I recently had the privilege of being the opening keynote speaker at the Financial TimesCamp Alphaville 2015 conference in London. Attending were nearly 1000 people, including economists, engineers, scientists, and financiers. Amongst robots mingling with guests, panels discussing Greece’s future, and Andrew Fastow describing the fall of Enron in his closing speech, event participants were given a dynamic picture of the ever changing business landscape and its effect on our lives.
One thing I noticed at the conference was the increasing interest in longevity science–the transhumanist field that aims to control and hopefully even eliminate aging in the near future. Naturally, everyone has a vested interest in some type of control over their aging and biological mortality. We are, at the core, mammals primarily interested in our health, the health of our loved ones, and the health of our species. But the feeling at the conference–and in the media these days too–was more pronounced than before.
With billionaires like Peter Thiel and Larry Ellison openly putting money into aging research, and behemoths like Google recently forming its anti-aging company Calico, there’s real confidence that the human race may end up stopping death in the next few decades. There’s also growing confidence that companies can make fortunes in the immortality quest.
Google Ventures’ President Bill Maris, who helps direct investments into health and science companies, recently made headlines by telling Bloomberg, “If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes.”
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Could ‘supercharged genes’ be used by terrorists? (which terrorists I wonder?)
Technique to genetically modify insects could spread lethal diseases
Just as gene drives can make mosquitoes unfit for hosting and spreading the malaria parasite, they could conceivably be designed with gene drives carrying cargo for delivering lethal bacterial toxins to humans.’
In this week’s journal science, 27 leading geneticists have called on the scientific community to come clean to the public about the potential hazards and benefits of gene drives.
The theoretical breakthrough was made by Austin Burt, a geneticist at Imperial College London in 2003.
But the advent of a machine called Crispr that allows genetic code in DNA to be edited has made it easy to achieve in the lab.
The genes are ‘supercharged’ because they contain a ‘cassette’ of genetic elements make it much more likely to be passed on than would normally be the case.
Within a few generations, the gene spreads rapidly to the whole population.
Biologists continue to hone their tools for deleting, replacing or otherwise editing DNA and a strategy called CRISPR has quickly become one of the most popular ways to do genome engineering. Utilizing a modified bacterial protein and a RNA that guides it to a specific DNA sequence, the CRISPR system provides unprecedented control over genes in many species, including perhaps humans. This control has allowed many new types of experiments, but also raised questions about what CRISPR can enable. Science collects some of its recent research papers, commentary and news articles on CRISPR and its implications below.
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Man passes security, boards plane without a ticket
US transportation security officials are investigating how a man was able to pass through a security checkpoint without a ticket at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and board a commercial airliner, airport officials said on Monday.
“Immediately following this incident, TSA made adjustments to the DFW screening area, has added more barriers, and is working to identify other long-term solutions that may require physical adjustments to the area,” he said.
by Lou Collinsin UncategorizedComments Off on Transhumanism – The Wholesale Redesign of Humanity
Video – What is transhumanism and why are the military and the pharmaceutical industry interested in it? Here is some great insight about what scientists and corporations are researching in the field of human genetic engineering, often behind closed doors. The proponents claim the field of “Transhumanism” will change the world by eliminating sickness and famine, while critics believe that transforming mankind is an affront to morality and human dignity.
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Scientist: Artificial Intelligence Has The Potential To Be As Dangerous To Mankind As Nuclear Weapons
Professor Stuart Russell, a computer scientist who has lead research on artificial intelligence, fears humanity might be ‘driving off a cliff’ with the rapid development of AI.
He fears the technology could too easily be exploited for use by the military in weapons, putting them under the control of AI systems.
Professor Russell, who is a researcher at the University of California in Berkeley and the Centre for the study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, compared the development of AI to the work that was done to develop nuclear weapons.
‘The possibility of weapons was also obvious. I think there is a reasonable analogy between unlimited amounts of energy and unlimited amounts of intelligence.
‘Both seem wonderful until one thinks of the possible risks. In neither case will anyone regulate the mathematics.
‘The regulation of nuclear weapons deals with objects and materials, whereas with AI it will be a bewildering variety of software that we cannot yet describe.
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Can We Really Trust Artificial Intelligence? Ermmmm NO !
While calculation is not consciousness, my continuing interest in artificial intelligence leads me to wonder just what computer algorithms can do in terms of interpreting what is known today as “big data” – and where it might lead us.
My interest in the potential consequences of machines evaluating the information in other machines came to light a few weeks ago when I travelled out of state. While getting gas the pump malfunctioned and I moved to another pump to finish fuelling.
Then my credit card was turned down and I had to call the company. In addition, a possible “fraud alert” came in to my email. Since the pump malfunction had been odd I thought maybe I had been hacked, but when I called the company it turned out that there was no fraud at all – the “computers” had just decided that my anomaly was irregular enough to warrant inconveniencing me by shutting off my credit.
When I complained about this the fraud person said simply, “It’s our policy. If the software triggers an alert we have to act.” It reminded me of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s famous comment when asked why the banks needed an $800 billion bailout in 2007.
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Smart SEX TOY Will Track Your Every Move Beneath The Sheets
Makers of sex toy ‘Lovely‘ are currently running a crowd-funding campaign to create the device that promises to use ‘built in sensors and sophisticated algorithms’ to track your every move beneath the sheets. Then, it will seek to provide useful suggestions and ideas on what you should try next time via a smartphone app.
With a steep retail price of $169 (£110), the creators appear to be hoping that tech and data enthusiasts will find the product somewhat useful. Would it really appeal to anybody else?
This product should not really be a surprise for anyone following the news closely. Wearable computer systems are now being developed and smart A.I. is coming to take control of cities around the world. All of these developments point towards an overarching move towards transhumanism.
by Lou Collinsin NewsComments Off on Killer robots will leave humans ‘utterly defenceless’ warns professor
Killer robots which are being developed by the US military ‘will leave humans utterly defenceless‘, an academic has warned.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when out of contact with their handlers.
Writing in the journal Nature, Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkley, said the research could breach the Geneva Convention and leave humanity in the hands of amoral machines.
“Autonomous weapons systems select and engage targets without human intervention; they become lethal when those targets include humans,” he said.
“Existing AI and robotics components can provide physical platforms, perception, motor control, navigation, mapping, tactical decision-making and long-term planning. They just need to be combined.