Atomistic Small Bearing: Dynamics Performed in NanoEngineer-1, Visualized in Blender

From Machine Phase. This is a movie of the atomistic bearing described by Eric Drexler in Nanosystems. Remember to read Drexler’s article or watch this video to understand, “the rotation-induced speed of the shaft surface is substantially lower than the (apparent) vibrational speeds of the atoms”. The thermal vibrations in the bearing actually take place much faster than the shaft motion. What you see in the video is only maybe 1/1000 of the actual thermal vibration motions. Because these sorts of videos have a limited frame rate, we get a “strobe light effect” where we only selectively see the vibration. If the video were portraying the thermal vibration on a timescale where you could actually see each part of the action, then the actual shaft surface would be moving at a glacial pace. The upshot of all of that is that the friction and heating in this device would not be nearly as high as it appears at a …

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Transhumanism Has Already Won

It’s 2010, and transhumanism has already won. Billions of people around the world would love to upgrade their bodies, extend their youth, and amplify their powers of perception, thought, and action with the assistance of safe and tested technologies. The urge to be something more, to go beyond, is the norm rather than the exception.

At their base, the world’s major two largest religions — Christianity and Islam — are transhumanistic. After all, they promise transcension from death and the concerns of the flesh, and being upgraded to that archetypical transhuman — the Angel. The angel will probably be our preliminary model as we seek to expand our capacities and enjoyment of the world using technological self-modification. Then, even angels will get bored of being angels, and expand outwards in a million new directions, resulting in an explosion of species never before seen — exceeding in magnitude and variation even the Cambrian Explosion of 530 million years ago.

Humanity, as it stands today, is a seed, a bridge. We will plant flowers and trees across the universe. All …

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Nine Reasons I’m Interested in Survivalism

I’ve become more interested in survivalism over the past few months, for a number of reasons.

1) Survivalism describes a “back to the basics” approach to survival and living that helps strip away (or at least make optional) the consumerism and other trivialities that tend to preoccupy the minds of modern city dwellers, which is refreshing. It’s also intellectually fulfilling because it’s a vast domain of knowledge with practical application. Smart people also tend to see new solutions to problems that many others do not see, so in an area where it’s easy to get up to speed and start having novel ideas, they benefit from the satisfaction of developing novel ideas that few if any people have thought of before and which can help others.

2) In today’s uncertain times, survivalism is especially appealing to generations growing up in periods of economic and geopolitical turmoil. Survivalism doesn’t have to be an all-out lifestyle change — even something as simple as growing food in your own backyard to supplement purchases from the supermarket can lead to better nutrition, …

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Humanity+ UK 2010: “Unprecedented Gathering in London”

Here is the press release from April 15th helping to build buzz for the Humanity+ UK 2010 conference in London, which begins tomorrow and runs over the weekend. There will also be a live feed of the conference for those who can’t be there in person.

For immediate release: Unprecedented gathering of futurist and transhumanist thinkers in London

Humanity+ movement comes of age Record turnout expected for Humanity+ UK2010 conference on 24th April

The UK chapter of Humanity+, an organisation dedicated to promoting understanding, interest and participation in fields of emerging innovation that can radically benefit the human condition, announced today that registrations are on track for record attendance at the Humanity+ UK2010 conference taking place in Conway Hall, Holborn, London, on April 24th.

