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Oceania Cruises – Cruise Vacations & Cruise Deals | Mid …

 Oceania  Comments Off on Oceania Cruises – Cruise Vacations & Cruise Deals | Mid …
Jun 282016
 

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On April 27, 2016, Sirena, the newest member of the Oceania Cruises fleet, was christened in Barcelona, Spain. Watch the event as it happened live, including opening remarks from Oceania Cruises President Jason Montague, Sirenas Godmother Claudine Ppin, the christening of the ship, and all the festivities!

Filled with a spectacular array of diverse and exotic destinations, your world awaits your discovery. There is simply no better way to explore it than aboard the elegant ships of Oceania Cruises. Our unique itineraries are wide-ranging, featuring the most fascinating destinations throughout the world. Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, Sirena, Marina and Riviera are all intimate and luxurious, with each calling on the worlds most desirable ports, from historic cities and modern meccas to seaside villages and faraway islands. On a voyage with Oceania Cruises, each day offers the rewarding opportunity to experience the history, culture and cuisine of a wondrous new destination.

Relax on board our luxurious ships and savor cuisine renowned as the finest at sea, rivaling even Michelin-starred restaurants ashore. Inspired by Master Chef Jacques Ppin, these culinary delights have always been a hallmark that distinguishes the Oceania Cruises experience from any other. Considering the uncompromising quality, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of an Oceania Cruises voyage is its incredible value. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping a glass of vintage wine, surfing the Internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

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Oceania Cruises – Cruise Vacations & Cruise Deals | Mid …

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In a Huge Breakthrough, Googles AI Beats a Top Player at …

 Ai  Comments Off on In a Huge Breakthrough, Googles AI Beats a Top Player at …
Jun 262016
 

Slide: 1 / of 1 .

Caption: Google

In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, a computing system developed by Google researchers in Great Britain has beaten a top human player at the game of Go, the ancient Eastern contest of strategy and intuition that has bedeviled AI experts for decades.

Machines have topped the best humans at most games held up as measures of human intellect, including chess, Scrabble, Othello, even Jeopardy!. But with Goa 2,500-year-old game thats exponentially more complex than chesshumangrandmasters have maintained an edge over even the most agile computing systems. Earlier this month, top AI experts outside of Google questioned whether a breakthrough couldoccuranytimesoon, and as recently as last year, many believed another decade would pass before a machine could beat the top humans.

But Google has done just that. It happened faster than I thought, says Rmi Coulom, the French researcher behind what was previously the worlds top artificially intelligent Go player.

In theory, such training only produces a system that’s as good as the best humans—not better. So researchers matched their AI system against itself.

Researchers at DeepMinda self-professed Apollo program for AI that Google acquiredin 2014staged this machine-versus-mancontest in October, at the companys offices inLondon. The DeepMind system, dubbed AlphaGo, matched its artificial wits against Fan Hui, Europes reigning Go champion, and the AI system went undefeated in five games witnessed by an editor from the journal Nature and an arbiter representing the British Go Federation. It was one of the most excitingmoments in my career, both as a researcher and as an editor, the Nature editor, Dr. Tanguy Chouard, said during a conference call with reporterson Tuesday.

This morning,Nature published a paper describing DeepMinds system, which makes clever use of, among other techniques, an increasingly important AI technology called deep learning. Using a vast collection of Go moves from expert playersabout 30 million moves in totalDeepMind researchers trained their system to play Go on its own. But this was merely a first step. In theory, such training only produces a system as good as the best humans. To beat the best, the researchers then matched their systemagainst itself. This allowed them togenerate a new collectionof moves they could then use to train a new AI player that could top a grandmaster.

The most significant aspect of all thisis that AlphaGo isnt just an expert system, built with handcrafted rules, says Demis Hassabis, who oversees DeepMind. Instead, it uses general machine-learning techniques how to win at Go.

‘Go is implicit. It’s all pattern matching. But that’s what deep learning does very well.’ Demis Hassabis, DeepMind

The win is more than a novelty. Online services likeGoogle, Facebook, and Microsoft, already use deep learning to identify images, recognize spoken words, and understand natural language. DeepMinds techniques, which combine deep learning with atechnology called reinforcement learning and other methods, point the way to a future where real-world robots can learn to perform physical tasks and respond to their environment. Its a natural fit for robotics, Hassabis says.

He also believes these methods can accelerate scientific research. He envisions scientists working alongside artificially intelligent systems that can home in on areas of research likely to be fruitful. The system could process much larger volumes of data and surface the structural insight to the human expert in a way that is much more efficientor maybe not possible for the human expert, Hassabis explains. The system could even suggest a way forward that might point the human expert to a breakthrough.

But at the moment, Go remains his primary concern. After beating a grandmaster behind closed doors, Hassabis and his team aim to beat one of the worlds topplayers in a public forum. In mid-March, in South Korea, AlphaGo will challenge Lee Sedol, who holdsmore international titles than all but one player and has won the most over the past decade. Hassabis sees him as the Roger Federer of the Go world.

In early 2014, Couloms Go-playing program, Crazystone, challengedgrandmaster Norimoto Yoda at a tournament in Japan. And itwon. But the win came with caveat: the machine had a four-move head start, a significantadvantage. At the time, Coulom predicted that it would be another 10years before machinesbeat the best players without a head start.

The challenge lies in the nature of the game. Even the most powerful supercomputers lack the processing power toanalyze the results of every possible move in any reasonable amount of time. When Deep Blue topped world chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997, it did so with whats calledbrute force. In essence, IBMs supercomputer analyzed the outcome of every possible move, looking further ahead than any human possibly could. Thats simply not possible with Go. In chess, at any given turn, there are an average 35 possible moves. WithGoin which two players compete with polished stones on 19-by-19 gridthere are 250. And each of those 250 has another 250, and so on. As Hassabis points out, there are more possible positions on a Go board than atoms in the universe.

Players will tell you to make moves based on the general appearance of the board, not by closely analyzing how each move will play out.

Using a technique called a Monte Carlo tree search, systems like Crazystone can look pretty far ahead. And in conjunction with other techniques, they can pare down thefieldof possibilities they mustanalyze. In the end, they canbeat some talented playersbut not the best.Among grandmasters, moves are rather intuitive. Players will tell you to make moves based on the general appearance of the board, not by closely analyzing how each move mightplay out. Good positions look good, says Hassabis, himself a Go player. It seems to follow some kind of aesthetic. Thats why it has been such a fascinating game for thousands of years.

But as 2014 gave way to 2015, several AI experts, including researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Facebook as well as the team at DeepMind, started applying deep learning to the Go problem. The idea was thetechnology could mimic the human intuition that Go requires. Go is implicit. Its all pattern matching, says Hassabis. But thats what deep learning does very well.

Deep learning relies on what are called neural networksnetworks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain. These networks dont operate by brute forceorhandcrafted rules. They analyze large amounts of data in an effort to learn a particular task. Feed enough photos of a wombatinto a neural net, and it can learn to identify a wombat. Feed it enough spoken words, and it can learn to recognize what you say. Feed it enough Go moves, and it can learn to play Go.

At DeepMind and Edinburgh and Facebook, researchers hoped neural networks could master Go by looking at board positions, much likea human plays. As Facebook showed in a recent research paper, thetechnique works quite well. Bypairing deep learning andthe Monte Carlo Tree method, Facebook beat some human playersthough not Crazystone and other top creations.

But DeepMind pushes this ideamuch further. After training on 30 million human moves, a DeepMind neural net could predict the next human move about 57 percent of the timean impressive number (the previous record was 44 percent). ThenHassabis and team matched thisneural net against slightly different versions of itself through whats called reinforcement learning. Essentially, as the neural nets play each other, the system tracks which move brings the most rewardthe most territory on the board. Over time, it gets better and better at recognizing which moves will work and which wont.

AlphaGo learned to discover new strategies for itself, by playing millions of games between its neural networks, against themselves, and gradually improving, says DeepMind researcher David Silver.

According to Silver, this allowed AlphaGo to top other Go-playing AI systems, including Crazystone. Then the researchers fed the results into a second neural network. Grabbing moves suggested by the self-play, this neural network looks ahead to the results of each move. This is similar to whatolder systems like Deep Blue would do with chess, except that the system is learning as it goes along, as it analyzes more datanot exploring every possible outcome through brute force. In this way, AlphaGo learned to beat not only existing AI programs but a top human as well.

Like most state-of-the-art neural networks, DeepMinds system runs atop machines equipped with graphics processing units, or GPUs. These chips were originally designed to render images for games and other graphics-intensiveapplications. But as it turns out, theyre also well suited to deep learning. Hassabis says DeepMindssystem works pretty well on a single computer equipped with a decent number of GPU chips, but for the match against Fan Hui, the researchersused a larger network of computers that spanned about 170 GPU cards and 1,200 standard processors, or CPUs. This larger computer network both trained the system andplayed the actual game, drawing on the results of the training.

When AlphaGo plays the world champion in South Korea, Hassabiss team will use thesame setup, though theyre constantly working to improve it. That means theyll need an Internet connection to play Lee Sedol. Were laying down our own fiber, Hassabis says.

According to Coulom and others, topping the world champion will be more challenging thantopping Fan Hui. But Coulom is betting on DeepMind. He has spent the past decadetrying to build a system capable of beatingthe worlds best players, and now, he believes that system is here. Im busy buying some GPUs, he says.

The importance of AlphaGo is enormous. The same techniques could be applied not only to robotics and scientific research, but so many other tasks, from Siri-like mobile digital assistants to financial investments. You can apply it to any adversarial problemanything that you can conceive of as a game, where strategy matters, says Chris Nicholson, founder of the deep learning startup Skymind. That includes war or business or [financial] trading.

For some, thats a worrying thingespecially when they consider that DeepMinds system is, in more ways than one, teaching itself to play Go. The system isnt just learning from data provided by humans. Its learning by playing itself, by generating its own data. In recent months, Tesla founder Elon Musk and others have voiced concerns that such AI system eventually could exceed human intelligence and potentially break free from our control.

But DeepMinds system is very much under the control of Hassabis and his researchers. And though they used it to crack a remarkably complex game, it is still just a game. Indeed, AlphaGo is a long way from real human intelligencemuch less superintelligence. This is a highly structured situation, says Ryan Calo, an AI-focused law professor and the founder of the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington. Its not really human-level understanding. But it points in the direction. If DeepMinds AI can understand Go, then maybe it can understand a whole lot more. What if the universe, Calo says, is just a giant game of Go?

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In a Huge Breakthrough, Googles AI Beats a Top Player at …

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Singularity Q&A | KurzweilAI

 The Singularity  Comments Off on Singularity Q&A | KurzweilAI
Jun 262016
 

Originally published in 2005 with the launch of The Singularity Is Near.

Questions and Answers

So what is the Singularity?

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in our bodies, our brains, and our environment, overcoming pollution and poverty, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses (like The Matrix), experience beaming (like Being John Malkovich), and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.

And thats the Singularity?

No, thats just the precursor. Nonbiological intelligence will have access to its own design and will be able to improve itself in an increasingly rapid redesign cycle. Well get to a point where technical progress will be so fast that unenhanced human intelligence will be unable to follow it. That will mark the Singularity.

When will that occur?

I set the date for the Singularityrepresenting a profound and disruptive transformation in human capabilityas 2045. The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will be one billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.

Why is this called the Singularity?

The term Singularity in my book is comparable to the use of this term by the physics community. Just as we find it hard to see beyond the event horizon of a black hole, we also find it difficult to see beyond the event horizon of the historical Singularity. How can we, with our limited biological brains, imagine what our future civilization, with its intelligence multiplied trillions-fold, be capable of thinking and doing? Nevertheless, just as we can draw conclusions about the nature of black holes through our conceptual thinking, despite never having actually been inside one, our thinking today is powerful enough to have meaningful insights into the implications of the Singularity. Thats what Ive tried to do in this book.

Okay, lets break this down. It seems a key part of your thesis is that we will be able to capture the intelligence of our brains in a machine.

Indeed.

So how are we going to achieve that?

We can break this down further into hardware and software requirements. In the book, I show how we need about 10 quadrillion (1016) calculations per second (cps) to provide a functional equivalent to all the regions of the brain. Some estimates are lower than this by a factor of 100. Supercomputers are already at 100 trillion (1014) cps, and will hit 1016 cps around the end of this decade. Several supercomputers with 1 quadrillion cps are already on the drawing board, with two Japanese efforts targeting 10 quadrillion cps around the end of the decade. By 2020, 10 quadrillion cps will be available for around $1,000. Achieving the hardware requirement was controversial when my last book on this topic, The Age of Spiritual Machines, came out in 1999, but is now pretty much of a mainstream view among informed observers. Now the controversy is focused on the algorithms.

And how will we recreate the algorithms of human intelligence?

To understand the principles of human intelligence we need to reverse-engineer the human brain. Here, progress is far greater than most people realize. The spatial and temporal (time) resolution of brain scanning is also progressing at an exponential rate, roughly doubling each year, like most everything else having to do with information. Just recently, scanning tools can see individual interneuronal connections, and watch them fire in real time. Already, we have mathematical models and simulations of a couple dozen regions of the brain, including the cerebellum, which comprises more than half the neurons in the brain. IBM is now creating a simulation of about 10,000 cortical neurons, including tens of millions of connections. The first version will simulate the electrical activity, and a future version will also simulate the relevant chemical activity. By the mid 2020s, its conservative to conclude that we will have effective models for all of the brain.

So at that point well just copy a human brain into a supercomputer?

I would rather put it this way: At that point, well have a full understanding of the methods of the human brain. One benefit will be a deep understanding of ourselves, but the key implication is that it will expand the toolkit of techniques we can apply to create artificial intelligence. We will then be able to create nonbiological systems that match human intelligence in the ways that humans are now superior, for example, our pattern- recognition abilities. These superintelligent computers will be able to do things we are not able to do, such as share knowledge and skills at electronic speeds.

By 2030, a thousand dollars of computation will be about a thousand times more powerful than a human brain. Keep in mind also that computers will not be organized as discrete objects as they are today. There will be a web of computing deeply integrated into the environment, our bodies and brains.

You mentioned the AI tool kit. Hasnt AI failed to live up to its expectations?

There was a boom and bust cycle in AI during the 1980s, similar to what we saw recently in e-commerce and telecommunications. Such boom-bust cycles are often harbingers of true revolutions; recall the railroad boom and bust in the 19th century. But just as the Internet bust was not the end of the Internet, the so-called AI Winter was not the end of the story for AI either. There are hundreds of applications of narrow AI (machine intelligence that equals or exceeds human intelligence for specific tasks) now permeating our modern infrastructure. Every time you send an email or make a cell phone call, intelligent algorithms route the information. AI programs diagnose electrocardiograms with an accuracy rivaling doctors, evaluate medical images, fly and land airplanes, guide intelligent autonomous weapons, make automated investment decisions for over a trillion dollars of funds, and guide industrial processes. These were all research projects a couple of decades ago. If all the intelligent software in the world were to suddenly stop functioning, modern civilization would grind to a halt. Of course, our AI programs are not intelligent enough to organize such a conspiracy, at least not yet.

Why dont more people see these profound changes ahead?

Hopefully after they read my new book, they will. But the primary failure is the inability of many observers to think in exponential terms. Most long-range forecasts of what is technically feasible in future time periods dramatically underestimate the power of future developments because they are based on what I call the intuitive linear view of history rather than the historical exponential view. My models show that we are doubling the paradigm-shift rate every decade. Thus the 20th century was gradually speeding up to the rate of progress at the end of the century; its achievements, therefore, were equivalent to about twenty years of progress at the rate in 2000. Well make another twenty years of progress in just fourteen years (by 2014), and then do the same again in only seven years. To express this another way, we wont experience one hundred years of technological advance in the 21st century; we will witness on the order of 20,000 years of progress (again, when measured by the rate of progress in 2000), or about 1,000 times greater than what was achieved in the 20th century.

The exponential growth of information technologies is even greater: were doubling the power of information technologies, as measured by price-performance, bandwidth, capacity and many other types of measures, about every year. Thats a factor of a thousand in ten years, a million in twenty years, and a billion in thirty years. This goes far beyond Moores law (the shrinking of transistors on an integrated circuit, allowing us to double the price-performance of electronics each year). Electronics is just one example of many. As another example, it took us 14 years to sequence HIV; we recently sequenced SARS in only 31 days.

So this acceleration of information technologies applies to biology as well?

Absolutely. Its not just computer devices like cell phones and digital cameras that are accelerating in capability. Ultimately, everything of importance will be comprised essentially of information technology. With the advent of nanotechnology-based manufacturing in the 2020s, well be able to use inexpensive table-top devices to manufacture on-demand just about anything from very inexpensive raw materials using information processes that will rearrange matter and energy at the molecular level.

Well meet our energy needs using nanotechnology-based solar panels that will capture the energy in .03 percent of the sunlight that falls on the Earth, which is all we need to meet our projected energy needs in 2030. Well store the energy in highly distributed fuel cells.

I want to come back to both biology and nanotechnology, but how can you be so sure of these developments? Isnt technical progress on specific projects essentially unpredictable?

Predicting specific projects is indeed not feasible. But the result of the overall complex, chaotic evolutionary process of technological progress is predictable.

People intuitively assume that the current rate of progress will continue for future periods. Even for those who have been around long enough to experience how the pace of change increases over time, unexamined intuition leaves one with the impression that change occurs at the same rate that we have experienced most recently. From the mathematicians perspective, the reason for this is that an exponential curve looks like a straight line when examined for only a brief duration. As a result, even sophisticated commentators, when considering the future, typically use the current pace of change to determine their expectations in extrapolating progress over the next ten years or one hundred years. This is why I describe this way of looking at the future as the intuitive linear view. But a serious assessment of the history of technology reveals that technological change is exponential. Exponential growth is a feature of any evolutionary process, of which technology is a primary example.

As I show in the book, this has also been true of biological evolution. Indeed, technological evolution emerges from biological evolution. You can examine the data in different ways, on different timescales, and for a wide variety of technologies, ranging from electronic to biological, as well as for their implications, ranging from the amount of human knowledge to the size of the economy, and you get the same exponentialnot linearprogression. I have over forty graphs in the book from a broad variety of fields that show the exponential nature of progress in information-based measures. For the price-performance of computing, this goes back over a century, well before Gordon Moore was even born.

Arent there are a lot of predictions of the future from the past that look a little ridiculous now?

Yes, any number of bad predictions from other futurists in earlier eras can be cited to support the notion that we cannot make reliable predictions. In general, these prognosticators were not using a methodology based on a sound theory of technology evolution. I say this not just looking backwards now. Ive been making accurate forward-looking predictions for over twenty years based on these models.

But how can it be the case that we can reliably predict the overall progression of these technologies if we cannot even predict the outcome of a single project?

Predicting which company or product will succeed is indeed very difficult, if not impossible. The same difficulty occurs in predicting which technical design or standard will prevail. For example, how will the wireless-communication protocols Wimax, CDMA, and 3G fare over the next several years? However, as I argue extensively in the book, we find remarkably precise and predictable exponential trends when assessing the overall effectiveness (as measured in a variety of ways) of information technologies. And as I mentioned above, information technology will ultimately underlie everything of value.

But how can that be?

We see examples in other areas of science of very smooth and reliable outcomes resulting from the interaction of a great many unpredictable events. Consider that predicting the path of a single molecule in a gas is essentially impossible, but predicting the properties of the entire gascomprised of a great many chaotically interacting moleculescan be done very reliably through the laws of thermodynamics. Analogously, it is not possible to reliably predict the results of a specific project or company, but the overall capabilities of information technology, comprised of many chaotic activities, can nonetheless be dependably anticipated through what I call the law of accelerating returns.

What will the impact of these developments be?

Radical life extension, for one.

Sounds interesting, how does that work?

In the book, I talk about three great overlapping revolutions that go by the letters GNR, which stands for genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics. Each will provide a dramatic increase to human longevity, among other profound impacts. Were in the early stages of the geneticsalso called biotechnologyrevolution right now. Biotechnology is providing the means to actually change your genes: not just designer babies but designer baby boomers. Well also be able to rejuvenate all of your bodys tissues and organs by transforming your skin cells into youthful versions of every other cell type. Already, new drug development is precisely targeting key steps in the process of atherosclerosis (the cause of heart disease), cancerous tumor formation, and the metabolic processes underlying each major disease and aging process. The biotechnology revolution is already in its early stages and will reach its peak in the second decade of this century, at which point well be able to overcome most major diseases and dramatically slow down the aging process.

That will bring us to the nanotechnology revolution, which will achieve maturity in the 2020s. With nanotechnology, we will be able to go beyond the limits of biology, and replace your current human body version 1.0 with a dramatically upgraded version 2.0, providing radical life extension.

And how does that work?

The killer app of nanotechnology is nanobots, which are blood-cell sized robots that can travel in the bloodstream destroying pathogens, removing debris, correcting DNA errors, and reversing aging processes.

Human body version 2.0?

Were already in the early stages of augmenting and replacing each of our organs, even portions of our brains with neural implants, the most recent versions of which allow patients to download new software to their neural implants from outside their bodies. In the book, I describe how each of our organs will ultimately be replaced. For example, nanobots could deliver to our bloodstream an optimal set of all the nutrients, hormones, and other substances we need, as well as remove toxins and waste products. The gastrointestinal tract could be reserved for culinary pleasures rather than the tedious biological function of providing nutrients. After all, weve already in some ways separated the communication and pleasurable aspects of sex from its biological function.

And the third revolution?

The robotics revolution, which really refers to strong AI, that is, artificial intelligence at the human level, which we talked about earlier. Well have both the hardware and software to recreate human intelligence by the end of the 2020s. Well be able to improve these methods and harness the speed, memory capabilities, and knowledge- sharing ability of machines.

Well ultimately be able to scan all the salient details of our brains from inside, using billions of nanobots in the capillaries. We can then back up the information. Using nanotechnology-based manufacturing, we could recreate your brain, or better yet reinstantiate it in a more capable computing substrate.

Which means?

