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Zoltan Istvan: The Transhumanist Candidate – Roads and Kingdoms

Posted: March 20, 2020 at 3:43 am

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This week on The Trip podcast: Zoltan Istvan has come from the future with a message New Hampshire doesnt want to hear.

Here they are in the New Hampshire Secretary of States office, paying their thousand dollars to be on the official primary ballot. They are the lesser-known candidates, the dramatic fringe of each presidential primary election up here. And they are the stars of my quadrennial quixotic reporting project with photographer Shane Carpenter. And listen, they arent like Tom Steyer lesser-known, theyre like Vermin Supreme lesser-known, Mary Maxwell lesser-known, Zoltan Istvan lesser-known. Almost nobody knows these people, but theyre running anyway. This is the fifth primary that Shane and I have spent ducking out of mainstream campaign press events to track down the people who are just obsessive, idealistic, or imbalanced enough to think they should run for president, often with no money, no support, sometimes no platform really. Of course, the idea of a non-politician becoming president was distinctly more laughable before 2016, and now it doesnt seem that funny at all. But these candidates are something different, a wild bunch, far more entertaining and thought-provoking even than the scripted candidates. Shane and I just published a feature on the lesser-known and their radical approach to democracy on; I hope youll take a look. But for now, in this episode, Ive got one of the most composed and compelling of this years fringe candidates, writer and transhumanist Zoltan Istvan. We drank some 15 year old Dalwinnie Scotch and talked about exoskeletons, being escorted at gunpoint from a megachurch, and why he let someone jam a horse syringe into his hand to give him a permanent bio-chip implant.

Here is an edited and condensed transcript from my conversation with Eva. Subscribers canlisten to the full episode here. If youre not on Luminary yet, subscribe and listen (and get a 7-day free trial) by signing uphere.

Lets take a moment to appreciate the quadrennial snowball of beauty and oddity that is the New Hampshire primary.

This week on The Trip podcast: Drinking baijiu with Tom Tillotson in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

This week on The Trip podcast: Eva Castillo on Presidential politics and immigrant advocacy in New Hampshire in the time of Trump.

Nathan Thornburgh: What is transhumanism?

Zoltan Istvan: Transhumanism is a social movement, now of many millions of people around the world, that want to use science and technology to radically transform the human body and transform the human experience. Anything from exoskeleton suits to brain implants to even driverless cars. But whatever it is, its kind of the top 10% of the most radical technologies that are affecting the human race.

Thornburgh: You say there were many millions. Are these people who would actively knowingly define themselves as transhumanists, or you think its just aligned with the way that they look at the world?

Istvan: I think there are now probably millions that would say, if you ask them are you a transhumanist, they would now say, yes I am. When you ask them, is that what they consider themselves? Thats a little bit more challenging of a question. Google, for example, is probably the most transhumanist of all the companies out there, and they have the largest, what we call life extension company, a company worth billions of dollars, that wants to overcome aging. Its specifically designed to make people essentially live indefinitely. So we are getting to a point when you can now say millions and likely tens of millions who are supporters of the idea. Chinas probably leading the transhumanist movement in terms of innovationthey have the first designer baby babies and stuff like that. So there might be even many more.

But the word is just an umbrella term for many other ideas. Cryonics, singulariatism. Cyborgism. Singularity is the concept of transhumanists where they believe that AI will become so sophisticated that our human brains wont even be able to understand its sophistication. And at that point we get left behind.

The main goal of transhumanism is overcoming death with science and technology.

Thornburgh: The word itself, can you just break it down for me?

Istvan: Well, the Latin would say its beyond human.

Thornburgh: Okay, got it. All of our limitations are physicalchronological aging, mortality. Those are the things that youre going to supersede through technology.

Istvan: Basically, yes. And nobodys really sure like exactly what transhumanism means in terms of the specific agenda. Is it when a primate picked up a rock and made an axe millions of years ago, or is it a robot taking over a workers job, which of course is increasingly happening. Is that transhumanism, or is it brain implants? Nobody really knows, but whatever it is and it radical science is, is sort of changing the human species and the core of it is the microprocessor. It keeps evolving exponentially and we even have things like quantum computing now happening where, you know, that could revolutionize again, the microprocessor. So anything that applies to the human being, in terms of merging us with machines, is a transhuman event.

I think whats very important is that there are various versions of transhumanism. There are socialist transhumanists, there are libertarian transients like myself, and there are transceivers party transhumanism. Of course, Im, Im the founder of the transceivers party, but Im also now running as a Republican. But Ive also run as a libertarian, Ive said openly, I might run as a Democrat in the future. For me, its about the seed of transhumanism. You can take it whichever political way you want. Theres also Christian transhumanism, theres Buddhist transhumanist. So we want a worldwide movement. I want different factions. I want a decentralized idea of it. And I hope to influence it in terms of it grows and grows and grows. Because you have to understand about 80% of the worlds population believes in an afterlife. The main goal of transhumanism is overcoming death with science and technology. Were fighting 80% of the population. So its very important that we coalesce together as a movement that says we need to change that 80%. We need to change their mindset. And thats really where the cultural reform comes in, and why its so important to have a huge movements like environmentalism, where the trajectory is that one day we also become a billion person movement that really wants to move beyond our cultural heritage.

Thornburgh: So lets, lets posit success and you reach those 80% and flip them into transhumanists. What will that actually mean? Does that mean that they will vote for people who pour more resources into death-defying technologies or pass laws? What, practically, would having people be fired up about transhumanism do?

Istvan: Thats the best question. The great question. Thats exactly what Im trying to do. My main goal here with running for office and my main goal of spreading transhumanism is to get more money into the hands of the scientists who are making the movement happen. You have to understand, right now our United States Congress, all 535 members, all nine Supreme Court justices, believe in an afterlife, and they say they believe in God, so they have no real reason to pass laws to put money into the hands of the scientists who want to end aging and live indefinitely and upgrade ourselves to this new bionic future. Now the problem with that is if the entire government doesnt want to give money to it, it doesnt happen. Really only private industry does it. We need an American culture on board with transhumanism.

I run for office in hopes of saying, look, instead of giant military fighting warrants in Afghanistan and Iraq, were going to take that money and put it into creating a science-industrial complex in America dedicated to ending aging and upgrading the human being. Its a very different kind of way. Im interested in American healthcare, in terms of eliminating disease. And thats a very transhuman idea that our president right now doesnt share. A president whos cut the budget of the National Institute of Health.

Im running because, ultimately, I think that Trump has failed the most important part of America: the science and innovation part.

Thornburgh: Youre running as a Republican. This is your opponent.

Istvan: You gotta you gotta hit them hard on that. One thing Trump has done that hasnt been great is hes not only cut the budget of the National Institute of Health, but he hasnt made a culture where science really thrives. In China, its thriving. Chinas our main kind of competitor at this point. So probably within five years, China lead the world in AI and genetic editing. Its game over for America in terms of leadership, and who wants not authoritarian nation to be leading the world and in science and technology. So this is where I really fault Trump. In fact, this is why Im running. This is the singular reason Im running because, ultimately, I think that Trump has failed the most important part of America: the science and innovation part.

