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

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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Notes from the Artificial Intellligence and the Singularity conference in September.

As I've mentioned several times before, every couple of week the Brighter Brains Institute in California holds a Transhuman Visions symposium, where every month the topic of presentation and discussion is a little different. Last month's theme was Artificial Intelligence and the Singularity, a topic of no small amount of debate in the community. Per usual, I scribbled down a couple of pages of notes that I hope may be interesting and enlightening to the general public. A few of my own insights may be mixed in. Later on, a lot of stuff got mixed together as I only wrote …

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Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man

Some months ago I caught word that somebody had made a documentary about possibly the most high profile transhumanist in the history of the movement/subculture/distributed multicellular mass of hackers, geeks, and technologists, Ray Kurzweil. He was the first to not only speculate seriously but write at length about the possibility of what Verner Vinge dubbed the technological singularity, a hypothetical point in human history at which the rate of change goes asymptotic. Which, so the hypothesis goes, could either go weakly godlike or pear-shaped, the jury's still out on that particular point. I've kept a sensor array peeled …

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On transhumanism.

I've been wrestling with this post for weeks now because, at its heart, transhumanism isn't a simple set of beliefs, actions, or ideas. It encompasses many disciplines, from cybernetics to engineering to computer science to biology and many things in between. I say that not as a cop-out but because practically every discipline is covered in some way and informs the body of knowledge somehow. It is also a deeply personal philosophy, often attracting adherents who attempt to lead by example as well as participating in the research, development, and deployment of the technologies which originally inspired it (such as …

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First weekend update in a while.

For the past couple of weeks, my weekends have been busy enough that there hasn't been much of interest to write about. Not that they weren't interesting interesting, but to be frank talking about driving around all over the place running errands, going to appointments, and things like that doesn't make for terribly gripping reading. This weekend, however, stands out in memory because it was the first really laid back weekend that we'd had in a long while.

On Friday night Lyssa and I went shopping to get the stuff to make a lamb stew, some of which we'd be …

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Primitive artificial intelligence indicted for unlawful practise of law!

No, I'm not kidding.

One Henry Ihejirika developed a web application called Ziinet, which was an expert system for bankruptcy law that provided a service to whomever could pay the $216us charge for 60 days of access. The idea was that you paid your fee to log into the web application and hammer in the information relevant to your bankruptcy proceedings. The application would analyse your situation, draw up affadavits (presumably drawing upon a database of pre-written statements and paragraphs - if you write enough papers of any kind, it only stands to reason that re-using parts of older papers is …

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