1. Call for participants: The Second Transhumanist Debate

    12 February 2016

    The Brighter Brains Institute is holding another transhuman debate on 2 April 2016 in Oakland, CA, and they've put out a call for participants. The topics up for debate this time around will be:


    • Eugenics
    • Gun laws
    • Capitalism
    • Psychedelics
    • Sexbots

    The debate styles this time will be one-on-one, two-on-two, and a three-on-three verbal battle royale. A couple of discussion panels will also be on the schedule this time around, with audience participation. The audience will vote to determine the winner of each debate.

    If you are interested in taking part in the debates, please e-mail brighterbrainsinstitute at gmail dot com …

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  2. UPDATED 20160227: The California DMV did what?

    09 February 2016

    A while ago I did the usual song-and-dance with the California DMV to renew the registration of my vehicle, as one does periodically. Due to the fact that I live in a fairly high-infrastructure area (not quite New York City, but certainly not as underdeveloped as Pittsburgh or the part of the DC metropolitan complex I used to reside in are in this respect) it's actually kind of rare that I need to actually drive anywhere. If I can't walk to it in half an hour or therabouts I can take BART and not think much of it (usually because …

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  3. Semi-autonomous software agents: Practical applications.

    03 February 2016

    In the last post in this series I talked about the origins of my exocortex and a few of the things I do with it. In this post I'm going to dive a little deeper into what my exocortex does for me and how it's laid out.

    My agent networks ("scenarios" in the terminology of Huginn) are collections of specialized agents which each carry out one function (like requesting a web page or logging into an XMPP server to send a message). Those agents communicate by sending events to one another; those events take the form of structured, packaged pieces …

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  4. Don't worry, I'm still alive.

    31 January 2016

    A friendly heads-up for my regular readers - I'm still alive and kicking. Not necessarily doing well, mind you - I've been sick twice in the last month (sick enough that I didn't have it in me to write anything, let alone study or do more than scan my e-mail for anything important happening and then go right back to bed), and I've been undergoing some fairly painful dental procedures at least once a month for the past few months, which takes a lot out of me. Additionally, I'm still studying for a couple of certifications for work, which is basically about …

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  5. EDITED: 20160131 - Call for Participants: The Future of Immigration Conference

    12 January 2016

    The Brighter Brains Institute in conjunction with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies has announced that its next conference will be held on 6 February 2016 and bears the title Argue 4 Tomorrow. As usual, the conference will take place at the Humanist Hall in Oakland, California. The format of this conference will differ from previous conferences in that it will take the form of a slightly modified Oxford style debate rather than a collection of presentations as we usually think of them. The three debate topics will be Open Borders - For or Against, Basic Income Guarantee - For or …

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  6. A new InSoc album and an upcoming concert!

    11 January 2016

    Part of me just discovered (and ordered tickets for) an upcoming Information Society concert at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA on 23 March 2016. Not only will this be their first concert in a while in the Bay Area, but it will be the release party for their new album, entitled Orders of Magnitude. OoM is described as a collection of covers of and homages to music that helped shape their unique musical style over the years and appears as wildly diverse and free wheeling as it is whimsical from the track listing posted. This is going to …

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  7. Semi-autonomous software agents: A personal perspective.

    28 December 2015

    So, after going on for a good while about software agents you're probably wondering why I have such an interest in them. I started experimenting with my own software agents in the fall of 1996 when I first started undergrad. When I went away to college I finally had an actual network connection for the first time in my life (where I grew up the only access I had was through dialup) and I wanted to abuse it. Not in the way that the rest of my classmates were but to do things I actually had an interest in. So …

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  8. Software agents under the hood: What do their guts look like?

    07 December 2015

    In my last post I went into the the history of semi-autonomous software agents in a fair amount of detail, going as far back as the late 1970's and the beginning of formal research in the field in the early 1980's. Now I'm going to pop open the hood and go into some detail about how agents are architected in the context of how they work, some design issues and constraints, and some of the other technologies that they can use or bridge. I'm also going to talk a little about agents' communication protocols, both those used to communiate amongst …

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