Fund Drive Special: How We Got to Now – Steven Johnson
In How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World, science author and media theorist Steven Johnson examines key scientific innovations which not only created the modern world as we know it, but that without, we’d probably be a very different species at this point. How did these innovations come about? What were the historical determinants which allowed some to invent entirely new technologies, and what was the relationship between advances in science as a research endeavor to know the world around us, and these inventions.
For this special 2-hour Fund-Drive program, we will speak to Steven Johnson about his book, a 6-part PBS television series based on his book, and will be offering both the book and video as thank-you’s for donating to WBAI-NY to both keep the station on the air, and keep ETFF a part of the important line-up of programing you won’t ever find on corporate radio or any corporate media
Johnson is the author of eight books on the intersection of science, technology, and personal experience. He has also co-created three influential web sites: the pioneering online magazine FEED, the Webby Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and most recently the hyperlocal media site outside.in. A contributing editor to Wired, he writes regularly for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and many other periodicals. Johnson also serves on the advisory boards of a number of Internet-related companies, including Medium, Atavist, Meetup.com, Betaworks, and Patch.com.
Science, Science Fiction, and the Future of Humanity w/ Christopher L. Bennett
Advances in technology have already allowed us to achieve remarkable things, from the internet to space travel to medical technology, all of which would likely have been considered “miracles” only a few centuries ago.
In many works of Science Fiction, and in Star Trek in particular, the future is depicted as one in which this trend continues; working together, we cooperatively solve our social problems and expand into deep space, achieving things that would seem incredible even today. In the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, even God was seemingly afraid of what humans can achieve together. Seeing them building a tower to heaven itself, He foiled the humans by complicating communications by making them all speak different languages. Besides being a rather silly explanation for the origins of language, this was a similar tactic as when God demanded the first humans not to eat from the tree of knowledge and remain ignorant subservient to Him.
Philosophically speaking, should we continue to build that tower and conquer the heavens? Or should we be doomed to ‘speak different languages’ and proceed no farther into the universe?
Science fiction author Christopher L. Bennett addresses some of these issues in his novels, Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel, which directly references the Tower of Babel story, and more recently, Only Superhuman, which deals with future technology granting us real superhuman powers. Bennett is an accomplished sci-fi novelist, having also written a number novels based on Marvel’s superhero universe as well as Star Trek. He will discuss with ETFF science fiction, technology, the future of humanity!
Post Hurricane Sandy Live Show!
After a month of airing re-run episodes of ETFF due to the critical effects of Hurricane Sandy on WBAI, we finally have a chance to produce a live program- So join us as we discuss traditional humanist concerns on the different ways to interpret life, death, and empathy between liberal religious venues and naturalistic humanism. Also we will talk briefly with Stuart Mason Dambrot on his website which brings cutting edge science to the public via the Internet.
Transhumanism – Understanding Our Technological Future w/ James Hughes
Humans are inextricably linked to the technology we create, and the technology we create in turn shapes us. In the next few decades a confluence of high technologies including nano-tech, bio-tech, info-tech, and cognitive science will bring humankind into territory previously unimagined, and largely still unimaginable.
Future technologies may empower human kind to eliminate or significantly reduce the serious existential threats we presently face such as environmental collapse, nuclear disaster, and worldwide pandemic. On the other hand, our new technologies themselves could bring an entirely new set of challenges with which we will have to struggle.
To help us examine what our future relationship to technology might involve we will be joined by Dr. James Hughes, a scholar of futurism with the ability to discuss complex ideas about our future in a manner that is uniquely clear and accessible. Dr. Hughes is a sociologist and bioethicist at Trinity College, and producer of Changesurfer Radio, a weekly half hour public affairs program on the impact of future technologies. He is also the co-founder of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and currently serves as its Executive Director.
Two-Hour Fund Drive Program – Thinking Critically: Zeitgeist I & II
Zeitgeist, the Movie is a 2007 documentary film about “social myths”, including religion, 9/11 and the banking system. The sequel, Zeitgeist: Addendum, advocates a new technology-based social system influenced by the ideas of Jacque Fresco and the Venus Project.
A remastered version of the film was screened on November 10, 2007 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of a film festival held there (the 4th Annual “Artivist Film Festival”) where it won the “Best Feature” award in the “Artivist Spirit” category for feature-length documentaries. In 2008, “Zeitgeist Addendum”, the sequel, received the same award. These awards feature prominently in the two films’ promotional material but have failed to attract any interest in the media.
The Zeitgeist Movement is a worldwide grassroots movement advocating broad social advancements, most notably, the application of the Scientific Method for human social concern and overall well-being. One major goal of the movement is for modern global society to transition from a monetary based economy to a resource-based economy.
PS: As of 2008, the director of the films, Peter Joseph, has backed down from the 9/11 claims made in the first film but still advocates for both films’ take on the Federal Reserve, Capitalism, Religion and Technology.
Futurist, John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation
The world of the near future will bring challenges that are much stranger and far more disruptive than keeping your flying car from drifting out of its lane.
Casting off the limitations of traditional religious and cynical attitudes about humankind going to hell in a hand basket, it becomes possible to imagine a radically different future that may be highly desirable. That a happy future for humankind is possible, and that we need to begin preparing for, and ensuring the realization of such a future is the key concept with which all futurists are concerned.
On this installment of Equal Time for Freethought we consider our future with one of the preeminent futurists of our time John Smart.
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