Thornburgh: What is your background? Take me way back.

Istvan: My career really began after I graduated from Columbia University, and I went into journalism at National Geographic. And so for five years I traveled around the world and I wrote something like 50 or 60 articles for their website, and also was on their National Geographic Today, show, doing a lot of documentary work. It was a great time in my life. I was in my twenties, I covered a lot of conflict zones, so saw some horrifying things. In Vietnam I was covering the demilitarized zone 20, 30 years after the war. And theres a bunch of rice farmers that now dig up bombs that were dropped in Vietnam from Americans, but theyre unexploded. They sell the metal. But to get there you have to go through these landmine-infested jungles. And I almost stepped on one. It freaked me out because my guide had to throw me out of the way and pointed to the ground. And after covering war zones for a while kind of gets in your head. And it was that moment in Vietnam when I said, you know, Im going to stop being a journalist and Im going to do something to try to overcome death. And of course transhumanism has been an ongoing movement since the 90s, and thats their primary job. Their primary purpose is to use science to overcome death.

Istvan: So I came home, joined the movement, wrote a novel, the novel did really well. It was called The Transhumanist Wager, became a bestseller, and it launched my career as a public figure. And because I was a journalist, I began writing some of the very first transhumanist columns. So Ive had an ability over six years to write over 230 opinion pieces and essays for major media, almost cheerleading transhumanism. Up until that point, no one had ever been optimistic about it. People had been kind of skeptical.

Thornburgh: That literally came from a near-death experience that you had.

Istvan: Its based on two or three years of covering other conflicts. Id covered the Sri Lanka conflict. I covered the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India. Id been doing some pretty harrowing stories and it made me, I think it kinda got in my head, I dont want to say its PTSD, but really it made me think, What if we could overcome death? And when it hit me that I could do this, I realized that this is why I want to dedicate my life to.

Thornburgh: Does transhumanism have any rights or rituals or holidays?

Istvan: Its secular. Its a very decentralized movement. A lot of the life-extension people are not interested in the robotics people, because life extension people want to biologically live longer, where the robotics people want to become machines and upload themselves. So even though they are both transhumanist and I like both groups, they dont really talk to each other. Then there are the biohackers, who are mostly young, tattooed people that are putting chips in. I have a chip in my hand. It opens my front door, starts a car, it sends a text message.

Thornburgh: You have this right now?

Istvan: I have it right now. You can touch it. Its right there. Push. Youll see. Youll feel a bump. Its a glass-enclosed microchip.

Thornburgh: Does that hurt when I press your chip?

Istvan: No. Its tiny. Its the size of a grain of rice. When you get these chip implants, you use a horse syringe you just put it in. Its kind of painful. But the chip itself is about the size of a grain rice.

Thornburgh: But that wasnt sexual what we just did?

Istvan: No. Its just a chip.

Thornburgh: How do you program this chip? Is this like a radio-frequency identification?

Istvan: Yeah. Unfortunately, the technology doesnt work with Apple phones, but it works with all Android. And so if you have an Android phone, you will actually be able to put it against my hand and then get my serial number. Of course, that freaks people out, because who has a serial number? But you can also put in medical information. So if youre unconscious and they find you, they can scan it. But in my case, Im a surfer and a jogger and when you go surfing you have to always hide your keys, and what a pain in the butt that is, because then someone can steal it when youre surfing and take your car. So in my case, its just great because all my keys are embedded into my hand and you can even do things like hold Bitcoin on it, but you cant pay it Starbucks yet.

Listen to the full episode at Luminary.

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Zoltan Istvan: The Transhumanist Candidate - Roads and Kingdoms

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March 20th, 2020 at 3:43 am

Posted in Transhumanism

Sleeve Into Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game – Nerdist

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Sleeve Into Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game

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Based on the 2002 novel Altered Carbon, the self-proclaimed neo-noir cyberpunk series is expanding into a tabletop roleplaying game. The Netflix show just launched its second season. Combining a healthy mix of Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Transhumanismthe setting rocks as an RPG. Apparently, the Kickstarter did too, raising over 1000% of their funding goal and hitting over 3,900 backers by the end of its run. Hunters Entertainment (Outbreak: Undead) headed up the design with an amazing team of people, so its no surprise that this Kickstarter slew expectations.

The Kickstarter page contains the vital information any prospective player could need. We still wanted to take a moment to highlight some things that are unique to a world in which you cant die. Imagine the prospects for a moment. Villains can be killed only to return later, potentially wearing the face of the partys friends. A full TPK can happen, and the adventure continues with the consequences of that folly. Or bar fights suddenly become far more bone-breaking. Not only does this concept present interesting ideas for storytelling but Altered Carbon RPG is also flipping our dice on us.

Using the Hazard system, the game encourages you to roll natural 1s. Which is frankly, glorious blasphemy. I think this gameplay difference is important to differentiate the setting and game for long term roleplaying game players. If youve been rolling D20s for a while, changing the dice mechanics on your table does work as a tangible reminder of the new world.

For as long as Ive been a storyteller; Ive often been running Cyberpunk, Transhumanism, or modern settings as long-term campaigns. I love high-tension, cheeky, dystopian conspiracy games so naturally Altered Carbon stole my interest. But every group needs one person to take up the mantle of Gamemaster. Lets take a look at how two major aspects of storytelling in a Transhuman or Cyberpunk setting in order to inspire other storytellers!

In this transhumanist world, the human mind is Digital Human Freight. Stored in a small, diamond-hard device at the base of the skull, everyone calls a cortical stack it. Some people have their brains sliced and scanned in layer-by-layer while others take a more digital approach. The end result is the same: you can re-sleeve your entire consciousness into a new body. With remote digital back-ups, needle casting your mind to other planets, or having a variety of custom bodies on handyou can become an immortal god. The ability to change bodies or sculpt your frame like an automobile is a dream for many.

Permanent death is possible for anyone whose stack is destroyed, but namely, you focus on an uplifting style of storytelling. Re: The characters backstories. Create elaborate backstories with wonderfully fleshed-out characters with full narratives by spending time with your players. The concept of a session zero is infinitely more important in settings like AC. Once created, weave those delicious backstories together into one yarn-ball of a plot. Since characters can be hundreds of years old, its okay to hop a few decades. Long-term gameplay in a transhumanist setting isnt going to be about TPKs, rather, about the parties choices around that ball of yarn. Some threads will get tugged, others will get knotted, and at least one will be hacked with a chainsaw. Meanwhile, villains at the beginning of the game can become allies later on. Only to swap sides again later. Embrace this fluidity as a storyteller.

Since the characters and NPCs will remain under the campaign spotlight for a long time, time invested into them is well spent. This also opens several new tactical options for both sides of that storyteller screen. For example, if the party knows they will resleeve they might consider one-way-ticket missions with no extraction. Nothing says a salty faction cant strike at the partys prized bar in the same way.