Our biological brains use chemical signaling, which transmit information at only a few hundred feet per second. Electronics is already millions of times faster than this. In the book, I show how one cubic inch of nanotube circuitry would be about one hundred million times more powerful than the human brain. So well have more powerful means of instantiating our intelligence than the extremely slow speeds of our interneuronal connections.

So well just replace our biological brains with circuitry?

I see this starting with nanobots in our bodies and brains. The nanobots will keep us healthy, provide full-immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system, provide direct brain-to-brain communication over the Internet, and otherwise greatly expand human intelligence. But keep in mind that nonbiological intelligence is doubling in capability each year, whereas our biological intelligence is essentially fixed in capacity. As we get to the 2030s, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate.

The closest life extension technology, however, is biotechnology, isnt that right?

Theres certainly overlap in the G, N and R revolutions, but thats essentially correct.

So tell me more about how genetics or biotechnology works.

As we are learning about the information processes underlying biology, we are devising ways of mastering them to overcome disease and aging and extend human potential. One powerful approach is to start with biologys information backbone: the genome. With gene technologies, were now on the verge of being able to control how genes express themselves. We now have a powerful new tool called RNA interference (RNAi), which is capable of turning specific genes off. It blocks the messenger RNA of specific genes, preventing them from creating proteins. Since viral diseases, cancer, and many other diseases use gene expression at some crucial point in their life cycle, this promises to be a breakthrough technology. One gene wed like to turn off is the fat insulin receptor gene, which tells the fat cells to hold on to every calorie. When that gene was blocked in mice, those mice ate a lot but remained thin and healthy, and actually lived 20 percent longer.

New means of adding new genes, called gene therapy, are also emerging that have overcome earlier problems with achieving precise placement of the new genetic information. One company Im involved with, United Therapeutics, cured pulmonary hypertension in animals using a new form of gene therapy and it has now been approved for human trials.

So were going to essentially reprogram our DNA.

Thats a good way to put it, but thats only one broad approach. Another important line of attack is to regrow our own cells, tissues, and even whole organs, and introduce them into our bodies without surgery. One major benefit of this therapeutic cloning technique is that we will be able to create these new tissues and organs from versions of our cells that have also been made youngerthe emerging field of rejuvenation medicine. For example, we will be able to create new heart cells from your skin cells and introduce them into your system through the bloodstream. Over time, your heart cells get replaced with these new cells, and the result is a rejuvenated young heart with your own DNA.

Drug discovery was once a matter of finding substances that produced some beneficial effect without excessive side effects. This process was similar to early humans tool discovery, which was limited to simply finding rocks and natural implements that could be used for helpful purposes. Today, we are learning the precise biochemical pathways that underlie both disease and aging processes, and are able to design drugs to carry out precise missions at the molecular level. The scope and scale of these efforts is vast.

But perfecting our biology will only get us so far. The reality is that biology will never be able to match what we will be capable of engineering, now that we are gaining a deep understanding of biologys principles of operation.

Isnt nature optimal?

Not at all. Our interneuronal connections compute at about 200 transactions per second, at least a million times slower than electronics. As another example, a nanotechnology theorist, Rob Freitas, has a conceptual design for nanobots that replace our red blood cells. A conservative analysis shows that if you replaced 10 percent of your red blood cells with Freitas respirocytes, you could sit at the bottom of a pool for four hours without taking a breath.

If people stop dying, isnt that going to lead to overpopulation?

A common mistake that people make when considering the future is to envision a major change to todays world, such as radical life extension, as if nothing else were going to change. The GNR revolutions will result in other transformations that address this issue. For example, nanotechnology will enable us to create virtually any physical product from information and very inexpensive raw materials, leading to radical wealth creation. Well have the means to meet the material needs of any conceivable size population of biological humans. Nanotechnology will also provide the means of cleaning up environmental damage from earlier stages of industrialization.

So well overcome disease, pollution, and povertysounds like a utopian vision.

Its true that the dramatic scale of the technologies of the next couple of decades will enable human civilization to overcome problems that we have struggled with for eons. But these developments are not without their dangers. Technology is a double edged swordwe dont have to look past the 20th century to see the intertwined promise and peril of technology.

What sort of perils?

G, N, and R each have their downsides. The existential threat from genetic technologies is already here: the same technology that will soon make major strides against cancer, heart disease, and other diseases could also be employed by a bioterrorist to create a bioengineered biological virus that combines ease of transmission, deadliness, and stealthiness, that is, a long incubation period. The tools and knowledge to do this are far more widespread than the tools and knowledge to create an atomic bomb, and the impact could be far worse.

So maybe we shouldnt go down this road.

Its a little late for that. But the idea of relinquishing new technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology is already being advocated. I argue in the book that this would be the wrong strategy. Besides depriving human society of the profound benefits of these technologies, such a strategy would actually make the dangers worse by driving development underground, where responsible scientists would not have easy access to the tools needed to defend us.

So how do we protect ourselves?

I discuss strategies for protecting against dangers from abuse or accidental misuse of these very powerful technologies in chapter 8. The overall message is that we need to give a higher priority to preparing protective strategies and systems. We need to put a few more stones on the defense side of the scale. Ive given testimony to Congress on a specific proposal for a Manhattan style project to create a rapid response system that could protect society from a new virulent biological virus. One strategy would be to use RNAi, which has been shown to be effective against viral diseases. We would set up a system that could quickly sequence a new virus, prepare a RNA interference medication, and rapidly gear up production. We have the knowledge to create such a system, but we have not done so. We need to have something like this in place before its needed.

Ultimately, however, nanotechnology will provide a completely effective defense against biological viruses.

But doesnt nanotechnology have its own self-replicating danger?

Yes, but that potential wont exist for a couple more decades. The existential threat from engineered biological viruses exists right now.

Okay, but how will we defend against self-replicating nanotechnology?

There are already proposals for ethical standards for nanotechnology that are based on the Asilomar conference standards that have worked well thus far in biotechnology. These standards will be effective against unintentional dangers. For example, we do not need to provide self-replication to accomplish nanotechnology manufacturing.

But what about intentional abuse, as in terrorism?

Well need to create a nanotechnology immune systemgood nanobots that can protect us from the bad ones.

Blue goo to protect us from the gray goo!

Yes, well put. And ultimately well need the nanobots comprising the immune system to be self-replicating. Ive debated this particular point with a number of other theorists, but I show in the book why the nanobot immune system we put in place will need the ability to self-replicate. Thats basically the same lesson that biological evolution learned.

Ultimately, however, strong AI will provide a completely effective defense against self-replicating nanotechnology.

Okay, whats going to protect us against a pathological AI?

Yes, well, that would have to be a yet more intelligent AI.

This is starting to sound like that story about the universe being on the back of a turtle, and that turtle standing on the back of another turtle, and so on all the way down. So what if this more intelligent AI is unfriendly? Another even smarter AI?

History teaches us that the more intelligent civilizationthe one with the most advanced technologyprevails. But I do have an overall strategy for dealing with unfriendly AI, which I discuss in chapter 8.

Okay, so Ill have to read the book for that one. But arent there limits to exponential growth? You know the story about rabbits in Australiathey didnt keep growing exponentially forever.

There are limits to the exponential growth inherent in each paradigm. Moores law was not the first paradigm to bring exponential growth to computing, but rather the fifth. In the 1950s they were shrinking vacuum tubes to keep the exponential growth going and then that paradigm hit a wall. But the exponential growth of computing didnt stop. It kept going, with the new paradigm of transistors taking over. Each time we can see the end of the road for a paradigm, it creates research pressure to create the next one. Thats happening now with Moores law, even though we are still about fifteen years away from the end of our ability to shrink transistors on a flat integrated circuit. Were making dramatic progress in creating the sixth paradigm, which is three-dimensional molecular computing.

But isnt there an overall limit to our ability to expand the power of computation?

Yes, I discuss these limits in the book. The ultimate 2 pound computer could provide 1042 cps, which will be about 10 quadrillion (1016) times more powerful than all human brains put together today. And thats if we restrict the computer to staying at a cold temperature. If we allow it to get hot, we could improve that by a factor of another 100 million. And, of course, well be devoting more than two pounds of matter to computing. Ultimately, well use a significant portion of the matter and energy in our vicinity. So, yes, there are limits, but theyre not very limiting.

And when we saturate the ability of the matter and energy in our solar system to support intelligent processes, what happens then?

Then well expand to the rest of the Universe.

Which will take a long time I presume.

Well, that depends on whether we can use wormholes to get to other places in the Universe quickly, or otherwise circumvent the speed of light. If wormholes are feasible, and analyses show they are consistent with general relativity, we could saturate the universe with our intelligence within a couple of centuries. I discuss the prospects for this in the chapter 6. But regardless of speculation on wormholes, well get to the limits of computing in our solar system within this century. At that point, well have expanded the powers of our intelligence by trillions of trillions.

Getting back to life extension, isnt it natural to age, to die?

Other natural things include malaria, Ebola, appendicitis, and tsunamis. Many natural things are worth changing. Aging may be natural, but I dont see anything positive in losing my mental agility, sensory acuity, physical limberness, sexual desire, or any other human ability.

In my view, death is a tragedy. Its a tremendous loss of personality, skills, knowledge, relationships. Weve rationalized it as a good thing because thats really been the only alternative weve had. But disease, aging, and death are problems we are now in a position to overcome.

Wait, you said that the golden era of biotechnology was still a decade away. We dont have radical life extension today, do we?

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Singularity Q&A | KurzweilAI

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Tor Browser – Anonymity Online, IP Changer – YouTube

 Tor Browser  Comments Off on Tor Browser – Anonymity Online, IP Changer – YouTube
Jun 262016
 

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained (portable).

Playlists:

File Recovery Software – https://goo.gl/1wlK6R Photo Editing Software – https://goo.gl/6fsmcY Android games – https://goo.gl/xSwfV6 Proxy, VPN, IP changer – https://goo.gl/HZoDz5 Backup & Recovery – https://goo.gl/LsbzN8 Parental Control Software – https://goo.gl/QRT4u9 Remote Desktop Control – https://goo.gl/QLeR7t Emulators – https://goo.gl/k9uCX0 PC Optimizer Software – https://goo.gl/Mae0QA PC Information Software – https://goo.gl/AHtlTl Network Management Software – https://goo.gl/zWNbuq Work With PDF Files – https://goo.gl/Q1R4Qu Audio Video Converters – https://goo.gl/dUrrx1 Media Players – https://goo.gl/wEvcua Other – https://goo.gl/uN5KcO

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Tor Browser – Anonymity Online, IP Changer – YouTube

Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …

 Gambling  Comments Off on Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …
Jun 242016
 

The Top Online Casino Gambling News Reporting Site Since 2002! Latest News From the Casino Gambling Industry

Cheers and Jeers Abound for New UK Online Gambling Law May 19, 2014 The new UK betting law is expected to be finalized by July 1st and go into effect by September 1st. However, many are concerned the law could create another wild-west situation in the UK… Speculation on Casino Gambling Legalization in Japan Continues May 13, 2014 LVS owner Sheldon Adelson continues to create gambling news across the world, this time in Japan as he salivates at the possibility of legalization before the 2020 Olympics… LVS Owner Adelson Pulling the Strings of Politicians in the US May 8, 2014 Las Vegas Sands is playing the political system, and its owner, Sheldon Adelson, is the puppet master behind the curtain pulling the strings, according to new reports… New Jersey Bets Big on Sports Gambling, Loses – So Far… May 5, 2014 Governor Chris Christie may need a win in the Supreme Court to justify his defense for his initiative to legalize sports betting in the state… Tribal And Private Gaming Owners Square Off In Massachusetts April 28, 2014 Steve Wynn and the Mohegan Sun are squaring off in a battle for a casino license in Massachusetts, and the two have vastly different views of how regulations are being constructed…

Below is a quick guide to the best gambling sites online. One is for USA players, the other is for players in the rest of the world. Good luck!

As laws change in 2012 the internet poker craze is set to boom once again in North America. Bovada, formerly known as Bodog, is one of the only sites that weathered the storm and they are now the best place to play online. More players gamble here than anywhere else.

The goal of Casino Gambling Web is to provide each of our visitors with an insider’s view of every aspect of the gambling world. We have over 30 feeds releasing news to more than 30 specific gaming related categories in order to achieve our important goal of keeping you well updated and informed.

The main sections of our site are broken up into 5 broad areas of gambling news. The first area of news we cover is about issues concerning brick and mortar casinos like those found in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, the Gulf Coast Region, and well, now the rest of the USA. The second area of gambling news we cover concerns itself with the Internet casino community. We also have reporters who cover the international poker community and also the world of sports gambling. And finally, we cover news about the law when it effects any part of the gambling community; such legal news could include information on updates to the UIGEA, or issues surrounding gambling petitions to repeal that law, or information and stories related to new poker laws that are constantly being debated in state congresses.

We go well beyond simply reporting the news. We get involved with the news and sometimes we even become the news. We pride ourselves on providing follow up coverage to individual news stories. We had reporters in Washington D.C. on the infamous night when the internet gambling ban was passed by a now proven to be corrupt, former senator Bill Frist led congress, and we have staff constantly digging to get important details to American citizens. We had reporters at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas when Jamie Gold won his ring and changed the online gambling world, and we have representatives playing in the tournament each and every year.

It is our pleasure and proud duty to serve as a reliable source of gambling news and quality online casino reviews for all of the international gaming community. Please take a few moments to look around our site and discover why we, and most other insiders of the industry, have considered CGW the #1 Top Casino Gambling News eporting Organization since 2002.

The United States changed internet gambling when they passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), so now when searching for top online casinos you must focus your energies on finding post-UIGEA information as opposed to pre-UIGEA information. Before the law passed you could find reliable info on most gambling portals across the internet. Most of those portals simply advertised casinos and gambling sites that were tested and approved by eCogra, and in general you would be hard pressed to find an online casino that had a bad reputation. However, now that these gambling sites were forced out of the US they may be changing how they run their business. That is why it important to get your information from reliable sources who have been following the industry and keeping up with which companies have remained honorable. So good luck and happy hunting!

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), in short, states that anything that may be illegal on a state level is now also illegal on a federal level. However, the day after Christmas in 2011, President Barrack Obama’s administration delivered what the online gaming industry will view forever as a great big beautifully wrapped present. The government released a statement declaring that the 1961 Federal Wire Act only covers sports betting. What this means for the industry on an international level is still unknown, but what it means in the USA is that states can begin running online poker sites and selling lottery tickets to its citizens within its borders. The EU and WTO will surely have some analysis and we will keep you updated as this situation unfolds. Be sure to check with state laws before you start to gamble online.

The UK was the first high-power territory to legalize and regulate gambling online with a law passed in 2007. They allow all forms of betting but have strict requirements on advertisers. They first attracted offshore companies to come on land, which gave the gambling companies who complied the appearance of legitamacy. However, high taxes forced many who originally came to land, back out to sea and the battle forever rages on, but on a whole, the industry regulations have proven greatly successful and have since served as a model for other gaming enlightened countries around the world.

Since then, many European countries have regulated the industry, breaking up long term monopolies, sometimes even breaking up government backed empires, finally allowing competition – and the industry across the globe (outside of the USA) is thriving with rave reviews, even from those who are most interested in protecting the innocent and vulnerable members of society.

We strive to provide our visitors with the most valuable information about problem gambling and addiction in society. We have an entire section of our site dedicated to news about the subject. When a state or territory implements new technology to safeguard itself from allowing problem gamblers to proliferate, we will report it to you. If there is a new story that reveals some positive or negative information about gambling as it is related to addiction, we will report it to you. And if you think you have a problem with gambling right now, please visit Gamblers Anonymous if you feel you have a gambling problem.

In order to get all the information you need about this industry it is important to visit Wiki’s Online Gambling page. It provides an unbiased view of the current state of the Internet gambling industry. If you are interested in learning about other issues you may also enjoy visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling, a righteous company whose sole purpose is to help protect and support problem gamblers. They have a lot of great resources for anyone interested in learning more.

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Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …

Gambling Law US – State Gambling Laws United States

 Gambling  Comments Off on Gambling Law US – State Gambling Laws United States
Jun 242016
 

US Federal Gambling Laws

State Gambling Laws

State Charitable Gaming Laws

State Law Summary

Gambling Law Articles

Useful Sites

State Gambling Agencies

Search-Site Map

Contact

Gambling Related Websites

Poker Vibe

Gambling Directories on the Web Internet Library Georgetown Law Library Gambling Links Joeant Gambling Directory

Statutory anti-gambling laws in each state are presented in full text. A chart answering common state gambling law questions is included, as are articles explaining different aspects of gambling laws.

This Website is an effort to make available a wide range of information on gambling laws at both the State and Federal levels governing the legality of various forms of gambling and gaming. Currently the website includes:

Gaming and gambling in the United States have undergone a great boom. During the past decade most states have expanded legalized gaming, including regulated casino-style games and lotteries. There has been an explosion in opening Native American casinos. The popularity of online gambling and betting has increased exponentially. Gambling-Law-US.com presents, explains and analyzes the patchwork of state and federal and state gambling laws that apply to the boom.

The words “gamble” and “gambling” are generally used to discuss an activity that may run afoul of applicable criminal laws. The word “gaming” is usually reserved for those instances where the activity has been specifically legalized by applicable laws or where the activity is exempted from the criminal laws. Thus, playing a casino-style game at a for-profit website online in the United States is referred to as gambling, since no state has yet to finalize any gambling law that specifically authorizes a for-profit website operator to offer any casino games.

The two words are not mutually exclusive. That is, a gaming activity could turn out to be gambling where applicable laws regulating that particular gaming are violated. Similarly, a gambling activity may turn out to be gaming if it is exempted from a given criminal statute. For example, playing a card game for money in a purely social setting where no one earns anything from the game other than as a mere player would be gaming if such social games were excluded from the reach of the criminal anti-gambling laws in the state where the game takes place. For the history of gambling laws on a state-by-state basis, see the individual state entries on Pokerwebsites.com.

Presented By

Chuck Humphrey

In 1999 he became the principal investor in and one of the founders of the Tournament of Champions of Poker and the manager of Team Pegasus, an association of professional tournament poker players.

He is admitted to practice law in Colorado, Michigan and Texas, currently being active in Colorado, where he lives. He was a staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. early in his legal career. Chuck holds BBA, MBA and J.D (cum laude) degrees, all from the University of Michigan. He is an AV-rated attorney, a peer-awarded honor given by Martindale-Hubbell.

Chuck continues his law practice, which principally focuses on gambling law, business matters, and structuring transactions.

Please click on “Contact” in the left hand column to reach Chuck.

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Gambling Law US – State Gambling Laws United States

 Posted by at 7:35 am  Tagged with:

What is virtual reality? – A simple introduction

 Virtual Reality  Comments Off on What is virtual reality? – A simple introduction
Jun 192016
 

by Chris Woodford. Last updated: May 27, 2015.

You’ll probably never go to Mars, swim with dolphins, run an Olympic 100 meters, or sing onstage with the Rolling Stones. But if virtual reality ever lives up to its promise, you might be able to do all these thingsand many morewithout even leaving your home. Unlike real reality (the actual world in which we live), virtual reality means simulating bits of our world (or completely imaginary worlds) using high-performance computers and sensory equipment, like headsets and gloves. Apart from games and entertainment, it’s long been used for training airline pilots and surgeons and for helping scientists to figure out complex problems such as the structure of protein molecules. How does it work? Let’s take a closer look!

Photo: Virtual reality means blocking yourself off from the real world and substituting a computer-generated alternative. Often, it involves wearing a wraparound headset called a head-mounted display, clamping stereo headphones over your ears, and touching or feeling your way around your imaginary home using datagloves (gloves with built-in sensors). Picture by Wade Sisler courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.

Virtual reality (VR) means experiencing things through our computers that don’t really exist. From that simple definition, the idea doesn’t sound especially new. When you look at an amazing Canaletto painting, for example, you’re experiencing the sites and sounds of Italy as it was about 250 years agoso that’s a kind of virtual reality. In the same way, if you listen to ambient instrumental or classical music with your eyes closed, and start dreaming about things, isn’t that an example of virtual realityan experience of a world that doesn’t really exist? What about losing yourself in a book or a movie? Surely that’s a kind of virtual reality?

If we’re going to understand why books, movies, paintings, and pieces of music aren’t the same thing as virtual reality, we need to define VR fairly clearly. For the purposes of this simple, introductory article, I’m going to define it as:

Putting it another way, virtual reality is essentially:

Artwork: This Canaletto painting of Venice, Italy is believable and in some sense explorable (you can move your eyes around and think about different parts of the picture), but it’s not interactive, computer-generated, or immersive, so it doesn’t meet our definition of virtual reality: looking at this picture is not like being there. There’s nothing to stop us making an explorable equivalent in VR, but we need CGInot oil paintsto do it. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

We can see from this why reading a book, looking at a painting, listening to a classical symphony, or watching a movie don’t qualify as virtual reality. All of them offer partial glimpses of another reality, but none are interactive, explorable, or fully believable. If you’re sitting in a movie theater looking at a giant picture of Mars on the screen, and you suddenly turn your head too far, you’ll see and remember that you’re actually on Earth and the illusion will disappear. If you see something interesting on the screen, you can’t reach out and touch it or walk towards it; again, the illusion will simply disappear. So these forms of entertainment are essentially passive: however plausible they might be, they don’t actively engage you in any way.

VR is quite different. It makes you think you are actually living inside a completely believable virtual world (one in which, to use the technical jargon, you are partly or fully immersed). It is two-way interactive: as you respond to what you see, what you see responds to you: if you turn your head around, what you see or hear in VR changes to match your new perspective.

