May 16, 2007

Sentient Developments Retrospective: Part III

This week marks the 5th anniversary of Sentient Developments. Over the next several days I will be reflecting on some of my favourite posts from the past 5 years (note: these hi-lites won't include my Transitory Human columns written for Betterhumans; that's a different retrospective altogether). Today's retrospective reviews the best of 2005 and the first several months of 2006.
  • Early last year Spanish socialists wanted to give apes human rights prompting me to write about the myth of our exalted human place. I also proclaimed that cows are people, too and predicted the end of livestock.

  • I wondered if active SETI was imperiling humanity and if science fiction was bad for bioethics. I looked deep into my crystal ball and saw a very bald future.

  • I wondered if we live in a non-arbitrary universe.

  • I wrote about James Lovelock's Gaian despair and his thoughts about environmentalist sabotage.

  • I tolerated David Irving's bullshit.

  • The future of warfare was on my mind, including cyber warfare and the "blogger threat", neurohacking, and the perils of miniaturization on the battlefield. I also worried that the anthropic principle did not imply future gain.

  • I wrote about the end of gender.

  • Consciousness and brains: I wrote about how you could think faster by altering your perception of time, extreme 'natural' brains, and the phenomenon of blindsight.

  • And finally, I wrote about how pop art will gets proletarianized, or how technology will enable anyone to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen.
  • 1 comment:

    chesh said...

    You may be interested in the novel Blindsight, by Peter Watts, which (unsurprisingly) deals with the phenomenon of blindsight and the many other seemingly bizarre feats our brains can perform.
    It's available, for free, at It's a very fine read (and was nominated for a Hugo!), and to quote a friend's mixed metaphor: there are neodymium magnets that will not grip as strongly as Blindsight.