“Approaching 200 attendees are expected to take part in a full day of thought-provoking lectures, discussions, Q&A, and breakouts, led by a line-up of world class futurist speakers,” said David Wood, H+UK meetings secretary. “Participants have registered from as far …

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Humanity+ @ Harvard — The Rise Of The Citizen Scientist

Humanity+, the worldwide association of transhumanists, is putting on a conference at Harvard on June 12-13. Tickets are available now. The theme is “rise of the citizen scientist”. Here is all the blurb:

The summer 2010 “Humanity+ @ Harvard — The Rise Of The Citizen Scientist” conference is being held, after the inaugural conference in Los Angeles in December 2009, on the East Coast, at Harvard University’s prestigious Science Hall on June 12-13. Futurist, inventor, and author of the NYT bestselling book “The Singularity Is Near”, Ray Kurzweil is going to be keynote speaker of the conference. Full information is at

Also speaking at the H+ Summit @ Harvard is Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a California-based charity dedicated to combating the aging process. His talk, “Hype and anti-hype in academic biogerontology …

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Dispelling Stupid Myths About Nuclear War

In response to discussion in the comments section on my recent post on nuclear war, Dave said:

Really, I mean, honestly, no one is surviving a nuclear war.

This is absolute nonsense. To quote the very first paragraph of Nuclear War Survival Skills, a civil defense manual based on in-depth research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

An all-out nuclear war between Russia and the United States would be the worst catastrophe in history, a tragedy so huge it is difficult to comprehend. Even so, it would be far from the end of human life on earth. The dangers from nuclear weapons have been distorted and exaggerated, for varied reasons. These exaggerations have become demoralizing myths, believed by millions of Americans.

Here’s another good quote:

Only a very small fraction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki citizens who survived radiation doses some of which were nearly fatal have suffered serious delayed effects. The reader should realize that to do essential work after a massive nuclear attack, many survivors must be willing to …

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Interviews with Academics in Robot Ethics

Over at the Moral Machines blog, Colin Allen lists three recent interviews by Gerhard Dabringer on the topic of robot ethics. One of the interviews is with Jurgen Altmann, who I admire greatly for his academic work on preventive arms control. His book Military Nanotechnology is my favorite book on molecular nanotechnology policy, and I hope that its recommendations will be adopted. A small preview is online, but you’ll have to shell out $128 if you want a hard copy. Anyway, here are the interviews:

George Bekey: Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Special Consultant to the Dean of the College of Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University. He is well known for his book Autonomous Robots (2005) and is Co-author of the study “Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics and Design” (2008).

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Chalmers: “The argument for a singularity is one that we should take seriously”

Here is a quote from the Chalmers paper that I linked yesterday:

One might think that the singularity would be of great interest to academic philosophers, cognitive scientists, and artificial intelligence researchers. In practice, this has not been the case. Good was an eminent academic, but his article was largely unappreciated at the time. The subsequent discussion of the singularity has largely taken place in nonacademic circles, including Internet forums, popular media and books, and workshops organized by the independent Singularity Institute. Perhaps the highly speculative flavor of the singularity idea has been responsible for academic resistance to the idea.

I think this resistance is a shame, as the singularity idea is clearly an important one. The argument for a singularity is one that we should take seriously. And the questions surrounding the singularity are of enormous practical and philosophical concern.

Practically: If there is a singularity, it will be one of the most important events in the history of the planet. An intelligence explosion has enormous potential benefits: a cure for all known diseases, …

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Forbes “Life in 2020″ Articles

Forbes has recently published a package of articles on predictions for life in the year 2020, and their social media wing emailed me to publish the links, so here they are! 2010 is a good year to make predictions for 2015 and 2020. If you want to be a futurist in 2015 or 2020, start now with some predictions! Anyway, here is the blurb and links:

You will be healthier. Your technology will be more human. You will fight to keep your job. You will walk to work. There will be nowhere to hide. Your life is about to change.

Transportation in 2020 In 10 years, your commute will be short, cheap and, dare we say, fun.

The Classroom In 2020 The next decade will bring an end to school as we know it.

Your Choice In 2020 How big computing will make every action a transaction.

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David Chalmers on Singularity, Intelligence Exposion

Recently, David Chalmers announced that he was posting a new paper based on his Singularity Summit 2010 talk: “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis”. In his announcement, Chalmers notes, “I’m still an amateur on these topics and any feedback would be appreciated.” You can also watch a video of Chalmers’ Summit talk.

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