To Be a Machine

Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

Author: Mark O'Connell

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 110191159X

Category: Computers

Page: 256

View: 3467

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"A globe-spanning investigation into the Transhumanist movement, considering the tech billionaires, scientific luminaries, and DIY body-hackers attempting to prolong, improve, and ultimately transcend the limits of human life"--

To Be a Machine

Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving theModest Problem of Death

Author: Mark O'Connell

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 0385540426

Category: Computers

Page: 256

View: 6311

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“This gonzo-journalistic exploration of the Silicon Valley techno-utopians’ pursuit of escaping mortality is a breezy romp full of colorful characters.” —New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice) Transhumanism is a movement pushing the limits of our bodies—our capabilities, intelligence, and lifespans—in the hopes that, through technology, we can become something better than ourselves. It has found support among Silicon Valley billionaires and some of the world’s biggest businesses. In To Be a Machine, journalist Mark O'Connell explores the staggering possibilities and moral quandaries that present themselves when you of think of your body as a device. He visits the world's foremost cryonics facility to witness how some have chosen to forestall death. He discovers an underground collective of biohackers, implanting electronics under their skin to enhance their senses. He meets a team of scientists urgently investigating how to protect mankind from artificial superintelligence. Where is our obsession with technology leading us? What does the rise of AI mean not just for our offices and homes, but for our humanity? Could the technologies we create to help us eventually bring us to harm? Addressing these questions, O'Connell presents a profound, provocative, often laugh-out-loud-funny look at an influential movement. In investigating what it means to be a machine, he offers a surprising meditation on what it means to be human.

To Be a Machine

Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

Author: Mark O'Connell

Publisher: Granta Books

ISBN: 1783781971

Category: Computers

Page: 241

View: 7693

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WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2018 Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2017 A stunning new non-fiction voice tackles an urgent question... what next for mankind? 'Troubling and humorous, this is one of my current give-it-to-everyone books - I buy six copies at a time' Jeanette Winterson

The Gene Machine

How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids--and the Kids We Have

Author: Bonnie Rochman

Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374713960

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 288

View: 4534

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A sharp-eyed exploration of the promise and peril of having children in an age of genetic tests and interventions Is screening for disease in an embryo a humane form of family planning or a slippery slope toward eugenics? Should doctors tell you that your infant daughter is genetically predisposed to breast cancer? If tests revealed that your toddler has a genetic mutation whose significance isn’t clear, would you want to know? In The Gene Machine, the award-winning journalist Bonnie Rochman deftly explores these hot-button questions, guiding us through the new frontier of gene technology and how it is transforming medicine, bioethics, health care, and the factors that shape a family. Rochman tells the stories of scientists working to unlock the secrets of the human genome; genetic counselors and spiritual advisers guiding mothers and fathers through life-changing choices; and, of course, parents (including Rochman herself) grappling with revelations that are sometimes joyous, sometimes heartbreaking, but always profound. She navigates the dizzying and constantly expanding array of prenatal and postnatal tests, from carrier screening to genome sequencing, while considering how access to more tests is altering perceptions of disability and changing the conversation about what sort of life is worth living and who draws the line. Along the way, she highlights the most urgent ethical quandary: Is this technology a triumph of modern medicine or a Pandora’s box of possibilities? Propelled by human narratives and meticulously reported, The Gene Machine is both a scientific road map and a meditation on our power to shape the future. It is a book that gets to the very core of what it means to be human.

The Mark and the Void

A Novel

Author: Paul Murray

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374712980

Category: Fiction

Page: 480

View: 9073

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What links the Investment Bank of Torabundo, www.myhotswaitress.com (yes, with an s, don't ask), an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a six-year-old boy with the unfortunate name of Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB agent? The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray's madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original breakout hit, Skippy Dies. While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul's fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul's plan is not what it seems—and neither is Claude's employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until—well, you can probably guess how that shakes out. The Mark and the Void is the funniest novel ever written about the recent financial crisis, and a stirring examination of the deceptions carried out in the names of art and commerce.

