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 Details of Control Sought (Nat'l Science Foundation Sponsored Rpt)

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PostSubject: Details of Control Sought (Nat'l Science Foundation Sponsored Rpt)   Thu 19 Jul 2012, 4:44 pm

Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converging_Technologies_for_Improving_Human_Performance

"Understanding of the mind and brain will enable the creation of a new species of intelligent machine systems that can generate economic wealth on a scale hitherto unimaginable. Within a half-century, intelligent machines might create the wealth needed to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, a clean environment, and physical and financial security for the entire world population. Intelligent machines may eventually generate the production capacity to support universal prosperity and financial security for all human beings. Thus, the engineering of the mind is much more than the pursuit of scientific curiosity. It is more even than a monumental technological challenge. It is an opportunity to eradicate poverty and usher in the golden age for all humankind."



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http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_report.pdf

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PostSubject: Re: Details of Control Sought (Nat'l Science Foundation Sponsored Rpt)   Thu 19 Jul 2012, 4:52 pm

Here's a presentation about the report given by Mihail Roco.... just browse thru the slides as it will give you an idea of the breath and depth of the controls being designed..

http://www.scribd.com/doc/100545060

In particular, checkout slide #7, where it discusses NBIC convergence within the "human technological system", which includes the following:

- Nanotechnology
- Biotechnology
- Information Technology
- Cognitive Science – leading to new technologies based on computer science, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, economics, sociology, etc.

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PostSubject: Re: Details of Control Sought (Nat'l Science Foundation Sponsored Rpt)   Thu 19 Jul 2012, 4:55 pm

Jean-Pierre Dupuy comments on the report in his paper "DO WE SHAPE TECHNOLOGIES, OR DO THEY SHAPE US?", which I posted in another thread here...

The socio -economic analysis is of an incredible poverty. There are no social dynamics or forces, only individual behaviour that can be predicted and corrected if need be – for instance, disruptive behaviour, terrorist acts, etc. The inflow of d ollars is the only driver. The role of the government is to set the conditions for private initiatives to flourish while ensuring public acceptance.

The major impediment is ethics, that is, our current ethics, conservative and overcautious. The report looks forward to a possible radical change in ethics, akin to a transformation of civilization, thanks to which "the acceptance of brain implants, the role of robots in human society, and the ambiguity of death" will conform to new principles.

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PostSubject: Re: Details of Control Sought (Nat'l Science Foundation Sponsored Rpt)   Thu 19 Jul 2012, 4:59 pm

What utopia can technology deliver?
http://www.zdnet.com/news/what-utopia-can-technology-deliver/296365

In addition to compiling various futuristic scenarios, the report calls for harnessing the converging strands of science and technology to transform society and bring about a golden age: "Understanding of the mind and brain will enable the creation of a new species of intelligent machine systems that can generate economic wealth on a scale hitherto unimaginable. Within a half-century, intelligent machines might create the wealth needed to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, a clean environment, and physical and financial security for the entire world population. Intelligent machines may eventually generate the production capacity to support universal prosperity and financial security for all human beings. Thus, the engineering of the mind is much more than the pursuit of scientific curiosity. It is more even than a monumental technological challenge. It is an opportunity to eradicate poverty and usher in the golden age for all human kind."

The path to this utopian vision of the future is the synergistic combination of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science (under the acronym NBIC). Among the possible technological achievements envisioned are brain-to-brain interaction, direct brain control of devices via neuromorphic engineering, retarding the aging process, elimination of communications barriers due to disability or language, and invulnerable data networks.

At the more extreme and controversial end of the spectrum, the report predicts routine brain implants, political rights for robots (will they earn the right to vote in presidential elections?), and the capability for people to extend their personalities into cyberspace by uploading them to the "Solar System Wide Web."

The report also discusses the development of predictive science that could anticipate social changes and apply corrective actions, perhaps similar to the precogs in "Minority Report". It also envisions the capability to ingest megabytes of knowledge about any topic in moments by enhancing sensory perception, a la the "Matrix".

In a more pragmatic vein, convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and cognitive science could result in cosmetics that change with the user's moods, enhancing emotional expressiveness. I am not sure about the practical application of that feature, but clothing fabrics that adjust automatically to changing temperatures and weather would be nice to have. Embedded sensors and nanoscale robots that monitor your health and make appropriate adjustments to keep you in optimal condition would be great, especially if they could dramatically improve our health care system.

Solving all the world's problems through this convergence of science and technology requires a large stretch of the imagination, as do many of the concepts in the report. While I am fascinated by the science, the notion that "humanity would become like a single, transcendent nervous system, an interconnected 'brain' based in new core pathways of society," as suggested by the report's primary authors, is hard to buy.

++++

I spoke with one of the authors, Dr. James Canton, to get a better understanding of the goals of the report. Canton, who is president of the Institute for Global Futures, a San Francisco-based think tank, called the report a work in progress.

"This is an optimal view of the future, not necessarily a Realpolitik of the future," Canton said. "We are trying to envision what we want to design for the future world of the next 20 years. If we don't put a stake in the ground and take innovation leadership, we can't work toward it. If we have a vision, we have the ability to transform large social systems. We are at the beginning of the process, but we want to give people a heads-up with the report and invite them to come along for the ride."

NSF and the Department of Commerce prepared the first report on converging technologies for improving human performance in 2002


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