Cyberpunk worlds are both storytelling gold and a daunting task of finding where to start. Altered Carbon gives us a major campaign focal point called Bay City. Focused into three, easy to identify, and easy to dabble in factions: The Ground, the Twilight, and the Aerium. Poor, middle, and methuselah godlike rich respectively. Narrowing down a multi-planet cyberpunk setting to former San Francisco is exactly what gamemasters need to focus on a campaign. I couldnt be happier with the QuickStart guide for doing exactly that, and I really want to give a special shout out to the designers for making that call.

Well done chaps.

To prevent getting lost, shine a spotlight on local beats. Basically, in a setting with billions of people teeming on top of each other location bloat can be a major design problem. Its easy to fall into the pit of infinite information, and your players suffer from the noise. Cities are nearly infinite in story, filled with vast sprawling segments, and can make the PCs feel tiny. Unlike fantasy campaigns, the pulse of an urban fantasy or cyberpunk campaign beats inherently different. Less territory control or nation wars, and more investigation and fights containedjust out of sight.

Keeping everything setting wise sorted into factions or companies creates instant bonding with players. The Meths and the Grounders are easy factions to grasp onto and weave into a story. For added flair, toss in some company products and branding on your player characters weapons and youve seeded your immersion. Instead of having named NPCs, simply use faction representatives. If a pair or duo of them keeps recurring, feel free to start fleshing them out a little more. By keeping motives and goals orientated around the faction or company, you can brand it, and use that branding in the world. Plus your party will naturally start to separate the employees, from the company. Pelican Corp is an evil weapons manufacturer, but Debbie in shipping is a heckin saint.

Have you tried the Altered Carbon RPG yet? Try the Quickstart Guide here and let us know your adventure in the comments!

Featured Image: Altered Carbon The Role-Playing Game

Image Credits: Altered Carbon

Rick Heinz is a storyteller with a focus on D&D For Kids, and an overdose of LARPs, and the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn. You can follow RPG or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or reach out for writing at [emailprotected]

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Sleeve Into Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game - Nerdist

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March 20th, 2020 at 3:43 am

Posted in Transhumanism

How Deus Ex: Human Revolution Perfectly Predicts The Future – Fiction Talk

Posted: January 22, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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Well, 2020 officially kickstarted a new decade and with it, speculations on what the future promises. It has only been a couple of weeks, and yet we find ourselves witnessing changes on a global scale. Video games, much like real life, convey the same level of change, mostly depicting our reality in a darker and bleaker fashion. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one title that comes across as a pure model, more than most games on the market today. After revisiting this game recently in my spare time, Ive come to realize that a lot of elements mimic that of our inevitable future. So how does this cyberpunk action RPG foretell the direction in which humanity is going? Well, were here to take a look and make our analysis.

The most noticeable first pick would be the increasing rise of augmentations and prosthetics. By recent analysis, 7.00% of the global population is categorized as being born with a defect. One of the most common is that of congenital amputation, a birth defect of lacking a limb or two. As with the growth of this percentage, prosthetics are more and more massively produced. However, while this is nothing unheard of, science is continuing to innovate with prosthetics much more than before. Innovations in the field of robotics opened up new frontiers.

The possibility of commanding enhanced prosthetics with a mere thought was something unheard of. Companies like Open Bionic, Cyberdyne, and DEKA are some of the most well known, that continue to experiment and research the possibilities of prosthetics. Much like the protagonist of Deus Ex, these sorts of bionics are set to evolve with the coming tide. A chance for all to live a regular life, despite of their defect.

Deus Exs most recurring theme is that of Transhumanism. If by any chance, you havent come to terms with this movement, we will indulge you. The simplest explanation on the matter is that basically, Transhumanism is a philosophical movement that supports human enhancements. In Human Revolution, players are introduced to a variety of companies, which deal in research and manufacturing of augmentations.

Sarif Industries is one such company that mimics that of Japans Cyberdyne. While they, unlike their video game counterpart, do not openly support this movement, they strive for the same goals. A better, faster, stronger future for all. Then they are companies like BiChip in Denmark, which are promoting their chip implants. Now with the idea of reading medical records, identification, and even connecting to wifi. Their most recent update was a built-in cryptocurrency reader, allowing payment via microchip.

The BBC made a lengthy article on this topic in late 2019, discussing how everyday items, such as car keys, are now portable via this method. Who knows, maybe in time, these things will become mandatory. And with more users each year, who knows, perhaps we will all be soon connected by a much similar AI algorithm. However, with each significant change, humanity rebels, and the case is the same in the game.

One of the biggest things that marked 2019, in terms of global trends, was civil unrest. The Arab protests, France, Catalonia, Latin America, and most notably, Hong Kong. These protests were mostly to show dislike of the current regimes in these countries. Yet, if people are more open about protesting then ever before, who says that it cant happen when it comes to Transhumanism. As shown in Deus Ex, people are afraid of rapid change, especially at its climax.

In the game, the epilogue focuses on the corruption of augmentation chips. Augmented humans become hostile and openly attack non-augmented ones. In the wake of such a disaster, how could humanity not step up and present their concerns? Governments are known to manipulate their countries into unspeakable acts, and humankind, on countless occasions, fights back. In the wake of significant evolution, especially one that is rapid and forced upon, people also tend to revolt. Much like in the game, it will inevitably lead to that. The only question is, will it resolve more peacefully, or turn into all-out urban chaos?

We are going slightly back to the topic of robotics, specifically Artificial Intelligence. By now, everybody knows that it all started with Alan Turing. A man who left a legacy behind that shaped the future generations and is still continuing to evolve to this day. From primitive computers to elaborate algorithms that think on their own, AI will play a prominent role in the future, that much is certain. When it comes to global media, AI has now evolved to a point where it has access to all information. In the game, a certain anchorwoman shows our protagonist the power of the news industry and how she feeds off different data.

Eliza Cassan is the primary example of how AI would work in the future. As an artificial intelligence, she displays uncanny skills of gathering news to peak precision. She is more than just a simple machine, demonstrating compassion and feelings, just like any individual. And like any human being, can lie, which she does on occasion to the protagonist. News media also relies on this a lot, and this card tends to be played, now more than ever.

The final piece of proof comes not in what one can see, but what one can feel. The primary focus in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is powerplay, be that of the Illuminati, or major corporations. Casting a shadow and rising, way above their respective governments, one cannot help but feel that there is a larger scheme here. While it is no secret agent villain scheming, its most definitely sinister. Call it superstition, or a conspiracy. But one thing is clear. Monopolies of large industries tower over government positions.

And while seats of power rise and fall over a single night, major players with vast industries standstill. You need not look far from Sarif Industry, Darrow Industries, Tai Yong Medical, and VersaLife. Examples of in-game organizations that pull all the string in the Human Revolution. And yet, there always seems like there is a third hand guiding and ushering new ideas and power seats. While there are other games that represent what humanity could be like, Human Revolution manages that way too realistic. A possibility, or near-perfect example of what the world could look like?

