Started the day treated to a world premiere of a new video – by the group who created the Inner Life of a Cell, there is now a similar video that shows the workings of mitochondria and atp production.
A few other highlights:
Aubrey DeGrey described a role for citizen scientists to aid the work on anti-aging: improve the accuracy of media coverage by evaluating carefully and publicly reacting to press accounts of “breakthroughs” (many of which are not really). This keeps things realistic and reduces the fuel for the anti-hype side which can slow public acceptance.
Morris Johnson talked about applying a methodology from business (HAACP) to medical care. You would have complete control over your medical care and set up a plan that included monitoring. This vision would involve, among other things, reform of the FDA to make it more of a service than a regulatory agency. He spoke of treating individuals the way we treat “accredited investors” when it comes to making their own health care decisions.
George Devorsky proposed that the basis for moral worth should be subjective awareness, which he distinguished from pure intelligence, and that the ethical and legal framework for this should be put in place now before we create such intelligences. Self-aware entities would have rights such as not being experimented upon without consent, not being shut off, not having source code modified without consent, right to privacy etc.–basically equivalents of human rights we expect today.
Patrick Hopkins’ presentation was entitled “Why Uploading Will Not Work” and he started by stating that he hopes he is wrong. He discussed the problems of mind transfer in that the uploading ideas we talk about are really mind “copying” (i.e. “we” don’t really go on the trip). The philosophical problem of whether the mind or consciousness is something that can be “located” in our brain or elsewhere has been wrestled with for ages and he believes that we have inherited a lot of these ideas from religion, whether or not we consider ourselves religious. He concludes that since copying does not preserve identity, we will not really able to upload, but will just copy our patterns to a different substrate.
JoAnn Kuchera Morin is the director of the Allosphere and she showed an incredible video with some of the visualization projects from it. It takes real data from scientific experiences and presents it in 3D artistic rendering with sound that can be “explored” by the people standing on a bridge in the middle of the 3 story sphere. She talked about how the ability to control and manipulate data with your intuitive side in a multi-modal format helps you to be creative and understand more deeply.
Rob Tercek discussed the transhumanism movement and what it needs to do to generate support and understanding of the masses. HIs talk “What Geeks Can Learn From Gurus” laid out all the bad memes in pop culture that are working against transhumanism and the factions that will naturally work against it. He recommended four basic steps to take to generate popular interest and support that is needed to move these ideas forward:
1. Make it easy to follow and well-defined (and be honest about the challenges)
2. Establish rapport – eliminate jargon, tell human stories, minimize weirdness, emphasize benefits to regular people and link your values to theirs
3. Harness emotional energy – fear is not rational; respect it and convert it into fuel for change; show how improvements will increase pleasure and decrease pain
4. Inspire action – talk about today – there is not enough urgency for action in the distant future; become role models;
start talking about destiny and moral imperative!