Nanomedicine and Medical Nanorobots

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Robert Freitas presenting at the 6th Alcor Conference in Scottsdale

Robert Freitas is the author of Nanomedicine, a book series exploring the potential medical applications of molecular nanotechnology and medical nanorobotics. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, and previously worked as a Research scientist at Zyvex Corporation.

Dr. Freitas believes the advent of medical nanorobotics in coming decades will create a revolution in medical treatment, giving doctors the ability to rapidly eliminate microbial infections and cancer, repair and recondition the human vascular tree, and replace chromosomes in individual cells thus reversing the effects of genetic disease and aging. His presentation at the 6th Alcor Conference was entitled “Nanomedicine and Medical Nanorobots: The Path Forward.”

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Nanotechnology and Cryonics

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Ralph Merkle and Tanya Jones answering questions from the audience at Transvision 2007

Ralph Merkle co-invented public key cryptography, for which he received the ACM Kanellakis Award, the IEEE Kobayashi Award, and the 2000 RSA Award in Mathematics. He is directly involved in the research of molecular manufacturing, also called nanotechnology or molecular nanotechnology. The central objective of which is the design, modeling, and manufacture of systems that can inexpensively fabricate most products that can be specified in molecular detail. Such systems are today theoretical, but should revolutionize 21st century manufacturing.

Dr. Merkle is a distinguished professor at the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology and previous nanotechnology researcher and theorist at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and Zyvex corporations. He has served for several years as an executive editor of the journal Nanotechnology, chaired both the Fourth and Fifth Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, and won the 1998 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for theory. At the 6th Alcor conference in Scottsdale, Arizona he delivered a talk entitled “Nanotechnology and Cryonics,” outlining the intersection between the two developing fields of science.

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Nanotechnology and Aerospace

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Giorgio Gaviraghi, José Cordeiro, and Tihamer Toth-Fejel at Transvision

Tihamer Toth-Fejel earned his Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame, in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His master’s thesis was on “Self-Test: From Simple Circuits to Self-Replicating Automata” and resulted in his first article on Transhumanist themes: “Angels of Steel”. He is a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute, where he has been a member since 1987. He was Secretary of the Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group, a special interest chapter of the National Space Society. He is also a senior research engineer at the General Dynamics Advanced Intelligence Systems, where he investigates nanotechnology applications for aerospace and other areas. His 2007 Transvision presentation was entitled “Small, Fast, and High: Nanotechnology and Aerospace.”

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Robust Self-Concept in an Age of Transformative Technology

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Michael Anissimov of Accelerating Future and Anne Corwin of Existence is Wonderful

Anne Corwin is an engineer and technoprogressive activist. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the World Transhumanist Association, an intern with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and a volunteer with the Methuselah Foundation. A prolific writer on transhumanist topics including self-modification and radical life extension, she is the author of the blog Existence is Wonderful and produces the associated podcast. In November of 2006, she posted the essay “Choosing Who To Be: Robust Self-Concept In An Age of Transformative Technology,” which addresses the issue of identity in a future where the self can be radically modified through technological means.

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The Emotion Machine

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Marvin Minsky, Philip Rosedale, and Ben Goertzel at Transvision 2007

Marvin Minsky is Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has led to both theoretical and practical advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, neural networks, and the theory of Turing Machines and recursive functions. (In 1961 he solved Emil Post’s problem of “Tag”, and showed that any computer can be simulated by a machine with only two registers and two simple instructions.) He has made other contributions in the domains of graphics, symbolic mathematical computation, knowledge representation, computational semantics, machine perception, and both symbolic and connectionist learning. He has also been involved with advanced technologies for exploring space. At Transvision 2007 he gave a talk on some of the ideas put forth in his new book The Emotion Machine.

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The Mythical Merits of Mealy-Mouthed Messaging: Part Two

The central goal of Aubrey de Grey’s work is to expedite the development of a true cure for human aging. As a scientist with a training in an engineering discipline (computer science), he believes himself to be well placed to bridge this gap. Continued from “The Mythical Merits of Mealy-Mouthed Messaging: Part One.”

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The Mythical Merits of Mealy-Mouthed Messaging: Part One

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The central goal of Aubrey de Grey‘s work is to expedite the development of a true cure for human aging. As a scientist with a training in an engineering discipline (computer science), he believes himself to be well placed to bridge this gap.