“Virtual reality” has often been used as a marketing buzzword for compelling, interactive video games or even 3D movies and television programs, none of which really count as VR because they don’t immerse you either fully or partially in a virtual world. Search for “virtual reality” in your cellphone app store and you’ll find hundreds of hits, even though a tiny cellphone screen could never get anywhere near producing the convincing experience of VR. Nevertheless, things like interactive games and computer simulations would certainly meet parts of our definition up above, so there’s clearly more than one approach to building virtual worldsand more than one flavor of virtual reality. Here are a few of the bigger variations:

For the complete VR experience, we need three things. First, a plausible, and richly detailed virtual world to explore; a computer model or simulation, in other words. Second, a powerful computer that can detect what we’re going and adjust our experience accordingly, in real time (so what we see or hear changes as fast as we movejust like in real reality). Third, hardware linked to the computer that fully immerses us in the virtual world as we roam around. Usually, we’d need to put on what’s called a head-mounted display (HMD) with two screens and stereo sound, and wear one or more sensory gloves. Alternatively, we could move around inside a room, fitted out with surround-sound loudspeakers, onto which changing images are projected from outside. We’ll explore VR equipment in more detail in a moment.

A highly realistic flight simulator on a home PC might qualify as nonimmersive virtual reality, especially if it uses a very wide screen, with headphones or surround sound, and a realistic joystick and other controls. Not everyone wants or needs to be fully immersed in an alternative reality. An architect might build a detailed 3D model of a new building to show to clients that can be explored on a desktop computer by moving a mouse. Most people would classify that as a kind of virtual reality, even if it doesn’t fully immerse you. In the same way, computer archaeologists often create engaging 3D reconstructions of long-lost settlements that you can move around and explore. They don’t take you back hundreds or thousands of years or create the sounds, smells, and tastes of prehistory, but they give a much richer experience than a few pastel drawings or even an animated movie.

What about “virtual world” games like Second Life and Minecraft? Do they count as virtual reality? Although they meet the first four of our criteria (believable, interactive, computer-created and explorable), they don’t really meet the fifth: they don’t fully immerse you. But one thing they do offer that cutting-edge VR typically doesn’t is collaboration: the idea of sharing an experience in a virtual world with other people, often in real time or something very close to it. Collaboration and sharing are likely to become increasingly important features of VR in future.

Virtual reality was one of the hottest, fastest-growing technologies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the rapid rise of the World Wide Web largely killed off interest after that. Even though computer scientists developed a way of building virtual worlds on the Web (using a technology analogous to HTML called Virtual Reality Markup Language, VRML), ordinary people were much more interested in the way the Web gave them new ways to access real realitynew ways to find and publish information, shop, and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences with friends through social media. With Facebook’s growing interest in the technology, the future of VR seems likely to be both Web-based and collaborative.

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have put what used to be supercomputer power in our hands and pockets. If we’re wandering round the world, maybe visiting a heritage site like the pyramids or a fascinating foreign city we’ve never been to before, what we want is typically not virtual reality but an enhanced experience of the exciting reality we can see in front of us. That’s spawned the idea of augmented reality (AR), where, for example, you point your smartphone at a landmark or a striking building and interesting information about it pops up automatically. Augmented reality is all about connecting the real world we experience to the vast virtual world of information that we’ve collectively created on the Web. Neither of these worlds is virtual, but the idea of exploring and navigating the two simultaneously does, nevertheless, have things in common with virtual reality. For example, how can a mobile device figure out its precise location in the world? How do the things you see on the screen of your tablet change as you wander round a city? Technically, these problems are similar to the ones developers of VR systems have to solveso there are close links between AR and VR.

Photo: Augmented reality: A heads-up display, like this one used by the US Air Force, superimposes useful, computer-based information on top of the things you see with your own eyes. Picture by Major Chad E. Gibson courtesy of US Air Force.

Close your eyes and think of virtual reality and you probably picture something like our top photo: a geek wearing a wraparound headset (HMD) and datagloves, wired into a powerful workstation or supercomputer. What differentiates VR from an ordinary computer experience (using your PC to write an essay or play games) is the nature of the input and output. Where an ordinary computer uses things like a keyboard, mouse, or (more exotically) speech recognition for input, VR uses sensors that detect how your body is moving. And where a PC displays output on a screen (or a printer), VR uses two screens (one for each eye), stereo or surround-sound speakers, and maybe some forms of haptic (touch and body perception) feedback as well. Let’s take a quick tour through some of the more common VR input and output devices.

There are two big differences between VR and looking at an ordinary computer screen: in VR, you see a 3D image that changes smoothly, in real-time, as you move your head. That’s made possible by wearing a head-mounted display, which looks like a giant motorbike helmet or welding visor, but consists of two small screens (one in front of each eye), a blackout blindfold that blocks out all other light (eliminating distractions from the real world), and stereo headphones. The two screens display slightly different, stereoscopic images, creating a realistic 3D perspective of the virtual world. HMDs usually also have built-in accelerometers or position sensors so they can detect exactly how your head and body are moving (both position and orientationwhich way they’re tilting or pointing) and adjust the picture accordingly. The trouble with HMDs is that they’re quite heavy, so they can be tiring to wear for long periods; some of the really heavy ones are even mounted on stands with counterweights.

Photo: The view from inside. A typical HMD has two tiny screens that show different pictures to each of your eyes, so your brain produces a combined 3D (stereoscopic) image. Picture by courtesy of US Air Force.

An alternative to putting on an HMD is to sit or stand inside a room onto whose walls changing images are projected from outside. As you move in the room, the images change accordingly. Flight simulators use this technique, often with images of landscapes, cities, and airport approaches projected onto large screens positioned just outside a mockup of a cockpit. A famous 1990s VR experiment called CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), developed at the University of Illinois by Thomas de Fanti, also worked this way. People moved around inside a large cube-shaped room with semi-transparent walls onto which stereo images were back-projected from outside. Although they didn’t have to wear HMDs, they did need stereo glasses to experience full 3D perception.

See something amazing and your natural instinct is to reach out and touch iteven babies do that. So giving people the ability to handle virtual objects has always been a big part of VR. Usually, this is done using datagloves, which are ordinary gloves with sensors wired to the outside to detect hand and figure motions. One technical method of doing this uses fiber-optic cables stretched the length of each finger. Each cable has tiny cuts in it so, as you flex your fingers back and forth, more or less light escapes. A photocell at the end of the cable measures how much light reaches it and the computer uses this to figure out exactly what your fingers are doing. Other gloves use strain gauges, piezoelectric sensors, or electromechanical devices (such as potentiometers) to measure finger movements.

Photos: Left: EXOS datagloves produced by NASA in the 1990s had very intricate external sensors to detect finger movements with high precision. Picture courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA-MSFC). Right: This more elaborate EXOS glove had separate sensors on each finger segment, wired up to a single ribbon cable connected up to the main VR computer. Picture by Wade Sisler courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.

Artwork: How a fiber-optic dataglove works. Each finger has a fiber-optic cable stretched along its length. (1) At one end of the finger, a light-emitting diode (LED) shines light into the cable. (2) Light rays shoot down the cable, bouncing off the sides. (3) There are tiny abrasions in the top of each fiber through which some of the rays escape. The more you flex your fingers, the more light escapes. (4) The amount of light arriving at a photocell at the end gives a rough indication of how much you’re flexing your finger. (5) A cable carries this signal off to the VR computer. This is a simplified version of the kind of dataglove VPL patented in 1992, and you’ll find the idea described in much more detail in US Patent 5,097,252.

Even simpler than a dataglove, a wand is a stick you can use to touch, point to, or otherwise interact with a virtual world. It has position or motion sensors (such as accelerometers) built in, along with mouse-like buttons or scroll wheels. Originally, wands were clumsily wired into the main VR computer; increasingly, they’re wireless.

Photo: A typical handheld virtual reality controller (complete with elastic bands), looking not so different from a video game controller. Photo courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.

VR has always suffered from the perception that it’s little more than a glorified arcade gameliterally a “dreamy escape” from reality. In that sense, “virtual reality” can be an unhelpful misnomer; “alternative reality,” “artificial reality,” or “computer simulation” might be better terms. The key thing to remember about VR is that it really isn’t a fad or fantasy waiting in the wings to whistle people off to alternative worlds; it’s a hard-edged practical technology that’s been routinely used by scientists, doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, archaeologists, and the military for about the last 30 years. What sorts of things can we do with it?

Difficult and dangerous jobs are hard to train for. How can you safely practice taking a trip to space, landing a jumbo jet, making a parachute jump, or carrying out brain surgery? All these things are obvious candidates for virtual reality applications. As we’ve seen already, flight cockpit simulators were among the earliest VR applications; they can trace their history back to mechanical simulators developed by Edwin Link in the 1920s. Just like pilots, surgeons are now routinely trained using VR. In a 2008 study of 735 surgical trainees from 28 different countries, 68 percent said the opportunity to train with VR was “good” or “excellent” for them and only 2 percent rated it useless or unsuitable.

Photo: Flight training is a classic application of virtual reality, though it doesn’t use HMDs or datagloves. Instead, you sit in a pretend cockpit with changing images projected onto giant screens to give an impression of the view you’d see from your plane. The cockpit is a meticulous replica of the one in a real airplane with exactly the same instruments and controls. Photo by Javier Garcia courtesy of US Air Force.

Anything that happens at the atomic or molecular scale is effectively invisible unless you’re prepared to sit with your eyes glued to an electron microscope. But suppose you want to design new materials or drugs and you want to experiment with the molecular equivalent of LEGO. That’s another obvious application for virtual reality. Instead of wrestling with numbers, equations, or two-dimensional drawings of molecular structures, you can snap complex molecules together right before your eyes. This kind of work began in the 1960s at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Frederick Brooks launched GROPE, a project to develop a VR system for exploring the interactions between protein molecules and drugs.

Photo: If you’re heading to Mars, a trip in virtual reality could help you visualize what you’ll find when you get there. Picture courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.

Apart from its use in things like surgical training and drug design, virtual reality also makes possible telemedicine (monitoring, examining, or operating on patients remotely). A logical extension of this has a surgeon in one location hooked up to a virtual reality control panel and a robot in another location (maybe an entire continent away) wielding the knife. The best-known example of this is the daVinci surgical robot, released in 2009, of which several thousand have now been installed in hospitals worldwide. Introduce collaboration and there’s the possibility of a whole group of the world’s best surgeons working together on a particularly difficult operationa kind of WikiSurgery, if you like!

Architects used to build models out of card and paper; now they’re much more likely to build virtual reality computer models you can walk through and explore. By the same token, it’s generally much cheaper to design cars, airplanes, and other complex, expensive vehicles on a computer screen than to model them in wood, plastic, or other real-world materials. This is an area where virtual reality overlaps with computer modeling: instead of simply making an immersive 3D visual model for people to inspect and explore, you’re creating a mathematical model that can be tested for its aerodynamic, safety, or other qualities.

From flight simulators to race-car games, VR has long hovered on the edges of the gaming worldnever quite good enough to revolutionize the experience of gamers, largely due to computers being too slow, displays lacking full 3D, and the lack of decent HMDs and datagloves. All that may be about to change with the development of affordable new peripherals like the Oculus Rift.

Like any technology, virtual reality has both good and bad points. How many of us would rather have a complex brain operation carried out by a surgeon trained in VR, compared to someone who has merely read books or watched over the shoulders of their peers? How many of us would rather practice our driving on a car simulator before we set foot on the road? Or sit back and relax in a Jumbo Jet, confident in the knowledge that our pilot practiced landing at this very airport, dozens of times, in a VR simulator before she ever set foot in a real cockpit?

Critics always raise the risk that people may be seduced by alternative realities to the point of neglecting their real-world livesbut that criticism has been leveled at everything from radio and TV to computer games and the Internet. And, at some point, it becomes a philosophical and ethical question: What is real anyway? And who is to say which is the better way to pass your time? Like many technologies, VR takes little or nothing away from the real world: you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

The promise of VR has loomed large over the world of computing for at least the last quarter centurybut remains largely unfulfilled. While science, architecture, medicine, and the military all rely on VR technology in different ways, mainstream adoption remains virtually nonexistent; we’re not routinely using VR the way we use computers, smartphones, or the Internet. But the 2014 acquisition of VR company Oculus, by Facebook, greatly renewed interest in the area and could change everything. Facebook’s basic idea is to let people share things with their friends using the Internet and the Web. What if you could share not simply a photo or a link to a Web article but an entire experience? Instead of sharing photos of your wedding with your Facebook friends, what if you could make it possible for people to attend your wedding remotely, in virtual reality, in perpetuity? What if we could record historical events in such a way that people could experience them again and again, forever more? These are the sorts of social, collaborative virtual reality sharing that (we might guess) Facebook is thinking about exploring right now. If so, the future of virtual reality looks very bright indeed!

So much for the future, but what of the past. Virtual reality has a long and very rich history. Here are a few of the more interesting highlights…

Artwork: The first virtual reality machine? Morton Heilig’s 1962 Sensorama. Picture courtesy US Patent and Trademark Office.

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What is virtual reality? – A simple introduction

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Automation – Cloud process & workflow automation | Microsoft …

 Automation  Comments Off on Automation – Cloud process & workflow automation | Microsoft …
Jun 192016
 

Save time while lowering overhead costs

Now you can automate all of those frequent, time-consuming, and error-prone cloud management tasks. Azure Automation helps you spend more of your time focused on work that adds business value. By reducing errors and boosting efficiency, it can also help lower your operational costs.

In Automation, Windows PowerShell scripts and workflowsknown as runbookshelp you work smarter by handling the creation, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance of Azure resources and third-party applications. The Automation Runbook Gallery puts samples, utilities, and scenario runbooks right at your fingertips, so that you can get up and running quickly with your automation tasks. The Runbook Gallery lets you browse and import runbooks to your Automation account without ever having to leave the Azure portal.

Automation runbooks work with Web Apps in Azure App Service, Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Storage, Azure SQL Database, and other popular Azure services. You can also use them with any service that offers public Internet APIs. Easy-to-read dashboard charts and log records make runbooks easier to monitor.

By efficiently handling processes that span tools, systems, and department silos, Automation lets you deliver services faster and more consistently. Its highly reliable and you can create checkpoints to resume your workflow after unexpected errors, crashes, and network issues.

Author and manage PowerShell Desired State Configurations (DSC), import DSC resources, and generate DSC node configurations, all in the cloud. With Azure Automation DSC, you can easily and reliably monitor and automatically update machine configuration across physical and virtual machines, Windows or Linux, in the cloud or on-premises.

See the article here:

Automation – Cloud process & workflow automation | Microsoft …

 Posted by at 2:33 pm  Tagged with:

FE Trustnet Offshore: Offshore Top Mutual Funds | Offshore …

 Offshore  Comments Off on FE Trustnet Offshore: Offshore Top Mutual Funds | Offshore …
Jun 172016
 

Trustnet Limited (we, our, us and derivatives) are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This Privacy Policy, together with our Terms of Use, sets out the basis on which any personal data that we collect from you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us relating to your use of any of the below websites (sites).

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However, you agree that we may disclose to any regulatory authority to which we are subject and to any investment exchange on which we may deal or to its related clearing house (or to investigators, inspectors or agents appointed by them), or to any person empowered to require such information by or under any legal enactment, any information they may request or require relating to you, or if relevant, any of your clients.

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Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our sites; any transmission is at your own risk. You will not hold us responsible for any breach of security unless we have been negligent or in wilful default.

Any changes we make to our privacy policy in the future will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you by e-mail.

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If you want more information or have any questions or comments relating to our privacy policy please email publishing@financialexpress.net in the first instance.

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FE Trustnet Offshore: Offshore Top Mutual Funds | Offshore …

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Micronation.org – The Micronation Site

 Micronations  Comments Off on Micronation.org – The Micronation Site
Jun 172016
 

What is a micronation? The term ‘micronation’ literally means “small nation”. It is a neologism originating in the mid-1990s to describe the many thousands of small unrecognised state-like entities that have mostly arisen since that time. It is generally accepted that the term was invented by Robert Ben Madison. The term has since also come to be used retrospectively to refer to earlier unrecognised entities, some of which date to as far back as the 19th century. Supporters of micronations use the term “macronation” for any UN-recognized sovereign nation-state. What is Micronation.org? Micronation.org aims to be the most complete and most professional site about micronations on the Internet, as well as being home to a vibrant and diverse community of micronationalists. We have over one hundred active users at present, and that number is continuing to grow. Micronation.org at present contains MicroWiki, our professional micronational encyclopaedia, the Micronation.org Forum, and the Micronational News Agency, with plans for further content in the future. What are some notable micronations? Throughout recent history there have been many. The two that the wider world are likely most familiar with are the Republic of Molossia, and the Principality of Sealand. Molossia The Republic of Molossia, is a North American micronation located in Dayton, Nevada, and with an enclave Southern California. One of the oldest micronations, it is the successor state to the Grand Republic of Vuldstein, founded by James Spielman and Kevin Baugh in May 1977. Vuldstein, located in Portland, Oregon, was active for a short period which lasted until the end of that year, when its King moved to another city without renouncing to his throne, leading the Grand Republic to a state of inactivity. Baugh then took control of the nation, with it officially becoming Molossia in 1998. Appearing on the “Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations”, Molossia is known outside micronationalism for the movie Kickassia, produced by That Guy with the Glasses, and receives several tourists every year. Read more Sealand The Principality of Sealand was officially established on September 2, 1967, claiming as its territory the artificial island of Roughs Tower, a World War II-era sea fort located in the North Sea ten kilometres off the coast of Suffolk, England. Sealand is currently occupied by family members and associates of the late Paddy Roy Bates, who styled himself as H.R.H. Prince Roy of Sealand. The population of the facility generally remains around five, and its inhabitable area is just over five hundred square metres. Read more

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Micronation.org – The Micronation Site

Superintelligence – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Superintelligence  Comments Off on Superintelligence – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

A superintelligence is a hypothetical agent that possesses intelligence far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human minds. “Superintelligence” may also refer to a property of problem-solving systems (e.g., superintelligent language translators or engineering assistants) whether or not these high-level intellectual competencies are embodied in agents that act in the world.

University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.”[1] The program Fritz falls short of superintelligence even though it is much better than humans at chess because Fritz cannot outperform humans in other tasks. Following Hutter and Legg, Bostrom treats superintelligence as general dominance at goal-oriented behavior, leaving open whether an artificial or human superintelligence would possess capacities such as intentionality (cf. the Chinese room argument) or first-person consciousness (cf. the hard problem of consciousness).

Technological researchers disagree about how likely present-day human intelligence is to be surpassed. Some argue that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will probably result in general reasoning systems that lack human cognitive limitations. Others believe that humans will evolve or directly modify their biology so as to achieve radically greater intelligence. A number of futures studies scenarios combine elements from both of these possibilities, suggesting that humans are likely to interface with computers, or upload their minds to computers, in a way that enables substantial intelligence amplification.

Some researchers believe that superintelligence will likely follow shortly after the development of artificial general intelligence. The first sentient machines are likely to immediately hold an enormous advantage in at least some forms of mental capability, including the capacity of perfect recall, a vastly superior knowledge base, and the ability to multitask in ways not possible to biological entities. This may give them the opportunity toeither as a single being or as a new speciesbecome much more powerful than humans, and to displace them.[3]

A number of scientists and forecasters argue for prioritizing early research into the possible benefits and risks of human and machine cognitive enhancement, because of the potential social impact of such technologies.

Philosopher David Chalmers argues that artificial general intelligence is a very likely path to superhuman intelligence. Chalmers breaks this claim down into an argument that AI can achieve equivalence to human intelligence, that it can be extended to surpass human intelligence, and that it can be further amplified to completely dominate humans across arbitrary tasks.

Concerning human-level equivalence, Chalmers argues that the human brain is a mechanical system, and therefore ought to be emulatable by synthetic materials. He also notes that human intelligence was able to biologically evolve, making it more likely that human engineers will be able to recapitulate this invention. Evolutionary algorithms in particular should be able to produce human-level AI. Concerning intelligence extension and amplification, Chalmers argues that new AI technologies can generally be improved on, and that this is particularly likely when the invention can assist in designing new technologies.

If research into strong AI produced sufficiently intelligent software, it would be able to reprogram and improve itself a feature called “recursive self-improvement”. It would then be even better at improving itself, and could continue doing so in a rapidly increasing cycle, leading to a superintelligence. This scenario is known as an intelligence explosion. Such an intelligence would not have the limitations of human intellect, and may be able to invent or discover almost anything.

Computer components already greatly surpass human performance in speed. Bostrom writes, Biological neurons operate at a peak speed of about 200 Hz, a full seven orders of magnitude slower than a modern microprocessor (~2 GHz). Moreover, neurons transmit spike signals across axons at no greater than 120 m/s, “whereas existing electronic processing cores can communicate optically at the speed of light”. Thus, the simplest example of a superintelligence may be an emulated human mind that’s run on much faster hardware than the brain. A human-like reasoner that could think millions of times faster than current humans would have a dominant advantage in most reasoning tasks, particularly ones that require haste or long strings of actions.

Another advantage of computers is modularity, that is, their size or computational capacity can be increased. A non-human (or modified human) brain could become much larger than a present-day human brain, like many supercomputers. Bostrom also raises the possibility of collective superintelligence: a large enough number of separate reasoning systems, if they communicated and coordinated well enough, could act in aggregate with far greater capabilities than any sub-agent.

There may also be ways to qualitatively improve on human reasoning and decision-making. Humans appear to differ from chimpanzees in the ways we think more than we differ in brain size or speed.[10] Humans outperform non-human animals in large part because of new or enhanced reasoning capacities, such as long-term planning and language use. (See evolution of human intelligence and primate cognition.) If there are other possible improvements to reasoning that would have a similarly large impact, this makes it likelier that an agent can be built that outperforms humans in the same fashion humans outperform chimpanzees.

All of the above advantages hold for artificial superintelligence, but it is not clear how many hold for biological superintelligence. Physiological constraints limit the speed and size of biological brains in many ways that are inapplicable to machine intelligence. As such, writers on superintelligence have devoted much more attention to superintelligent AI scenarios.

Carl Sagan suggested that the advent of Caesarean sections and in vitro fertilization may permit humans to evolve larger heads, resulting in improvements via natural selection in the heritable component of human intelligence.[13] By contrast, Gerald Crabtree has argued that decreased selection pressure is resulting in a slow, centuries-long reduction in human intelligence, and that this process instead is likely to continue into the future. There is no scientific consensus concerning either possibility, and in both cases the biological change would be slow, especially relative to rates of cultural change.

