal, and carried forward by a scientist who believed that we should evolve into super-humans who could leave our overcrowded planet to colonise the universe. Stranger still, Carey shows how those ideas have survived Communism and adapted themselves to the science of the modern world.

The Telegraph - Knocking on Heaven’s Door, film-maker George Carey explains the mystic secrets of the cosmos and the Soviet space programme: The man some people say is the true father of space travel in Russia was not a scientist at all, but a reclusive mystic who was the illegitimate son of a prince called Gagarin. His followers today say the name is not coincidental - because it was that mystic, Nikolai Fedorov, who set Russians on course for Yuri’s moment of glory. In the 19th century, Darwinism and modern science seemed like enemies of God. But Fedorov came up with an extraordinary counter-suggestion: that science was a tool given to us by God to enable us to resurrect the dead and, as promised, enjoy immortal life. And, with curious practicality, he added that because the Earth could not sustain a population that never died, we must first learn to conquer space... the person who really injected his philosophy - known as Cosmism - into the bloodstream of Russian science was an unknown teenager (Konstantin Tsiolkovsky) who turned up in that library one day looking for advice about what to read... [Danila Medvedev] calls himself a Transhumanist, and believes that he will achieve his own immortality by uploading his personality into cyberspace.

As the article says, Cosmist thinking has inspired the daring space program of the 60s and early 70s. On this 50th Yuri's Night, we Cosmists and space enthusiasts should think of going back to space, back to the Moon, and onward to Mars and the stars.