He attempts to do so in three main ways: by doing basic biogerontology research, by identifying and promoting specific technological approaches to the reversal (not merely the prevention) of various aspects of aging, and by arguing in a wide range of forums, extending beyond biologists, for the adoption of a more proactive approach to extending the healthy human lifespan sooner rather than later. His Transvision 2007 presentation, describing the recent advances of his anti-aging research was named “The Mythical Merits of Mealy-Mouthed Messaging.”

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Implications of the Folk-Psychology of Willpower

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Michael Anissimov, Fundraising Director for the Lifeboat Foundation in North America,
with Michael Vassar in March of 2007

Michael Vassar’s writings on the impacts of molecular manufacturing and other transformative technological trends have been featured on futurist.com, KurzweilAI.net and the Lifeboat Foundation website. He is the author of “Corporate Cornucopia: Examining the Special Implications of Commercial MNT Development” and Lifeboat Nanoshield with Robert Freitas. He has been a transhumanist since he read “How and Why: Genetics” at age 7.

Michael Vassar spoke at the May 2007 Bioethics conference entitled Human Rights for the 21st Century, organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. In his presentation, “Lead Me Not Into Temptation: Implications of the Folk Psychology of Willpower,” he offers plausible explanations for the long-standing hostility towards conceptions of cognitive liberty presently found throughout the world.

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Personhood Rights

George Dvorsky and Ben Hyink at Transvision 2007

Ben Hyink has contributed to transhumanism activism through his work with the Transhumanist Student Network and by serving as an intern for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He received the JBS Haldane Award in 2007, presented by James Hughes at the Transvision awards ceremony. His essay “Personhood Rights,” presents an argument for extending the status of personhood to non-humans, though not to entities that for all we know are mindless but happen to contain human DNA. The essay was first published in the Summer 2005 issue of the Northwestern University magazine The Protest.

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Envisioning a Post-Scarcity Economy

Verdant’s Michael Ekstract and Reason’s science correspondent Ronald Bailey at TV07

Ronald Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for Reason, the libertarian monthly named one of “The 50 Best Magazines” three out of the past four years by the Chicago Tribune. Established in 1968 and a four-time finalist for National Magazine Awards, Reason has a print circulation of 40,000 and won the 2005 Western Publications Association “MAGGIE” Award for best political magazine. Reason Online, the magazine’s Web edition, draws 2.4 million visits per month, and the staff weblog Hit & Run has been named by Playboy, Washingtonian, and others as one of the best political blogs.

He is the author of the new book Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution (Prometheus), and his work appears in the The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. In April, 2006, Bailey was shortlisted by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as one of the 22 personalities who have made the most significant contributions to biotechnology in the area of society and ethics in the last 10 years. At Transvision 2007, he presented a talk entitled “Envisioning a Post-Scarcity Economy.”

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Towards a Roadmap of Whole Brain Emulation

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Anders Sandberg at Transvision 2007

Dr. Anders Sandberg is a Swedish neuroscientist, science debater, futurist, transhumanist, and author. He earned a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience in 2003 from Stockholm University. He is currently researcher in the Oxford group of the EU ENHANCE Project at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute (both part of Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University).

He is cofounder of and writer for the think tank Eudoxa. Between 1996 and 2000 he was Chairman of the Swedish Transhumanist Association. He has also been scientific producer for the neuroscience exhibition “Se Hjärnan!” (“Behold the Brain!”), organized by Swedish Traveling Exhibitions, the Swedish Research Council and the Knowledge Foundation that is touring Sweden 2005-2006. His presentation at Transvision 2007 was called “A Roadmap Toward Whole Brain Emulation” and subtitled, “Why Philosophers Actually Care About Microscope Jitter.”

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Whither ET?

George Dvorsky with Charlie Kam, Conference Chairman of TV07

George Dvorsky is the Deputy-Editor of Betterhumans, co-founder and president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association, and the producer of the award-winning Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served as conference chair for Transvision 2004 conference in Toronto, the World Transhumanist Association’s annual conference, and is the co-director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Cyborg Buddha project. He has discussed through print and broadcast media the subjects of bioethics, on topics ranging from disability rights to athletics enhancement.

At Transvision 2007 he gave a presentation entitled “Whither ET? What the Failing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Tells Us About Humanity’s Future.” The talk addressed the problem of the Fermi Paradox, the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for or contact with ETs.

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