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How Deus Ex: Human Revolution Perfectly Predicts The Future - Fiction Talk

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January 22nd, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

The future of implants in the latest Medical Technology – Medical Device Network

Posted: January 14, 2020 at 8:44 pm

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Medical Technology is now available on all devices! Read it here for free in the web browser of your computer, tablet or smartphone.

To kick off the new decade, we find out how technological innovations are revolutionising hearing aids, speak to industry insiders to understand how 3D printing is changing dentistry, and examine the challenge of regulating implants as the market continues to expand and new technologies continue to blur the boundaries between what is and is not a medical device.

Sticking with implants, we delve into the complicated world of transhumanism and biohacking to find out how rising interest in tech implants could impact medical devices, explore ways that tech can unleash preventative personalised medicine with Verita, and learn more about a computerised kidney, which is helping to shed light on dehydration.

Plus, we take a look at the current state of the medical tourism industry to see how technology is impacting such a profitable sector, find out how combining wearables and drugs could help to treat Alzheimers, and as always we get the latest industry analysis and insight from GlobalData.

Timeline: the evolution of hearing aids Hearing aids have come a long way since the weird and wonderful vacuum tube contraptions of the 1800s, but its only within the last few decades that a truly transformative wave of fashionable, functional devices have started to appear. But how did this happen?Chloe Kentlooks back at the history of digital hearing aids, from the first devices of the 1990s to the innovative AI-powered technologies of the present day. Read more.

Open wide: how 3D printing is reshaping dentistry The dental 3D printing market is expected to reach $930m by the end of 2025, and its application across different procedures is far-reaching, from the development of dentures to Invisalign retainer braces.Chloe Kentspeaks to Digital Smile Design directorGeorge Cabanasand Formlabs dental project managerSam Wainwrightto learn more about how 3D printing could help us all smile a little brighter. Read more.

Regulating implants: how to ensure safety As the implant market expands and new innovations become a reality, the challenge of regulating these new technologies is getting harder. With biohacking implants already being performed in tattoo studios, how will regulators ensure the safety of patients?Abi Millar reports. Read more.

From grinders to biohackers: where medical technology meets body modification A new generation of patients are demanding medical interventions that not only make it easier to manage medical conditions, but also enhance their day-to-day lives. Engineers and researchers have responded with futuristic innovations that push the boundaries of biohacking.Chloe Kentrounds up the bizarre and brilliant innovations that could be the future of medicine as we know it. Read more.

Q&A: how tech can unleash preventative personalised medicine with Verita Verita Healthcare Group is a company with fingers in many pies, but one of its key focuses is on bringing preventative healthcare to the masses through technology.Chloe Kentcatches up withJulian AndrieszandJames Grant Wetherillto find out more about the companys latest digital health acquisitions and what it sees in its future. Read more.

No filter: understanding how medicines impact dehydration Computer models of a kidney developed at the University of Waterloo could tell us more about the impacts of medicines taken by people prone to dehydration.Natalie Healeyfinds out more. Read more.

Medical tourism: how is digital tech reshaping the industry? Medical tourism is a large and growing sector that is being driven by high costs and long waiting times in developed countries. But how is the rise of digital technology and Big Data influencing the development of medical tourism hotspots around the world?Chris Lofinds out. Read more.

Triple combo: calming Alzheimers agitation with ai, wearables and a novel drug BioXcel Therapeutics is developing an acute agitation drug, BXCL501, for Alzheimers disease. To improve management and prevention of agitation, the company is leveraging an existing wearable device and developing AI algorithms to predict and prevent aggressive agitation.Allie Nawratexplores this novel, triple combination initiative to prevent and treat symptoms of Alzheimers. Read more.

In the next issue of Medical Technology we take a look at the need for a more proactive approach to encourage health screening uptake, and explore ways that AI could help to make healthcare more human-centric.

Also in the next issue, we find out how a combination of virtual reality and haptics is being used to help virtually train surgeons to perform complex procedures, examine the potential of smell-powered diagnostics, and investigate the rise of chronic illness groups on social media platforms.

Plus, we examine how the uncertain future of Ehtylene oxide could impact device manufacturers, speak to Medidata about the companys merger with Dassault Systmes, and take a look at the recall of Bayers Essure contraceptive implant.

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The future of implants in the latest Medical Technology - Medical Device Network

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January 14th, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

GOP candidate pitches robots and immortality to Iowa voters – The Gazette

Posted: December 18, 2019 at 9:43 pm

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Democrats have Andrew Yang. Republicans have Zoltan Istvan.

Both men are running for the presidency as political outsiders and pitching radical, future-focused ideas to voters. For Yang, its universal basic income and a slew of other technocratic policy proposals.

Istvan also supports a form of universal basic income, but his primary focus is even wilder he wants the country to prepare for the transhumanist future.

Istvan defines transhumanism as the movement to upgrade human bodies and lives with technology. He predicts a future in which our bodies will be significantly augmented, such as with robotic arms or computer displays in our eyes.

He expects human life spans will drastically increase and robots will take on more humanlike characteristics, including consciousness.

Outside of science fiction entertainment, these are not ideas most Americans think about as public policy issues.

When I was traveling in Iowa and told people about it, they thought I was on some other space ship, Istvan told me during a phone interview last week.

Istvan ran for president in 2016 under the Transhumanist Party, and ran in the California gubernatorial primary with the Libertarian Party last year. Hes not a traditional Republican, but hopes to find allies among GOP primary voters.

As an entrepreneur Ive always been fiscally conservative. Totally socially liberal. Libertarian to the core when it comes to social ideas, Istvan said.

There is a great deal of disagreement about whether and how soon the huge technological developments Istvan discusses might be achieved. It might be 10 or 20 years as he predicts, but also could be more than 100 years away, or never.

Nevertheless, some form of transhumanism and an increasing level of artificial-intelligence-aided automation already are upon us. Istvan warns that the United States will be ill-equipped to manage social and economic changes.

Im worried were going to wake up in four or eight years and China will be the dominant player in the world both culturally and with innovation and with money and the economy, Istvan said.

To prepare, Istvan suggests several steps that will make many Americans uncomfortable.

As a few examples, the transhumanist campaign proposes mandatory college attendance for most people, licensure testing for parents and merging the United States, Canada and the European Union into a joined partnership.

Istvan wants to partially fund the government through leasing federal lands, vast spaces of which sit mostly unused in the western United States with trillions of dollars of natural resources. He has no affinity for nature, which he sees as antagonistic and immoral.

And Istvan would radically expand the use of police surveillance technology, including facial recognition and tracking devices. He generally wants to rollback privacy norms that inhibit technology.

I think these are ideas whose time might never come, but Istvan predicts the rest of us will eventually come around.


The transhumanist age will be upon us sometime. People will remember Zoltan has been out there talking about these ideas for a long time, he said.