Selective breeding and genetic engineering could improve human intelligence more rapidly. Bostrom writes that if we come to understand the genetic component of intelligence, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis could be used to select for embryos with as much as 4 points of IQ gain (if one embryo is selected out of two), or with larger gains (e.g., up to 24.3 IQ points gained if one embryo is selected out of 1000). If this process is iterated over many generations, the gains could be an order of magnitude greater. Bostrom suggests that deriving new gametes from embryonic stem cells could be used to iterate the selection process very rapidly. A well-organized society of high-intelligence humans of this sort could potentially achieve collective superintelligence.

Alternatively, collective intelligence might be constructible by better organizing humans at present levels of individual intelligence. A number of writers have suggested that human civilization, or some aspect of it (e.g., the Internet, or the economy), is coming to function like a global brain with capacities far exceeding its component agents. If this systems-based superintelligence relies heavily on artificial components, however, it may qualify as an AI rather than as a biology-based superorganism.

A final method of intelligence amplification would be to directly enhance individual humans, as opposed to enhancing their social or reproductive dynamics. This could be achieved using nootropics, somatic gene therapy, or braincomputer interfaces. However, Bostrom expresses skepticism about the scalability of the first two approaches, and argues that designing a superintelligent cyborg interface is an AI-complete problem.

Most surveyed AI researchers expect machines to eventually be able to rival humans in intelligence, though there is little consensus on timescales. At the 2006 AI@50 conference, 18% of attendees reported expecting machines to be able “to simulate learning and every other aspect of human intelligence” by 2056; 41% of attendees expected this to happen sometime after 2056; and 41% expected machines to never reach that milestone.[18]

In a survey of the 100 most cited authors in AI (as of May 2013, according to Microsoft Academic Search), the median year by which respondents expected machines “that can carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human” (assuming no global catastrophe occurs) with 10% confidence is 2024 (mean 2034, st. dev. 33 years), with 50% confidence is 2050 (mean 2072, st. dev. 110 years), and with 90% confidence is 2070 (mean 2168, st. dev. 342 years). These estimates exclude the 1.2% of respondents who said no year would ever reach 10% confidence, the 4.1% who said ‘never’ for 50% confidence, and the 16.5% who said ‘never’ for 90% confidence. Respondents assigned a median 50% probability to the possibility that machine superintelligence will be invented within 30 years of the invention of approximately human-level machine intelligence.

Bostrom expressed concern about what values a superintelligence should be designed to have. He compared several proposals:

Responding to Bostrom, Santos-Lang raised concern that developers may attempt to start with a single kind of superintelligence.

It has been suggested that learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or that robots would out-compete humanity (one technological singularity scenario).[22] Researchers have argued that, by way of an “intelligence explosion” sometime over the next century, a self-improving AI could become so powerful as to be unstoppable by humans.[23]

Concerning human extinction scenarios, Bostrom (2002) identifies superintelligence as a possible cause:

When we create the first superintelligent entity, we might make a mistake and give it goals that lead it to annihilate humankind, assuming its enormous intellectual advantage gives it the power to do so. For example, we could mistakenly elevate a subgoal to the status of a supergoal. We tell it to solve a mathematical problem, and it complies by turning all the matter in the solar system into a giant calculating device, in the process killing the person who asked the question.

In theory, since a superintelligent AI would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome and to thwart any attempt to prevent the implementation of its goals, many uncontrolled, unintended consequences could arise. It could kill off all other agents, persuade them to change their behavior, or block their attempts at interference.[24]

Eliezer Yudkowsky explains: “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.”[25]

Bill Hibbard advocates for public education about superintelligence and public control over the development of superintelligence.

Original post:

Superintelligence – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 4:58 am  Tagged with:

7: Mass Data – 10 Futurist Predictions in the World of …

 Neurohacking  Comments Off on 7: Mass Data – 10 Futurist Predictions in the World of …
Jun 172016
 

Even if scientists and marketers can’t get access to our brains for neurohacking or neuromarketing, can they get access to our data? With unprecedented amounts of images and data available online, filling clouds and other Web-based storage, media, government regulatory bodies and marketers work around the clock to mine user preferences, habits and even relationships.

What to do with all of this data, and more specifically and maybe more urgently, how can we keep all of our activities in the virtual space from shaping the real space of our world? As search preferences narrow results when using the Internet, and our reading and research have become “optimized” based on what key words people search for, our choices in buying products and accessing news and information narrows as the enormous stores of data accumulate.

Data and the machines and algorithms used to manage and make sense of it could largely replace independent decision-making — either large or small — and it is happening at such a speed that it’s sometimes hard to remember the data isn’t in control. People still control the data, but just who has this control and what they do with it will become an ongoing challenge [source: Seligson; IGF].

Link:

7: Mass Data – 10 Futurist Predictions in the World of …

Childfree News

 Childfree  Comments Off on Childfree News
Jun 172016
 

7 Reasons Why Being Childfree Isnt Selfish | Care2 Causes

I’ve always found the accusation that we’re selfish to be poorly thought out. First of all, for many of us who know we would dislike parenting, raising a child would not be a beneficial act, since children deserve parents who really want them.

Secondly, life is basically navigating near infinite choices, some of which by necessity have to be “selfish.” If we’re going to be judged by the things we don’t do, it makes just as much sense to call someone selfish for not working for a charity, for not spending their weekends at a soup kitchen, for not living in a studio apartment and donating the rest to a good cause. Are parents selfish for not having the time to volunteer that we childfree do? There’s no way I could take on the pro bono work I have for the poor or asylum seekers if I had a child.

Every day we make selfish decisions. Few are cut out for a purely selfless life, which would be one of deprivation, hard work, sacrifice and few pleasures. Almost all of us choose to spend money on entertainment, spend some of our free time relaxing, and create lives that balance happiness with our contributions to society.

Why single out this one act – having children – as the one we are not allowed to opt out of without being labeled? I think it’s pretty simple – it’s the one that’s the most common, the one biology drives us to do. But those are poor reasons for making this the one “mandatory” sacrifice when there are so many others to be had. It’s simply lazy thinking.

Lastly, it’s pretty easy and short-sighted to say that you’re selflessly raising kids (so we should, too) when you actually *want* kids and enjoy their company. You don’t actually live or understand what you’re asking us to do, since you have no idea what parenting would be like for us.

But fortunately, I hear this less and less. In fact, in my New York City neighborhood, I hear it never. It seems to remain in many other cultures, and in the culture of trolling on the internet. But we’re undergoing a foment in the ways we think about other peoples’ life choices, toward a live and let live philosophy. I would wager that this attitude will, in the coming decades, shrink until it is only the domain of trolls and extremists.

See the article here:

Childfree News

 Posted by at 4:55 am  Tagged with:

Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post
Jun 172016
 

Wikipedia Commons – Credit: Michael Vadon

You cant watch television these days without hearing people talk about political correctness. The term is constantly used and misused to many ends. Donald Trumps campaign revels in the idea of a need to be rid of political correctness and not-so-subtly proposes that this concept is destroying America. His message is clear. If we want to make America great again, we need to ignore the liberal agenda that bars us from offending anyone and ignores the truth. Political correctness is the reason why people no longer speak their minds and is to blame for the surge of Mexican immigrants destroying America. The danger of this refreshing idea that we need to stop being politically correct is it became a kind of code-speak for racism and bullying. Trump claimed that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, that John McCain wasnt a hero because he was captured, and compared Ben Carsons temper (also a champion of political incorrectness) to child molestation. However inane and unfounded in fact Trump is, his blatant disregard of political correctness is a large part of his popularity that has lasted much longer than any reasonable person would have assumed was possible some months back.

But Trump is for the crazies and the nave. I still believe if he goes against Hillary in the general election, itll be the most devastating blow to the Republican party, since Watergate, if not ever. Most of the semi-rational minds in his party agree with this assessment. In spite of this, Trump has locked onto two key ideas are that are too powerful to ignore. Firstly, that the government is bought and sold by corporations and secondly, that political correctness is a cancer on the heart of America and the modern world. When I speak of political correctness, I dont believe in blaming Mexican immigrants for the decline in American greatness, or the right to call women pigs judged solely by the merits of their bone structure, but I do believe political correctness is making honest discourse more and more difficult, if not impossible.

When I began thinking about how I would address this topic, I wanted to relate Trump to the sentimental narratives in the culture that the older white male demographic was fed up with. Things that I agree and disagree with to varying degrees, like the new ideal that there needs to be a term called cis gender to relate to the 99.7% of the population that is not transgender and whether, or whether or not it is racist to place minority actors in subordinate roles to white characters (taxi drivers, maids, etc.) in television and film. I wanted to explore whether Effie, the producer on Project Greenlight, was crazy for freaking out about a black man cast as a limo driver in the very bad movie they were producing. Then I wanted to counterbalance that point with Aziz Ansaris brilliantly funny, ideologically sound depiction of a childhood where all the Indian characters were racist caricatures on Master of None. How could we find the balance in society without limiting the freedom of the artists making the movies?

I was interested in the ridiculous notion that movies should not be judged on their aesthetic merits, but on their ideological aims. Specifically, I wanted to tackle the absurd notion that the internet was aghast at Quentin Tarantino when he said in an interview profile by Bret Easton Ellis that Selma should have won an Emmy, comparing the Martin Luther King biopic to a TV movie, and compare that to the fury aimed at Francine Prose sixteen years ago for making the shocking statement that Maya Angelous heavily metaphor-laden prose was bad writing. And then came Paris.

In the grand scheme of things, does anyone really care that self-important filmmakers usually win awards over better filmmakers? It no longer felt all that important to discuss the aesthetic merits of a few heavily lauded minority writers and filmmakers (some good and some bad). I know that its not racist to have aesthetic problems with 12 Years a Slave or Schindlers List (or any film for that matter), because I look at films in a nuanced way the general population doesnt care to. I know it is un-American to not let someone have a poor opinion about a movie tackling social issues. Then I came to the conclusion that the very levers that make it racist to criticize a fairly good movie about Martin Luther King also are to blame for the fact it is considered racist by some to criticize Europe opening its doors to 60,000,000 refugees.

I know that social progress comes with some speed bumps, as people navigate the politically correct means of delivering messages. One day you can say something one way and the next, only a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving dinner can say it. I get it. America has a long history of racism, sexism and has been fairly horrible to most if not all minorities at some time or another and this horrifyingly continues to this day in spite of the best intentions of the majority of Americans. In our attempt to improve this undignified treatment of everyone excepting white males with money in their pockets, we need to alter language to ensure we dont hurt each other quite as much. For the most part this is a good thing. The problem with political correctness is that it tends to ignore nuance and truth in the service of not hurting feelings.

Generally these little hiccups that disallow opinions are not so important. The problem with political correctness broadly is that people cannot criticize anything or anyone in a disadvantaged situation, for fear of going against the corporatized politically correct narrative. Sometimes when I defend Israel, I feel like Im living in 1984. This is part of the reason Israel gets blamed for everything going on in Gaza, instead of Hamas and the other neighboring Arab nations, and it is entirely the reason that the backward Fundamentalist Muslim beliefs of hundreds of millions of the nearly two billion Muslims in the world get a free pass. We have been conditioned to believe that criticizing anything to do with a minority is fundamentally wrong. The forward thinking people have also been trained to believe that any idea coming from the right is entirely wrong. Again, a lack of nuance.

As a child of the 90s, I was indoctrinated with political correctness from an early age. One day in third grade, we were led into an assembly where we heard the thoughts of a well-meaning person Upper Middle Class woman explaining prejudice to my mostly-white Upper Middle Class Connecticut elementary school. We heard a woman consider what it was to be politically correct and why it was necessary not to call black people black. Instead, we were supposed to say African American. We were told discrimination was wrong. Towards the end, she kind of lost track of her argument and went on a soliloquy about judgment. How we should be prejudiced in our decision-making. That it was necessary to prejudge things from our experience. She gave the example of buying a car and not buying an English car because the prejudiced opinion was that those cars often had engine failure and a boatload of others problems. However, we should not make the same judgments about people.

In spite of all a lot of the other nonsense she was spewing, she was right. Individuals should always be given the benefit of the doubt. It is patently wrong to prejudge them. However, it is not patently wrong to examine the ideologies that influence these people. When we look at Paris, we should remember that Fundamentalist Islam is responsible for the death of Charlie Hebdo last year and 129 more last week. We cant blindly follow the liberal agenda that it was a heroic act to allow tens of millions of Muslims, many of whom have been infected with Fundamentalist ideology, into Europe and expect everything to run smoothly. We cannot let our well-meaning liberal intentions confuse us into blindly accepting cultures that oppress people and endanger the freedoms we fought so hard to attain and are still fighting for. As much as I would like to help those being oppressed by ISIS, if we do not look at the world realistically for fear of offending people, what values of freedom will we be fighting for?

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Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post

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Technology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Technology  Comments Off on Technology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

This article is about the use and knowledge of techniques and processes for producing goods and services. For other uses, see Technology (disambiguation).

Technology (“science of craft”, from Greek , techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -, -logia[3]) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things.

The human species’ use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. The steady progress of military technology has brought weapons of ever-increasing destructive power, from clubs to nuclear weapons.

Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of Earth’s environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.

Until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but 21st century scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and passed their knowledge to other generations.

The use of the term “technology” has changed significantly over the last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and usually referred to the description or study of the useful arts.[4] The term was often connected to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861).[5]

The term “technology” rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The term’s meanings changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German concept of Technik into “technology”. In German and other European languages, a distinction exists between technik and technologie that is absent in English, which usually translates both terms as “technology”. By the 1930s, “technology” referred not only to the study of the industrial arts but to the industrial arts themselves.[6]

In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that “technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them.”[7] Bain’s definition remains common among scholars today, especially social scientists. But equally prominent is the definition of technology as applied science, especially among scientists and engineers, although most social scientists who study technology reject this definition.[8] More recently, scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of “technique” to extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental reason, as in Foucault’s work on technologies of the self (techniques de soi).

Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers a definition of the term: “the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area” and “a capability given by the practical application of knowledge”.[9]Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 “Real World of Technology” lecture, gave another definition of the concept; it is “practice, the way we do things around here”.[10] The term is often used to imply a specific field of technology, or to refer to high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than technology as a whole.[11]Bernard Stiegler, in Technics and Time, 1, defines technology in two ways: as “the pursuit of life by means other than life”, and as “organized inorganic matter.”[12]

Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value. In this usage, technology refers to tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems. It is a far-reaching term that may include simple tools, such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or more complex machines, such as a space station or particle accelerator. Tools and machines need not be material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business methods, fall under this definition of technology.[13]W. Brian Arthur defines technology in a similarly broad way as “a means to fulfill a human purpose”.[14]

The word “technology” can also be used to refer to a collection of techniques. In this context, it is the current state of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; it includes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials. When combined with another term, such as “medical technology” or “space technology”, it refers to the state of the respective field’s knowledge and tools. “State-of-the-art technology” refers to the high technology available to humanity in any field.

Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture.[15] Additionally, technology is the application of math, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known. A modern example is the rise of communication technology, which has lessened barriers to human interaction and, as a result, has helped spawn new subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has, at its basis, the development of the Internet and the computer.[16] Not all technology enhances culture in a creative way; technology can also help facilitate political oppression and war via tools such as guns. As a cultural activity, technology predates both science and engineering, each of which formalize some aspects of technological endeavor.

The distinction between science, engineering and technology is not always clear. Science is the reasoned investigation or study of natural phenomena, aimed at discovering enduring principles among elements of the phenomenal world by employing formal techniques such as the scientific method.[17] Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because they have to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability and safety.

Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means, often (but not always) using results and techniques from science. The development of technology may draw upon many fields of knowledge, including scientific, engineering, mathematical, linguistic, and historical knowledge, to achieve some practical result.

Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering although technology as a human activity precedes the two fields. For example, science might study the flow of electrons in electrical conductors, by using already-existing tools and knowledge. This new-found knowledge may then be used by engineers to create new tools and machines, such as semiconductors, computers, and other forms of advanced technology. In this sense, scientists and engineers may both be considered technologists; the three fields are often considered as one for the purposes of research and reference.[18]

The exact relations between science and technology in particular have been debated by scientists, historians, and policymakers in the late 20th century, in part because the debate can inform the funding of basic and applied science. In the immediate wake of World War II, for example, in the United States it was widely considered that technology was simply “applied science” and that to fund basic science was to reap technological results in due time. An articulation of this philosophy could be found explicitly in Vannevar Bush’s treatise on postwar science policy, ScienceThe Endless Frontier: “New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature… This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research.” In the late-1960s, however, this view came under direct attack, leading towards initiatives to fund science for specific tasks (initiatives resisted by the scientific community). The issue remains contentiousthough most analysts resist the model that technology simply is a result of scientific research.[19][20]

The use of tools by early humans was partly a process of discovery and of evolution. Early humans evolved from a species of foraging hominids which were already bipedal,[21] with a brain mass approximately one third of modern humans.[22] Tool use remained relatively unchanged for most of early human history. Approximately 50,000 years ago, the use of tools and complex set of behaviors emerged, believed by many archaeologists to be connected to the emergence of fully modern language.[23]

Hominids started using primitive stone tools millions of years ago. The earliest stone tools were little more than a fractured rock, but approximately 40,000 years ago, pressure flaking provided a way to make much finer work.

The discovery and utilization of fire, a simple energy source with many profound uses, was a turning point in the technological evolution of humankind.[24] The exact date of its discovery is not known; evidence of burnt animal bones at the Cradle of Humankind suggests that the domestication of fire occurred before 1,000,000BC;[25] scholarly consensus indicates that Homo erectus had controlled fire by between 500,000BC and 400,000BC.[26][27] Fire, fueled with wood and charcoal, allowed early humans to cook their food to increase its digestibility, improving its nutrient value and broadening the number of foods that could be eaten.[28]

Other technological advances made during the Paleolithic era were clothing and shelter; the adoption of both technologies cannot be dated exactly, but they were a key to humanity’s progress. As the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and more elaborate; as early as 380,000BC, humans were constructing temporary wood huts.[29][30] Clothing, adapted from the fur and hides of hunted animals, helped humanity expand into colder regions; humans began to migrate out of Africa by 200,000BC and into other continents, such as Eurasia.[31]

Man’s technological ascent began in earnest in what is known as the Neolithic period (“New stone age”). The invention of polished stone axes was a major advance that allowed forest clearance on a large scale to create farms. Agriculture fed larger populations, and the transition to sedentism allowed simultaneously raising more children, as infants no longer needed to be carried, as nomadic ones must. Additionally, children could contribute labor to the raising of crops more readily than they could to the hunter-gatherer economy.[32][33]

With this increase in population and availability of labor came an increase in labor specialization.[34] What triggered the progression from early Neolithic villages to the first cities, such as Uruk, and the first civilizations, such as Sumer, is not specifically known; however, the emergence of increasingly hierarchical social structures and specialized labor, of trade and war amongst adjacent cultures, and the need for collective action to overcome environmental challenges such as irrigation, are all thought to have played a role.[35]

Continuing improvements led to the furnace and bellows and provided the ability to smelt and forge native metals (naturally occurring in relatively pure form).[36]Gold, copper, silver, and lead, were such early metals. The advantages of copper tools over stone, bone, and wooden tools were quickly apparent to early humans, and native copper was probably used from near the beginning of Neolithic times (about 8000 BC).[37] Native copper does not naturally occur in large amounts, but copper ores are quite common and some of them produce metal easily when burned in wood or charcoal fires. Eventually, the working of metals led to the discovery of alloys such as bronze and brass (about 4000 BC). The first uses of iron alloys such as steel dates to around 1400 BC.

Meanwhile, humans were learning to harness other forms of energy. The earliest known use of wind power is the sailboat.[38] The earliest record of a ship under sail is shown on an Egyptian pot dating back to 3200 BC.[39] From prehistoric times, Egyptians probably used the power of the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate their lands, gradually learning to regulate much of it through purposely built irrigation channels and ‘catch’ basins. Similarly, the early peoples of Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, learned to use the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for much the same purposes. But more extensive use of wind and water (and even human) power required another invention.

According to archaeologists, the wheel was invented around 4000 B.C. probably independently and nearly simultaneously in Mesopotamia (in present-day Iraq), the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central Europe. Estimates on when this may have occurred range from 5500 to 3000 B.C., with most experts putting it closer to 4000 B.C. The oldest artifacts with drawings that depict wheeled carts date from about 3000 B.C.; however, the wheel may have been in use for millennia before these drawings were made. There is also evidence from the same period for the use of the potter’s wheel. More recently, the oldest-known wooden wheel in the world was found in the Ljubljana marshes of Slovenia.[40]

The invention of the wheel revolutionized trade and war. It did not take long to discover that wheeled wagons could be used to carry heavy loads. Fast (rotary) potters’ wheels enabled early mass production of pottery. But it was the use of the wheel as a transformer of energy (through water wheels, windmills, and even treadmills) that revolutionized the application of nonhuman power sources.

Innovations continued through the Middle Ages with innovations such as silk, the horse collar and horseshoes in the first few hundred years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Medieval technology saw the use of simple machines (such as the lever, the screw, and the pulley) being combined to form more complicated tools, such as the wheelbarrow, windmills and clocks. The Renaissance brought forth many of these innovations, including the printing press (which facilitated the greater communication of knowledge), and technology became increasingly associated with science, beginning a cycle of mutual advancement. The advancements in technology in this era allowed a more steady supply of food, followed by the wider availability of consumer goods.

Starting in the United Kingdom in the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution was a period of great technological discovery, particularly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, metallurgy and transport, driven by the discovery of steam power. Technology took another step in a second industrial revolution with the harnessing of electricity to create such innovations as the electric motor, light bulb and countless others. Scientific advancement and the discovery of new concepts later allowed for powered flight, and advancements in medicine, chemistry, physics and engineering. The rise in technology has led to skyscrapers and broad urban areas whose inhabitants rely on motors to transport them and their daily bread. Communication was also greatly improved with the invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio and television. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a revolution in transportation with the invention of the airplane and automobile.