Mayhem

Author: Sigrid Rausing

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0451493125

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 224

View: 4353

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A searingly powerful memoir about the impact of addiction on a family. In the summer of 2012 a woman named Eva was found dead in the London townhouse she shared with her husband, Hans K. Rausing. The couple had struggled with drug addiction for years, often under the glare of tabloid headlines. Now, writing with singular clarity and restraint, Hans' sister, the editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing, tries to make sense of what happened. In Mayhem, she asks the difficult questions those close to the world of addiction must face. "Who can help the addict, consumed by a shaming hunger, a need beyond control? There is no medicine: the drugs are the medicine. And who can help their families, so implicated in the self-destruction of the addict? Who can help when the very notion of 'help' becomes synonymous with an exercise of power; a familial police state; an end to freedom, in the addict's mind?" An eloquent and timely attempt to understand the conundrum of addiction--and a memoir as devastating as it is riveting.

Ten Billion

Author: Stephen Emmott

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0345806468

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 4905

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A VINTAGE ORIGINAL Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth. There are now over seven billion of us. And, sometime this century, the world population will reach at least ten billion. Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. The driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us. As the population continues to grow, our problems will increase. And this means that every way we look at it, a planet of ten billion people is likely to be a nightmare. Stephen Emmott, a scientist whose lab is at the forefront of research into complex natural systems, sounds the alarm. TEN BILLION is a snapshot of our planet, and our species, approaching a crisis, and a stark analysis of where this leaves us. TEN BILLION is not another climate book. TEN BILLION is a book about us.

The Transhumanist Reader

Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future

Author: Max More,Natasha Vita-More

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118555996

Category: Medical

Page: 480

View: 7983

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The first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations. Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns. Edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism, The Transhumanist Reader is an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature.

Beyond Infinity

An expedition to the outer limits of the mathematical universe

Author: Eugenia Cheng

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782830812

Category: Mathematics

Page: 204

View: 7343

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE Even small children know there are infinitely many whole numbers - start counting and you'll never reach the end. But there are also infinitely many decimal numbers between zero and one. Are these two types of infinity the same? Are they larger or smaller than each other? Can we even talk about 'larger' and 'smaller' when we talk about infinity? In Beyond Infinity, international maths sensation Eugenia Cheng reveals the inner workings of infinity. What happens when a new guest arrives at your infinite hotel - but you already have an infinite number of guests? How does infinity give Zeno's tortoise the edge in a paradoxical foot-race with Achilles? And can we really make an infinite number of cookies from a finite amount of cookie dough? Wielding an armoury of inventive, intuitive metaphor, Cheng draws beginners and enthusiasts alike into the heart of this mysterious, powerful concept to reveal fundamental truths about mathematics, all the way from the infinitely large down to the infinitely small.

Dolphin Confidential

Confessions of a Field Biologist

Author: Maddalena Bearzi

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226040186

Category: Science

Page: 216

View: 7911

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Who hasn’t fantasized about the unique thrill of working among charismatic and clever dolphins in the wild? Now we no longer have to rely solely on our imaginations . With Dolphin Confidential, Maddalena Bearzi invites all of us shore-bound dreamers to join her and travel alongside the dolphins. In this fascinating account, she takes us inside the world of a marine scientist and offers a firsthand understanding of marine mammal behavior, as well as the frustrations, delights, and creativity that make up dolphin research. In this intimate narrative, Bearzi recounts her experiences at sea, tracing her own evolution as a woman and a scientist from her earliest travails to her transformation into an advocate for conservation and dolphin protection. These compelling, in-depth descriptions of her fieldwork also present a captivating look into dolphin social behavior and intelligence. The central part of the book is devoted to the metropolitan bottlenose dolphins of California, as Bearzi draws on her extensive experience to offer insights into the daily lives of these creatures—as well as the difficulties involved in collecting the data that transforms hunches into hypotheses and eventually scientific facts. The book closes by addressing the critical environmental and conservation problems facing these magnificent, socially complex, highly intelligent, and emotional beings. An honest, down-to-earth analysis of what it means to be a marine biologist in the field today, Dolphin Confidential offers an entertaining, refreshingly candid, and always informative description of life among the dolphins.

