Tag Archives: Transhumanism

Donald Marshall and Avatar 2045 project

I have studied this transhumanism and cloning agen for years and best info about it gives Donald Marshall. One of the key projects is called Avatar 2045, which turns us into clones controlled with microchips, sounds grazy? Just read about it.

Here’s more links to Donald Marshall info:

And here’s info about Avatar 2045 project:

According to their website, the main goals of the Avatar 2045 Initiative is to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, extending life to the point of immortality. They state that they hope to realize a new strategy for humanity’s development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling and satisfying future.

According to Marshall, Avatar 2045 is just another well-funded PR campaign using drip-feed disclosure to introduce the science of human cloning and microchip brain implant technology to the public which Marshall claims, members of the elite have secretly utilized for many decades.

According to Marshall, human cloning is not only possible, but has been practiced by the Illuminati since the 1940’s, when world leaders would send their human clones in public as a safety measure against assassinations. Today, he explains that a type of cloning technology called R.E.M. Driven Human Cloning is used to transfer full human consciousness into a clone copy during normal R.E.M. sleep cycles.

Marshall claims that this is accomplished by using blood or tissue samples to create an identical clone body stored in a remote location, and once that person is asleep, secret technology is used to transfer their consciousness to their clone double, complete with personality and memories intact. Marshall explains that this is the primary way the Illuminati communicate, by using the hours of sleep to meet in underground military bases, to discuss and plan future world events. Furthermore, he tells us that there are entire floors at each base where clone bodies are grown in large glass tubes, stored on stainless steel racks and activated when needed.

Marshall explains that once he falls asleep at night, and enters natural R.E.M. sleep, he opens his eyes to find himself in an identical clone body at a top secret military base, and he says he is trapped there until his anchor body wakes up, at which time, his clone body deactivates and drops to the floor. According to Marshall, he was 5 years old when he remembered being brought to the cloning center by his mother for the first time. He says he never remembered how he got there, only remembers being there. In fact, Marshall claims that many of those at the cloning center don’t fully understand how they get there, as only some are told the truth. Many are told that they are in another dimension, or on the astral plane. Very few are informed that they have been cloned and have had their consciousness transferred to a clone body kept and maintained at a top secret military base. In fact, when Marshall first posted his online expose in late 2011, many members read this and were angry to learn the truth for the first time.

According to Marshall, R.E.M. Cloning began as a way for world leaders to meet secretly and plan global events. However, these meetings gradually devolved into a sick, nightly spectacle where hundreds of Illuminati members gather to watch children and adults get hurt, tortured and murdered in bizarre ways. Marshall says that it makes Illuminati members feel powerful to watch horrible things done to innocent victims. Some members just pretend to enjoy the show, but secretly want out. Trapped by cloning technology into attending the cloning center every night, they see no way out. According to Marshall, every once in a while someone will speak out and say they don’t want to attend anymore. The Illuminati will then use them as an example for the others and they end up ruined, destroyed and in some cases, dead. Marshall hopes that by exposing the perverse activities that go on in underground military bases, the public will be outraged and demand an immediate stop to this depravity.

PROJECT AVATAR

According to Project Avatar, in less than 30 years, the public will embrace both human cloning and microchip implant technology, in which, they say, a human brain is transplanted at the end of one’s life into the body of an avatar, presumably, an enhanced clone version of yourself.

According to Marshall, this has already been done. He claims that in addition to human cloning, microchip implant technology was developed in order to attain immortality. In the 1940’s, a group of powerful elite wanted to live forever and they funded the research that led to microchip implant technology. By recording a person’s consciousness on a chip before they died, scientists were able to insert this microchip into a precise location and upload all of their memories into a clone brain. They found however, that using clones for microchip brain implants was not ideal, as clone behavior can become erratic and unreliable. The problem was solved by stealing the body of another. The stolen brain uploads the inserted memories and new programming begins to run. The victim has been successfully bodysnatched by microchip technology, allowing the dead to live on and on. These microchipheads now live among us, hopping from body to body, in essence, living forever.

As shown in the 2015 science fiction film Self/Less whereby using advanced technology, a wealthy, dying man uploads his memories into the brain of another, giving him more time to fulfill his potential. However, he discovers that immortality has some side effects when he begins to access his new brain’s previous memories and learns that a man was murdered in order to supply his new body.

It’s not science fiction, Marshall claims, but reality among elite members of the Illuminati who never die, but simply go on to the next body, this includes powerful world leaders, the rich and powerful, many royals and many well known celebrities who, according to Marshall still slither the earth wearing new bodies and identities.

However, according to Marshall, microchip implant technology is a dead-end tech, deeply flawed and cannot be corrected, despite decades of efforts by Illuminati scientists all over the world. For some reason, microchipheads have difficulty controlling basic impulses, and revert to primitive, caveman-like behavior, with a tendency to attack small children and engage in depraved acts of cannibalism. Which begs the question: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? According to Marshall, dead is better.

Marshall calls for a complete ban on all microchip brain implant technology, calling it immoral and unethical. One can only wonder why those that endorse the Avatar 2045 initiative would try to promote a technology they know is hopelessly flawed, unless they simply want to profit by creating a billion-dollar market selling immortality to those afraid to die.

