April 24, 2011

Speaking on 'designer psychologies' at the Humanity+ Conference

This coming May I will be attending and speaking at Humanity+'s conference at Parson's University in New York. The theme of the conference is "Transhumanism meets design" and to that end I will be discussing the potential for 'designer psychologies.' The abstract for my talk:
Baseline human psychology is a legacy of our paleolithic ancestry. Its current configuration is the result of very specific evolutionary pressures, but it has become poorly suited for life in the post-industrial age. Not only are humans becoming increasingly susceptible to psychological disorders, they are also reaching hard limits in terms of memory capacity, attention spans and intelligence; humans are now having great difficulties keeping up with and adapting to novel technologies. Moreover, humans are coming to realize that there can be more to human psychology than the default state. In the space of all possible viable and desirable psychologies, the neurotypical mind is but a tiny speck. As the autism rights community has shown, there is considerable value to alternative psychologies. Looking ahead, and with the assistance of converging technologies like genetics, advanced psychopharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology, we will soon be able to design and create novel psychologies. This will be more than just intelligence or memory augmentation; designer psychologies will re-set and re-frame the way individuals perceive and process their environment in virtually all aspects. This design space is virtually limitless.
More about the conference:
April 12, 2011 (New York, NY) – Humanity+, the world’s leading nonprofit organization advocating the ethical use of technology to expand human capabilities, today announced its first conference in partnership with Parsons The New School for Design, a leading art and design school in New York City dedicated to the advancement of design thinking and education. Transhumanism Meets Design explores the role of design in transcending and transforming human potential, and will take place at The New School May 14–15, 2011. This groundbreaking conference features lectures and panels that bring together and explore the nexus of emerging technology, transdisciplinary design, culture, media theory, and biotechnology.
Transhumanism aims to elevate the human condition. Design is a process for problem solving. At Transhumanism Meets Design, these two domains will join forces as leading transhumanists, cyberneticists, life extensionists, singularity advocates, artificial intelligence experts, human enhancement specialists, inventors, ethicists, and philosophers gather to explore human futures, ask questions, construct ideas, and peer over the edge into the unknown.
“Translating this narrative calls for a transdisciplinarity that brings emerging technologies and creative insights to the forefront. Transhumanist aesthetics pioneers how we will design our existence and future identity,” said Natasha Vita-More, vice chair of Humanity+, who co-chairs the conference with Ed Keller, associate dean of Distributed Learning and Technology at Parsons. “We live in an era of unprecedented interest in design,” said Keller. “Recognizing that the body could be the next frontier, we are challenging designers to use the research tools developed to enhance products to engage and extend the human body.”
Featured speakers include Howard Bloom, author of Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, and Vivian Rosenthal, cofounder of New York–based Tronic Studio. Also speaking are artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel, chair of Humanity+; Natasha Vita-More, artist and theorist of transhumanism; strategic philosopher Max More, CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation; and neuroscientist Anders Sandberg, a James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University.
For a full list of confirmed speakers and additional information about the conference, please visit the conference website: http://humanityplus.org/conferences/parsons.
To register for the conference, please visit the conference EventBrite page:
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Transhumanism Meets Design is one of the highlights of Parsons Festival 2011, which takes place May 7–23 and features exhibitions, interactive installations, and programs that showcase the full range of art and design thinking at Parsons. For more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/parsonsfestival. To learn more about Humanity+, please visit www.humanityplus.org.
Humanity+ is an international nonprofit membership organization which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities. Humanity+ supports the development of and access to new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies and better lives. In other words, Humanity+ wants people to be better than well. For more information visit humanityplus.org.
Parsons The New School for Design is a global leader in art and design education. Based in New York City but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. An integral part of The New School, Parsons builds on the university’s legacy of progressive ideals, scholarship, and pedagogy. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/parsons.
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Media Contacts:
Hal Hefner, Humanity+
Phone:             213-713-1219      
Email: hal@humanityplus.org
Kate McCormick, The New School
Phone:             212-229-5667       x3794
Email: mccork00@newschool.edu


ZarPaulus said...

I don't think psychological disorders are becoming more common, we're just "better" at diagnosing them and we've made insanity big business due to pharmaceuticals so we have reason to diagnose people.

Also, "autistism"?

George said...

Typo fixed.