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GOP candidate pitches robots and immortality to Iowa voters - The Gazette

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December 18th, 2019 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Transhumanism

The 2010s were the decade of trans – The Spectator USA

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Transgender ideology wasnt invented in the 2010s, but this was the decade when it gripped our culture in its venomous maw and refused to let go. Heres how trans grew from fringe oddity to a massive force affecting schools, parenting, prisons, policy, academia, sports, law enforcement, language and the arts.

In 2009, Susie Green, who will become Chair of UK gender clinic Mermaids, takes her son to Thailand for vaginoplasty. Jackie Green becomes the youngest person in the world to undergo a sex change operation, at age 16. Meanwhile, trans woman and trans humanist Martine Rothblatt foresees the end of our species as we know it, andclaimsthat transhumanism builds on transgenderism, broadening the driving mindset from a gender ideal to a human development ideal.

Trans began the decadeas an outlier. It became something tolerated out of compassion. It has become a medical-legal monster, with activists claiming to redefine woman as a feeling, with self-identification trumping the basic facts of biological sex.And if you disagree, youre transphobic. Welcome to the 2020s!

At 10 years old,Jazz Jenningsis already out as trans.

Children become the subject ofmedical experimentation. Britains National Health Service approves medical experiments which will chemically castrate gay children in attempt to correct gender-nonconformity.

We now being told that affirmation of trans individuals is all about compassion. We need to knowwhat trans gender meansand how important surgery is.New York magazinesays that it takes a powerful act of imagination to understand what a transgender child, in his perfect little body on the changing table, might be feeling, or why he might become terrified as adolescence approaches.

The American Psychiatric Associationupdates its manual, to replace gender identity disorder with gender dysphoria.

Now 13 years old and wearing dental braces as well as female dress, Jazz Jennings isparadedon ABC News.

In Britain, the gender clinic at theTavistock Clinic gives 12 year-olds hormone blockers to prepare for transition. The treatment halts the onset of puberty preventing children from developing the sexual characteristics of the gender they were born.

Trans woman Parker Molloy writes amissive:I am a woman, but on such a frequent basis, Im told this is not true. Im told that Im genetically or biologically male. Im told that Im not a real woman. I have to ask: What constitutes a real woman? How am I not one? Is it because of my chromosomes? I dont think thats fair

The splendidly surnamed trans actress Laverne Cox, the first trans person to grace the cover ofTIMEmagazine, explains that most of us are insecure about our gender.

IntheNew Yorker, Michelle Goldberg sits on the fence: Trans women say that they are women because they feel femalethey have womens brains in mens bodies. Radical feministsbelieve that if women think and act differently from men its because society forces them to.

Facebook offers56 gender optionsfor users to choose from.

Susie Greens trans daughter Jackie is now 21, and Green speaks out against those who call her parentingabusive. She claims that even before she could speak my daughter had made her preferences clear.

Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlyn, and graces the cover ofVanity Fair. Trans MMA fighterFallon Foxdefeated her opponent, Tamikka Brents, by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. Brents eye injury resulted in a damaged orbital bone that required seven staples. Now thats equality.

Michelle Goldberg is back. InSlate, she reminds us that, Most progressives now take it for granted that gender is a matter of identity, not biology, and that refusing to recognize a persons gender identity is an outrageous offense.

In the UK, theParliamentary Women and Equalities Committee Reportremoves sex-based protections.My Transgender Kidappears on the BBC. Itsreported that the Tavistock and Portman gender clinic has seen referrals increase by 50 percent every year since 2009.

Rachel Dolezal claims to betransracial.Trans abledturns out to be a thing.

Teen girls protest trans girls use of girlslocker room.

The year of the bathroom. A North Carolina law ispasseddisallowing trans people from using the bathroom of their choice. The State issuedby Obamas Department of Justice, whichtellsevery public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The director of the ACLU in Georgialeaves her postrather than fight for trans bathroom rights.

Male bodied trans studentscompeteagainst girls in high school sports. Female bodied transpregnant personsare lauded as the first male mothers.

The National Institute of Healthlaunchesthe largest-ever study of transgender youth, but also only the second to track the psychological effects of delaying puberty. Its notable that theres no control group.

Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy speaks out against the lack of debate. Because representation matters, a call goes outnot to castcis women as trans.

Jill SollowaysTransparentcomes underfirefor not being woke enough.

A male to female detransitionerspeaks. TheNew York Timesadmitsthat scientists have no conclusive explanation for what causes some people to feel dissonance between their gender identity and aspects of their anatomy.

Philosopher Slavoj iek gets called out for his claimthat the vision of social relations that sustains transgenderism is the so-called postgenderism: a social, political and cultural movement whose adherents advocate a voluntary abolition of gender, rendered possible by recent scientific progress in biotechnology and reproductive technologies.

The Womens March takes to the streets in Washington, DC, wearingtransphobic, pink pussy hats. Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos misgender Jenner and are slammedby Dan Savage.Neuterbecomes a thing, so does drilling down into biology to determine that sex is not binary in otherspecies. Which it is, really.

Stonewall UKs Rachel Steinconfirmsthat being trans is about an innate sense of self. To imply anything other than this is reductive and hurtful to many trans people who are only trying to live life as their authentic selves.

Thegender spectrumemerges.

Trans advocatessuggestthatprevious restrictions on transing kids be eased so that children under 16 years old can begin hormone therapy in order to physically transform their bodies.

Teachers socially trans kidswithout parents consent. Jazz Jenningss book I Am Jazzis acontroversialpick for kindergarten story time.

Radical feministsspeak outagainst transing kids. One lady istrans species.And trans affirmation is noweveryones job.Topshopopensfitting rooms to trans women. Theres money in them there trans.

The Department of Justice reverses the Obama era directives andsaysthat sex means only biologically male or female.

Katie Herzogwritesabout detransitioners, and gets intense heat for it. Debra Sohsaysthat the entire gender conversation has brain science wrong.

We will change our bodies however we want, theTrans Health Manifestoinsists. We will have universally accessible and freely available hormones & blockers, surgical procedures, and any other relevant treatments and therapies.

The real question is: how does a female bodied gay mannavigate Grindr?

Who could have guessed, even a decade ago, that in 2018 the word woman would be treated as an expletive? asks Joanna Williams in Britains PC-bible theNew Statesman.

The Gender Recognition Act allows for self-ID in the UK. The NHSmust offerfertility services to those looking to remove their genitals.Britain;s Labour party alienates gender-critical feminists by stating that self-ID is all thats required to be on Laboursshort listof women candidates. Women try to meet and talk about this mess, but their events arecanceleddue to trans protests.

UK Schools policy comes underfirefor insisting that all kids have a gender identity. Girl Guides inclusion policycalled outas anti-girl. Amother of fouris interrogated by the police for referring to male to female trans surgery as castration on Twitter. The mere concept ofdebating trans becomes transphobic.