Source

>> Project Avatar 2045 website

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DARPA’s New Biotech Division Wants to Create a Transhuman Future

Transhumanism is pushed in every corner of DARPA:

The Pentagon’s advanced research wing has announced its latest budget – and whoa, does DARPA ever have some ambitious plans for the future.

Their new Biotech unit will be harnessing biology for national security, and dealing with everything from stopping plagues to building synthetic soldiers. DARPA’s commitment to cutting-edge innovation is unquestioned.

The very essence of the defense agency is to make sure that U.S. military technology is more sophisticated than that of the nation’s rivals.

Among its many current initiatives, DARPA is working on,

In addition to these projects, DARPA has been busy at work on various biotechnology-related endeavors, but these attempts to date have lacked cohesion and focus.

Looking to change this, DARPA has announced the creation of its Biological Technologies Office (BTO) – an effort to,

“explore the the increasingly dynamic intersection of biology and the physical sciences.”

The new division will expand upon its Defense Sciences (DSO) and Microsystems Technology (MTO) Offices.

Speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives last week, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said that,

“Biology is nature’s ultimate innovator, and any agency that hangs its hat on innovation would be foolish not to look to this master of networked complexity for inspiration and solutions.”

Indeed, the new division will look into three incredibly promising research areas.

The Transhuman Soldier

A priority for DARPA is in restoring and maintaining the abilities of its war-fighters. It wants to maintain peak soldier abilities and then restore those abilities as soon as possible after an injury.

This will include the development of advanced prosthetics (featuring mind-controlled limbs), neural interfaces, the ability to survive blood loss, and even neurotechnological solutions to treat psychological trauma such as PTSD.

DARPA has already made tremendous strides in this area.

Speaking to NPR’s Marketplace, Prabhakar noted:

We had quadriplegic volunteers who agreed to have brain surgery, essentially have a small array placed on the surface of their brains, to pick up these neural signals for motor control, and then to use those to control these new, very sophisticated, robotic, prosthetic arms.

In a sense we’ve opened a door – a connection between the human brain and the rest of the world. You can let your imagination go wild about where that’s going to take us.

No doubt – many of these therapeutic technologies will be leveraged to enhance the capacities of soldiers.

For example, work on memory impairments is leading to new insights into the brain’s functioning. This will inform the development of technologies that will help soldiers interact with complex systems; future interfaces and tools will deliver information to soldiers in a way that’s easier for them to understand (which is a growing problem – our systems are starting to operate faster than human comprehension).

As Prabhakar says, there’s,

“going to be a future where we start learning radically new ways to interact between the complexity of the human brain and the complexity of the world around us.”

And with the introduction of its biochronicity program, DARPA could get a handle on human metabolism and aging, resulting in enhanced human combat performance and freakishly resilient soldiers (both in terms of resisting and recovering from physical injury and resistance to disease).

In addition, DARPA is looking to develop technologies that will identify and protect against infectious diseases, such as tools that will neutralize biological threats.

To Seek Out – And Create – New Life

The Pentagon also wants to dabble in artificial life as a way to create completely new biological systems, products, and materials.

It’s hoping to gain a better understanding of natural process and the underlying design rules that govern the behavior of biological systems, and then apply that knowledge to forward-engineer new systems and products with completely novel functionality.

This is particularly interesting news considering that biologists have recently built an artificial chromosome from scratch.

Once refined, this biotechnology will allow for the creation of entirely new organisms, while adding new capacities (or “features”) to existing ones – including humans. Imagine a soldier who never needs to sleep, requires minimal sustenance, or who has cat-like infrared vision.

Artificial chromosomes could pave the way towards this kind of future – technologies that could eventually trickle into the civilian domain (much like the Internet and GPS has – both military innovations).

Interestingly, this meshes well with DARPA’s existing BioDesign program which is studying the potential for synthetic organisms to be engineered for immortality and programmed with a kill switch that allows it to be turned off at any time.

This recently prompted Motherboard‘s Meghan Neal to ask,

“Why bother with mechanical robots when you can engineer fake human replicants to fight your battles?

We haven’t heard much about the Pentagon’s would-be synthetic soldiers since then, but the BioDesign program got a bump from $11.4 to $19.3 million in next year’s budget.”

As part of the BTO initiative, DARPA’s Living Foundries program will focus on:

…creating a biologically based manufacturing platform to provide rapid, scalable access to new materials with novel properties that can enable a new generation of mechanical, electrical, and optical products.

While its Chronicle of Lineage Indicative of Origins (CLIO) program aims to:

  • make biological engineering safer by establishing enduring control elements that protect against intentionally harmful genetic engineering

  • prevent illegal acquisition or misuse of proprietary strains,

  • provide novel forensic tools to assist in the investigation of biological incidents

  • allow responsible investigators to document compliance with safe biological manipulation practices

Preventing Plagues

Smartly, DARPA is also looking into ways of preventing and mitigating the effects of a global pandemic.

The complexity and unpredictability of outbreaks, it says, is a reflection of our poor understanding of the dynamics involved. In addition, the research agency wants to study larger biological and ecological phenomena, including population-level effects of relevance to agriculture and food security.

With its launch of BTO, DARPA says it also wants to consider the implications of what it’s doing.