The 20th century brought a host of innovations. In physics, the discovery of nuclear fission has led to both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Computers were also invented and later miniaturized utilizing transistors and integrated circuits. information technology subsequently led to the creation of the Internet, which ushered in the current Information Age. Humans have also been able to explore space with satellites (later used for telecommunication) and in manned missions going all the way to the moon. In medicine, this era brought innovations such as open-heart surgery and later stem cell therapy along with new medications and treatments.

Complex manufacturing and construction techniques and organizations are needed to make and maintain these new technologies, and entire industries have arisen to support and develop succeeding generations of increasingly more complex tools. Modern technology increasingly relies on training and education their designers, builders, maintainers, and users often require sophisticated general and specific training. Moreover, these technologies have become so complex that entire fields have been created to support them, including engineering, medicine, and computer science, and other fields have been made more complex, such as construction, transportation and architecture.

Generally, technicism is a reliance or confidence in technology as a benefactor of society. Taken to extreme, technicism is the belief that humanity will ultimately be able to control the entirety of existence using technology. In other words, human beings will someday be able to master all problems and possibly even control the future using technology. Some, such as Stephen V. Monsma,[41] connect these ideas to the abdication of religion as a higher moral authority.

Optimistic assumptions are made by proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and singularitarianism, which view technological development as generally having beneficial effects for the society and the human condition. In these ideologies, technological development is morally good. Some critics see these ideologies as examples of scientism and techno-utopianism and fear the notion of human enhancement and technological singularity which they support. Some have described Karl Marx as a techno-optimist.[42]

On the somewhat skeptical side are certain philosophers like Herbert Marcuse and John Zerzan, who believe that technological societies are inherently flawed. They suggest that the inevitable result of such a society is to become evermore technological at the cost of freedom and psychological health.

Many, such as the Luddites and prominent philosopher Martin Heidegger, hold serious, although not entirely deterministic reservations, about technology (see “The Question Concerning Technology”[43]). According to Heidegger scholars Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa, “Heidegger does not oppose technology. He hopes to reveal the essence of technology in a way that ‘in no way confines us to a stultified compulsion to push on blindly with technology or, what comes to the same thing, to rebel helplessly against it.’ Indeed, he promises that ‘when we once open ourselves expressly to the essence of technology, we find ourselves unexpectedly taken into a freeing claim.'[44]” What this entails is a more complex relationship to technology than either techno-optimists or techno-pessimists tend to allow.[45]

Some of the most poignant criticisms of technology are found in what are now considered to be dystopian literary classics, for example Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and other writings, Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. And, in Faust by Goethe, Faust’s selling his soul to the devil in return for power over the physical world, is also often interpreted as a metaphor for the adoption of industrial technology. More recently, modern works of science fiction, such as those by Philip K. Dick and William Gibson, and films (e.g. Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell) project highly ambivalent or cautionary attitudes toward technology’s impact on human society and identity.

The late cultural critic Neil Postman distinguished tool-using societies from technological societies and, finally, what he called “technopolies,” that is, societies that are dominated by the ideology of technological and scientific progress, to the exclusion or harm of other cultural practices, values and world-views.[46]

Darin Barney has written about technology’s impact on practices of citizenship and democratic culture, suggesting that technology can be construed as (1) an object of political debate, (2) a means or medium of discussion, and (3) a setting for democratic deliberation and citizenship. As a setting for democratic culture, Barney suggests that technology tends to make ethical questions, including the question of what a good life consists in, nearly impossible, because they already give an answer to the question: a good life is one that includes the use of more and more technology.[47]

Nikolas Kompridis has also written about the dangers of new technology, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and robotics. He warns that these technologies introduce unprecedented new challenges to human beings, including the possibility of the permanent alteration of our biological nature. These concerns are shared by other philosophers, scientists and public intellectuals who have written about similar issues (e.g. Francis Fukuyama, Jrgen Habermas, William Joy, and Michael Sandel).[48]

Another prominent critic of technology is Hubert Dreyfus, who has published books On the Internet and What Computers Still Can’t Do.

Another, more infamous anti-technological treatise is Industrial Society and Its Future, written by Theodore Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber) and printed in several major newspapers (and later books) as part of an effort to end his bombing campaign of the techno-industrial infrastructure.

The notion of appropriate technology, however, was developed in the 20th century (e.g., see the work of E. F. Schumacher and of Jacques Ellul) to describe situations where it was not desirable to use very new technologies or those that required access to some centralized infrastructure or parts or skills imported from elsewhere. The eco-village movement emerged in part due to this concern.

This article mainly focusses on American concerns even if it can reasonably be generalized to other Western countries.

The inadequate quantity and quality of American jobs is one of the most fundamental economic challenges we face. […] What’s the linkage between technology and this fundamental problem?

In his article, Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,[49] questions the widespread idea that automation, and more broadly technological advances have mainly contributed to this growing labor market problem. His thesis appears to be a third way between Optimism and Skepticism. Basically, he stands for a neutral approach of the linkage between technology and American issues concerning unemployment and eroding wages.

He uses two main arguments to defend his point. First of all, because of recent technological advances, an increasing number of workers are losing their jobs. Yet, scientific evidence fails to clearly demonstrate that technology has displaced so many workers that it has created more problems than it has solved. Indeed, automation threatens repetitive jobs but higher-end jobs are still necessary because they complement technology and manual jobs that “requires flexibility judgment and common sense”[50] remain hard to be replaced by machines.Second, studies have not defined clear links between recent technology advances and the wage trends of the last decades.

Therefore, according to Jared Bernstein, instead of focusing on technology and its hypothetical influences on current American increasing unemployment and eroding wages, one needs to worry more about “bad policy that fails to offset the imbalances in demand, trade, income and opportunity.”[50]

Thomas P. Hughes pointed out that because technology has been considered as a key way to solve problems, we need to be aware of its complex and varied characters to use it more efficiently.[51] What is the difference between a wheel or a compass and cooking machines such as an oven or a gas stove? Can we consider all of them, only a part of them or none of them as technologies?

Technology is often considered too narrowly: according to Thomas P. Hughes “Technology is a creative process involving human ingenuity.[51] This definition emphasizing on creativity avoids unbounded definition that may mistakenly include cooking technologies. But it also highlights the prominent role of humans and therefore their responsibilities for the use of complex technological systems.

Yet, because technology is everywhere and has dramatically changed landscapes and societies, Hughes argued that engineers, scientists, and managers often have believed that they can use technology to shape the world as they want. They have often supposed that technology is easily controllable and this assumption has to be thoroughly questioned.[51] For instance, Evgeny Morozov particularly challenges two concepts: Internet-centrism and solutionism.[52] Internet-centrism refers to the idea that our society is convinced that the Internet is one of the most stable and coherent forces. Solutionism is the ideology that every social issue can be solved thanks to technology and especially thanks to the internet. In fact, technology intrinsically contains uncertainties and limitations. According to Alexis Madrigal’s critique of Morozov’s theory, to ignore it will lead to unexpected consequences that could eventually cause more damage than the problems they seek to address.[53]Benjamin Cohen and Gwen Ottinger precisely discussed the multivalent effects of technology.[54]

Therefore, recognition of the limitations of technology and more broadly scientific knowledge is needed especially in cases dealing with environmental justice and health issues. Gwen Ottinger continues this reasoning and argues that the ongoing recognition of the limitations of scientific knowledge goes hand in hand with scientists and engineers new comprehension of their role. Such an approach of technology and science “[require] technical professionals to conceive of their roles in the process differently. [They have to consider themselves as] collaborators in research and problem solving rather than simply providers of information and technical solutions”.[55]

Technology is properly defined as any application of science to accomplish a function. The science can be leading edge or well established and the function can have high visibility or be significantly more mundane but it is all technology, and its exploitation is the foundation of all competitive advantage.

Technology-based planning is what was used to build the US industrial giants before WWII (e.g., Dow, DuPont, GM) and it what was used to transform the US into a superpower. It was not economic-based planning.

In 1983 Project Socrates was initiated in the US intelligence community to determine the source of declining US economic and military competitiveness. Project Socrates concluded that technology exploitation is the foundation of all competitive advantage and that declining US competitiveness was from decision-making in the private and public sectors switching from technology exploitation (technology-based planning) to money exploitation (economic-based planning) at the end of World War II.

Project Socrates determined that to rebuild US competitiveness, decision making throughout the US had to readopt technology-based planning. Project Socrates also determined that countries like China and India had continued executing technology-based (while the US took its detour into economic-based) planning, and as a result had considerably advanced the process and were using it to build themselves into superpowers. To rebuild US competitiveness the US decision-makers needed to adopt a form of technology-based planning that was far more advanced than that used by China and India.

Project Socrates determined that technology-based planning makes an evolutionary leap forward every few hundred years and the next evolutionary leap, the Automated Innovation Revolution, was poised to occur. In the Automated Innovation Revolution the process for determining how to acquire and utilize technology for a competitive advantage (which includes R&D) is automated so that it can be executed with unprecedented speed, efficiency and agility.

Project Socrates developed the means for automated innovation so that the US could lead the Automated Innovation Revolution in order to rebuild and maintain the country’s economic competitiveness for many generations.[56][57][58]

The use of basic technology is also a feature of other animal species apart from humans. These include primates such as chimpanzees, some dolphin communities,[59][60] and crows.[61][62] Considering a more generic perspective of technology as ethology of active environmental conditioning and control, we can also refer to animal examples such as beavers and their dams, or bees and their honeycombs.

The ability to make and use tools was once considered a defining characteristic of the genus Homo.[63] However, the discovery of tool construction among chimpanzees and related primates has discarded the notion of the use of technology as unique to humans. For example, researchers have observed wild chimpanzees utilising tools for foraging: some of the tools used include leaf sponges, termite fishing probes, pestles and levers.[64]West African chimpanzees also use stone hammers and anvils for cracking nuts,[65] as do capuchin monkeys of Boa Vista, Brazil.[66]

Theories of technology often attempt to predict the future of technology based on the high technology and science of the time.

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Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism
Jun 172016
 

by Eric Steinhart Department of Philosophy William Paterson University Journal of Evolution and Technology

Vol. 20 Issue 1 – pgs 1-22

December 2008

from JournalOfEvolutionAndTechnology Website

Omega Point Theology Being Used As Framework For ‘Christian’ Transhumanism

Tomorrow’s Nephilim As Spiritual Leaders Of New Global Order

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was among the first to give serious consideration to the future of human evolution. His work advocates both biotechnologies (e.g., genetic engineering) and intelligence technologies. He discusses the emergence of a global computation-communication system (and is said by some to have been the first to have envisioned the Internet).

He advocates the development of a global society.

Teilhard is almost surely the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence. He discusses the spread of human intelligence into the universe and its amplification into a cosmic intelligence. More recently, his work has been taken up by Barrow and Tipler; Tipler; Moravec; and Kurzweil.

Of course, Teilhards Omega Point Theory is deeply Christian, which may be difficult for secular transhumanists.

But transhumanism cannot avoid a fateful engagement with Christianity. Christian institutions may support or oppose transhumanism. Since Christianity is an extremely powerful cultural force in the West, it is imperative for transhumanism to engage it carefully.

A serious study of Teilhard can help that engagement and will thus be rewarding to both communities.

1. Introduction Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a Jesuit paleontologist.[1] He combined his scientific study of the fossil record with his Christian faith to produce a general theory of evolution. Teilhards body of work has much to offer transhumanists, who advocate the use of technology to enhance human capacities and see current human beings as in transition to posthuman forms.

There are several specific reasons for transhumanists to study Teilhards work.

The first reason is that Teilhard was one of the first to articulate transhumanist themes. Transhumanists advocate the ethical use of technology for human enhancement. Teilhard’s writing likewise argues for the ethical application of technology in order to advance humanity beyond the limitations of natural biology. Teilhard explicitly argues for the use of both bio-technologies (e.g., genetic engineering) and intelligence technologies, and develops several other themes often found in transhumanist writings.

He discusses the emergence of a global computation-communication system, and is said by some to have been the first to have envisioned the Internet (Kreisberg, 1995). He advocates the development of an egalitarian global society. He was almost certainly the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a kind of Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence.

He discusses the spread of human intelligence into the universe and its amplification into a cosmic-intelligence.

The second reason for transhumanists to study Teilhard is that his thought has influenced transhumanism itself. In particular, Teilhard develops an Omega Point Theory.

An Omega Point Theory (OPT) claims that the universe is evolving towards a godlike final state.

Teilhards OPT was later refined and developed by Barrow and Tipler (1986) and by Tipler alone (1988; 1995).

Ideas from the Barrow-Tipler OPT were, in turn, taken up by many transhumanists (see, for example, Moravec (1988; 2000) and Dewdney (1998)). Kurzweil also articulates a somewhat weaker OPT.

He says:

evolution moves inexorably toward our conception of God, albeit never reaching this ideal

(2005: 476; see also 375, 389-390)

Many transhumanists work within the conceptual architecture of Teilhards OPT without being aware of its origins. Indeed, Teilhard is mostly ignored in the histories of transhumanism; e.g., he is mentioned once and only in passing in Bostroms (2005) detailed history of the transhumanist movement.

The third reason for transhumanists to study Teilhard is that he develops his transhumanist ideas within a Christian context. Teilhard shows how one might develop a Christian transhumanism. Although some secular transhumanists may be inclined to react negatively to any mention of Christianity, such hostility may prove politically costly.

Transhumanism and Christianity are not essentially enemies.

They share some common themes (Hopkins, 2005). Of course, it is understandable that many transhumanists reject the superstitious aspects of Christian doctrine and the authoritarian aspects of Christian institutions. Likewise, Teilhard wants to abandon those aspects of Christianity. He argues that Christ is at work in evolution, that Christ is at work in technology, and that the work of Christ ultimately aims at the perfection of human biology. Christianity is a complex network of doctrines and institutions.

A study of Teilhard can help transhumanists to locate and carefully cultivate friends in that network and to locate, and carefully defend against, opponents.

The fourth reason for transhumanists to study Teilhard is that they are likely to need to defend themselves against conservative forms of Christianity. The dominant forms of Christianity today (at least in the USA) are conservative. As the cultural visibility of transhumanism grows, conservative Christians will increasingly pay it their attention.

They may feel increasingly threatened by transhumanism and come to see it as a heresy (Bainbridge, 2005). Various conservative Christians have already opposed transhumanism (Wiker, 2003; Hook, 2004; Daly, 2004; Hart, 2005). Since Christianity is an extremely powerful cultural force in the West, it is imperative for transhumanism to engage it carefully.

Conservative Christian forces have already opposed various biotechnologies (such as embryonic stem cell research and cloning) and may oppose all the enhancement techniques that transhumanists advocate. Conservative Christianity currently has the political power to effectively shut transhumanism down in the West.

Teilhard was attacked by conservative Catholics, and transhumanists may have to fight similar battles over similar issues. And yet Teilhard gained a surprisingly large following both within and beyond the church.[2]

A study of his work can help transhumanists develop nuanced strategies for defending against attacks from conservative Christians.

The fifth reason for transhumanists to study Teilhard is that they may want to build bridges to liberal and progressive forms of Christianity. Teilhard believed that science and technology have positive roles to play in building the City of God in this world.

A study of Teilhards work may help transhumanists to explore the ways that transhumanism can obtain support:

from Christian millenarianism (see Bozeman, 1997; Noble, 1999)

from Irenaean and neo-Irenaean theodicies (see Hick, 1977; Walker, Undated)[3]

from liberal Protestantism (see Arnow, 1950)

from process theology (see Cobb and Griffin, 1976)

Teilhard believed that everyone has a right to enter the kingdom of heaven it isnt reserved for any special sexual, racial, or economic elite.

A study of Teilhards writings can help transhumanism embrace a deep conception of social justice and expand its conception of social concern (see Garner, 2005). A study of Teilhard can help transhumanists make beneficial conceptual, and even political, connections to progressive Christian institutions.

My goal in this paper is to present the thought of Teilhard de Chardin in a way that is defensible and accessible to transhumanists.

Teilhard was working in the early twentieth century, at a time when biology was primitive and computer science non-existent. Many of his ideas are presented in a nineteenth-century vocabulary that is now conceptually obsolete.

My method is to present these ideas in a charitable way using a contemporary conceptual vocabulary, and to show how they have been refined by transhumanists such as Tipler, Moravec, and Kurzweil. One might say this paper offers a transhumanist reading of Teilhard or even a Teilhardian transhumanism. Since I make extensive use of computational ideas, I am offering a computational model of Teilhards thought.

I thereby hope to make his ideas accessible and to encourage further study of Teilhard among transhumanists.

Teilhard produced an extensive body of work that may be of interest to them;[4] there is also an enormous secondary literature on Teilhard, much of which may be of great interest to transhumanists.[5]

2. Teilhard and computation

2.1 Complexity and logical depth Physical things can be compared in terms of their size, mass, and so on. But they can also be compared in terms of their complexity. Complexity is an objective physical property and the scale of complexities is an objective physical scale.

Teilhard says:

the complexity of a thing… [is] the quality the thing possesses of being composed (a) of a larger number of elements, which are (b) more tightly organized among themselves…. [Complexity depends] not only on the number and diversity of the elements included in each case, but at least as much on the number and correlative variety of the links formed between these elements.

(Teilhard, 1959, The Future of Man, page 98; henceforth abbreviated FUT.)

A first refinement of Teilhards thought requires that we update his definition of complexity.

We can define the complexity of an object as the amount of computational work it takes to simulate the object. It takes a more powerful computer to simulate a more complex object. Bennett (1990) makes this idea more precise by defining complexity as logical depth.

He says:

Logical depth = Execution time required to generate the object in question by a near-incompressible universal computer program, i.e., one not itself computable as output of a significantly more concise program…. Logically deep objects… contain internal evidence of having been the result of a long computation or slow-to-simulate dynamical process.

(Bennett, 1990: 142.)

Teilhard observes that increasingly complex systems are emerging in our universe over time.

We can plot this emergence on a graph with two axes: a time axis and a complexity axis (Teilhard, 1973, My fundamental vision in Towards the Future, page 166; henceforth abbreviated MFV). Teilhard refers to the emergence of increasingly complex systems as complexification. Today we are more likely to talk about self-organization. But the idea is the same.

According to Bennett, we should expect more complex objects to appear later in any evolutionary process.

Teilhard would agree.

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Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism

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Ciberpunk – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

 Cyberpunk  Comments Off on Ciberpunk – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Jun 152016
 

Ciberpunk palabra de origen ingls y cuya pronunciacin es /’sabpk/,[1] se trata de un subgnero de la ciencia ficcin, conocido por su enfoque en un futuro distpico con alta tecnologa y bajo nivel de vida y toma su nombre de la combinacin de ciberntica y punk. Mezcla ciencia avanzada, como la informtica y la ciberntica junto con algn grado de desintegracin o cambio radical en el orden social.

El argumento de la trama del gnero ciberpunk se centra a menudo en un conflicto entre hackers, inteligencias artificiales y megacorporaciones localizados en un futuro cercano del planeta Tierra, en oposicin del futuro lejano o panorama de encuentros galcticos en novelas como Fundacin de Isaac Asimov o Dune de Frank Herbert. Las visiones de este futuro suelen ser distopas post-industriales, pero estn normalmente marcadas por un fomento cultural extraordinario y el uso de tecnologas en mbitos nunca anticipados por sus creadores (“la calle encuentra sus propias aplicaciones para las cosas”). La atmsfera del gnero en su mayora hace eco en el cine negro y se utiliza a menudo en este gnero tcnicas de novelas policacas. Entre los primeros exponentes del gnero ciberpunk se encuentran William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker y John Shirley. El trmino ciberpunk se acu en los aos 1980 y contina en uso.

A diferencia de la ciencia ficcin de la Nueva ola, que import las tcnicas y las preocupaciones estilsticas que ya existan en literatura y la cultura, el ciberpunk se origin en la ciencia ficcin primero, antes de incrementar la tendencia dominante de su exposicin. A comienzos y a mediados de los aos ochenta, el ciberpunk se convirti en un tema de moda en los crculos acadmicos, donde comenz a ser objeto de investigacin del postmodernismo. En este mismo perodo, el gnero se introdujo en Hollywood y se convirti en uno de los estilos de la ciencia-ficcin del segmento del cine. Muchas pelculas influyentes tales como Blade Runner,The Terminator y Akira se pueden ver como consecuencias prominentes de los estilos y de los temas del gnero. Los videojuegos, los juegos de mesa y los juegos de rol, tales como Shadowrun[2][3][4] o el apropiadamente nombrado Cyberpunk 2020,[5] ofrecen a menudo guiones que estn fuertemente influenciados por las pelculas y la escritura ciberpunk. Iniciados los aos 1990, algunas tendencias de la moda y la msica fueron etiquetadas como ciberpunk.

Mientras que una gran variedad de escritores comenz a trabajar con conceptos del ciberpunk, nuevos sub-gneros emergieron, que se centraban en la tecnologa y sus efectos sociales de una manera diferente. Los ejemplos incluyen el steampunk, iniciado por Tim Powers, Kevin Wayne Jeter y James Blaylock, y el biopunk (o alternativamente ribofunk), en el cual Paul Di Filippo es prominente. Adicionalmente algunas personas consideran trabajos tales como La era del diamante de Neal Stephenson como el inicio de la categora postciberpunk.

Los escritores ciberpunk tienden a usar elementos de la novela policaca dura, el cine negro y la prosa postmoderna para describir las caractersticas del lado subterrneo de una sociedad electrnica. La visin del gnero de un futuro alterado es llamada a menudo las anttesis de las visiones utpicas generales del futuro, populares entre 1940 y 1950. (Gibson define la antipata ciberpunk hacia la ciencia ficcin utpica en su cuento de 1981 The Gemsback Continuum, con el cual se mofa y condena hasta cierto punto la ciencia ficcin utpica).

Ciberpunk Cualquier cosa que se le pueda hacer a una rata se le puede hacer a un humano. Y podemos hacer casi cualquier cosa a las ratas. Es duro pensar en esto, pero es la verdad. Esto no cambiar con cubrirnos los ojos. Esto es ciberpunk.