The Body Builders

Inside the Science of the Engineered Human

Author: Adam Piore

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0062347160

Category: Science

Page: 400

View: 5675

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Fareed Zakaria GPS Book of the Week Weaving together vivid storytelling and groundbreaking science, The Body Builders explores the current revolution in human augmentation, which is helping us to triumph over the limitations and constraints we have long accepted as an inevitable part of being human For millennia, humans have tried—and often failed—to master nature and transcend our limits. But this has started to change. The new scientific frontier is the human body: the greatest engineers of our generation have turned their sights inward, and their work is beginning to revolutionize mankind. In The Body Builders, Adam Piore takes us on a fascinating journey into the field of bioengineering—which can be used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings—and paints a vivid portrait of the people at its center. Chronicling the ways new technology has retooled our physical expectations and mental processes, Piore visits people who have regrown parts of their fingers and legs in the wake of terrible traumas, tries on a muscle suit that allows him to lift ninety pounds with his fingertips, dips into the race to create “Viagra for the brain,” and shadows the doctors trying to give mute patients the ability to communicate telepathically. As science continues to lay bare the mysteries of human performance, it is helping us to see—and exist—above our expectations. The Body Builders will take readers beyond the headlines and the hype to introduce them to the inner workings and the outer reaches of our bodies and minds, and explore how new developments are changing, and will forever change, what is possible for humankind.

Transhumanism

The History of a Dangerous Idea

Author: David Livingstone

Publisher: David Livingstone

ISBN: 1515232573

Category: History

Page: 571

View: 5638

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Transhumanism is a recent movement that extols man’s right to shape his own evolution, by maximizing the use of scientific technologies, to enhance human physical and intellectual potential. While the name is new, the idea has long been a popular theme of science fiction, featured in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, the Terminator series, and more recently, The Matrix, Limitless, Her and Transcendence. However, as its adherents hint at in their own publications, transhumanism is an occult project, rooted in Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, and derived from the Kabbalah, which asserts that humanity is evolving intellectually, towards a point in time when man will become God. Modeled on the medieval legend of the Golem and Frankenstein, they believe man will be able to create life itself, in the form of living machines, or artificial intelligence. Spearheaded by the Cybernetics Group, the project resulted in both the development of the modern computer and MK-Ultra, the CIA’s “mind-control” program. MK-Ultra promoted the “mind-expanding” potential of psychedelic drugs, to shape the counterculture of the 1960s, based on the notion that the shamans of ancient times used psychoactive substances, equated with the “apple” of the Tree of Knowledge. And, as revealed in the movie Lucy, through the use of “smart drugs,” and what transhumanists call “mind uploading,” man will be able to merge with the Internet, which is envisioned as the end-point of Kabbalistic evolution, the formation of a collective consciousness, or Global Brain. That awaited moment is what Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, refers to as The Singularly. By accumulating the total of human knowledge, and providing access to every aspect of human activity, the Internet will supposedly achieve omniscience, becoming the “God” of occultism, or the Masonic All-Seeing Eye of the reverse side of the American dollar bill.

Gravel Heart

Author: Abdulrazak Gurnah

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408881314

Category: Fiction

Page: 272

View: 868

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Moving from revolutionary Zanzibar in the 1960s to restless London in the 1990s, Gravel Heart is a powerful story of exile, migration and betrayal, from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Paradise Salim has always believed that his father does not want him. Living with his parents and his adored Uncle Amir in a house full of secrets, he is a bookish child, a dreamer haunted by night terrors. It is the 1970s and Zanzibar is changing. Tourists arrive, the island's white sands obscuring the memory of recent conflict: longed-for independence from British colonialism swiftly followed by bloody revolution. When his father moves out, retreating into dishevelled introspection, Salim is confused and ashamed. His mother explains neither this nor her absences with a strange man; silence is layered on silence. When glamorous Uncle Amir, now a senior diplomat, offers Salim an escape, the lonely teenager travels to London for college. But nothing has prepared him for the biting cold and seething crowds of this hostile city. Struggling to find a foothold, and to understand the darkness at the heart of his family, Salim must face devastating truths about himself and those closest to him – and about love, sex and power. Evoking the immigrant experience with unsentimental precision and profound insight, Gravel Heart is a powerfully affecting story of isolation, identity, belonging and betrayal, and is Abulrazak Gurnah's most dazzling achievement.