To that end, DARPA will periodically converse with experts in these issues to discuss relevant ethical, legal, and social issues

Source

DARPA do Genetically Engineer Humans by Adding a 47th Chromosome

DARPA is just group of transhumanists, which want to turn humans into androids and robots:

We’re no molecular biologists over here,

but have you ever seen the sci-fi flick Gattaca?

In that 1997 film, society is structured around eugenics as people are bioengineered to be ‘perfect specimens’, and one’s entire life and position in the world is based on their genetics.

Those conceived naturally without genetic screening are proclaimed “invalid” and only allowed menial jobs, despite the innate talents and skills they may possess.

Alternately, the 2011 movie In Time portrays a dystopic future where humans are genetically programmed to stop aging at 25 and could live forever – so long as they earn enough “time credits” to afford to stay alive; the poor perish swiftly under an artificially skyrocketing cost of living that times out their clocks, while the rich who steer the technocracy are gaming the system and living indefinitely.

Such nightmare scenarios place obvious restrictions on the natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Back in reality, alarmingly similar ends are being pursued.

DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research arm, has just put out a new solicitation for a project called, “Advanced Tools for Mammalian Genome Engineering” on the government’s Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) site.

This project isn’t just for engineering any mammal’s genome, however; it’s specifically for the bioengineering of humans.

The proposal explains the project’s details:

“The ability to deliver exogenous DNA to mammalian cell lines is a fundamental tool in the development of advanced therapeutics, vaccines, and cellular diagnostics, as well as for basic biological and biomedical research…

The successful development of technologies for rapid introduction of large DNA vectors into human cell lines will enable the ability to engineer much more complex functionalities into human cell lines than are currently possible.”

The project’s stated objective is to,

“improve the utility of Human Artificial Chromosomes (HACs).”

(Gallows humor jokes about how DARPA wants to literally HAC(k) you can be made at any time.)

A Wikipedia entry explains in relatively plain language what a HAC is and what it does:

“A human artificial chromosome (HAC) is a microchromosome that can act as a new chromosome in a population of human cells.

That is, instead of 46 chromosomes, the cell could have 47 with the 47th being very small, roughly 6-10 megabases in size, and able to carry new genes introduced by human researchers.”

So DARPA and its team of associated scientists want to introduce an entirely new 47th chromosome into human genetics as a vector platform for inserting bio-alterations and wholesale genetic “improvements”  into our DNA.

The agency hopes that development of a new chromosome will allow a solution to the limitations of current “state-of-the-art” gene transfer technologies (including plasmids, adenovirus-, lentivirus-, and retrovirus-vectors, cDNA, and minigene constructs).

The proposal explains that existing approaches must be improved due to known drawbacks in the scientists’ failure to control their results, causing a few minor major problems:

“These include random DNA insertion into the host genome, variation in stable integration sites between cell lines, variation in the copy number and expression level of DNA that is delivered, limitations on the number and size of DNA constructs that can be delivered, and immunological responses to foreign DNA. “

Yet these techniques are already in use? How reassuring.

Ever hear the term ‘playing God’? Scientists who work in these fields not only refer to themselves as “genome engineers,” but “biological designers” in their journal articles.

This January 2013 piece in the journal Molecular Systems Biology introduces the topic with a chilling description:

“The phrase ‘genome-scale engineering’ invokes a future in which organisms are custom designed to serve humanity. Yet humans have sculpted the genomes of domesticated plants and animals for generations.

Darwin’s contemporary William Youatt described selective breeding as ‘that which enables the agriculturalist, not only to modify the character of his flock, but to change it altogether. It is the magician’s wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mold he pleases’ (Youatt, 1837).”

It’s impossible to even compile an accurate listing of all the potential slippery slopes at play here, yet it is clear that this entails a momentous grasp at controlling life, which not only empowers an already dictatorial technocratic elite, but emboldens a delusional and destructive cadre intent on overwriting the existing species now on Earth.

….

Through DARPA, our government funds a laundry list of projects to gain technocratic control of the future that reads more like a summary of the latest sci-fi horror film plots.

Case in point: just today it was reported “Secret DARPA Mind Control Project Revealed – Leaked Document“.

When looking at one DARPA project to perfect mind control techniques – or a second DARPA project to study the human hormone oxytocin to ‘improve’ our response to government propaganda – or a third DARPA brain interface project that would literally turn soldiers into cyborgs, it’s creepy enough.

However, when looking at all of these projects together as a combined effort… it raises chilling questions as to what kind of dystopic, technocratic future they are forcing us into.

These developments only include a small sampling of what we know is admittedly going on. Who knows what is actually taking place behind the scenes.

Exactly how many far-reaching and potentially disastrous implications of our government literally playing God are there?

Source

Here’s some videos about this agenda:

Top Transhumanist Claims He Will Become God and Kill Anyone Who Tries To Stop Him!!:

 

Richard Seed is a retired nuclear physicist. Richard Seed graduated cum laude from Harvard and received a Ph.D. in physics in 1953.

‘We are going to become Gods, period. {Through advancing technology.} If you don’t like it, get off. You don’t have to contribute, you don’t have to participate, but if you are going to interfere with me becoming a God, you’re going to have trouble. There’ll be warfare.’:

 

 

Ghost In The Machine

Do you know what singularity with computers mean? It’s time to find out and meet the guy called Raymond Kurzweil:

 

And here’s the article about Singularity:

Photo-Illustration

by Phillip Toledano for TIME

On Feb. 15, 1965, a diffident but self-possessed high school student named Raymond Kurzweil appeared as a guest on a game show called I’ve Got a Secret.

