Show 369: “The Singularity (Summit) is Near; Should we be Afraid?”

“The Singularity (Summit) is Near; Should we be Afraid?”

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On October 15th and 16 the Singularity Institute will convene in Manhattan at the ’92nd Street Y’ for a second NYC Singularity Summit. The annual Singularity summits began in 2006 and the first one held in New York City in 2009 was attended by hundreds of the world’s most intelligent and visionary people.

The Singularity Summit is the premier dialog on the “(Technological) Singularity” – the name given to a point in the not-so-distant future when artificially engineered intelligence will surpass the intelligence of humans.

A common belief about such an event is that it is fraught with danger for the human species. But when we think about the future of highly developed AI, is the scenario popularized in such sci-fi classics as “The Terminator’ and ‘The Matrix’ series really something we should expect? Might it be possible that such an event may instead facilitate the realization of humanity’s collective dream of a world free from scarcity, drudgery, sickness, and suffering?

To help us sought out these other related questions and we will be joined by scholar of futurism, and producer of the “Changesurfer Radio” podcast, Dr. James Hughes. And to tell us about the upcoming Singularity Summit we will also be joined by Singularity Institute President, Michael Vassar. So take your seats because the singularity (summit) will soon be here.

Show 359: Transhumanism – Understanding Our Technological Future

Transhumanism – Understanding Our Technological Future w/ James Hughes

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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.

Show 281: Futurist, John Smart

Futurist, John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation

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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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Show 190: Joseph Bloch on Transhumanism

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Transhumanists and Futurists offer an important perspective on the human experience which is fundamentally non-supernatural.

They correctly think of human history in relation to cosmic chronology and accordingly see the human experience as barely having yet begun.

Transhumanists understand humankind not as a static species, but as one which will be continually morphing and evolving with ever increasing acceleration.

Transhumanists and futurists are among the only groups of thinkers that recognize that humankind will relatively soon live in a world radically different from the one we presently occupy, and do not automatically assume it will be dystopian.

Transhumanists do not think that human happiness can be derived from supernatural solutions or practices but is completely generated by human culture and technology. Many of them appreciate the need to abolish all suffering and the value of pleasure and pleasure enhancing substances and technologies. They are generally pro-sexuality. They value playfulness and fun.

Many Transhumanists envision that work does not need to be drudgery, and that it can and should be a joyful experience. They recognize this life as the only chance of conscious existence that we will ever get to experience and regard the achievement of radical life extension and the end of mortality as a very high priority in human affairs.

Joining us in our studio to discuss these and other topics will be Joseph Bloch, a member of the Board of Directors of the World Transhumanist Association. Mr. Bloch will explain why the vision of Transhumanism is consistent with a humanistic, non-religious worldview, and also pointedly addresses many important issues which traditional humanism does not, so…