The Transhumanist Wager

Author: Zoltan Istvan

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780988616110

Category: Science fiction

Page: 297

View: 5844

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Philosopher, entrepreneur, and former National Geographic and New York Times correspondent Zoltan Istvan presents his visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times. Scorned by over 500 publishers and literary agents around the world, his philosophical thriller has been called "revolutionary" and "socially dangerous" by readers, scholars, and religious authorities. The novel debuts a challenging original philosophy, which rebuffs modern civilization by inviting the end of the human species-and declaring the onset of something greater. Set in the present day, the novel tells the story of transhumanist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Fighting against him are fanatical religious groups, economically depressed governments, and mystic Zoe Bach: a dazzling trauma surgeon and the love of his life, whose belief in spirituality and the afterlife is absolute. Exiled from America and reeling from personal tragedy, Knights forges a new nation of willing scientists on the world's largest seasteading project, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.

Artificial Intelligence

Building Smarter Machines

Author: Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books

ISBN: 1512467812

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Page: 104

View: 9165

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In 2011 a computer named Watson outscored two human competitors on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! and snagged the million-dollar prize. Watson isn't the only machine keeping up with humans. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is booming, with drones, robots, and computers handling tasks that once only humans could perform. Such advances raise challenging questions. Do Watson and other computers really think? Can machines acquire self-awareness? Is AI a promising or a dangerous technology? No machine, not even Watson, yet comes close to matching human intelligence, but many scientists believe it is only a matter of time before we reach this milestone. What will such a future look like?

Life 3.0

Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Author: Max Tegmark

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 1101946601

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 384

View: 1718

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New York Times Best Seller How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology—and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today’s kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues—from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

The Poetry of Pop

Author: Adam Bradley

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300165021

Category:

Page: 424

View: 7112

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From Tin Pan Alley to the Beatles to Beyonc�, "Mr. Bradley skillfully breaks down a century of standards and pop songs into their elements to reveal the interaction of craft and art in composition and performance." (The Wall Street Journal) Encompassing a century of recorded music, this pathbreaking book reveals the poetic artistry of popular songs. Pop songs are music first. They also comprise the most widely disseminated poetic expression of our time. Adam Bradley traces the song lyric across musical genres from early twentieth-century Delta blues to mid-century rock 'n' roll to today's hits. George and Ira Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm." The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Rihanna's "Diamonds." These songs are united in their exacting attention to the craft of language and sound. Bradley shows that pop music is a poetry that must be heard more than read, uncovering the rhythms, rhymes, and metaphors expressed in the singing voice. At once a work of musical interpretation, cultural analysis, literary criticism, and personal storytelling, this book illustrates how words and music come together to produce compelling poetry, often where we least expect it.

I Still Dream

Author: James Smythe

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 0007541961

Category: Fiction

Page: 400

View: 697

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“A strikingly intelligent book about intelligence itself” – Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

Conversations with the Future

21 Visions for the 21st Century

Author: Nikola Danaylov

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 9781542469746

Category:

Page: 502

View: 6367

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For generations, humanity stared at the vastness of the oceans and wondered, "What if?" Today, having explored the curves of the Earth, we now stare at endless stars and wonder, "What if?" Our technology has brought us to the make-or-break moment in human history. We can either grow complacent, and go extinct like the dinosaurs, or spread throughout the cosmos, as Carl Sagan dreamed of. What if your toothbrush becomes smarter than you? What happens to your business, your country, your planet and yourself? What if your car doesn't need a driver anymore? What if we don't need to age and die? What if machines are smarter than us? What if, instead of fear of the future - you see opportunity, instead of an end - you see a beginning, instead of loss - you see profit, and instead of death - you see life? What if you and your organization get future-primed? For many years Nikola Danaylov has been interviewing the future and motivating people all over the world to embrace rather than fear it. "Conversations with the Future" was born from those interviews and Nik's unceasing need to explore "What If" with some of the most forward thinking visionaries in the world today.

How Democracy Ends

Author: David Runciman

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 1541616790

Category: Political Science

Page: 256

View: 9952

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How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy Since the end of World War II, democracy's sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world's most stable democracies. How bad could things get? In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats. Our societies are too affluent, too elderly, and too networked to fall apart as they did in the past. We need new ways of thinking the unthinkable--a twenty-first-century vision of the end of democracy, and whether its collapse might allow us to move forward to something better. A provocative book by a major political philosopher, How Democracy Ends asks the most trenchant questions that underlie the disturbing patterns of our contemporary political life.