He was introduced by the host, Steve Allen, then he played a short musical composition on a piano. The idea was that Kurzweil was hiding an unusual fact and the panelists – they included a comedian and a former Miss America – had to guess what it was.

On the show (see the clip on YouTube), the beauty queen did a good job of grilling Kurzweil, but the comedian got the win: the music was composed by a computer. Kurzweil got $200.

Kurzweil then demonstrated the computer, which he built himself – a desk-size affair with loudly clacking relays, hooked up to a typewriter. The panelists were pretty blasé about it; they were more impressed by Kurzweil’s age than by anything he’d actually done.

They were ready to move on to Mrs. Chester Loney of Rough and Ready, Calif., whose secret was that she’d been President Lyndon Johnson’s first-grade teacher. But Kurzweil would spend much of the rest of his career working out what his demonstration meant.

Creating a work of art is one of those activities we reserve for humans and humans only. It’s an act of self-expression; you’re not supposed to be able to do it if you don’t have a self. To see creativity, the exclusive domain of humans, usurped by a computer built by a 17-year-old is to watch a line blur that cannot be unblurred, the line between organic intelligence and artificial intelligence.

That was Kurzweil’s real secret, and back in 1965 nobody guessed it. Maybe not even him, not yet. But now, 46 years later, Kurzweil believes that we’re approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity – our bodies, our minds, our civilization – will be completely and irreversibly transformed.

He believes that this moment is not only inevitable but imminent. According to his calculations, the end of human civilization as we know it is about 35 years away.


Computers are getting faster. Everybody knows that. Also, computers are getting faster faster – that is, the rate at which they’re getting faster is increasing.

True? True.

So if computers are getting so much faster, so incredibly fast, there might conceivably come a moment when they are capable of something comparable to human intelligence. Artificial intelligence.

All that horsepower could be put in the service of emulating whatever it is our brains are doing when they create consciousness – not just doing arithmetic very quickly or composing piano music but also driving cars, writing books, making ethical decisions, appreciating fancy paintings, making witty observations at cocktail parties.

If you can swallow that idea, and Kurzweil and a lot of other very smart people can, then all bets are off. From that point on, there’s no reason to think computers would stop getting more powerful. They would keep on developing until they were far more intelligent than we are. Their rate of development would also continue to increase, because they would take over their own development from their slower-thinking human creators.

Imagine a computer scientist that was itself a super-intelligent computer. It would work incredibly quickly. It could draw on huge amounts of data effortlessly. It wouldn’t even take breaks to play Farmville. Probably.

It’s impossible to predict the behavior of these smarter-than-human intelligences with which (with whom?) we might one day share the planet, because if you could, you’d be as smart as they would be.

But there are a lot of theories about it.

Maybe we’ll merge with them to become super-intelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities.

Maybe the artificial intelligences will help us treat the effects of old age and prolong our life spans indefinitely. Maybe we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually. Maybe the computers will turn on humanity and annihilate us. The one thing all these theories have in common is the transformation of our species into something that is no longer recognizable as such to humanity circa 2011.

This transformation has a name: the Singularity.

The difficult thing to keep sight of when you’re talking about the Singularity is that even though it sounds like science fiction, it isn’t, no more than a weather forecast is science fiction. It’s not a fringe idea; it’s a serious hypothesis about the future of life on Earth.

There’s an intellectual gag reflex that kicks in anytime you try to swallow an idea that involves super-intelligent immortal cyborgs, but suppress it if you can, because while the Singularity appears to be, on the face of it, preposterous, it’s an idea that rewards sober, careful evaluation.

People are spending a lot of money trying to understand it. The three-year-old Singularity University, which offers inter-disciplinary courses of study for graduate students and executives, is hosted by NASA. Google was a founding sponsor; its CEO and co-founder Larry Page spoke there last year. People are attracted to the Singularity for the shock value, like an intellectual freak show, but they stay because there’s more to it than they expected.

And of course, in the event that it turns out to be real, it will be the most important thing to happen to human beings since the invention of language. The Singularity isn’t a wholly new idea, just newish.

In 1965 the British mathematician I.J. Good described something he called an “intelligence explosion”:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever.

Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.

The word singularity is borrowed from astrophysics:

it refers to a point in space-time – for example, inside a black hole – at which the rules of ordinary physics do not apply.

In the 1980s the science-fiction novelist Vernor Vinge attached it to Good’s intelligence-explosion scenario.

At a NASA symposium in 1993, Vinge announced that,

“within 30 years, we will have the technological means to create super-human intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”

By that time Kurzweil was thinking about the Singularity too.

He’d been busy since his appearance on I’ve Got a Secret. He’d made several fortunes as an engineer and inventor; he founded and then sold his first software company while he was still at MIT. He went on to build the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind – Stevie Wonder was customer No. 1 – and made innovations in a range of technical fields, including music synthesizers and speech recognition.

He holds 39 patents and 19 honorary doctorates. In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Technology.

But Kurzweil was also pursuing a parallel career as a futurist: he has been publishing his thoughts about the future of human and machine-kind for 20 years, most recently in The Singularity Is Near, which was a best seller when it came out in 2005.