En la escritura ciberpunk mucha de la accin ocurre en lnea, en el ciberespacio; velando cualquier frontera entre la realidad y la realidad virtual. Un tropo tpico en estos trabajos es la conexin directa entre el cerebro humano y un sistema de cmputo. El ciberpunk muestra el mundo bajo el dominio del sistema como un lugar oscuro, siniestro, donde las redes de cmputo dominan cada aspecto de la vida. Gigantes corporaciones multinacionales reemplazan a los gobiernos como centros del poder poltico, econmico y militar. La batalla entre un personaje marginado contra un sistema totalitario es un tema comn en la ciencia ficcin (por ejemplo, la novela 1984 de George Orwell) y particularmente en el ciberpunk, aunque en la ciencia ficcin convencional los sistemas totalitarios tienden a ser estriles, ordenados y controlados por el Estado.

Los protagonistas de la escritura ciberpunk generalmente son hackers, quienes son moldeados frecuentemente en la idea de hroe solitario que combate la injusticia: vaqueros, rnin, etc. A menudo son gente no privilegiada colocada en situaciones extraordinarias, ms que cientficos brillantes o capitanes estrella buscando intencionalmente avances o aventura, y no siempre son verdaderos hroes, (una comparacin conveniente puede ser la ambigedad moral del personaje de Clint Eastwood en la Triloga del dlar).

Protagonistas Los personajes del ciberpunk clsico son seres marginados, alejados, solitarios, que viven al margen de la sociedad, generalmente en futuros distpicos donde la vida diaria es impactada por el rpido cambio tecnolgico, una atmsfera de informacin computarizada ubicua y la modificacin invasiva del cuerpo humano.

Uno de los personajes prototipo del gnero ciberpunk es Case, de la novela Neuromante de William Gibson. Case es un “vaquero de la consola”, un hacker brillante, que traiciona a sus socios del crimen organizado. Robado su talento con una lesin que lo deja lisiado; infligida en venganza por sus socios criminales, Case recibe una inesperada nica oportunidad en la vida de ser curado con asistencia mdica experta; pero a cambio de su participacin en otra empresa criminal con un nuevo equipo. Como Case muchos protagonistas ciberpunk son manipulados, puestos en situaciones donde tienen poca o ninguna opcin, y aunque ellos pueden verse en esto, no necesariamente llegan a estar ms lejos de lo que previamente estaban. Estos anti-hroes criminales, parias, visionarios, desertores e inadaptados no experimentan el camino de hroe de Campbell como un protagonista de la epopeya homrica o una novela de Alexandre Dumas. Ellos en cambio, traen a la memoria el investigador privado de la novela policaca, que podra solucionar los casos ms complejos, pero nunca recibir una recompensa justa. Este nfasis sobre los inadaptados y descontentos -que Thomas Pynchon llama el “pretrito” y Frank Zappa el “olvido de la Gran Sociedad”- es el componente “punk” del ciberpunk.

El ciberpunk se sita como un defensor de la libre circulacin de la informacin. Decididamente opuesto a los derechos de propiedad intelectual. Acrrimo defensor de las tecnologas de cifrado para garantizar la privacidad as como del dinero electrnico y de todas las modernas tecnologas digitales, en general.

La literatura ciberpunk es usada a menudo como una metfora para las preocupaciones actuales sobre los efectos y el control de las corporaciones sobre las personas, la corrupcin en los gobiernos, la enajenacin y la vigilancia tecnolgica. El ciberpunk puede ser entendido como una inquietud a los lectores y un llamado a la accin. Esto a menudo expresa el sentido de rebelin, sugiriendo que uno podra describirlo como un tipo de ciencia ficcin contracultural. En las palabras del autor y crtico David Brin,

…una mirada ms cercana, [de los autores ciberpunk], revela que retratan casi siempre a sociedades futuras con gobiernos absurdos y patticos… Cuentos populares de ciencia ficcin de Gibson, Cadigan y otros son una representacin Orwelliana de la acumulacin del poder en el prximo siglo, pero casi siempre en manos secretas ms adineradas o en corporaciones de lite

The Transparent Society, Basic Books, 1998

Las historias ciberpunk se han considerado a veces como pronsticos ficticios de la evolucin del Internet. El mundo virtual ahora conocido como Internet, aparece a menudo bajo varios nombres, incluyendo “ciberespacio”, “la Red”, “el Metaverso” o “la Matriz”. En este contexto es importante observar que las descripciones ms tempranas de una red global de comunicaciones vinieron mucho antes que la World Wide Web se incorporara al conocimiento popular, aunque no antes de que los escritores tradicionales de la ciencia ficcin tales como Arthur Charles Clarke y en algunos comentaristas sociales como James Burke comenzaran a predecir que tales redes eventualmente se formaran.

El ciberpunk es tambin un movimiento contracultural. Como tal, tiene su origen en una tradicin libertaria y una profunda desconfianza en el uso de las nuevas tecnologas que, si bien pueden proporcionar mayores niveles de comodidad y progreso, tambin pueden alienar al individuo y ayudar a controlarlo.

Del mismo modo que la fuerza esttica del ciberpunk ha influido en otros gneros ms all de la ciencia ficcin, la fuerza de sus futuros, claramente distpicos, ha influido en la sociedad modificando nuestro punto de vista acerca de las nuevas tecnologas. As, siendo una de las funciones de la ciencia ficcin alertar a la sociedad de los peligros de sus actitudes y de sus creaciones, el ciberpunk ha sido uno de los movimientos ms exitosos dentro del gnero.

Sin embargo, el ciberpunk no es un movimiento reaccionario. No se posiciona contra la tecnologa, sino contra determinados usos de la misma. As, del mismo modo que los poderosos se valen de la tecnologa para mantener su control sobre las masas, cualquier accin en contra de ellos deber tambin contar con el uso de tecnologas sofisticadas.

Adems de posicionarse contra las implicaciones negativas de la ciencia y la tecnologa, el ciberpunk muestra situaciones que se producen en un escenario econmico controlado por organizaciones cada vez ms poderosas e influyentes, a la vez que alejadas de la ciudadana. Se denuncia as una fractura social en la que los ricos y poderosos se valen de su dinero y poder para manipular a la sociedad mediante el control de la informacin.

Algo a tener en cuenta al analizar el ciberpunk como corriente social es que sus autores no se posicionan contra algo que ser, sino contra algo que est siendo. Es esta cercana de los contenidos lo que ha hecho este movimiento tan inquietante.

El editor de ciencia ficcin Gartner Dozois es generalmente conocido como la persona que populariz el uso del trmino “ciberpunk” como un tipo de literatura. El escritor Bruce Bethke acu el trmino en 1980 para su historia corta Ciberpunk, aunque la historia no se public hasta noviembre de 1983, en Historias Asombrosas de Ciencia Ficcin, Volumen 57, Nmero 4. [9]

El trmino fue rpidamente acogido como una etiqueta aplicada a los trabajos de William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Lewis Shiner, Richard Kadrey y otros. De stos, Sterling inici el movimiento, liderando la ideologa, gracias a su fanzine Cheap Truth (Verdad barata). (Vase tambin los artculos de John Shirley sobre Sterling y Rucker). [10]

Los elementos del ciberpunk estn presentes en Los Cantos de Hyperion de Dan Simmons; el planeta Lusus posee muchas caractersticas del mundo distpico de Neuromante (Neuromancer) y los niveles cibernticos de la vida y la existencia de inteligencia artificial tienen obvias influencias de los trabajos de Gibson.

William Gibson con su novela Neuromancer, es probablemente el ms famoso escritor conectado con el trmino. El estilo enftico, la fascinacin con la superficie, la apariencia y sensacin de futuro y la atmsfera ya tradicional en la ciencia ficcin son vistos como la ruptura y a veces como el trabajo arquetpico del ciberpunk. [11] Neuromancer fue galardonada con los premios Hugo, Nbula y Philip K. Dick. De acuerdo con el archivo de la jerga “La total ignorancia de Gibson acerca de computadoras y la cultura hacker actual le permitieron especular sobre el rol de las computadoras y hackers en el futuro de modo que ambas son desde entonces irritantemente ingenuas y tremendamente estimulantes”. [12]

Tempranamente, el ciberpunk fue aclamado como una ruptura radical de los estndares de la ciencia ficcin y una nueva manifestacin de vitalidad, sin embargo poco tiempo despus surgieron muchos crticos para cambiar su estatus a movimiento revolucionario. Estos crticos dicen que la ciencia ficcin de la “Nueva ola” de los aos 60 era mucho ms innovadora en cuanto a estilo y tcnicas narrativas. [13] Adems mientras el narrador de Neuromancer pudo haber tenido una voz inusual para la ciencia ficcin, se pueden encontrar muchos otros ejemplos anteriores a este: la voz narrativa de Gibson, por ejemplo se asemeja a la del actualsimo Raymond Chandler en su novela El Gran Sueo (1939). Otros consideran que los rasgos considerados nicos del ciberpunk, de hecho se pueden encontrar en trabajos ms antiguos de otros escritores, de los que podemos citar James Graham Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany e incluso William Burroughs. Por ejemplo los trabajos de Philip K. Dick contienen temas recurrentes de decaimiento social, inteligencia artificial, paranoia y lneas ocultas entre la realidad y una especie de realidad virtual; la pelcula ciberpunk Blade Runner est basada en uno de estos libros. Humanos vinculados con mquinas son el cimiento de la novela Wolfbane de Frederik Pohl y Cyril M. Kornbluth (1959) y Criaturas de luz y oscuridad de Roger Zelazny (1986).

En 1994 el acadmico Brian Stonehill insinu que la novela El arco iris de gravedad de Thomas Pynchon no solo insulta, sino plagia a los precursores del ciberespacio. [14] Otros importantes predecesores incluyen a dos novelas muy celebradas de Alfred Bester, El hombre demolido y Las estrellas mi destino, as como la novela de Vernor Vinge Nombres verdaderos.

El escritor de ciencia ficcin David Brin describe el ciberpunk como (…) la campaa de promocin gratuita ms fina emprendida a nombre de la ciencia ficcin. Esto pudo no haber atrado a los verdaderos “punks”, pero atrajo a muchos nuevos lectores y dispuso la clase de movimiento que la literatura postmodernista buscaba comentar (una ilustracin de esto es el Manifiesto Cyborg de Donna Haraway, un intento de construir un mito poltico usando cyborgs como metforas de la realidad social contempornea).[15] El ciberpunk hizo ms atractiva la ciencia ficcin para los acadmicos, argumenta Brin. Adems hizo a la ciencia ficcin ms lucrativa para Hollywood y las artes visuales en general. An cuando su importancia retrica y quejas de persecucin por parte de los aficionados al ciberpunk era irritante en el peor y chistoso en el mejor de los casos, Brin declara que Los rebeldes pusieron las cosas patas arriba; estamos en deuda con ellos […]. Pero, el pregunta “Fueron ellos originales?”.[16]

El futuro ciberpunk inspir a muchos escritores profesionales que no se encontraban entre los ciberpunk “originales” al incorporar ideas ciberpunk en sus propios trabajos, tales como Walter Jon Williams con Hardwired y Voz del torbellino, y George Alec Effinger con su obra Cuando la gravedad falla. Mientras nuevos escritores y artistas empezaron a experimentar con ideas ciberpunk, nuevas variedades de ficcin emergieron, a veces manejando el mismo nivel de crtica que las historias del ciberpunk original.Lawrence Person escribi en un ensayo publicado en el foro de Internet Slashdot:

Muchos escritores que crecieron leyendo en 1980 ahora estn publicando sus historias y novelas. Para ellos el ciberpunk no fue una revolucin o una filosofa alen que invadi la ciencia ficcin, pero era otro sabor de la ciencia ficcin. Como los escritores de los aos 1970 y 1980 que asimilaron las obras clsicas y tcnicas estilsticas de la nueva ola sin necesariamente conocer o conservar el estilo de los manifiestos y las ideologas que nacieron con ellos, los nuevos escritores muy bien pudieron haber ledo Neuromancer al tiempo que la Fundacin de Asimov, Todos sobre Zanzbar de John Brunner, o Mundo Anillo de Larry Niven y no ver una discontinuidad, sino una serie continua.

[11]

El ensayo de Person aboga usando el trmino “postciberpunk” para etiquetar los nuevos trabajos que estos escritores producen. En esta visin, las historias tpicas del postciberpunk continan enfocndose en una atmsfera de datos ubicua de informacin computarizada y el aumento ciberntico en el cuerpo humano, pero sin asumir la distopa. Buenos ejemplos pueden ser La era del diamante de Neal Stephenson o Transmetropolitan de Warren Ellis y Darick Robertson. Como todas las categoras incluidas en la ciencia ficcin, los lmites del postciberpunk son susceptibles de cambiar o ser mal definidos. Para complicar el asunto, hay un mercado continuo de novelas ciberpunk “puras” fuertemente influenciadas por el trabajo temprano de Gibson, como Carbono alterado de Richard Morgan.

En 1965, Jean-Luc Godard estrena Alphaville, un film de ciencia-ficcin con elementos de novelas de ese mismo gnero, en la cual aparece un futuro distpico propio del ciberpunk, basado, probablemente en el que aparece en Un mundo feliz de Aldous Huxley.

La pelcula Blade Runner (1982), adaptada del libro Suean los androides con ovejas elctricas? de Philip Kindred Dick, se ubica en una distopa futura en la cual seres manufacturados llamados replicantes (en la novela, andrillos) son usados como esclavos en colonias del espacio, y en la Tierra presa de varios cazadores de recompensas, quienes se encargan de “retirarlos” (matarlos). Aunque Blade Runner no fue un xito en su lanzamiento, encontr un gran nicho en el mercado de alquiler de pelculas. Puesto que la pelcula omite los elementos religiosos y mticos de la novela de Dick (por ejemplo, cajas de empata y Wilbur Mercer), cae ms estrictamente dentro del gnero ciberpunk que la novela. William Gibson revelara despus que la primera vez que vio la pelcula, se haba sorprendido mucho de cmo la apariencia de esta pelcula era similar a su visin cuando estaba trabajando en Neuromancer. Aunque no fue hasta principios de los noventa cuando se consagr como un gnero de denominacin popular, gracias a numerosas pelculas, entre las que destacan Hardware o Death Machine.

Segn lo mencionado anteriormente, la serie de televisin Max Headroom tambin expandi el ciberpunk, quiz con un xito ms popular que los primeros trabajos escritos del gnero.

El nmero de pelculas de este gnero, o por lo menos de uno de sus elementos ha crecido constantemente desde Blade Runner. Varios de los trabajos de Philip Kindred Dick se han adaptado a la pantalla gigante, con elementos ciberpunk llegando a ser tpicamente dominantes, los ejemplos incluyen Screamers (1996), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003) y Una mirada a la oscuridad (2006).

Pero desafortunadamente para el argumento original, la pelcula Johnny Mnemonic (1995) fue un fracaso, comercialmente y para la crtica. Los fans de Gibson reclaman que el argumento se desvi sustancialmente del trabajo original, an cuando Gibson mismo escribi el guion final.

El director Darren Aronofsky ubica su opera prima (1998) en una Nueva York actual, pero construy el libreto con influencias de la esttica ciberpunk. De acuerdo con comentarios del DVD, l hizo esta produccin usando deliberadamente mquinas antiguas (como el diskette de 5- de pulgada), imitando el estilo tecnolgico de Brazil (1985), para crear una “sensacin” ciberpunk. Aronofsky describe el Chinatown, donde se ubica la pelcula, como “el vecindario ciberpunk despus de Nueva York”.

La serie Robocop se ajusta ms al futuro cercano donde hay por lo menos una corporacin, Omni Productos de Consumo, que es una empresa todopoderosa en la ciudad de Detroit. Hasta el fin del mundo (1991) muestra otro ejemplo donde el ciberpunk es el tema de fondo, y una estrategia de argumento, para verla de otro modo y dirigir el personaje de la historia. Gattaca (1997) dirigida por Andrew Niccol es un filme negro futurista cuyo empapado modo distpico provee un buen ejemplo del biopunk.

La serie The Matrix, que inicio en 1999 con The Matrix (conformada tambin por The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions y The Animatrix) usan una amplia variedad de elementos ciberpunk.

El estilo ciberpunk y el diseo futurista han encontrado una gran acogida (y vasta exposicin) en el anime, incluyendo Akira (primer referente anime del gnero) es un manga en el que tambin se basa la pelcula homnima de animacin japonesa. Ambas obras tuvieron un reconocimiento instantneo como clsicos dentro de sus respectivos gneros. El manga, de ms de dos mil pginas, fue escrito y dibujado por Katsuhiro Otomo entre los aos 1982 y 1993 obteniendo un xito significativo en Japn y en el resto del mundo. Premiada con el Premio Kdansha al mejor manga en 1984 en la categora general (). El largometraje homnimo se separa de la lnea argumental del manga por causas claras: la pelcula fue estrenada cinco aos antes de la conclusin del manga. Akira se ambienta en la ciudad futurista de Neo-Tokio, representada con profundo detalle en la pelcula de animacin (se invirtieron cerca de siete millones de dlares slo en los decorados). Otras series destacadas de anime en abordar esta temtica son: Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Desert Punk, Battle Angel Alita, Bubblegum Crisis, Armitage III, Armitage Dual Matrix, Silent Mbius, Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze, Boogiepop Phamtom, Appleseed, Ergo Proxy, Psycho-Pass y Ghost in the Shell, siendo esta ltima la que ms ha influenciado la juventud contempornea japonesa que vive con una relativa cercana a la ambientacin de la serie, que muestra un Japn con tecnologas de punta y que advierte sobre los riesgos que puede causar esto ante una posible perdida de identidad humana.

El anime tambin ha proporcionado ejemplos del subgnero steampunk, como es el caso del manga de CLAMP Clover, tambin en muchos de los trabajos de Hayao Miyazaki, pero tambin notablemente en Last Exile (2003) creado por el estudio GONZO y dirigido por Koichi Chigira, que ofrece una curiosa mezcla de sociedad victoriana y batallas futuristas entre naves areas.

El trmino “msica ciberpunk” puede referirse a dos categoras algo superpuestas. Primero puede denotar la amplia gama de los trabajos musicales que las pelculas ciberpunk utilizan como banda sonora. Estos trabajos varan en gnero desde la msica clsica y el jazz usada en Blade Runner, y que por otra parte evoca el ambiente del cine negro- hasta el noise y la msica electrnica. Tpicamente las pelculas hacen uso de la electrnica, electronic body music, msica industrial, noise, futurepop, rock alternativo, rock gtico e intelligent dance music para crear la sensacin “apropiada”. El mismo principio aplica a los videojuegos. Por supuesto, mientras los trabajos escritos no estn asociados a bandas sonoras con tanta frecuencia como las pelculas, la alusin a trabajos musicales es usada para el mismo efecto. Por ejemplo la novela grfica Kling Klang Klatch (1992), una fantasa oscura sobre un mundo de juguetes vivos, donde un oso de peluche amargado tiene una adiccin hacia el azcar y una predileccin por el jazz.

La “msica ciberpunk” tambin describe los trabajos asociados con la tendencia de la moda que emergi del desarrollo de la ciencia ficcin. El libro Future Shock de Alvin Toffler influy tanto en los creadores del techno en Detroit a principios de los 80, como Juan Atkins y su grupo Cybotron, como a los pioneros europeos del sintetizador Kraftwerk, produciendo canciones de clara inspiracin distpica. La banda candiense de thrash/punk/progressive metal Voivod fue una de las primeras en autodenominarse ciberpunk. En los 1990, la cultura popular comenz a incluir un movimiento en la msica y en la moda que llamaron tambin “ciberpunk” y que lleg a ser particularmente asociada con las subculturas rave y techno. Con el nuevo milenio lleg un nuevo movimiento de bandas industriales que hacan msica de “porttil”. Punks y okupas se armaron con equipo digital y fusionaron la tecnologa con sonidos callejeros. La subcultura hacker documentada en lugares como el archivo de la jerga contempla este movimiento con sentimientos encontrados, desde los autoproclamados ciberpunks que estn frecuentemente “inclinados” hacia el cuero negro y el cromo quienes hablan entusiasmados de tecnologa en lugar de aprender o verse involucrados en esto. (“La actitud no sustituye a la capacidad”, entrada del Archivo). Sin embargo estos autoproclamados ciberpunks al menos estn “emocionados con las cosas correctas” y tpicamente respetan a las personas que actualmente trabajan con esto de “la naturaleza hacker”.

Ciertos gneros musicales como el drum and bass fueron directamente influenciados por el ciberpunk, incluso generando un subgnero completo llamado neurofunk. Un claro ejemplo de la influencia ciberpunk en la msica son la banda Sigue Sigue Sputnik y el video del tema de Duran Duran Union of the Snake. El lbum de 1982 del grupo electrnico The Cassandra Complex, se llama Cyber Punk. En la actualidad podemos decir que el gnero que representa el espritu ciberpunk es el Futurepop, de la mano de bandas como Mind.In.A.Box, VNV Nation, Rotersand, Covenant, Colony 5 o incluso bandas de Synthpop como Neuroactive, Neuroticfish y Seabound. Estos grupos destacan por el intenso uso del Vocoder (sintetizador de voz) en sus canciones, ritmos bailables entre 120-140 bpm, letras futuristas, y melodas pegadizas.

Los videojuegos usan frecuentemente el ciberpunk como fuente de inspiracin, algunos de estos como Blade Runner, Enter the Matrix o Mega Man, estn basados en pelculas del gnero, mientras que otros como Deus Ex y System Shock, Final Fantasy VII o Snatcher son trabajos originales.

Existen varios juegos de rol titulados Ciberpunk: por ejemplo Ciberpunk 2013, Ciberpunk 2020 y Ciberpunk V.3 son las tres ediciones de un mismo juego, publicado por Talsorian Games, y existe tambin un suplemento para el sistema genrico GURPS (GURPS Ciberpunk), publicado por Steve Jackson Games. Ciberpunk 2020 fue diseado con el argumento de los escritos de William Gibson en mente, y hasta cierto punto con su aprobacin, diferente de la aproximacin (quiz ms creativa) hecha por la FASA en la produccin del juego Shadowrun. Ambos juegos se ambientan en un futuro cercano, en un mundo donde la ciberntica es prominente. Netrunner es un juego de cartas coleccionables introducido en 1996, basado en el juego de rol Ciberpunk 2020; fue lanzado junto a un popular juego de realidad alternativa en lnea llamado Webrunner, que permite a los jugadores ingresar al mainframe de una perversa organizacin futurista. Tambin Iron Crown Enterprises lanz un juego de rol, titulado Cyberspace, ahora ya descatalogado.

