Posts tagged: transhumanism
What is that? and I don’t know are repeated many times before the crowd engages its collective intelligence:
“I think it’s one of those downloading machines.”
BME founder Shannon Larratt was interviewed by io9 about the grinder/biohack movement:
Making a wristwatch implant would actually be quite simple. The electronics need to be as small as possible of course. Even though implants can be quite large (a single double-D breast implant has more volume than many laptop computers at this point), if the implant is kept thin it will be inconspicuous, perhaps even undetectable without touching it. So the wristwatch would be built with surface mount components in a tight package. The LEDs would easily be visible through the skin — it’s quite possible that some small backlit panels could be visible through the skin but simple round or bar-shaped LEDs would be my choice for a watch.
One could do a numeric display, a geeky binary display, or even just use a single light and flash the time with morse code. You’re probably not going to leave the light on all the time in order to preserve the battery, but triggering could be accomplished in many ways. An accelerometer could be used to trigger it with a specific arm motion, a pressure switch could respond to touch, or in my case, or a magnetic switch could respond to me waving my finger over it — there are many options, but whatever is chosen would have to be versatile enough to also allow the time to be set.
Finally — and this is the biggest issue — there’s power. You could have yourself cut open have the battery replaced — but there’s no need for that. Inductive charging is easy to build, and wireless chargers are commonplace these days — personally I would include such a circuit.
The Register reports:
Australian researchers have claimed a world’s first by successfully implanting a ‘pre-bionic eye’ in a blind patient.
Ms Dianne Ashworth is the patient in question, and suffers retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has left her with profound vision loss. […]
Ashworth has said, in a canned statement, that when researchers stimulated her implant didn’t know what to expect, but:
“… all of a sudden, I could see a little flash … it was amazing. Every time there was stimulation there was a different shape that appeared in front of my eye.”
The device has not given Ashworth sight but her experiences will allow the BVA team, a consortium of researchers from several Australian institutions, the chance to learn how to work their prostheses to achieve useful results.
The Verge did a short documentary, and a piece of long form, participatory journalism, on the DIY transhumanist/bodyhacker/grinder/whatever movement:
The boys from Grindhouse Wetwares both sucked down Parliament menthols the whole time we talked. There was no irony for them in dreaming of the possibilities for one’s body and willfully destroying it. “For me, the end game is my brain and spinal column in a jar, and a robot body out in the world doing my bidding,” said Sarver. “I would really prefer not to have to rely on an inefficient four-valve pump that sends liquid through these fragile hoses. Fuck cheetahs. I want to punch through walls.”
Flesh and blood are easily shed in grinder circles, at least theoretically speaking. “People recoil from the idea of tampering inside the body,” said Tim. “I am lost when it comes to people’s unhealthy connections to your body. This is just a decaying lump of flesh that gets old, it’s leaking fluid all the time, it’s obscene to think this is me. I am my ideas and the sum of my experiences.” As far as the biohackers are concerned, we are the best argument against intelligent design.
Neither man has any illusions about how fringe biohacking is now. But technology marches on. “People say nobody is going to want to get surgery for this stuff,” admits Cannon. But he believes that will change. “They will or they will be left behind. They have no choice. It’s going to be weird and uncomfortable and scary. But you can do that, or you can become obsolete.”
R.U. was also recently interviewed by Vice:
Do you think it is good that we’ve reached a point where anyone can say or write/make whatever they want and post it for the world to see?
It’s a huge, complicated, evolutionary step. The average person actually having a voice in the world!? Even if the value of that voice is minimized by inflation, it’s still a whole new relationship to the social. If things go well and life becomes increasingly participatory and open communication oriented, we’ll be figuring out the psychology and sociology of this for the rest of the century. It’s rough on writers, definitely. Our specialization has become the cultural oxygen.
So you think it devalues as well as democratizes?
Canadian internet seer Marshall McLuhan said that with every human enhancement comes an amputation. For an elite (when considered on a global scale) class of literate people, the diminution of power of real literary or even journalistic talent feels like an amputation. But for people who never had the opportunity to speak before, it’s the beginning of something else. Ultimately, we’ll give opportunity for more geniuses of expression to emerge.
(via Dangerous Minds)
This reminds me of what Jason Calacanis said yesterday at the ReadWriteWeb 2WAY summit: that writing as a skill in and of itself will no longer be enough. You’ve got to have deep expertise in a particular area. People will choose to read experts who aren’t great writers over great writers without deep expertise.
I started Technoccult as a teenager living in rural Wyoming (Sheridan to be exact) almost 8 years ago as a way to share links and research. Here are the 5 biggest influences on Technoccult, in chronological order:
Mondo 2000 - This one should be both first and last on the chronology. I started reading transcriptions of Mondo articles, mostly interviews with musicians like Nine Inch Nails and Revolting Cocks, way back in the day. I actually saw one of the last issues (the one with Nina Hagen) at a Hastings in Billings, MT. But I could only buy one magazine and decided to get the “electronic music and culture” magazine Interface instead because it said they were seeking submissions. I ended up writing for Interface, which was my first “pro” writing when I was 16. So I guess it was a good decision. But I always also kinda kick myself for not getting that Mondo while I had the chance.
Hyperreal - So I ended up reading about Mondo at places like alt.culture rather than actually reading it. And I started reading about this “smart drugs” stuff, which led me to Hyperreal. Now finding Hyperreal’s drug archives seems to be impossible, they just forward to Erowid. And the archive.org pages are blocked. Anyway, this site gave me a bit of exposure to rave culture, which I basically completely missed.
The Process mailing list - I ended up on this mailing list because I thought it was a Skinny Puppy fan list. It ended up being one of my first exposures to esoteric subjects, though I didn’t really know much of what was going on. I wrote about the Process here.
Anders Transhuman Page - I have no idea how I came across this site, but it was my introduction to the concept of transhumanism. I was particularly interested in the self transformation page. Thanks to this, transhumanism wasn’t just about waiting for a singularity in some distant future, but about enhancing the self in the here and now with what was already available. I’m apparently the only person in the world who thinks this way, so I don’t really identify as a transhumanist anymore.
Disinfo - I got into Disinfo initially for the political and cultural stuff. Technoccult actually basically came about because I really wanted to work on the Disinfo site, but my e-mails to them went unanswered. I wasn’t even into the occult stuff at all when Technoccult launched… it just sounded like a cool name (I hadn’t read the Invisibles yet either, but it’s possible I came across the term “Technoccult” somewhere on the Disinfo site and just forgot about it). But since all the occult material was so present, I ended up exploring that as well. I did eventually end up doing an internship for Disinfo - “telecommuting” during my sophomore year of college.
Mondo 2000 (again) - In college, Honky Tonk Dragon let me borrow a bunch of his old Mondo 2000 magazines, and I bought several off eBay. This was late 2001, early 2002 when Technoccult had already been around for a couple years, but was really just getting going.
A 405 page report from US National Science Foundation and Commerce Department calls for expanding human intelligence and communication through the convergence of nanotechnology, biology, IT, and cognitive science. BoingBoing’s Mark writes: “People may download their consciousnesses into computers or into bodies on the other side of the solar system, or participate in a giant ‘hive mind’ — a network of intelligences connected through ultra fast communications networks.”
One BoingBoing reader has already remarked: “Fantastic. In twenty year’s time, we can be Borg.”
Matrioshka Brains are hypothetical supercomputers that “consume the entire power output of stars (~1026 W), consume all of the useful construction material of a solar system (~1026 kg), have thought capacities limited by the physics of the universe and are are essentially immortal.”
(via Boing Boing)