A documentary by the same name, starring Kurzweil, Tony Robbins and Alan Dershowitz, among others, was released in January. (Kurzweil is actually the subject of two current documentaries. The other one, less authorized but more informative, is called The Transcendent Man.)

Bill Gates has called him,

“the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”

In real life, the transcendent man is an unimposing figure who could pass for Woody Allen’s even nerdier younger brother.

Kurzweil grew up in Queens, N.Y., and you can still hear a trace of it in his voice. Now 62, he speaks with the soft, almost hypnotic calm of someone who gives 60 public lectures a year. As the Singularity’s most visible champion, he has heard all the questions and faced down the incredulity many, many times before. He’s good-natured about it.

His manner is almost apologetic:

I wish I could bring you less exciting news of the future, but I’ve looked at the numbers, and this is what they say, so what else can I tell you?

Kurzweil’s interest in humanity’s cyborganic destiny began about 1980 largely as a practical matter. He needed ways to measure and track the pace of technological progress.

Even great inventions can fail if they arrive before their time, and he wanted to make sure that when he released his, the timing was right.

“Even at that time, technology was moving quickly enough that the world was going to be different by the time you finished a project,” he says.

“So it’s like skeet shooting – you can’t shoot at the target.”

He knew about Moore’s law, of course, which states that the number of transistors you can put on a microchip doubles about every two years.

It’s a surprisingly reliable rule of thumb. Kurzweil tried plotting a slightly different curve:

the change over time in the amount of computing power, measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), that you can buy for $1,000.

As it turned out, Kurzweil’s numbers looked a lot like Moore’s. They doubled every couple of years.

Drawn as graphs, they both made exponential curves, with their value increasing by multiples of two instead of by regular increments in a straight line. The curves held eerily steady, even when Kurzweil extended his backward through the decades of pretransistor computing technologies like relays and vacuum tubes, all the way back to 1900.

Kurzweil then ran the numbers on a whole bunch of other key technological indexes – the falling cost of manufacturing transistors, the rising clock speed of microprocessors, the plummeting price of dynamic RAM. He looked even further afield at trends in biotech and beyond – the falling cost of sequencing DNA and of wireless data service and the rising numbers of Internet hosts and nanotechnology patents.

He kept finding the same thing: exponentially accelerating progress.

“It’s really amazing how smooth these trajectories are,” he says. “Through thick and thin, war and peace, boom times and recessions.”

Kurzweil calls it the law of accelerating returns:

technological progress happens exponentially, not linearly.

Then he extended the curves into the future, and the growth they predicted was so phenomenal, it created cognitive resistance in his mind. Exponential curves start slowly, then rocket skyward toward infinity.

According to Kurzweil, we’re not evolved to think in terms of exponential growth.

“It’s not intuitive. Our built-in predictors are linear. When we’re trying to avoid an animal, we pick the linear prediction of where it’s going to be in 20 seconds and what to do about it. That is actually hardwired in our brains.”

Here’s what the exponential curves told him. We will successfully reverse-engineer the human brain by the mid-2020s.

By the end of that decade, computers will be capable of human-level intelligence. Kurzweil puts the date of the Singularity – never say he’s not conservative – at 2045. In that year, he estimates, given the vast increases in computing power and the vast reductions in the cost of same, the quantity of artificial intelligence created will be about a billion times the sum of all the human intelligence that exists today.

The Singularity isn’t just an idea. It attracts people, and those people feel a bond with one another.

Together they form a movement, a subculture; Kurzweil calls it a community. Once you decide to take the Singularity seriously, you will find that you have become part of a small but intense and globally distributed hive of like-minded thinkers known as Singularitarians.

Not all of them are Kurzweilians, not by a long chalk. There’s room inside Singularitarianism for considerable diversity of opinion about what the Singularity means and when and how it will or won’t happen.

But Singularitarians share a worldview.

They think in terms of deep time, they believe in the power of technology to shape history, they have little interest in the conventional wisdom about anything, and they cannot believe you’re walking around living your life and watching TV as if the artificial-intelligence revolution were not about to erupt and change absolutely everything.

They have no fear of sounding ridiculous; your ordinary citizen’s distaste for apparently absurd ideas is just an example of irrational bias, and Singularitarians have no truck with irrationality.

When you enter their mind-space you pass through an extreme gradient in worldview, a hard ontological shear that separates Singularitarians from the common run of humanity. Expect turbulence.

In addition to the Singularity University, which Kurzweil co-founded, there’s also a Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI), based in San Francisco. It counts among its advisers Peter Thiel, a former CEO of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. The institute holds an annual conference called the Singularity Summit. (Kurzweil co-founded that too.)

Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of Singularity theory, it attracts a diverse crowd. Artificial intelligence is the main event, but the sessions also cover the galloping progress of, among other fields, genetics and nanotechnology.

At the 2010 summit, which took place in August in San Francisco, there were not just computer scientists but also psychologists, neuroscientists, nanotechnologists, molecular biologists, a specialist in wearable computers, a professor of emergency medicine, an expert on cognition in gray parrots and the professional magician and debunker James “the Amazing” Randi.

The atmosphere was a curious blend of Davos and UFO convention. Proponents of seasteading – the practice, so far mostly theoretical, of establishing politically autonomous floating communities in international waters – handed out pamphlets. An android chatted with visitors in one corner.

