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