Jess Bradley, the first elected Trans Officer in the UK National Union of Student, says I self-identify as a non-binary woman, I dont believe there is such a thing as a real woman. Male bodied trans person Rachel McKinnonwinsa womens cycling race.

Bill B-16 isadoptedin Canada. This effectively redefines what it means to be a woman from something biological to something defined by external appearance. A Toronto womens shelter admits a male bodied trans person, and an abused womansues.

In academia, Camille Paglia says sex change is impossible. Jordan Peterson is almost fired from the University of Toronto for refusing to go along with compelled speech for pronouns. There are callsfor colleges to let trans athletes play on their chosen gender.

Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moores bookTransgender Children and Young People: Born In Your Own Bodyisrejectedby trans activists. Oxfordbansgender critical voices. Lisa Littmans academic paper on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is pulled from Plos One for being transphobic. Jesse Singal writes about gender confused youth inthe Atlantic, and takes masses of abuse for it. Reports emerge on the danger in the drugs used tocastratechildren, and concerns thattransing is homophobia.

TheParis Reviewadvocates for atrans literary canon. No one buys theParis Review.

Trans surgeries dont always have an amazingresult.YettheAmerican Academy of Pediatriciansasserts thattransgender kids know their genderas clearly and consistently as their developmentally equivalent peers and that theres no need for watchful waiting.Trans toyscome to market.

TheNew York Timessayssex doesnt have anything to do with reproductive organs. Researchclaimsthat gender dysphoric kids show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.

US prisonsopposetrans inmates in womens prisons. Canadian prisonsallowprisoners to be housed according to gender identity.

How much longer must transgender people continue to participate in public conversations about whether or not we know our own souls? Jennifer Finney Boylanasksin theNew York Times equating gender to a religious belief. Quillettemakes a splash by publishing opposition to the trans agenda, even fromtrans persons.

The question of how tofuck trans lesbiansis a thing. So isgirldick,how to eat out a non-op trans woman, andrewriting gay historyto be trans. Andrea Long Chu says shewont be happywith her new coochie, but she should get one anyway. Andtrans lesbiansreally have trouble dating.

Cis women areasked to do more for trans women, becauseit costs you zero dollars to be nice. Cis peoplewont date trans people, and lesbians decide to get the L outof LGBT.

Twitterprohibitsmisgendering and deadnaming to curtail anti-trans abuse. Meghan Murphy isbanned from Twitter for misgendering Jessica Yaniv, a male-bodied trans woman a transvestite, in traditional terms who wants to force immigrant women to wax her balls.

Trans English arrives, withtonsof new words for gender.Trans kidsknowwho they are, and its eitheraffirmationor death if you disagree.

Self-IDcomes to New Hampshire. Trans model Munroe Bergdorf ischosento speak by the London chapter of the globalWomens March. New York goesall-inon bathrooms and the abolition of women only spaces. South Dakotasayslet trans kids compete in sports

The Vancouver Rape Relief and Womens Shelterloses municipal funding after refusing to accept trans women. Morgane Oger wins a Human Rights Tribunal againstChristian activist Bill Whatcott after he distributedflyers disparaging herfor being a trans woman. A woman isarrestedfor referring to a transgender woman as a man online.

Liberal womenspeak on trans issues atthe Heritage Foundation, because they have beenabandonedby the left.

Butfacial recognitiondoesnt get trans. Neither dostraight men. Tennis legend Marina Navratilovaopposesmen in womens sports.

Even though thequick transingof kids is obviously a terrible idea, itsnot OKto talk about detransitioning. But girls start pushingbackon the locker room thing. So dograndmothers.

Students in the English town of Brighton are issued with stickers on which they write their preferredpronouns. Transtoolkitsarrive. Experts say that there has been aglobal surgein young people presenting to gender clinics. This mirrors the huge rise in referrals to the Gids, up from 94 to 2,519 since 2010.

Cosmopublishes a detailed account ofbottom surgery.

Trans advocatesdecrymental health screening prior to accessing cross-sex hormones. Trans offendersseek rightto remove crimes committed under previous gender. Hayden Patterson, held in womens prison in Canada, doesnt think she should have toact femaleto stay.Womb transplantsso men can bear children might be a thing. Elizabeth Warrenstatesher pronouns.

The firsttrans prison unitopens in the UK. In the US, a trans sex offender ismovedto womens prison. The World Health Organizationreclassestrans as not actually a mental health condition. Jessica Yaniv brings acasein Human Rights Tribunal against independent aestheticians who wouldnt wax her balls. She loses.

The winners of womens high school track and fieldcompetitionsin Connecticut are male bodied. In Australia, newguidelines encourage sporting organizationsto permit transgender and non-binary athletes to compete against members of the opposite sex. Laurel Hubbard wins gold in womens weightlifting in the Pacific Games, to the dismayof the president of Samoa.

The International Olympic Commissionconsidersrule changes to allow men to compete as women, but hits asnag. Womens rugby is toodangerousfor women once men get involved. A male runner is the female NCAAathlete of the week. But girlsspeak out: Female athletes around the globe feel that womens sports is no longersustainable.

Trans employment case goes to theSupreme Court. Trans guides come out for kids inQuebecandNew York City, as well as thegender unicorn. As domedical riskson chest binding, and thepushbackagainst that. Parental rights are chucked byAustralia, and courts in the US fromArizonatoTexastoVermont.

Puberty blockers arenota panacea. But kids are still beingfast trackedin the UK. Gender cliniciansrevealthey have tried to raise the alarm. Detransitioners start to make somenoise. Parents areaskedto resist the doctors.

It turns out the rhetoric about the trans murder epidemic isnot exactly true. Trans is apony tail. Not onlywomenget periods. Theresno such thingas biological sex. And not dating trans people isdiscriminatory.

The 2010s were the decade of trans - The Spectator USA

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December 18th, 2019 at 9:43 pm

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From Brain Games to the philosophy of the future: Jason Silva – Daily Sabah

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Information is now easily and rapidly accessible. It is possible to say that being indifferent to new information is actually a success. However, knowing how we can actually use the information, well, that is the challenging part. Jason Silva, who gained millions of followers with his "Shots of Awe" video series seven years ago, when there was no "influencer" concept on social media, has managed to do this very well today, especially as a familiar "face of screens and internet influencer" widely known by young people.

As the world transforms with technology, Silva is turning everyone's heads with his unique, characteristic and literary expression style. Describing the relationship between technology and philosophy, Silva transforms himself in the meantime. As the star of National Geographic's Brain Games series, Silva takes his curiosity, which is his greatest motivation, everywhere he travels, adding depth to his "journey" that he started in 2012 as a storyteller on social media. Silva is now a futurist speaker answering the question "how?"

We talked to Silva in Qatar at the 2019 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), which was held in November under the theme "Unlearn, Relearn: What it means to be human." Silva focuses on "futurism and disruptive innovation, the physical and psychological effects of awe on the human body, and leaving the mind to the flow." What Silva wants to arrive at is to discover ways to maintain mental and physical health and to find out how the issues he contemplates stimulate creativity to tell people "how."