After artificial intelligence, the most talked-about topic at the 2010 summit was life extension.

Biological boundaries that most people think of as permanent and inevitable Singularitarians see as merely intractable but solvable problems. Death is one of them. Old age is an illness like any other, and what do you do with illnesses? You cure them. Like a lot of Singularitarian ideas, it sounds funny at first, but the closer you get to it, the less funny it seems. It’s not just wishful thinking; there’s actual science going on here.

For example, it’s well known that one cause of the physical degeneration associated with aging involves telomeres, which are segments of DNA found at the ends of chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter, and once a cell runs out of telomeres, it can’t reproduce anymore and dies. But there’s an enzyme called telomerase that reverses this process; it’s one of the reasons cancer cells live so long.

So why not treat regular non-cancerous cells with telomerase?

In November, researchers at Harvard Medical School announced in Nature that they had done just that. They administered telomerase to a group of mice suffering from age-related degeneration. The damage went away.

The mice didn’t just get better; they got younger.

Aubrey de Grey is one of the world’s best-known life-extension researchers and a Singularity Summit veteran. A British biologist with a doctorate from Cambridge and a famously formidable beard, de Grey runs a foundation called SENS, or Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence.

He views aging as a process of accumulating damage, which he has divided into seven categories, each of which he hopes to one day address using regenerative medicine.

“People have begun to realize that the view of aging being something immutable – rather like the heat death of the universe – is simply ridiculous,” he says.

“It’s just childish. The human body is a machine that has a bunch of functions, and it accumulates various types of damage as a side effect of the normal function of the machine. Therefore in principal that damage can be repaired periodically.

This is why we have vintage cars. It’s really just a matter of paying attention. The whole of medicine consists of messing about with what looks pretty inevitable until you figure out how to make it not inevitable.”

Kurzweil takes life extension seriously too.

His father, with whom he was very close, died of heart disease at 58. Kurzweil inherited his father’s genetic predisposition; he also developed Type 2 diabetes when he was 35. Working with Terry Grossman, a doctor who specializes in longevity medicine, Kurzweil has published two books on his own approach to life extension, which involves taking up to 200 pills and supplements a day.

He says his diabetes is essentially cured, and although he’s 62 years old from a chronological perspective, he estimates that his biological age is about 20 years younger.

But his goal differs slightly from de Grey’s. For Kurzweil, it’s not so much about staying healthy as long as possible; it’s about staying alive until the Singularity. It’s an attempted handoff. Once hyper-intelligent artificial intelligences arise, armed with advanced nanotechnology, they’ll really be able to wrestle with the vastly complex, systemic problems associated with aging in humans.

Alternatively, by then we’ll be able to transfer our minds to sturdier vessels such as computers and robots. He and many other Singularitarians take seriously the proposition that many people who are alive today will wind up being functionally immortal.

It’s an idea that’s radical and ancient at the same time.

In “Sailing to Byzantium,” W.B. Yeats describes mankind’s fleshly predicament as a soul fastened to a dying animal. Why not unfasten it and fasten it to an immortal robot instead?

But Kurzweil finds that life extension produces even more resistance in his audiences than his exponential growth curves.

“There are people who can accept computers being more intelligent than people,” he says.

“But the idea of significant changes to human longevity – that seems to be particularly controversial. People invested a lot of personal effort into certain philosophies dealing with the issue of life and death. I mean, that’s the major reason we have religion.”

Of course, a lot of people think the Singularity is nonsense – a fantasy, wishful thinking, a Silicon Valley version of the Evangelical story of the Rapture, spun by a man who earns his living making outrageous claims and backing them up with pseudoscience.

Most of the serious critics focus on the question of whether a computer can truly become intelligent.

The entire field of artificial intelligence, or AI, is devoted to this question. But AI doesn’t currently produce the kind of intelligence we associate with humans or even with talking computers in movies – HAL or C3PO or Data.

Actual AIs tend to be able to master only one highly specific domain, like interpreting search queries or playing chess. They operate within an extremely specific frame of reference. They don’t make conversation at parties. They’re intelligent, but only if you define intelligence in a vanishingly narrow way.

The kind of intelligence Kurzweil is talking about, which is called strong AI or artificial general intelligence, doesn’t exist yet.

Why not? Obviously we’re still waiting on all that exponentially growing computing power to get here.

But it’s also possible that there are things going on in our brains that can’t be duplicated electronically no matter how many MIPS you throw at them. The neurochemical architecture that generates the ephemeral chaos we know as human consciousness may just be too complex and analog to replicate in digital silicon.

The biologist Dennis Bray was one of the few voices of dissent at last summer’s Singularity Summit.

“Although biological components act in ways that are comparable to those in electronic circuits,” he argued, in a talk titled ‘What Cells Can Do That Robots Can’t,’ “they are set apart by the huge number of different states they can adopt.

Multiple biochemical processes create chemical modifications of protein molecules, further diversified by association with distinct structures at defined locations of a cell.

The resulting combinatorial explosion of states endows living systems with an almost infinite capacity to store information regarding past and present conditions and a unique capacity to prepare for future events.”

That makes the ones and zeros that computers trade in look pretty crude.

