The Standard

Human Genetic Engineering

There is a lot of talk these days whether human genetic engineering should be permitted.

Personally, I think that a far more interesting question is whether it could be stopped.

I mean, there are already plenty of parents out there who will spend any amount of money and go to any length to give their children as many advantages as possible. Today, this includes finding "perfect" sperm or egg donors. And once human genetic engineering becomes possible, does anyone think that these parents could be stopped?

Even if the United States and the European Union prohibit it - there will always be some nations who will either refuse to outlaw such a potentially lucrative business, or simply ignore what goes on within their borders. And then the genie will be out of the bottle - interested parents will simply go there, and return once the altered embryos have been implanted.

What are your thoughts on this?

Business name suggestions needed

I need to think up ideas for the name of my future hypnosis/hypnotherapy practice. I am hoping that some of you might have some good ones. Throw 'em at me.

I want to evoke success, comfort, improvement, change, confidence, performance, mind-expansion, intelligence, forward thinking, honesty, etc, etc, without sounding too far-out or aggressive. I like words such as "perception" and "enhancement," and am a fan of William Blake and Aldous Huxley, and the idea of "The Doors of Perception." Either way, I want to attract both the timid first-timers and the gung-ho hypnoenthusiasts.

I thought about something with "diamond" in the title because it evokes lucidity, such as "Diamond Mind," etc., but that is taken by some stupid baseball video game company. And anyway, Diamond Mind Hypnosis evokes drugs, as "diamonds" is a meth slang term from the 70s, plus, it borders on the corny unless I am just being too judgemental. So that's out.

Any thoughts?
  • xuenay

Requested: objections to SIAI, AGI, the Singularity and Friendliness

For the recent week, I have together with Tom McCabe been collecting all sorts of objections that have been raised against the concepts of AGI, the Singularity, Friendliness, and anything else relating to SIAI's work. We've managed to get a bunch of them together, so it seemed like the next stage would be to publicly ask people for any objections we may have missed.

The objections we've gathered so far are listed below. If you know of any objection related to these topics that you've seriously considered, or have heard people bring up, please mention it if it's not in this list, no matter how silly it might seem to you now. (If you're not sure of whether the objection falls under the ones already covered, send it anyway, just to be sure.) Thank you in advance for everybody who replies.

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Crossposts, for which I apologize: xuenay, transhumanist, _transhumanism_, singularity_now
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'Human-animal' embryo green light

Via bacchusv:

Regulators have agreed in principle to allow human-animal embryos to be created and used for research.

But scientists wanting to use hybrids will still need to make individual applications, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said. An HFEA consultation showed the public were "at ease" with the idea when told it could pave the way for therapies for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Opponents have said many people would be "horrified" by such a move.

Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days. The cells form the basic building blocks of the body and have the potential to become any tissue, making them essential for research. At the moment, scientists have to rely on human eggs left over from fertility treatment, but they are in short supply and are not always good quality.

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Sincerely, Olgerd Kublerбесплатный счетчикРейтинг блогов

anus, corrupt, ecology, metal, nihilism

World Moron Death

If we were able, hypothetically, to painlessly exterminate every person of low intelligence on planet earth, why would anyone be against it? After all, our societies would go farther, and the people alive would have a better experience of life. Society would function more intelligently. I can't think of a single logical argument against it. Any ideas?
anus, corrupt, ecology, metal, nihilism

The Golden Mean

"The concept of Aristotle's theory of golden mean is represented in his work called Nicomachean Ethics, in which Aristotle explains the origin, nature and development of virtues which are essential for achieving the ultimate goal, happiness (Greek: eudaimonia), which must be desired for itself. It must not be confused with carnal or material pleasures, although there are many people who consider this to be real happiness, since they are the most basic form of pleasures. It is a way of life that enables us to live in accordance with our nature, to improve our character, to better deal with the inevitable hardships of life and to strive for the good of the whole, not just of the individual..."

Read more here:
  • kmo

C-Realm Podcast

Cross-Posted to singularity_now

Episode 34: Principles of Precaution

In this episode, we finish up the conversation with NLP instructor and "motivational mind-reader" Rex Sikes, and then KMO talks environmentalism and transhumanism with Digital Crusader, Eric Boyd.