Silva has been invested in consciousness and staying in the flow lately. When asked if there was a particular reason, he said one of things he is passionate about is people's capacity to overcome limitations.

Silva said sometimes these limitations can come down to technical or practical reasons, but they can sometimes also just be our own minds. Pointing out that the number of suicide-related deaths nowadays is higher than the number of deaths due to natural disasters or conflict, he said the issue of mental health is a pressing matter.

Staying in the flow

When asked how he protects his sanity and looks after his mental health, Silva said: "I take care of myself. I rest and sleep very well. Sleep and exercise have a great place in my life."

"Besides that, I am actively meditating. Staying in the flow is an active type of meditation. So is going for a walk, swimming, traveling, making art, reading and watching movies," he added.

"If you have watched my videos, I describe them as a 'free flow of consciousness without written text.' I get into a flow while making videos. When you are in the flow, your brain tries to guess what you are going to say, while being completely insecure on the other hand," he said, adding that the beauty of this state of mind is that it silences your inner critic.

He said brain scans of free-flowing rappers and jazz musicians have revealed that parts of their brains shut down when they are really "in the flow."

He stressed that people often have the misconception that to get into a flow is to let it go, but it actually has a lot to do with planning and discipline.

"You have to surrender after you have worked on it," he added.

Advising everyone to find their own flow path, he said: "Flow brings focus. You need to find out what hinders your focus, what distracts you and what draws you in. This may be sports or music for some. For me, it is making videos and being on stage."

Are we living in a simulated universe?

The idea that the world around us is not real and that we are trapped inside some video game or computer like The Sims or The Matrix has become the subject of serious academic debate. SpaceX chief Elon Musk has been one of the many high-profile proponents of the "simulation hypothesis" a theory that proposes the Earth and the universe, and all reality is actually an artificial simulation and he recently explained his thoughts on the subject in a podcast.

Silva said he agreed with Musk to a degree, but in a different way.

"I think we live in an environment where everything is virtual. It is like you are in a perception field. What you think and your identity stand in virtual reality. None of this is physical or unchangeable. If you look at our planet from space, you do not see lines separating countries. These lines are our virtual reality," he said.

"(Yuval Noah) Harari, in his book Sapiens, says that society cannot exist without useful stories. A dream that only one person has is a dream, but a dream that everyone has becomes a reality. So, in a simulation where everyone moves together, these dreams are practically real," he added.

On the topic of transhumanism, Silva called it "an extension of natural life."

"We can extend and expand our capacity in natural life, just like tools. We came from Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, and we used the tools to reach something physically. If we could not reach fruit, we got sticks, for example. Thanks to sticks, we were able to extend our arm. This process of extension was the extension of our intentions and our brains. From this point of view, I believe that being human is trans-human."

With the rapid development of technology, a lot of people fear the new and unknown. Silva said he believed people weren't exactly afraid of technology but rather afraid of change and resistant to it.

"It's because change brings uncertainty, which in turn spurs this biological effect of the uncertainty (our ancestors felt) thousands of years ago when we thought a lion would come out and eat us," he said.

He said this feeling of uncertainty should be embraced as it "allows us to dream and build the life we want."

According to Silva, this is very much in line with Wise's theme, which suggests that we are in an era, a process of "unlearning what we already know and relearning it."

What we want to do in the future and what we want to reveal is to inspire people to think bigger than ever.

Tips to overcome anxiety

Silva said he likes to think of himself as a software program with "bad coding." "Sometimes I have a lot of anxiety. I know what triggers this situation and I find where my bad programming is," he said.

"Sometimes I stop while reacting to something, I watch my reaction and try to figure out how I feel. Then, I decide how I want to move forward. When I react to something, there is always an element I take into account."

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From Brain Games to the philosophy of the future: Jason Silva - Daily Sabah

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December 18th, 2019 at 9:43 pm

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How our screen stories of the future went from flying cars to a darker version of now – The Conversation AU

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Fans of Ridley Scotts 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner returned to cinemas last month for an unusual milestone: history catching up with science fiction.

Blade Runner opens in Los Angeles, in November 2019. Furnaces burst flames into the perennial night and endless rain. Flying cars zoom by. The antihero film-noir detective, Deckard (Harrison Ford) has seen too much, drinks too much, and misses his mother between retiring replicants.

As in Back to the Future day, (October 21, 2015), which marked Marty McFlys journey into the future in the 1989 film, the Blade Runner screenings came with a flurry of discussion about what the filmmakers got right and wrong. Environmental collapse, yes. But where are our flying cars?

So: what now that the future is here?

Our current versions of near future stories - namely the television series Black Mirror (now on Netflix) and SBSs Years and Years - explore more extreme versions of the present.

Charlie Brookers Black Mirror is an anthology of standalone episodes, produced between 2011 and 2019, each set in a slightly different, undated, near future.

Years and Years, written by Russell T. Davies, bravely spans 2019 to 2034 with each episode leaping forward a few years through striking montages of fictional news events: the collapse of the European Union, the US leaving the United Nations, catastrophic flooding, mass migration, widespread homelessness.

We are in a very familiar world. The near is depicted in a realistic way through identifiable locations, documentary-style visuals, news footage, and lifelike dialogue.

Back in the real world, the future in the 21st century is unfolding in the palm of our hands. Elections are won and lost on social media, Sydney is covered in smoke. The rate at which technology is altering our lives is rivalled only by the rate were transforming our planet.

These shows explore these rates of change. In a 2016 episode of Black Mirror, Nosedive, every interpersonal interaction becomes a transaction: an extreme version of Uber Ratings with Chinas Social Credit System.

Read more: Chinas Social Credit System puts its people under pressure to be model citizens

Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) is an ambitious young professional excited by the opportunities higher ratings open up, such as discounts on luxury apartments, but being pleasant to her barista and workmates only gets her so far. So begins a perilous spiral of trying too hard to be liked, echoing the personality-as-product phenomenon of social media influencers around the world.

The standalone episode format of Black Mirror means it can be challenging to develop empathy for characters, consequently the interest often rests on the single concept or final twist. The episode Striking Vipers explores the possibility of extra-marital love between best mates in Virtual Reality; Hang the DJ envisions dating apps as an authoritarian apparatus.

Most episodes are neatly wrapped up for viewers to escape to for pure entertainment but also to escape from each dystopian possibility.

In Years and Years, we follow one Mancunian family over 19 years. The series opens with Trump re-elected for a second term. In the UK, the unconventional populist Four Star Party, led by straight-speaking Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson), rides to success on the back of social instability.

Sci-fi concepts are introduced early on so we can explore their evolution and implications. In the first episode, teenager Bethany declares herself trans. As progressive parents, Stephen and Celeste immediately comfort their child, who they presume is transsexual.

Bethany shrugs, Im not transsexual Im transhuman. A concept not lost on Blade Runner fans who may be aware of transhumanist gatherings in Los Angeles in the 1980s, transhumanism is premised on the idea that humans have breached evolutionary constraints through science and technology. Biology is a restriction to the possibility of eternal life.