En 1990, en una inusual unin entre la realidad y la ficcin del ciberpunk, el Servicio Secreto de los Estados Unidos lleg a las instalaciones de Steve Jackson Games y confiscaron todas sus computadoras bajo la Operacin Sundevil, que fue un masivo golpe a los hackers y crackers de computadoras. Esto se debi a que supuestamente el libro de GURPS Ciberpunk podra ser usado para preparar crmenes por ordenador. Esta, en efecto, no fue la principal razn para la redada, pero tras el evento ya fue muy tarde para corregir la impresin del pblico.[17] Ms tarde Steve Jackson Games gan el juicio contra el Servicio Secreto, ayudados por la Electronic Frontier Foundation, de mente ms amplia. Este evento alcanz algo de notoriedad, lo que se extendi tambin al libro. Todas las ediciones publicada de GURPS Ciberpunk contienen una cita en la cubierta que dice “El libro que fue decomisado por el Servicio Secreto de los Estados Unidos!”. En su interior el libro provee un resumen de la redada y sus consecuencias.

El 2004 trajo numerosas publicaciones nuevas de juegos de rol ciberpunk, destac entre ellas Ex Machina, un juego ms cinematogrfico con cuatro escenarios completos y enfocado en actualizar el lado ldico del gnero a temas corrientes dentro de la ficcin ciberpunk. Estos cambios incluyen un mayor ngulo poltico, transfiriendo la alineacin del gnero e incluso incorporando temas transhumanos. El 2006 vio la largamente esperada publicacin de Ciberpunk V.3 de Talsorian Games’, la secuela de Ciberpunk 2020, sin embargo muchos la vieron ms como una edicin transhumanista o postciberpunk que realmente ciberpunk.

Los juegos de rol tambin han producido una de las ms originales tomas del gnero en la forma de la serie de juegos Shadowrun de 1989. Aqu, el escenario es un distpico futuro cercano; sin embargo, tambin incorpora elementos de la fantasa y la literatura, como magia, espritus, duendes y dragones. Las facetas ciberpunk de Shadowrun fueron modeladas en gran parte basadas en los escritos de William Gibson, y la FASA, quienes lo publicaron originalmente, han sido acusados por algunos de copiar el trabajo de Gibson sin siquiera mencionar su influencia. Gibson, mientras tanto, ha mostrado su desagrado por la inclusin de elementos de fantasa dentro de los escenarios que l ayud a desarrollar. Sin embargo, Shadowrun ha introducido a muchos al gnero, y sigue siendo popular entre los jugadores.

El juego de rol Torg, publicado por West End Games tambin incluy una variante del escenario (o cosmos) ciberpunk llamado Cyberpapado. Este escenario fue inicialmente una distopa religiosa medieval que repentinamente sufri un surgimiento tecnolgico. En vez de corporaciones y gobiernos corruptos, el Cyberpapado fue dominado por el Falso Papado de Avignon. En lugar de la Internet, los hackers navegan por la “GodNet”, una red comn de computadoras con directo simbolismo religioso, hogar de ngeles, demonios, y otras figuras bblicas. Otro cosmos aparte del juego Torg fue Nippon Tech, el cual incorporaba otros aspectos del ciberpunk como corporaciones dominantes con asesinos profesionales, sin embargo no incluye redes de computadores como parte fundamental del escenario.

El ciberpunk tambin ha sido usado en videojuegos de aventura para computadoras, destacan el ahora freeware Beneath a Steel Sky, publicado por Revolution Software, Neuromancer, publicado por Interplay en 1988, Bloodnet, publicado por Microprose en 1993 y Hell: A Ciberpunk Thriller, por Gametek en 1994. Tambin el ahora abandonware, Flashback. El videojuego de accin y aventura Neuromancer est basado directamente en la novela, incluyendo Chiba City, algunos de los personajes, hacking de bases de datos y plataformas ciberespaciales.

Este estilo lleg a verse plasmado en videojuegos de disparos en primera persona. Algo que se puede apreciar, por ejemplo, en Neotokyo , un mod del videojuego Half-Life 2, situado en un Japn futurista.

El primer libro cubano ciberpunk fue Nova de Cuarzo (1999), de Vladimir Hernndez Pacn. Otra novela “cyber” publicada fue Dioses de nen (2002), de Michel Encinosa F. Uno de los exponentes ms claros del Ciberpunk en Chile es Jorge Baradit, quien ha escrito las novelas Ygdrasil, Kalfukura y Synco, adems de participar o promover proyectos artsticos como PDK: Polica del Karma, Ucrona Chile y Lluscuma. Uno de los grupos espaoles que se autodenomina ciberpunk aparece en Berln en 1989 con autores de diversos fanzines underground que, en 1996, pasaran a publicar en la Web uno de los primeros ezines espaoles. Tras constituirse como asociacin en 2002 sus publicaciones evolucionarn hacia el ciberactivismo abandonando prcticamente la publicacin de relatos. Literariamente la nica aportacin reconocida de este grupo han sido las primeras novelas escritas en castellano para telfonos mviles: La, MAD phreaker, de David de Ugarte y BCN No Future de Javier Lorente. En un contexto ms futurista est 2123 El ao de Moebius, con booktriler de ngel De Aluart. El sueo del Rey Rojo, del autor asturiano Rodolfo Martnez, suele considerarse tambin dentro del gnero. El filsofo y escritor Jons Barnaby, bajo el seudnimo Albert Mut, puede contarse entre las emergentes personalidades del gnero en los ltimos aos, con relatos claramente distpicos y tecnolgicos como La gallina temporal[18] o Phobos B-101.[19]

En cuanto al desarrollo del movimiento en Mxico, se considera que ste se introdujo por medio de la literatura y de all parti para encontrar otros medios de expresin ms populares, como la msica. La primera obra literaria escrita en Mxico y que puede enmarcarse dentro del ciberpunk es el cuento La red de Isidro vila.[20] Sin embargo, la obra que se considera que origin el movimiento en Mxico, fue una novela publicada un par de aos despus que el cuento de vila. La primera calle de la soledad (1994), del entonces joven Gerardo Horacio Porcayo, sirvi de ancla para que muchos escritores de ciencia ficcin tomaran al gnero como algo suyo, y aunque el ciberpunk mexicano nunca termin por germinar completamente, ha perdurado ms de una dcada despus de su nacimiento.

La primera novela de ciencia ficcin que podra considerarse ciberpunk en Paraguay es La Sociedad de las Mentes (2001), de Juan de Urraza, que si bien contiene elementos utpicos que resultan disonantes con el gnero, en realidad los une al mundo virtual, sobre todo si se tiene en cuenta como un todo y se mira como unidad con su segunda novela Yronia (2005), que es la continuacin de la misma.

Entre los subgneros del ciberpunk est el steampunk que se ubica en una era victoriana ucrnica pero con una visin negra del mundo. El trmino fue acuado originalmente en 1987 como broma para describir algunas de las novelas de Tim Powers, James Blaylock y Kevin Wayne Jeter, pero con el tiempo William Gibson y Bruce Sterling ingresaron al subgnero con su novela en colaboracin La Mquina Diferencial y el trmino fue empezado a tomarse en serio.[21]

Otro subgnero similar de an muy reciente clasificacin es el que se ha venido a llamar wirepunk, heredero del steampunk, que en lugar de tomar como partida el siglo XIX, se centra en la tecnologa del siglo XX, ahora que ya supone un tiempo pasado. Un ejemplo claro es la saga literaria de Jeanne DuPrau iniciada con City of Ember.

Los inicios de 1990 vieron el nacimiento del biopunk, un estilo derivado construido no sobre la base de la tecnologa sino sobre la biologa. En estas historias la gente es cambiada de varias formas, pero no por medios mecnicos, sino por manipulacin gentica de varios de sus cromosomas. Paul di Filipo es visto como el ms prominente escritor biopunk, aunque Shaper/Mechanist de Bruce Sterling es su mayor influencia.

El gnero emergente llamado postciberpunk contina preocupndose por los efectos de los ordenadores, pero sin dar por supuesta la distopa ni dar tanta importancia a los implantes cibernticos. Tambin heredero del ciberpunk podemos considerar el concepto de singularidad tecnolgica utilizado en la ciencia ficcin ms reciente, que recoge su preocupacin por el desarrollo de la inteligencia artificial hasta el extremo, y el rol que los humanos podramos adoptar en tales circunstancias.

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Ciberpunk – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

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Sealand Wikipedia

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Jun 132016
 

Sealand [silnd], beziehungsweise das Frstentum Sealand (engl. Principality of Sealand), ist der Name einer Mikronation auf der ehemaligen britischen Maunsell-Seefestung HM Fort Roughs, knapp zehn Kilometer vor der Kste von Suffolk.

Die Festung wurde am 2. September 1967 durch Paddy Roy Bates, einen Ex-Major der British Army, als neuer und eigenstndiger Staat proklamiert,[1] nachdem er unmittelbar zuvor die vom Militr verlassene Plattform besetzt hatte. Seine ursprnglichen Plne, dort auerhalb des Zugriffs britischer Behrden einen Piratensender zu betreiben, verwirklichte er nicht mehr. Dennoch verteidigte er bis zu seinem Tod mit Hilfe von Angehrigen und Freunden der Familie die Station sowohl juristisch als auch mit Waffengewalt und forderte die Staatengemeinschaft auf, Sealand vlkerrechtlich als legitimen und souvernen Staat anzuerkennen.

Trotz einer hohen Bekanntheit, vor allem als hufig gewhltes Fallbeispiel in vlkerrechtlichen Diskussionen, wird jedoch die Anerkennung international verweigert. Hufig wird das Gebilde als Mikronation bezeichnet. Aus Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten liegen Gerichtsentscheidungen vor, denen zufolge Sealand nicht die Voraussetzungen fr einen Staat erfllt und daher als Vlkerrechtssubjekt nicht existiert. Kritiker verweisen auerdem darauf, dass die Plattform inmitten britischer Hoheitsgewsser liegt, seit diese 1987 auf eine Zwlfmeilenzone ausgedehnt worden sind.

Sealand liegt in der Nordsee, knapp 10km vor der Kste von Suffolk, England.

Im Inneren der beiden hohlen Betonsulen, auf denen die Stahlplattform ruht, befinden sich je sieben Stockwerke. Aufgeteilt in je acht Rume pro Sule, von unten her zunchst ein ehemaliges Munitionsdepot, darber eine Kapelle, Lager- und Unterkunftsrume. Im jeweils obersten Stockwerk sind die Generatorrume. Auf der Plattform befinden sich Badezimmer, Kche, weitere Wohnrume und ganz oben ein Hubschrauberlandeplatz.

Die Bevlkerung bestand zunchst aus der Familie Bates und einigen Freunden, insgesamt aber wohl zu keiner Zeit aus mehr als zehn Personen. Heute befindet sich nur ein Wachmann als deren Reprsentant dauerhaft auf der Plattform.

Die Familie ist schon vor Jahren, vor allem aus gesundheitlichen Grnden, auf das englische Festland zurckgekehrt. Nach bertragung der Regierungsverantwortung an seinen Sohn Michael bersiedelte 1999 zuletzt auch Paddy Roy Bates in das Haus der Familie nach Leigh-on-Sea, einem Fischerdorf im District Southend-on-Sea. Das kleine Reihenhaus wird inzwischen von Michael Bates, seiner Ehefrau und ihren drei Kindern bewohnt.[2] Paddy Roy Bates lebte danach bis zu seinem Tod am 9. Oktober 2012 in Spanien.[3]

Die Station Roughs Tower zhlt zu den Maunsell-Seefestungen, die das britische Militr im Zweiten Weltkrieg zur Abwehr von See- und Luftangriffen in der Mndung der Themse errichtete. Sie wurde im Sptjahr 1941 im Trockendock auf einem schwimmfhigen Ponton erbaut, ins Meer hinausgeschleppt und ihr Sockel plangem am 11. Februar 1942 auf die Sandbank Rough Sands versenkt. Als HM Fort Roughs stand sie anschlieend im Dienst der Royal Navy. Nach Kriegsende verlor diese Art von Festungen jedoch ihre Bedeutung, sodass sie in den 1950er Jahren eine nach der anderen aufgegeben wurden. 1956 zog die Besatzung von Roughs Tower vollstndig ab und berlie die Station sich selbst.

In den 1960er Jahren betrachteten die Betreiber englischer Piratensender die verwaisten Festungen als ideale Plattform fr ihre Stationen. In der Annahme, dort fernab der Strafverfolgungsbehrden das geltende Rundfunk-Monopol der staatlichen BBC umgehen zu knnen, waren die Forts teilweise sogar hart umkmpft. Paddy Roy Bates konnte 1965 seinen Piratensender Radio Essex auf der Festung Knock John Tower erst einrichten, nachdem er die Betreiber des Konkurrenzsenders Radio City von dort vertrieben hatte. Bald erwies sich Knock John Tower jedoch als nicht abgelegen genug. Kurz vor Weihnachten 1966 wurde der Sender, der sich kurz zuvor in Britains Better Music Station (BBMS) umbenannt hatte, abgeschaltet und Bates wegen Verstoes gegen das britische Rundfunkgesetz angeklagt.

Am 2. September 1967 besetzte er mit Hilfe einiger Gefolgsleute die Plattform Roughs Tower. Diese liegt wesentlich weiter vor der Kste als Knock John Tower und befand sich auerhalb der damaligen britischen Hoheitsgewsser drei nautische Meilen vor der Kste in internationalen Gewssern. Bates proklamierte sie zum unabhngigen Frstentum Sealand und ernannte sich selbst und seine Frau, eine ehemalige Miss England, zu uneingeschrnkten Herrschern: Frst Roy und Frstin Joan von Sealand.

Zuvor hielten Jack Moore und seine Tochter die Station fr den irischen Musikmanager Ronan ORahilly besetzt, der Roughs Tower fr seinen Piratensender Radio Caroline nutzen wollte. Als er von Bates bernahme erfuhr, sandte ORahilly sogleich ein paar Mnner aus, die die Station zurckerobern sollten. Deren Boot wurde aber von Bates und seinen Leuten mit Benzinbomben und angeblich auch mehreren Gewehrschssen vertrieben.

In Grobritannien war jedoch bereits am 14. August 1967 der Marine Broadcasting Offences Act in Kraft getreten. Damit stand die Ausstrahlung unlizenzierter Rundfunkbertragungen von Schiffen, Flugzeugen oder Marinebasen auch von auerhalb der Hoheitsgewsser unter Strafe. Die meisten Piratensender stellten daraufhin ihren Sendebetrieb ein. Nahezu gleichzeitig startete die staatliche BBC mit BBC Radio 1 einen eigenen Popkanal und erweiterte in den frhen 1970er Jahren durch Grndung zahlreicher Lokalstationen ganz erheblich ihr Programm. Damit verlor Roy Bates das Interesse und verzichtete auf die Errichtung des geplanten Senders.

Von 1967 bis 1968 unternahm die Royal Navy mehrere Versuche, die Besetzer von Roughs Tower wieder loszuwerden. Auch hierbei soll der selbsternannte Frst mehrere Schsse in Richtung der Landungsboote abgefeuert haben. Daraufhin brach das Militr die Operation ab. Offenbar wollte man nicht das Risiko eingehen, dass dabei Soldaten ums Leben kmen, vor allem auch im Hinblick auf das Bild in der ffentlichkeit. Stattdessen erhob man wegen der Schsse Anklage gegen Paddy Roy Bates vor einem englischen Gericht. Das rtliche Gericht in Chelmsford, erklrte sich jedoch in einem Urteil aus dem Jahr 1968 fr nicht zustndig, da sich der Vorfall in internationalen Gewssern, also auerhalb des britischen Territoriums, ereignet habe.[4]

In den folgenden 15 Jahren forderten die britischen Behrden die Besetzer von Sealand immer wieder dazu auf, Abgaben, Sozialversicherungsbeitrge, Rundfunkgebhren etc. zu zahlen. Roy Bates verweigerte dies jedoch regelmig und berief sich dabei auf die richterliche Entscheidung, dass Sealand kein Teil des Vereinigten Knigreichs sei.

1975 nahm der Deutsche Alexander Gottfried Achenbach Kontakt zu Sealand auf. Er hatte den Plan, zusammen mit mehreren niederlndischen Freunden die Seefestung in ein Luxushotel mit Spielkasino zu verwandeln. Bald gewann er das Vertrauen von Roy Bates und wurde nicht nur sealndischer Staatsbrger, sondern auch zum Premierminister und Regierungschef auf Lebenszeit ernannt. Im September erlie Frst Roy dann eine Verfassung fr das Frstentum, in der Sealand unter anderem auch ausdrcklich auf Beschrnkungen des Glcksspiels verzichtet.

Als sich Roy und Joan Bates im August 1978 fr einige Tage in Salzburg aufhielten, um sich mit geschftlichen Interessenten zu treffen, bernahm Achenbach mit Hilfe seiner niederlndischen Freunde das Kommando auf der Station und hielt kurzzeitig sogar Frst Roys Sohn Michael in seiner Gewalt. Er erklrte den Frsten fr abgesetzt, weil dieser in Salzburg angeblich Verhandlungen ber den Verkauf des Staatsgebietes an ein Wirtschaftskonsortium gefhrt und damit gegen die Verfassung verstoen habe.

Bates engagierte daraufhin kurzerhand mehrere gut bewaffnete Mnner, eroberte die Festung mit einem Hubschrauber zurck und setzte die Putschisten als Kriegsgefangene auf Roughs Tower fest. Infolgedessen intervenierten Deutschland und die Niederlande bei der britischen Regierung. Sie sollte die sofortige Freilassung der Gefangenen bewirken. Diese verweigerte ihre Untersttzung jedoch mit dem Hinweis, sie sei in internationalen Gewssern nicht zustndig und verwies auf die Gerichtsentscheidung von 1968.

Die niederlndischen Kriegsgefangenen lie der Frst unter Hinweis auf die Genfer Konventionen schnell wieder frei. Der Anfhrer Alexander Achenbach sowie der deutsche Anwalt Gernot Ptz besaen jedoch beide einen Sealand-Pass. Daher wurden sie als sealandische Staatsbrger des Landesverrats fr schuldig befunden. Achenbach sollte auf Roughs Tower eine lebenslange Freiheitsstrafe absitzen. Der deutsche Anwalt wurde zur Zahlung von 75.000 DM verurteilt. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland wusste sich keinen anderen Rat, als einen Konsularbeamten der deutschen Botschaft in London zu Verhandlungen nach Sealand zu schicken. Roy Bates betrachtete die Aufnahme diplomatischen Kontakts als De-facto-Anerkennung Sealands durch die Bundesrepublik und beschloss, Gnade walten zu lassen. Im Hinblick auf den unblutigen Verlauf der Revolte und die mittlerweile auch schon einige Wochen andauernde Gefangenschaft gestattete er den beiden Gefangenen schlielich, nach Deutschland zurckzukehren.

Alexander Achenbach wirft dem Frsten auch weiterhin Verfassungsbruch vor und betrachtet ihn seit 1978 als gewaltsamen Besatzer von Sealand. In der Bundesrepublik errichtete er deshalb eine Exilregierung und ernannte den Niederlnder A. Oomen als Syndikus zum neuen Staatsoberhaupt.

Kurz nach der Grndung Sealands wurde Sunk Head, ein weiteres Maunsell Sea Fort in damals internationalen Gewssern, vom britischen Militr abgerissen. Die noch verbliebenen Forts lagen alle innerhalb der damaligen Drei-Meilen-Zone.

Bei der dritten internationalen Konferenz zum Seerecht (19731982) wurden legale Staatsgrndungen nach dem Beispiel Sealands fr die Zukunft ausgeschlossen. Der nchste benachbarte Staat muss die Verantwortung fr knstliche Konstruktionen im Meer bernehmen. Nach der neu verabschiedeten Konvention sind darber hinaus knftig alle nicht mehr bentigten Konstruktionen unmittelbar nach Auergebrauchstellung zu entfernen.

Im Oktober 1987 dehnte Grobritannien seine Hoheitsgewsser auf eine Zwlfmeilenzone aus. Seitdem befindet sich die Station Roughs Tower doch innerhalb britischer Hoheitsgewsser. Allerdings hat auch Sealand einen Anspruch auf eine Zwlfmeilenzone erhoben und diesen angeblich im Jahre 1990 durch Warnschsse gegen das britische Hilfsschiff RMAS Golden Eye verteidigt, als sich dieses der Plattform zu weit genhert hatte.

Gegen Mittag des 23. Juni 2006 brach ein Feuer auf Sealand aus. Ursache war ein elektrischer Defekt im Generatorraum. Von einem Fischer alarmierte britische Feuerwehreinheiten brachten den Brand jedoch bis kurz nach 15 Uhr unter Kontrolle. Es befand sich lediglich ein Wachmann auf der Station, der durch einen Hubschrauber der Royal Air Force direkt von der Plattform nach Ipswich in ein Krankenhaus berfhrt werden konnte. Abgesehen von der nur leichten Rauchvergiftung des Wachmannes richtete das Feuer vor allem erheblichen Sachschaden an. Neben den ausgebrannten Bereichen, insbesondere dem Generatorraum, wurde nahezu die gesamte Einrichtung der Aufbauten und der Nordturm durch Rauch oder das eingedrungene Lschwasser beschdigt.

