September 29, 2008
September 22, 2008
Okay, you know how the Large Hadron Collider had to be shut down because of of a helium leak? Well, what if this is evidence that we're about to witness a successive chain of events that will result in the LHC never having the opportunity to destroy the Earth as we know it?
It's a classic case of anthropic principle meets the Many World Hypothesis. We can't observe our non-existence; we can only observe our ongoing existence, no matter how improbable or absurd.
Given that the LHC was only recently ignited, can we already make this inference?
Well, leave it to Anders Sandberg to crunch the numbers and do an analysis: "Bayes, Moravec and the LHC: Quantum Suicide, Subjective Probability and Conspiracies."
And it looks like Eliezer Yudkowsky and friends are having a similar conversation at Overcoming Bias.
Quick summary of their opinions: We can't jump to this conclusion. Yet.
September 18, 2008
September 17, 2008
September 10, 2008
Just by gazing at the stars, earthling astronomers might have unwittingly picked up broadcasts from extraterrestrial civilizations. So says a neutrino physicist, adding that it might take researchers just a few months of searching to find evidence of this alien internet.
John Learned at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and his colleagues think that signals could be sent by manipulating Cepheid variable stars. These rare stars can be seen in other galaxies more than 60 million light years from our own.
Cepheids dim and brighten regularly, in a pattern that depends on their brightness. This lets astronomers measure the distance to the stars, helping to resolve mysteries such as the Universe's age and how fast it is expanding. As such, any sufficiently advanced civilization would want to monitor such stars, the scientists reasoned.
To send messages using a Cepheid, Learned and his colleagues suggest that extraterrestrials might change the star's cycle. A Cepheid becomes dimmer as ionized helium builds up in its atmosphere. Eventually, the atmosphere expands and deionizes, restarting the cycle.
September 9, 2008
Rather, transhumanism should be seen as a force for social justice, egalitarianism and a means to reduce human suffering. And of course, as a way for people to experience life at its maximum potential.
September 8, 2008
The upcoming video game features an entire suite of music production and editing tools that were developed during the past 40 years, including MIDI (both for triggering and recording data), tone generation, digital effects, sequencing, looping, arpegiation, and even a DAW-like interface a la Cubase or ProTools.
Check out the demo for GH4:
No one would have ever predicted that these music technologies would eventually be used in video games -- and that's what makes technological convergence so exciting and scary at the same time.
Stanley Schmidt, author of The Coming Convergence and editor of the science-fiction magazine Analog, has shown that convergence can lead to disaster. He claims that our ability to construct skyscrapers, along with the rise of mass air transport, arguably paved the way for the tragedies of 9/11. Again, an outcome that couldn't have been reasonably predicted.
More optimistically however, converging technologies could also improve things in a very dramatic way -- particularly in the sphere of human performance. This is the so-called NBIC convergence which would involve the synergistic effects of molecular nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive technology.
Read the NSF's NBIC 2003 report for more information.
September 7, 2008
September 4, 2008
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