Read more: Super-intelligence and eternal life: transhumanism's faithful follow it blindly into a future for the elite

Disgust and dismay ensue from parents unable to comprehend why their child wants to rid her flesh and live forever as data. Through the course of the series we see how Bethanys transhuman ambitions influence her personal relationships, health, career trajectory, and political activism.

It even starts to feel normal.

Years and Years delicately resists portraying a dystopia, allowing room for technology to demonstrate a positive influence on society. Seor, the ubiquitous virtual assistant, connects the Lyons family whenever they wish. Like Alexa or Siri, Seor is always at hand to answer questions but more importantly, facilitates an intimacy that could easily be lost to technological isolation.

In 2029, grandmother Muriel digs up the dusty digital assistant Seor because she misses its company. By now, virtual assistants are embedded into the walls and omnipresent digital cloud but the Luddite grandmother resists.

I like having something to look at, Im not talking to the walls like Shirley Valentine, she says.

Its moments like these that remind us of our agency over technology and hint at its revolutionary potential to connect us all.

While classics like Blade Runner looked to the future to ignite our technological desires, near-future fiction reveals how new technologies are injected into our lives with little choice as to whether we should adopt them and little thought to their long-term appropriateness and sustainability.

These shows ask us to be critical of what might seem like minor developments in technology and politics. In an age of rapidly changing political landscapes and the climate catastrophe, it can feel like we are approaching the final frontier. In creating stories set in the near, instead of the far, future, science fiction provides valuable lessons for the present.

In other words: the choices we fail to stand up for in the near-future may prevent us from having a distant future at all.

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How our screen stories of the future went from flying cars to a darker version of now - The Conversation AU

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December 13th, 2019 at 6:51 pm

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Living in the real AI world – Covalence

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Photo by Frank V. via Unsplash

Alexa seems to know what I want to watch and when, Google search seems to know my wishes too when I search for my favorite restaurant online and perhaps even more interesting is that even the success of my 401(k) investments will ultimately be influenced by artificial intelligence (AI) that seemingly is becoming more real by the day.

There are a growing number of hedge fund managers even who rely on AI to outperform the market and to complete trades faster than our human mind can contemplate. They tend to exponentially outperform their non-AI counterparts with super-human ability.

So when one reads about the idea of an AI God that gained steam a couple of years ago, when self-driving car engineer Anthony Levandowski opened The Way of the Future Church, it seems as though the future has easily slipped into our present day-to-day activities in the blink of an eye.

According to The Way of the Future Churchs website, it is a movement about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people plus machines. It is about something called the singularity point a point in time that is fast approaching when machine intelligence will surpass that of its human makers. Remember The Matrix trilogy, anyone?

The classic line by the films hero, Neo, comes to mind: Ever have that feeling where youre not sure if youre awake or dreaming? Thats a whole other Silicon Valley philosophy that we are merely in a simulation. But thats another topic, entirely.

The idea of people and machines being in charge, however, seems far from comforting and far removed from a Lutheran ideal of grace in removing God from the equation altogether.

This month Lutheran theologian Ted Peters dives into many of the thorny issues related to artificial intelligence and how some in the transhumanism community view it as a way of advancing our humanity beyond our physical bodies.

Countless movies and T.V. shows have taken on this topic including a popular Netflix series called Altered Carbon, where society simply views physical bodies as sleeves for ones uploaded consciousness that can be slotted over and over again into new bodies. Of course, there are problems and ethical dilemmas that give way to a dramatic story line.

Still, technology always seems to have a way making us feel smarter (thanks Google!) and almost invincible. That in its own right can be problematic, which is some of what Peters writes about this month.

Whether it is a new medical device, an app on your smart phone or even your Wifi connectivity, it is well worth remembering all have a piece of Gods very creation within it as do the technology developers who creatively make the invisible, visible every day.

Considering technology as our ultimate savior and life-giver sans God is what is at issue. Worshipping a powerful algorithmic God is short sighted too as we realize that even within the code itself there is the hand of a human being created in the image of a loving God who in turn supports the human intellect that ultimately wants to surpass itself.


Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technologys online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

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Living in the real AI world - Covalence

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December 13th, 2019 at 6:51 pm

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New Connections Emerge Between The Clintons And Jeffrey Epstein: Report – The Daily Wire

Posted: December 8, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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A new report published on Tuesday alleges that former Democrat President Bill Clinton and two-time failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited the New Mexico ranch of convicted pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein nearly every year since Clinton left office at the end of his second term.

Bill and Hillary Clinton stayed at Jeffrey Epsteins notorious baby-making ranch almost every year after they left the White House, according to the disgraced financiers estate manager, The Daily Mail reported. The former president was Epsteins closest celebrity mate and the Clintons, along with daughter Chelsea, visited Zorro Ranch a whole bunch of times, a former contractor who ran the IT system at the property told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview.

The Daily Mail reported that the Clintons never stayed in the main mansion on the massive 10,000 acre property but did stay in one of the guest houses.

This is all according to security expert Jared Kellogg, who was brought in by long-standing ranch manager Brice Gordon to improve security and set up a camera system at the main house and cowboy village, The Daily Mail continued. Kellogg said that at the time of his site walk of Epsteins property, he had barely any knowledge of Epsteins reputation but he said Gordon spent most of the time boasting about the Clintons frequent appearance at the estate.

Kellogg told The Daily Mail: My access was very controlled. During the site walk, it was dictated where I could and couldnt go. There were certain facilities I wasnt allowed to go in, which was odd, as they were boarded up, and they looked like they could have big parties in them, but I didnt think much of it.They wanted to put very, very limited camera coverage on the main house itself.

The New York Times reported over the summer that Epstein allegedly wanted to turn his ranch into a place where he would impregnate vast numbers of women in what the Times described as transhumanism, which critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through controlled breeding.

Once, at a dinner at Mr. Epsteins mansion on Manhattans Upper East Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a scientist who told him that Mr. Epsteins goal was to have 20 women at a time impregnated at his 33,000-square-foot Zorro Ranch in a tiny town outside Santa Fe. Mr. Lanier said the scientist identified herself as working at NASA, but he did not remember her name, the Times reported. According to Mr. Lanier, the NASA scientist said Mr. Epstein had based his idea for a baby ranch on accounts of the Repository for Germinal Choice, which was to be stocked with the sperm of Nobel laureates who wanted to strengthen the human gene pool.

Epstein was arrested by federal law enforcement officials on sex trafficking charges in early July after returning to the United States and subsequently committed suicide in a New York City prison approximately a month later.

When asked for comment by The Daily Mail, the Clintons pointed to a statement that they released over the summer which deniedhe had ever visited any of Epsteins residences, apart from once at Epsteins home in New York City.

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New Connections Emerge Between The Clintons And Jeffrey Epstein: Report - The Daily Wire

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December 8th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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