Underlying the practical challenges are a host of philosophical ones. Suppose we did create a computer that talked and acted in a way that was indistinguishable from a human being – in other words, a computer that could pass the Turing test. (Very loosely speaking, such a computer would be able to pass as human in a blind test.)

Would that mean that the computer was sentient, the way a human being is? Or would it just be an extremely sophisticated but essentially mechanical automaton without the mysterious spark of consciousness – a machine with no ghost in it? And how would we know?

Even if you grant that the Singularity is plausible, you’re still staring at a thicket of unanswerable questions.

  • If I can scan my consciousness into a computer, am I still me?

  • What are the geopolitics and the socioeconomics of the Singularity?

  • Who decides who gets to be immortal?

  • Who draws the line between sentient and non-sentient?

  • And as we approach immortality, omniscience and omnipotence, will our lives still have meaning?

  • By beating death, will we have lost our essential humanity?

Kurzweil admits that there’s a fundamental level of risk associated with the Singularity that’s impossible to refine away, simply because we don’t know what a highly advanced artificial intelligence, finding itself a newly created inhabitant of the planet Earth, would choose to do.

It might not feel like competing with us for resources. One of the goals of the Singularity Institute is to make sure not just that artificial intelligence develops but also that the AI is friendly. You don’t have to be a super-intelligent cyborg to understand that introducing a superior life-form into your own biosphere is a basic Darwinian error.

If the Singularity is coming, these questions are going to get answers whether we like it or not, and Kurzweil thinks that trying to put off the Singularity by banning technologies is not only impossible but also unethical and probably dangerous.

“It would require a totalitarian system to implement such a ban,” he says.

“It wouldn’t work. It would just drive these technologies underground, where the responsible scientists who we’re counting on to create the defenses would not have easy access to the tools.”

Kurzweil is an almost inhumanly patient and thorough debater. He relishes it.

He’s tireless in hunting down his critics so that he can respond to them, point by point, carefully and in detail.

Take the question of whether computers can replicate the biochemical complexity of an organic brain. Kurzweil yields no ground there whatsoever. He does not see any fundamental difference between flesh and silicon that would prevent the latter from thinking. He defies biologists to come up with a neurological mechanism that could not be modeled or at least matched in power and flexibility by software running on a computer.

He refuses to fall on his knees before the mystery of the human brain.

“Generally speaking,” he says, “the core of a disagreement I’ll have with a critic is, they’ll say, Oh, Kurzweil is underestimating the complexity of reverse-engineering of the human brain or the complexity of biology. But I don’t believe I’m underestimating the challenge. I think they’re underestimating the power of exponential growth.”

This position doesn’t make Kurzweil an outlier, at least among Singularitarians.

Plenty of people make more-extreme predictions. Since 2005 the neuroscientist Henry Markram has been running an ambitious initiative at the Brain Mind Institute of the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s called the Blue Brain project, and it’s an attempt to create a neuron-by-neuron simulation of a mammalian brain, using IBM’s Blue Gene super-computer.

So far, Markram’s team has managed to simulate one neocortical column from a rat’s brain, which contains about 10,000 neurons.

Markram has said that he hopes to have a complete virtual human brain up and running in 10 years. (Even Kurzweil sniffs at this. If it worked, he points out, you’d then have to educate the brain, and who knows how long that would take?)

By definition, the future beyond the Singularity is not knowable by our linear, chemical, animal brains, but Kurzweil is teeming with theories about it.

He positively flogs himself to think bigger and bigger; you can see him kicking against the confines of his aging organic hardware.

“When people look at the implications of ongoing exponential growth, it gets harder and harder to accept,” he says.

“So you get people who really accept, yes, things are progressing exponentially, but they fall off the horse at some point because the implications are too fantastic. I’ve tried to push myself to really look.”

In Kurzweil’s future, biotechnology and nanotechnology give us the power to manipulate our bodies and the world around us at will, at the molecular level.

Progress hyper-accelerates, and every hour brings a century’s worth of scientific breakthroughs. We ditch Darwin and take charge of our own evolution. The human genome becomes just so much code to be bug-tested and optimized and, if necessary, rewritten. Indefinite life extension becomes a reality; people die only if they choose to. Death loses its sting once and for all.

Kurzweil hopes to bring his dead father back to life.

We can scan our consciousnesses into computers and enter a virtual existence or swap our bodies for immortal robots and light out for the edges of space as intergalactic godlings. Within a matter of centuries, human intelligence will have re-engineered and saturated all the matter in the universe. This is, Kurzweil believes, our destiny as a species.

Or it isn’t. When the big questions get answered, a lot of the action will happen where no one can see it, deep inside the black silicon brains of the computers, which will either bloom bit by bit into conscious minds or just continue in ever more brilliant and powerful iterations of nonsentience.

But as for the minor questions, they’re already being decided all around us and in plain sight. The more you read about the Singularity, the more you start to see it peeking out at you, coyly, from unexpected directions. Five years ago we didn’t have 600 million humans carrying out their social lives over a single electronic network.

Now we have Facebook. Five years ago you didn’t see people double-checking what they were saying and where they were going, even as they were saying it and going there, using handheld network-enabled digital prosthetics.

Now we have iPhones. Is it an unimaginable step to take the iPhones out of our hands and put them into our skulls?