In response to my conversation with Eric Boyd, Zachary T. Morris posted the following comment:
Is it not foolish to believe consciousness itself, can be removed out of the cavity of the organic human body and be duplicated and culitvated in a binary programming language? Would it not demand a perfect understanding of the foundation of consciousness and it's relation to the human body for it to even be first attempted? Would the complexity and flawless equilibrium not have to rival that of the body as well - on every level? Is it not foolish to think that one who has not yet come to an idota of "scientific" understanding of consciousness can come to duplicate it artificially as a product with scientific toys?

Science is based on empiricism. Empiricism (empirical materialism) basis it's foundations on the 5 senses, what we can see feel taste touch hear and smell and then distinguished by our awareness. The mind's (defined here as the heart of consciousness/awareness) only interface to this plane of reality are the 5 organic basic senses which are employed and controlled and managed by consciousness/awareness. Can scientific materialism ever hope to grasp the depths of the "foundations" of consciousness, to therefore be able to master and manipulate it? Because it is using an inferior tool as a method of understanding what is superior.

Computers television and technologies etc can and do influence and alter consciousness of an individual by acting through a relationship, but there still has to be a body. Uploading consciousness entirely implies leaving behind the body, which implies a perfect understanding of consciousness in relation to the body.

For more of of my thoughts on scientific materialism and consciousness please look at my latest entry on my blog:

Can anyone here think of a tactful way of encouraging Zac to re-frame the issue in a light that is friendlier to the transhumanist mind-set?

Neural 'extension cord' developed for brain implants


A "data cable" made from stretched nerve cells could someday help connect computers to the human nervous system. The modified cells should form better connections with human tissue than the metal electrodes currently used for purposes such as remotely controlling prosthetics (see Brain implant enables mind over matter).

"The nervous system doesn't like nasty hard metal or plastic," says Doug Smith, who is developing the cell-based cable at the University of Pennsylvania, US. Nerve tissue can develop scarring or shrink away from contact with metal and other non-biological materials, he says.

"Nerve cells will happily grow to form new connections with new nerve cells though," Smith adds, "we want to try that as an alternative to ramming something into a nerve or the brain. The idea is to make a kind of extension cord." Prototype cables developed by his team have already been shown to transmit simple signals effectively.

In 2001, Smith and colleagues developed a way to grow new lengths of nerve fibre by gradually pulling apart groups of connected neurons (see Nerve racking stuff). Lengths of nerve generated in this way, and measuring up to 10 centimetres, have already been used to fix damaged nerves in the limbs of human patients.

Protein coating

The data cables are created in the same way. A group of neurons is cultured on top of an array of 96 electrodes covered with a protein coating that causes them to attach. When placed 100 microns (about the width of a human hair) from another patch of neurons on a separate plate, the cells grow towards them, eventually joining neuron clumps together.

A motor is then used to slowly draw the two plates apart – causing the nerve fibres to continuing growing, at up to 1 cm each day. "We plan to use the free end to interface with the nervous system," Smith told New Scientist, "while the other end interfaces with a computer."

Tests have already shown that electrical signals can be transmitted in both directions along the cord. "Tests in animal models are next," says Smith. Connecting the chord to electrodes outside of the brain means the reaction of neurons to non-organic material can be controlled. In future, the cord could connect an amputee's nerves to a sophisticated prosthetic, he says, and might even offer a way to connect artificial eyes or ears to the brain.

Thought control

Christopher James, who works on brain-computer interfaces at Southampton University, UK, gives the work a cautious welcome. "This approach does sound like a good idea," he says. "Although directly attaching electrodes to the brain has been shown to work, the long term effects are not known."

But James adds that, in the long run, it may not be necessary to interface directly with nerves at all. "In Europe most researchers in this field are using non-invasive EEG," he explains (see 'Mental typewriter' controlled by thought alone).

"The signals are weaker so more complex processing is needed, but not having to perform surgery on the nervous system has many advantages," James says.


X-posted from olgerd_kubler

Sincerely, Olgerd Kubler