Gleich am darauffolgenden Tag kndigte die Familie Bates den baldigen Beginn von Reparaturarbeiten an und startete eine Spendenaktion auf der Sealand-Website. Die Kosten sollten sich nach ersten Schtzungen auf etwa eine Million Dollar belaufen. Nach Aufrumarbeiten durch die Bewohner der Plattform erteilte die Regierung von Sealand dem englischen Bauunternehmen Church and East Ltd. den Auftrag zum Wiederaufbau ihres Landes. Begleitet von einer Filmcrew der BBC begannen die Reparaturen bereits am 29. Juni und konnten im November 2006 abgeschlossen werden.

Church and East richtete sich jedoch dauerhaft auf der Station ein. Nach Beseitigung der Brandschden nahm man eine umfangreiche Renovierung und Modernisierung der Station in Angriff. So wurde ein System aus 3-kW-Windgeneratoren installiert, um Sealand so weit wie mglich durch Windenergie mit Strom zu versorgen.[5] Die erzielten Fortschritte sind durch regelmige Berichte und Fotos auf einer eigens dafr eingerichteten Webseite der Baufirma im Internet festgehalten.[6] Im April 2008 traf sich Michael Bates mit der Baufirma auf Sealand, um den Fortschritt offiziell zu inspizieren und einen neuen Vertrag zur langfristigen Zusammenarbeit mit Church and East zu schlieen.[7]

Der erste offizielle Sportler Sealands war der Kanadier Darren Blackburn, der im Januar 2003 dem Bro fr Innere Angelegenheiten spontan anbot, bei Marathonlufen knftig fr Sealand zu starten. Daraufhin ernannte man ihn zum Athleta Principalitas. Bald darauf traten auch ein Slot-Car-Team, zwei Minigolfer und ein American-Football-Spieler bei ihren Wettkmpfen fr das Frstentum an.

Obwohl eigentlich keine Sealnder, spielte 2004 eine kleine dnische Fuballmannschaft fr den Fuballverband FA Sealand als Nationalmannschaft 2:2 gegen ein Team aus land. Sealand ist seitdem angegliedertes Mitglied des NF-Board.

Ab November 2008 wurde die Station zum Veranstaltungsort fr Events ausgebaut und sollte eine Touristenattraktion werden.[8] Zum Auftakt wurde noch im gleichen Jahr ein von Red Bull gesponsertes Skateboardevent auf Sealand veranstaltet.[9][10][11]

Im Jahr 2009 kndigte Sealand die Wiederbelebung seines Fuballteams und eine Teilnahme am Viva World Cup an. Der schottische Schriftsteller Neil Forsyth wurde zum Prsidenten der Sealand Football Association ernannt. Eine neu formierte Mannschaft unter seiner Leitung unterlag am 5. Mai 2012 in Godalming Town gegen die Chagos Islands. Der Endstand betrug 3:1 fr das Team der Chagos Islands.[12] Am 18. Mai 2013 verlor Sealand 7:5 bei einem Wohlttigkeitsspiel gegen eine All-Stars-Auswahl des Londoner Vereins FC Fulham.[13]

In den Jahren 2009 und 2010 nahm im Namen von Sealand ein Frisbee-Team an mehreren Turnieren im Vereinigten Knigreich, Irland und den Niederlanden teil und erreichte den 11. Platz der nationalen britischen Meisterschaften.

Die deutsche Pop-Gruppe Fettes Brot filmte im Oktober 2013 auf Sealand einen Videoclip fr ihren Song Echo.[14]

Mit der ersten Verfassung vom September 1975 bertrug Roy Bates die Ausbung der Staatsgewalt sowie das Eigentum am gesamten Land inklusive der (damals noch) Dreimeilenzone an die Sealand-State-Corporation und beauftragte sie mit der Entwicklung des Landes. Die neu geschaffene Krperschaft aus gewhlten Senatoren sollte knftig die volle Autoritt ber Legislative, Exekutive und vor allem alle wirtschaftlichen Aktivitten Sealands innehaben. Weiterhin wurde Sealand zur Freihandelszone erklrt und ausdrcklich der Verzicht auf Zlle und Beschrnkungen des Glcksspiels festgeschrieben.[15]

Im Jahr 1995 fhrte Frst Roy eine zweite Verfassung mit Prambel und sieben Artikeln ein, welche die ursprngliche Verfassung von 1975 ersetzt. Diese soll noch einmal die Unabhngigkeit des Staates besttigen. Sie schreibt als Staatsform die konstitutionelle Monarchie fest, regelt die Thronfolge durch Erbschaft und verbietet, mit Ausnahmen fr den Frsten und die Sealand-Wachen, Waffen.

Darber hinaus fhrte sie legislative und judikative Strukturen ein: Danach besteht die Regierung neben dem Souvern und Staatsoberhaupt aus dem Senat, dem Generalstaatsanwalt, der Sealand-Wache und dem Bro des Staatsoberhauptes. Dieses besteht aus den drei Abteilungen Innere Angelegenheiten, Externe Angelegenheiten sowie Post, Telekommunikation und Technologie. Der Generalstaatsanwalt als Judikative kann angesichts entsprechender Umstnde ein Tribunal einberufen. Die letzte Entscheidung verbleibt aber beim Staatsoberhaupt.

Im brigen soll auf Sealand das britische Common Law gelten.

Zunchst war Paddy Roy Bates (Prince Roy I of Sealand) Staatsoberhaupt und oberste Exekutive. Aus gesundheitlichen Grnden berlie der Frst jedoch im Jahre 1999 seinem Sohn Michael (Prince Regent Michael of Sealand) per Dekret die Ausbung der Regierungsgewalt auf Sealand pro tempore.

Auf den Webseiten der selbsternannten Exilregierung werden zurzeit als Regierung von Sealand auer dem Syndikus A. Oomen noch Johannes W. F. Seiger als Premierminister (Ministerprsident) und Staatsratsvorsitzender sowie Josef Baier als Auenminister genannt.

Die selbsternannte Exilregierung und die Kommissarische Reichsregierung von Wolfgang Ebel sehen sich gegenseitig als Regierungen an. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland wird hingegen mit der Begrndung, dass sie vlkerrechtswidrig und im Zuge der Wiedervereinigung untergegangen sei, nicht als Staat betrachtet.

Auf den Webseiten der selbsternannten Exilregierung werden esoterische,[16] rechtsradikale und antisemitische Inhalte vermittelt, vor allem im nicht allgemein zugnglichen Bereich des Sealand Business Club.[17]

Durch die ursprngliche Verfassung von 1975 war smtliche wirtschaftliche Ttigkeit Sealands zunchst auf die Aktivitten der Sealand State Corporation beschrnkt. Deren Geschftsttigkeit ist aber ebenso ungeklrt, wie auch ihr Fortbestand nach Einfhrung der zweiten Verfassung von 1995.

Als Sealand Trade Corporation operiert die selbsternannte Exilregierung[18] unter Johannes W. F. Seiger. Zunchst von Trebbin aus schloss sie 1991 einen Vertrag mit der Roten Armee ber die Verschrottung und Verwertung aller beim Abzug nicht mit zurckgefhrten Gter und spekulierte mit Grundstcken, deren Besitzverhltnisse noch nicht geklrt waren.[19] 2001 musste die Firma jedoch Insolvenz anmelden und prozessiert seither nur noch um Steuerschulden und nicht gezahlte Sozialversicherungsabgaben fr die ehemaligen Angestellten. Seiger bestreitet eine Zahlungspflicht mit Hinweis auf den rechtlichen Status der Sealand Trade Corporation als staatseigene Firma von Sealand. Mitte 2004 bernahm die Exilregierung eine schweizerische Aktiengesellschaft mit Sitz in Zrich und firmierte sie zur Sealand Trade Corporation Schweiz AG um.[20]

Im Jahr 1999 grndete Michael Bates mit dem Unternehmer und Experten fr Computersicherheit Ryan Lackey die Firma HavenCo Ltd. Daraufhin wurden Internet-Server auf der Plattform installiert. Zwischen 2000 und 2008 bot die Firma Sealand als elektronischen Datenhafen fr sicheres Datenhosting an. Aufgrund von Unstimmigkeiten im Unternehmen trat Ryan Lackey aber bereits 2002 wieder aus der Firma aus und gab Presseberichten zufolge bekannt, dass die Firma aufgrund technischer Probleme und zu wenig Kunden nicht mehr lange berleben werde. Ende 2008 stellte HavenCo ohne Angabe von Grnden den Geschftsbetrieb ein.[21]

Nach dem Brand im Juni 2006 erteilte die Regierung von Sealand dem englischen Bauunternehmen Church and East Ltd. den Auftrag zum Wiederaufbau ihres Landes. Das Unternehmen plante jedoch auch eine eigene Geschftsttigkeit auf Sealand: Ab Mai 2007 sollten Tagestouren und bernachtungen auf Sealand fr Touristen angeboten werden,[22] ein Plan, der jedoch nicht mehr verwirklicht wurde. Seit 2008 gibt es keine Hinweise mehr auf eine weitere Geschftsttigkeit von Church and East.[23] Die Gesellschaft wurde am 7. Juli 2009 aus dem englischen Handelsregister (Company No. 05274816) gelscht.

Anfang Januar 2007 wurde die Mikronation auf den Internetseiten der spanischen Immobilienfirma Inmobiliaria Naranja angeboten. Als Verhandlungsbasis gaben die Immobilienmakler eine Summe von 750 Millionen Euro an. Das Angebot ist allerdings mittlerweile nicht mehr aktuell. Wie die britische Tageszeitung The Times berichtete, war das Frstentum fr ein mindestens achtstelliges Gebot abzugeben.[24] Die Zeitung zitierte Prinz Michael von Sealand mit den Worten: Wir besitzen diese Insel seit nunmehr 40 Jahren und mein Vater ist 85Jahre alt. Vielleicht ist es Zeit fr eine Verjngung.[25] Laut Presseerklrung der offiziellen Homepage sollte durch Verkauf oder langfristiges Leasing ein auslndischer Investor gefunden werden.[26] Die Baufirma Church and East Ltd. reagierte nach Rcksprache mit dem Ministerium fr Inneres umgehend mit einer eigenen Presseerklrung, die klarstellte, dass keine Vernderung der gegenwrtigen rechtlichen Situation geplant gewesen sei. Die von HavenCo Ltd. und mittlerweile auch durch Church and East Ltd. auf Sealand ausgebte Geschftsttigkeit sei nicht betroffen gewesen. Es gehe lediglich darum, die bei Renovierung von Sealand neu geschaffenen Mglichkeiten fr noch weitere Unternehmensansiedlungen zu nutzen.[27]

Paddy Roy Bates erklrte die in internationalen Gewssern gelegene Seefestung Roughs Tower durch Proklamation der Principality of Sealand vom 2. September 1967 zum souvernen und unabhngigen Staat.

Er stellte sich auf den Standpunkt, Grobritannien habe lange vorher alle Ansprche aufgegeben. Die Plattform sei res derelicta und folglich terra nullius, also Niemandsland geworden.[1] Fr die Inbesitznahme des von keinem anderen Staat beanspruchten Gebiets, die Grndung einer neuen Nation und fr die Legitimation seines Herrschaftsanspruchs beruft er sich auf das allgemeine Vlkerrecht. Mit der Proklamation hlt er alle Voraussetzungen einer Anerkennung de jure und de facto fr erfllt.

Im Urteil von Chelmsford und durch den diplomatischen Kontakt ber die Freilassung von Alexander Achenbach hlt er Sealand auch de facto durch Grobritannien und die Bundesrepublik Deutschland fr anerkannt. Weitere Staaten htten Sealand dadurch anerkannt, indem sie mehrfach Sealand-Psse als Reisepapiere akzeptiert, bestempelt oder sogar mit Visa versehen haben.

Als Fallbeispiel wurde Sealand vielfach analysiert und wird immer wieder in Staats- und Vlkerrechtsvorlesungen diskutiert. Einigkeit besteht darin, dass vor der Frage der Rechtmigkeit und Anerkennung der Grndung zunchst geklrt werden muss, ob eine knstliche Plattform mit nur einer Handvoll Bewohnern berhaupt die notwendigen Voraussetzungen und Eigenschaften fr einen Staat aufweist. Nach den 1933 im Rahmen der Konvention von Montevideo aufgestellten Kriterien bedarf es dazu eines zumindest in Grundzgen definierten Staatsgebiets, einer dauerhaften Bevlkerung (Staatsvolk), einer eigenen Regierung (Staatsgewalt) und der Mglichkeit, in Beziehungen mit anderen Staaten einzutreten. Vom letzten Punkt abgesehen entspricht die Konvention der in Deutschland seit Georg Jellinek vertretenen Drei-Elemente-Lehre.

Diese Kriterien werden fr Sealand unter Staats- und Vlkerrechtlern ganz berwiegend verneint. Es existieren aber auch einzelne Gutachten, in denen Sealand als Staat betrachtet und ein Staatsgebiet und Staatsvolk anerkannt wird.[28]

Ob die Anerkennung eines Staates durch andere Staaten konstitutiv oder nur deklaratorisch ist, darber besteht unter Juristen ebenso wenig Einigkeit wie zur Frage, ob die Anerkennung der Existenz gengt oder ein diplomatisch-frmlicher Akt notwendig ist.

Bei der dritten internationalen Konferenz zum Seerecht (19731982) wurden legale Staatsgrndungen nach dem Beispiel Sealands fr die Zukunft ausgeschlossen.[29] Der nchste benachbarte Staat muss die Verantwortung fr knstliche Konstruktionen im Meer bernehmen und alle nicht mehr bentigten Konstruktionen unmittelbar nach Auergebrauchstellung entfernen.

1976 wollte Alexander Achenbach feststellen lassen, dass er durch Annahme der Staatsangehrigkeit Sealands die deutsche Staatsangehrigkeit verloren habe. Die zustndige Behrde teilte ihm jedoch mit, dass er weiterhin deutscher Staatsangehriger sei. Seine Klage vor dem Verwaltungsgericht Kln war erfolglos. Das Gericht stellte in seinem Urteil fest, dass Sealand kein Staat sei, da es weder ein Staatsgebiet noch ein Staatsvolk habe.[30] Das Gericht war der Auffassung, bei der knstlichen Plattform handele es sich nicht um Landgebiet. Dazu sei ein Stck Erdboden erforderlich. Da die Plattform nur ber Betonpfeiler mit dem Boden verbunden ist, sei sie nicht einmal Teil der Erdoberflche. Die Mitglieder eines Staatsvolks mssten eine Schicksalsgemeinschaft bilden, mit dem Ziel, alle Bereiche des Lebens gemeinsam zu bewltigen. Die sogenannten Staatsangehrigen von Sealand wrden sich jedoch berwiegend auerhalb aufhalten und jeweils eigenen Interessen nachgehen.

Auch das Landgericht Potsdam entschied, dass das Frstentum Sealand kein Vlkerrechtssubjekt sei und seine Reprsentanten in Deutschland keine diplomatische oder konsularische Immunitt genieen.[31] Es fehle ihm an einer effektiven Staatsgewalt, die sich auf ein Staatsvolk und auf ein Staatsgebiet beziehe.

1990 urteilte ein US-Verwaltungsgericht, es habe weder zu diesem Zeitpunkt noch vorher jemals eine souverne Nation mit dem Namen Sealand existiert. Bei der Berufung 1991 hielt ein US-Bundesgericht daran fest.

Ungeachtet der Gerichtsentscheidung von Chelmsford aus dem Jahr 1968 betrachtet Grobritannien Roughs Tower weiterhin als Eigentum des Verteidigungsministeriums. Die Station werde lediglich zurzeit nicht genutzt.

Am 1. Oktober 1987 dehnte Grobritannien durch den Territorial Sea Act seine Hoheitsgewsser, in bereinstimmung mit Artikel 3 des Seerechtsbereinkommens der Vereinten Nationen, auf eine Zwlfmeilenzone rund um die Kste aus. Sealand hat jedoch ebenfalls Anspruch auf eine Zwlfmeilenzone erhoben.

Kein anerkannter Staat gesteht Sealand eine Personalhoheit zu. Dennoch haben zeitweilig sowohl die Regierung von Frst Roy als auch die Exilregierung in Deutschland Sealand-Psse in groem Stil verkauft, wobei sie sich gegenseitig Passflschung vorwerfen. Besondere Nachfrage soll es vor allem durch Hongkong-Chinesen vor der Wiedereingliederung in die Volksrepublik China am 1. Juli 1997 gegeben haben. Mehrfach waren Sealand-Psse auch schon in Kriminalflle verwickelt, wie etwa beim Mord an dem Modeschpfer Gianni Versace.[32] Von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen vermutlich ein Versehen einzelner Grenzbeamter werden diese Papiere jedoch lediglich als Spaausweise betrachtet. Entsprechendes gilt fr alle sonstigen amtlichen Dokumente. Wer versucht, sich mithilfe eines Sealand-Passes einen Titel zuzulegen, riskiert, sich in Deutschland nach 132a StGB (Missbrauch von Titeln, Berufsbezeichnungen und Abzeichen) strafbar zu machen.

Die ab 1972 als Sealand Dollar geprgten Mnzen sollen im Wert angeblich Paritt zum US-Dollar aufweisen. Ohne ein funktionierendes und allgemein zugngliches Wirtschaftssystem auf Sealand handelt es sich allerdings um keine echte Whrung. Da sie jedoch einen hohen Anteil an wertvollen Metallen aufweisen, haben sie unter Mnzsammlern durchaus einen Wert. In den frhen 1990er Jahren produzierte auch die Exilregierung eine Mnze mit dem Konterfei des Premierministers Seiger.

Sealand gibt seit 1969 Briefmarken heraus, die fr die Korrespondenz des Regierungsbros genutzt und auf Sealand gestempelt werden. Von der kniglich britischen Post werden die damit frankierten Umschlge offiziell nur als unfrei auf Kosten des Empfngers zugestellt. Es existieren jedoch einige Briefe, deren Sealand-Briefmarke von der britischen Royal Mail noch einmal entwertet und die anschlieend normal zugestellt wurden. Auch die belgische Post soll in der Zeit, als Bates einen regelmigen Hubschrauber-Service zwischen Sealand und Brssel unterhielt, einige Briefe anstandslos weiterbefrdert haben.

Seeland hlt inoffiziell den Prfix S1A als Landeskennung fr Stationsnamen im Amateurfunk.[33]

Sealand kommt in einem Handlungsstrang des Romans Polyplay von Marcus Hammerschmitt in seiner Eigenschaft als Hosting-Plattform fr streng geheime und/oder rechtlich bedenkliche Internet-Inhalte vor. Auerdem kommt Sealand in dem Roman Der Aurora-Effekt von Rainer Wolf im Zusammenhang zum HAARP-Projekt vor.

Im Webmanga Hetalia tritt Sealand als frhreifer kleiner Junge auf, der sich von seinem groen Bruder England abnabelt und sich und seine Plattform spter bei eBay an die skandinavischen Staaten verkauft.

2013 drehte die deutsche Band Fettes Brot das Video zu ihrer Single Echo auf der Plattform.[34]

Sealand ist eine der sechs Mikronationen, die im Jahr 2011 in Paul Poets Dokumentarfilm Empire Me Der Staat bin Ich vorgestellt werden.[35]

51.8944444444441.4825Koordinaten: 515340N, 12857O

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On April 27, 2016, Sirena, the newest member of the Oceania Cruises fleet, was christened in Barcelona, Spain. Watch the event as it happened live, including opening remarks from Oceania Cruises President Jason Montague, Sirenas Godmother Claudine Ppin, the christening of the ship, and all the festivities!

Filled with a spectacular array of diverse and exotic destinations, your world awaits your discovery. There is simply no better way to explore it than aboard the elegant ships of Oceania Cruises. Our unique itineraries are wide-ranging, featuring the most fascinating destinations throughout the world. Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, Sirena, Marina and Riviera are all intimate and luxurious, with each calling on the worlds most desirable ports, from historic cities and modern meccas to seaside villages and faraway islands. On a voyage with Oceania Cruises, each day offers the rewarding opportunity to experience the history, culture and cuisine of a wondrous new destination.

Relax on board our luxurious ships and savor cuisine renowned as the finest at sea, rivaling even Michelin-starred restaurants ashore. Inspired by Master Chef Jacques Ppin, these culinary delights have always been a hallmark that distinguishes the Oceania Cruises experience from any other. Considering the uncompromising quality, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of an Oceania Cruises voyage is its incredible value. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping a glass of vintage wine, surfing the Internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

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Jun 132016
 

Always embracing complexity, Stephenson populates his novels–from his breakthrough novel Snow Crash (1992) to the more recent Reamde (2011)–with concepts from mathematics, cryptography, computers, philosophy, history of science, memetics, Sumerian mythology, economics, robotics, nanotechnology, robotics, and the virtual world. When evaluating the development of meta-memes, critics engaged in memetics (the science of memes’ replication) must attend to mimesis (the process of imitation, replication, and mimicry). Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”. Anchored to the biological concept of “genes,” memetics explores the question of how some ideas, expressions, and other forms of understanding spread throughout society and across cultures–similar to the idea of how genes evolve among species. They consider the nature of the public sphere and how political developments have shaped online public discourse, specific uses and effects of the Internet surrounding the 2010 mid-term elections, viral videos and memetics, intertextuality in political camapigns and commentary, social satire, social networking, hacktivism, and anti-institutional politics. Gronas draws primarily on cognitive poetics, cultural memory theory, and memetics (analysis of memes), but memetics is the dominant member of this triad. The organization of the sections and chapters is very sensible, and a good number of the citations are from the very latest research in linguistics, memetics, and biological and cultural evolutionary theory. First Lieutenant Hancock explores the emerging field of Memetics and implications for memetic operations in the military environment. This terminology was originally introduced by Huxley as part of his concept of memetics analyzing the transmission of cultural information. 1 RTI Military Memetics (Information Propagation, Impact, and Persistence – Info PIP) Project Presented in a debate format, the essays offer different sides of one question, such as whether traits have evolved because of a past advantage, whether species are real, whether selection operates primarily on genes, whether microevolution and macroevolution are governed by the same processes, whether memetics provide a useful way for understanding cultural evolution, whether there is a place for intelligent design in the philosophy of biology, and evolutionary developmental biology versus the neo-Darwinian paradigm. The memetics of music: a neo-Darwinian view of musical structure and culture.

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution