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The Neural Revolution Is Almost Here. Should We Fear It? | Articles | Chief Data Officer – Innovation Enterprise

In September 2019, it became known that Facebook bought the developer of neural interfaces CTRL-Labs. Google Glasses are compatible with the NeuroSky EEG biosensor through the open-source MindRDR application. In July 2019, Elon Musk's startup introduced the revolutionary Neuralink brain-machine interface claiming to start the trans-human evolution.

All these pieces of news indicate the direction the industry is heading to. Internet companies that receive their main profit from showing targeted advertising try to take into account the interests of their users. To determine these interests, they massively collect data, tracking the user's actions on the web, building profiles and social graphs, monitoring messages, calls, physical movements, shopping carts, contact lists. But it seems this is not enough for them.

So far, EEG scanners and implants have very limited functionality, but this technology is developing rapidly. Based on the results of a brain activity scan, it is already possible to recognize basic emotions, some unspoken words, and mental attempts to make physical movements. Scientists have found similarities in how different peoples brains process information. It is now possible to make assumptions about a persons thoughts based on his or her brains neural activity.

Medical brain-computer interfaces should help people regain control of their limbs or control prostheses. Inexpensive headsets are positioned as relaxation tools or entertainment gadgets. However, companies have already begun experimenting with EEGs to evaluate the performance of advertising campaigns.

Facebook and startups like Neuralink are developing a new generation of neurotechnology tools and making bold promises. For example, Facebook promises to let people type by simply imagining themselves talking, and Elon Musk anticipates the merger of the human brain with AI.

On September 10, 2019, the Royal Society of London published a 106-page report on the future and risks of neurotechnology. It predicted that a neural revolution" will happen in the coming decades.

Brain-computer devices generate a huge amount of neural data potentially one of the most sensitive forms of personal information. And the main problem is how this brain data will be commercialized. Advertisers are already using confidential information about people's preferences, habits, and locations. Adding neural data to the mix will seriously increase the threat to privacy.

Getting data directly from the brain will be a real paradigm shift. If Facebook, for example, combines neural data with its extensive collection of personal data, then it can create much more accurate and comprehensive psychographic profiles.

Experts say that for now, there are almost no legal obstacles to prevent companies from trading neural profiles.

Neuromarketing is a new industry in marketing research that uses brain scans to know consumers better than they know themselves. Neuromarketers clearly promise to exploit neural profiles commercially.

By non-invasively recording the bioelectrical activity of the brain (electroencephalography), neuro marketers monitor the brain's response to viewing ads. In the future, they hope that this technology will also allow tracking brain activity while using applications, communicating on the Internet, watching movies and TV shows. This will help to maximize the effectiveness of advertising (and, perhaps, other methods of influencing people.)

It is already clear that such technologies will be used not only in the advertising industry. In arecent interview, Edward Snowden explained that technology giants are tools in the hands of even more powerful players: We see how authoritarianism is growing all over the world, and the reality is that all of them are parts of the same threat. These companies function as weapons in the hands of governments. Its too easy to say that tech giants are a real threat; in reality, all of them are part of the same threat the system.

Snowden pointed out that it is better to use WhatsApp rather than simple unencrypted SMS, but it is still not a good idea to use WhatsApp if you are a prime minister and wish to communicate with your staff. For now, you can encrypt and hide your communication if you usevirtual private networks. Withbrain-computer interfaces, it is impossible to encrypt neural signals inside your brain.

Ethics experts also fear that information from the brain may be potentially used for discrimination. For example, if there are patterns of brain activity similar to patterns observed in drug addicts or people suffering from depression or other diseases, perhaps, on the basis of such patterns, employers will refuse to hire people. In addition, insurance companies could raise premiums and banks offer loans on less favorable terms.

The future we are striving for is a world in which our neural data, which we do not even have access to, can be used against us. For now, our thoughts are the last frontier of the defense in the war for privacy. It is sad, but all previous battles have been unconditionally lost.

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The Neural Revolution Is Almost Here. Should We Fear It? | Articles | Chief Data Officer - Innovation Enterprise

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Catholic priest at Davos on AI and the soul – The Tablet

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Photo: Guo Chen/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

New technologies in society raise important questions about the soul, according to a Catholic delegate attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Fr Philip Larrey, Chair of Logic and Epistemology at the Pontifical Lateran University, who has been in discussions with tech companies about the ethical questions around Artificial Intelligence and robots,took part in a discussion Faith in the Fourth Industrial Revolution", sponsored by the United Arab Emirates.

Fr Larrey told The Tablet that how emerging technologies raise questions about immortality and the soul. Among Silicon Valley billionaires, he explained, heavy investment was going into technologies about how to vastly extend life expectancy and the transhumanist movement looking at ways to transfer human consciousness into a digital format.

The smartest ones [tech companies] want to dialogue with the Catholic Church because we have a 2,000 year tradition about what it means to be human, he said.The richness of the Catholic tradition gives us the framework to speak out the technologies we have. How we were created and what is our purpose.

Fr Larrey, from Mountain View, California, where Google has its HQ, and who helped arrange the 2016 meeting between the Pope and Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google holding company Alphabet,pointed out that the question of whether we can we really become immortal goes back to the Book of Genesis.

He said some of the tech gurus have made it clear they are not interested in having a dialogue with the Vatican.

They want to do their own thing, and are pushing ahead with a lot of money with projects to try and keep them immortal, or solve health issues, said Fr Larrey, who has written two books,Connected World and Artificial Humanity.

Last September, Silicon Valley big hitters went to the Vatican to discuss ethics amid talk of a potential papal document on artificial intelligence. Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia, the Popes point man on family and pro-life issues, has met Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft. The next assemblyof his Pontifical Academy of Life department will focus on AI.

Fr Larrey stressed that whatever the technological developments, it was important to put people before platforms

The Church is not against the use of machines, but what the Pope is saying is put the human being at the centre of technology, he explained .

The priest-philosopher pointed out that parishes, while using digital technology, are places of human contact. He said claims about robots taking over the world are overblown, and that governments will not allow machines to take over peoples jobs right away. The same is true for pastoral ministry.

I dont see robot priests in the future, he added.

Pope Francis in his messagereminded those at the gathering for the World Economic Forum that their overriding concern must be for the one human family, and warned against the isolationism, individualism and ideological colonisation of contemporary debate.

Digital and technological changes, he said, had benefited humanity, but also left people behind. The Popes message was delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, of the integral human development dicastery, who was in Davos, and who was joined by Fr Augusto Zampini-Davies, an official at the dicastery.

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Catholic priest at Davos on AI and the soul - The Tablet

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‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Delayed as CD Projekt Red Polishes ‘Crowning Achievement’ Over ‘Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ – Newsweek

Cyberpunk 2077, originally planned for an April 16 release date, but has now been delayed until September 17, developer CD Projekt Red announced on Thursday.

In a statement posted to social media, the Cyberpunk developer did more than announce the delay, further describing just how far along the game is in its development. According to CD Projekt Red, the game is currently "complete and playable," throughout its open world setting of Night City. Instead of core story, content or environmental changes, the delay is primarily motivated by the need for additional "playtesting, fixing and polishing."

Indicating their confidence in the game they've created, CD Projekt Red also set a bold goal for Cyberpunk 2077: topping their own critically acclaimed Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to become their "crowning achievement" in the current console generation. Witcher 3 is often named among the best open world games and best RPGs ever createdit's not even uncommon to hear Witcher 3 named as the best game ever made. So while Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot to live up to, its delay announcement suggests CD Projekt Red feels as if they're near to realizing their complete vision.

CD Projekt Red also promised more frequent updates on the game's progress, particularly as the revised release date approaches.

In Cyberpunk 2077, players start off in Night City as V, a customizable mercenary who acquires transhumanist enhancements throughout the game. Night City is a gigantic corporate-controlled metropolis in the Free State of California, with six different regions for players to explore, each with their own rival factions and gangs. Along the way, players are guided by Johnny Silverhands, a digital ghost played by Keanu Reeves, who haunts the player and nudges him or her towards his own objectives.

Signed by CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiski and the head of studio, Adam Badowski, the full statement reads:

"We have important news regarding Cyberpunk 2077's release date we'd like to share with you today. Cyberpunk 2077 won't make the April release window and we're moving the launch date to September 17, 2020.

We are currently at a stage where the game is complete and playable, but there's still work to be done. Night City is massivefull of stories, content and places to visit, but due to the sheer scale and complexity of it all, we need more time to finish playtesting, fixing and polishing. We want Cyberpunk 2077 to be our crowning achievement for this generation, and postponing launch will give us the precious months we need to make the game perfect.

Expect more regular updates on progress as we get closer to the new release date. We're really looking forward to seeing you in Night City, thank you for your ongoing support."

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'Cyberpunk 2077' Delayed as CD Projekt Red Polishes 'Crowning Achievement' Over 'Witcher 3: Wild Hunt' - Newsweek

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Vigilante furries band together to stop an assault – WTSP.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. Editors note: The picture above is a file image from a 2012 furry convention in Pittsburgh.

When you think of furry crimefighters, sharp-toothed police K-9s usually come to mind.

But the heroes in this story are humans in big furry costumes.

ABC7 reports three people attending FurCon a gathering of people who dress in large and elaborate animal costumes stopped a violent assault on the streets of San Jose, California.

According to the local news station, a dinosaur, a tiger and a cowboy, for some reason saw a car drive up and witnessed a man beating his girlfriend in the front seat.

KTLA reports the anthropomorphic trio pulled 22-year-old Demetri Hardnett out of the car, took him to the ground and restrained him until officers arrived.

The girl driver was yelling for him to get out, as he started trying to fight us off, Robbie Ryans told CNN, which reported Hardnett was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on a domestic violence charge.

According to ABC7, the furry convention continued uninterrupted with an event-filled weekend including dance programs, a furry boxing workout and a panel discussion on transhumanism the belief that humans can evolve beyond their current limitations.

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Q&A: AI and the Future of Your Mind – UConn Today

Susan Schneider, associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science and director of the AI, Mind and Society (AIMS) Group at UConn, has gained a national and international reputation for her writing on the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence (AI). She writes about the nature of the self and mind, AI, cognitive science, and astrobiology in publications including the New York Times, Scientific American, and The Financial Times and her work has been widely discussed in the media, such as Science, Big Think, Nautilus, Discover, and Smithsonian. She was named NASA-Baruch Blumberg Chair for the Library of Congress and NASA and also holds the Distinguished Scholar Chair at the Library of Congress. In her new book, Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind (Princeton University Press, 2019), she examines the implications of advances in artificial intelligence technology for the future of the human mind.

Q: What is the focus of your newest book?

A: This book is about the future of the mind. It explores the nature of the self and consciousness in a not so distant future, using todays work in artificial intelligence and brain enhancement technologies. Consciousness is the felt quality to experiencewhat it feels like to be you. When you smell the aroma of your morning coffee, hear the sound of a Bach concerto, or feel pain, you are having conscious experience. Indeed, every moment of your waking life, and even when you dream, it feels like something from the inside to be you. This book asks: assuming we build highly sophisticated artificial intelligences at some point in the future, would they be conscious beings? Further, how would we detect consciousness in machines? These questions are addressed in the first half the book. The second half of the book is on the nature of the self. I illustrate that AI isnt just going to change the world around us. Its going to go inside the head, changing the human mind itself, but Im concerned about the potential uses of invasive AI components inside of our heads. I urge that we need to understand deep philosophical questions about the self, consciousness, and the mind before we start playing with fire and start replacing parts of our brains with artificial components. When it comes to the self and mind, we are faced with vexing philosophical questions that have no easy solution.

Q: You report about such experimentation with neural implants for things like Alzheimers disease but return to the question of, if theres an artificial intelligence when does it become aware of itself?

A: There are all kinds of impressive medical technologies underway, and Im very supportive of the use of invasive brain chips to help individuals with radical memory loss or locked in syndrome, in which individuals entirely lose their ability to move. I think innovations to help these people are important and exciting. What I get worried about, though, is the idea that humans should engage in widespread and invasive AI-based enhancement of their brains. For instance, Elon Musk has recently declared that we will eventually need to keep up with super-intelligent AI a hypothetical form of AI that vastly outsmarts us and we need to do that by enhancing our brains. He also thinks doing so will help us keep up with technological unemployment that many economists claim will happen because AI will outmode us in the workforce. Musk and others talk about merging with AI and I through gradually augmenting intelligence with AI technology until, in the end of the day, we are essentially AIs ourselves. Musk has recently founded a company to do this, and Facebook and Kernal are also working on this. But I argue in the book and in op-eds for the New York Times and the Financial Times that the idea we could truly merge with artificial intelligence in the ways that a lot of tech gurus and transhumanists advocate is actually not philosophically well-founded. We have to think things through more carefully

Q: You use examples of AI from science fiction, including one with the Star Trek: Next Generation character Lt. Commander Data, who is under attack on a planet and he uploads his brains memories to a computer on the Enterprise. You ask: Will he still be the same Data that he was before being destroyed? Will he really survive?

A: I think people assume that AIs will have the capacity to be immortal because they can just keep uploading and downloading copies of themselves whenever they are in a jam. By this they mean the android be practically immortal, living until the end of the universe. This makes them almost God-like. I am skeptical. In the book I use the Data example to illustrate that if Data found out that he was on a planet that was about to be destroyed, he couldnt upload and genuinely survive. I think the idea that you could transfer your thoughts to a different format and still be you, surviving impending death, is conceptually flawed. It is flawed in both the human case and the case of androids. Believe it or not, there are advocates of uploading the human brain to survive death at places like the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute. I am skeptical.

Q: One of the points that you make in the book is that we have come far technologically but havent heard anything yet from an alien culture. You suggest we should prepare for alien contact by including the involvement of sociologists and anthropologists and philosophers.

As the NASA chair at NASA and the Library of Congress, I love to think about the Fermi paradox, which is the question: Given the vast size of the universe, where is all the intelligent life? Where is everybody? Nowadays, the question can be framed in terms of all of the intriguing exoplanet research that identifies habitable planets throughout the universe, but are these exoplanets actually inhabited (not just inhabitable), and if they are inhabited, does life survive into technological majority? Or are we alone? Why havent we heard anything? To the extent that we even do find life out there, my guess is that we will first find microbial life. Theres dozens of gloriously fun answers to the Fermi paradox.

Q: In the work that youre doing with Congress, what kinds of questions are you being asked and what we should be thinking about going forward with all this technology?

Theres been a lot of concern over the last few years about deep fake videos. Nobody likes it; your career could be ruined by a deep fake video that has you saying something really rotten that you never said. Algorithmic discrimination is a big issue, the fact that algorithms that are based on deep learning technologies will be data-driven, so if the data itself has implicit bias, hidden biases in it, it can actually lead to a bad result which discriminates against certain groups. There are many members of Congress whove been concerned about that. Thats why we really need AI regulations. AI regulation could do tremendous work. And so I do hope we move forward on all of these issues.

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Q&A: AI and the Future of Your Mind - UConn Today

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How could regulation apply to biohacking devices? – Medical Device Network

]]> Bioteq is also looking to create chips for visually impaired people, which trigger audible or touch sensory cues. Credit: Bioteq

In 2016, entrepreneur Steven Northam had a radiofrequency identification (RFID) implant placed in his left hand. The chip, which enabled him to open his office door simply by waving his hand, gave him the inspiration for what would become BioTeq.

I did it for a bit of fun really a quirky party trick, he says. My main business interest is in startup investments, so it was clear that the idea of fitting a microchip in my hand was going to turn into a business.

A human biotech implant company based in Hampshire, UK, BioTeq now provides implants not just for door entry systems, but also for storing data (like a digital business card). Northam says the customer base is wide and varied.

It ranges from those who just love tech to those who feel it provides them with some sort of benefit or convenience, he says.

Beyond that, the company is making inroads into the realm of assistive technology, for instance helping disabled people enter their homes. It is also looking to create chips for visually impaired people, which trigger audible or touch sensory cues, and implantable GPS trackers for those with learning disabilities.

The ethical debate here is quite complex, given the need for consent and who can give this in certain instances, says Northam. Our stance is that if it improves someones wellbeing and day-to-day life then its a good thing. These devices are already being used in the market and a range of further developments will be released in 2020.

Many of the people who opt for such procedures class themselves as transhumanists, meaning they seek to augment their bodies via technology. Some kookier examples include compass chips that vibrate every time the wearer faces north, magnets that allow them to sense whether their microwave is running, and implanted cyborg antennae that allow them to hear colours.These practices, a subset of what is called biohacking, are regarded as leftfield currently, but many practitioners are convinced well all be using biohacking implants further down the line.

I suspect human-based technology implants will become much more commonplace, as with most technology, says Northam.

From this perspective, getting an RFID chip implanted isnt too far removed from getting an IUD or even contact lenses. The trajectory over the last few decades has been towards a greater acceptance of implantables, with more and more people having devices of some kinds in their bodies.

Biohacking is when people experiment with implantable devices such as such as magnets, microchips or electronic devices, says Catherine Joynson, assistant director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Sometimes biohacking is carried out for medical purposes. For example, the project #OpenAPS is developing ways of connecting a continuous glucose sensor and insulin pump to form a closed loop system that automatically maintains safe glucose levels in people with diabetes.

The big question here is, are these kinds of implants medical devices? Currently, the MHRA does not classify them as such, as they have no defined medical purpose.

This means that there is currently no regulation as such around human microchips, says Northam. We expect this will change in due course, and our driver is to provide a high level of quality control.

While similar procedures have been cropping up in tattoo studios (most of them safe and reputable), Northam would not recommend that people go down that route.Theres nothing stopping anyone putting anything in their body legally, as long as its their own choice, he says. As a company we only provide implants conducted by a medical doctor under medical conditions and provide a local anesthetic for this tattoo studios cannot administer such drugs.

Professor Tom Joyce is a biomedical engineer at Newcastle University. He has brought to light a number of implant-related scandals, including flaws in metal hip replacements that left thousands of patients in pain. He points out that, when it comes to regulating implantables, it isnt necessarily as straightforward as saying thats a medical device and that isnt.

As someone interested in the regulatory aspects of medical devices, Id begin by asking if the biohacking implant has a medical purpose, he says. If it has no medical purpose then, in general, all those complicated medical device regulations do not apply.However, given the very reasonable desire to protect people, some items have been defined as medical devices despite not having a medical purpose.

Two common examples might be breast implants and coloured contact lenses while their purposes are cosmetic, they are regulated as medical devices.

You might also want to ask yourself if toothpaste is a cosmetic, as it whitens teeth, or a drug, as it contains fluoride, or a medical device, as it cleans and thus protects teeth through an abrasive action, says Joyce. Depending on content and product claims, and your regulatory authority, toothpaste can be any of the three.

Of course, regulations will vary from country to country, and in some parts of the world theyre very lax. In India, for instance, the majority of medical devices are completely unregulated. While the picture is now changing all implanted devices will be subject to regulation from April 2020 the industry is reportedly wary and confusion abounds.

Devices implanted into the human body may pose potential risk (and) must be strictly controlled This will regulate and make sure that devices that are implanted in the body are not rushed into the market, bypassing critical testing that would protect consumers, said S. Eswara Reddy, the Drug Controller General of India.

Even within the EU, emerging types of devices pose problems from a categorisation standpoint. As Joynson points out, biohacking raises questions about liability and responsibility in the event that something goes wrong.

For example, while a user might be held responsible for modifying an implant counter to the manufacturers instructions, the possibility of hacking the implant might be attributed to a security vulnerability for which the manufacturer might be liable, she says. The UK Department of Health and Social Care has said that a new EU Regulation on medical devices will improve the cybersecurity of connected medical devices.

When it comes to regulating these implants, Joyce thinks that lip fillers might serve as a useful pointer.

Although having no medical purpose, after many botched operations, often blamed on unqualified beauticians, it was said that the people fitting them had to be regulated and lip fillers have become medical devices, he says. But this is a slow process and, as shown with current EU medical device regulations, take years to be agreed and brought into effect. So I think any change for biohacking implants could be slow in coming.

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How could regulation apply to biohacking devices? - Medical Device Network

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