Already 30,000 patients with Parkinson’s disease have neural implants. Google is experimenting with computers that can drive cars. There are more than 2,000 robots fighting in Afghanistan alongside the human troops. This month a game show will once again figure in the history of artificial intelligence, but this time the computer will be the guest: an IBM super-computer nicknamed Watson will compete on Jeopardy!

Watson runs on 90 servers and takes up an entire room, and in a practice match in January it finished ahead of two former champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

It got every question it answered right, but much more important, it didn’t need help understanding the questions (or, strictly speaking, the answers), which were phrased in plain English. Watson isn’t strong AI, but if strong AI happens, it will arrive gradually, bit by bit, and this will have been one of the bits.

A hundred years from now, Kurzweil and de Grey and the others could be the 22nd century’s answer to the Founding Fathers – except unlike the Founding Fathers, they’ll still be alive to get credit – or their ideas could look as hilariously retro and dated as Disney’s Tomorrowland.

Nothing gets old as fast as the future.

But even if they’re dead wrong about the future, they’re right about the present. They’re taking the long view and looking at the big picture. You may reject every specific article of the Singularitarian charter, but you should admire Kurzweil for taking the future seriously. Singularitarianism is grounded in the idea that change is real and that humanity is in charge of its own fate and that history might not be as simple as one damn thing after another.

Kurzweil likes to point out that your average cell phone is about a millionth the size of, a millionth the price of and a thousand times more powerful than the computer he had at MIT 40 years ago.

Flip that forward 40 years and what does the world look like? If you really want to figure that out, you have to think very, very far outside the box.

Or maybe you have to think further inside it than anyone ever has before.

SIM Card Man Even Closer

Little bit more about Nigel Kerner’s Cim Card Man:

Image of a moth with a SIM computer chip attached to it's back

SIM Card Man Even Closer

sources:
‘Part moth, part machine: Cyborgs are on the move
‘Cyborgs walk like a lamprey, dance like a moth’
by Duncan Graham – Rowe
New Scientist 3rd November 2010

 

By tapping into the mind of a sex-mad moth or the spine of a lamprey,
robots can track scents or walk like a living organism.

A MALE silk moth gets a whiff of pheromones and begins a complex search pattern to track down a potential mate – a brief surge forward, an intricate zigzag, a sweeping loop. For this deluded moth there is no female to find, and its movements are enacted by a wheeled robot plugged into its lovesick brain.

This cyborg moth is the latest demonstration of how scientists coax complex behaviour from robots by tapping into the nervous systems of living organisms, co-opting algorithms that already exist in nature. “Biological organisms can solve problems that are too difficult for computer engineers,” says Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi, a pioneer in the field at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

The mothborg’s dance is a strategy to locate the source of the pheromone. Chemical plume tracking, as mathematicians call it, could prove very useful for sniffing out explosives. Programming machines to track a chemical plume efficiently is still too challenging, says mothborg creator Atsushi Takashima at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. He recently presented the research at the International Conference on Intelligent Robotic Systems in Taipei, Taiwan. “Chemicals do not make a smooth gradient in the air,” he says. But these insects have evolved mechanisms for solving the task even when the weather is windy.

Takashima and colleagues immobilised their moth on a small wheeled robot and placed two recording electrodes into nerves running down its neck to monitor commands the moth uses to steer. By rerouting these signals to motors in the robot, they found that they could emulate the moth’s plume-tracking behaviour.

Over the last decade similar techniques have been used to create a menagerie of cyborgs, from fish-brained bots that can follow a light source to living automata, such as rats and cockroaches, that can be steered with a remote-controlled zap to the brain.

Piggy-backing a live organism on a robot is less than ideal, so the goal is to recreate biological circuits in silicon, says Mussa-Ivaldi. This is difficult, as it is not clear how individual neurons work, let alone vast circuits of them. But some progress has been made, in particular with central pattern generators (CPGs): self-contained oscillating circuits that exist in the spines of many vertebrates and which are involved in locomotion. CPGs are among many types of behavioural circuits in the brain and spine that carry out routine tasks for us, allowing us to walk or grasp an object with little or no conscious input.

Ralph Etienne-Cummings at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has used recordings of CPGs taken from a lamprey to generate walking motions in a pair of robotic legs, which he calls RedBot. While lampreys can’t walk themselves, of course, their CPGs are similar to the human CPGs that create rhythmic commands to drive our leg muscles. In RedBot, Etienne-Cummings has demonstrated that lamprey CPG signals can be used to create natural gaits – walking, running and going up steps, adapting in real time to a changing environment.

However, for Etienne-Cummings and colleagues, RedBot is merely a stepping stone. Their aim is to replicate the circuits in a chip and implant it into people with spinal injuries so that they can walk again. They have already shown this is possible in paralysed cats.

While reproducing human brain circuitry in any detail is still a long way off, Shigeru Sakurazawa and colleagues at the Future University Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan, have found a way to tap into the human nervous system as a whole, and without so much as a scalpel. An on-screen robot navigating a simple maze takes inputs from skin sensors worn by an observer.

As the robot bumbles about its simulated environment, the skin sensors detect when the person anticipates an impending collision, and the software uses these signals to alter the robot’s behaviour.

The distinction between first-person and third-person becomes very confusing for the volunteer who is rigged up to the robot, says Sakurazawa. To anyone else watching, the “skin-bot” seems, well, less robotic.

Source