"

The year 1969 comes up to you and asks what sort of marvels you’ve got all the way in 2014.

You explain that cameras, which 1969 knows as bulky boxes full of film that takes several days to get developed in dark rooms, are now instant affairs of point-click-send-to-friend that are also much higher quality. Also they can take video.

Music used to be big expensive records, and now you can fit 3,000 songs on an iPod and get them all for free if you know how to pirate or scrape the audio off of YouTube.

Television not only has gone HDTV and plasma-screen, but your choices have gone from “whatever’s on now” and “whatever is in theaters” all the way to “nearly every show or movie that has ever been filmed, whenever you want it”.

Computers have gone from structures filling entire rooms with a few Kb memory and a punchcard-based interface, to small enough to carry in one hand with a few Tb memory and a touchscreen-based interface. And they now have peripherals like printers, mice, scanners, and flash drives.

Lasers have gone from only working in special cryogenic chambers to working at room temperature to fitting in your pocket to being ubiquitious in things as basic as supermarket checkout counters.

Telephones have gone from rotary-dial wire-connected phones that still sometimes connected to switchboards, to cell phones that fit in a pocket. But even better is bypassing them entirely and making video calls with anyone anywhere in the world for free.

Robots now vacuum houses, mow lawns, clean office buildings, perform surgery, participate in disaster relief efforts, and drive cars better than humans. Occasionally if you are a bad person a robot will swoop down out of the sky and kill you.

For better or worse, video games now exist.

Medicine has gained CAT scans, PET scans, MRIs, lithotripsy, liposuction, laser surgery, robot surgery, and telesurgery. Vaccines for pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis, HPV, and chickenpox. Ceftriaxone, furosemide, clozapine, risperidone, fluoxetine, ondansetron, omeprazole, naloxone, suboxone, mefloquine, – and for that matter Viagra. Artificial hearts, artificial livers, artificial cochleae, and artificial legs so good that their users can compete in the Olympics. People with artificial eyes can only identify vague shapes at best, but they’re getting better every year.

World population has tripled, in large part due to new agricultural advantages. Catastrophic disasters have become much rarer, in large part due to architectural advances and satellites that can watch the weather from space.

We have a box which you can type something into and it will tell you everything anyone has ever written relevant to your query.

We have a place where you can log into from anywhere in the world and get access to approximately all human knowledge, from the scores of every game in the 1956 Roller Hockey World Cup to 85 different side effects of an obsolete antipsychotic medication. It is all searchable instantaneously. Its main problem is that people try to add so much information to it that its (volunteer) staff are constantly busy deleting information that might be extraneous.

We have the ability to translate nearly major human language to any other major human language instantaneously at no cost with relatively high accuracy.

We have navigation technology that over fifty years has gone from “map and compass” to “you can say the name of your destination and a small box will tell you step by step which way you should be going”.

We have the aforementioned camera, TV, music, videophone, video games, search engine, encyclopedia, universal translator, and navigation system all bundled together into a small black rectangle that fits in your pockets, responds to your spoken natural-language commands, and costs so little that Ethiopian subsistence farmers routinely use them to sell their cows.

"

Scott Alexander, Promising The Moon.

We’re living in the future. And it is on the way to get better, at least with some work…

(via cyborgbutterflies)

(via nihilsupernum)

stormingtheivory:

This is the second day in a row that my neighbour has mowed his lawn. Same neighbour. Same lawn. I don’t get suburbanites.

But if your lawn isn’t perfect, your house drops in value!

Anonymous said: could you explain what a transhumanist is (if you haven't before)

cyborgbutterflies:

A transhumanist is a person who accepts the ideological values and goals described as transhumanist. This doesn’t explain much by itself so let me explain those (sort of summarizing this here).

Life over Death/Health over Disease: Although some “clever” people try to argue for it, it is easy to see that death - even “natural” death - is very bad. It forever annihilates everything a person is and brings great sadness and grief to others.

Transhumanists consider death as an enemy in general, and hope to achieve a radical extension of human lifespans and healthspans through technology.

Even if physical limits or the like ultimately it impossible to have actual deathlessness, it does not mean we can live much longer than we do now. And we want to be healthy and happy at an old age, too. Not decaying in a hospital bed. We hold such a change in the current situation to be desirable.

Now, for some reason this kind of reasoning has been culturally coded as villainous, but the arguments about that are for another post, I’m using this one to just explain what transhumanism is.

Have a quote I posted a while ago on this topic:

“There is no glory, no beauty in death. Only loss. It does not have meaning. I will never see my loved ones again. They are permanently lost to the void. If this is the natural order of things, then I reject that order. I burn here my hopelessness, I burn here my constraints. By my hand, death shall fall. And if I fail, another shall take my place … and another, and another, until this wound in the world is healed at last.”

Overcoming human limitations: All humans could theoretically be improved in some ways. We grow old, we forget things, we are physically unimpressive relative to other animals, our minds are extremely prone to bias…

Transhumanists also hope to use technology to grant the possibility to improve our conditions and be happier. There are a few ways in which this is already happening, even.

Morphological Freedom: This one is important. We believe that in general people should have the freedom to do what they wish with their bodies. Individuals can think very differently and have different goals.

For example, one person could want to use technology to look like an elf, another could want to use it to become smarter, a third could want to remain as they are. Under this principle, all of them deserve the freedom to follow their individual goals.

This value is even important enough to overrule the first. We may consider death to be bad, but transhumanists in general seem to be in favor of letting people have the freedom to end their lives if they really really want to.

This is important, because one of the uninformed criticisms people make to those who wish for immortality is “But what if you get bored and just want to die some day?”

Then one can answer “That won’t be for a very long time, but if I succeed in spreading my values, it won’t be an issue since I can just do that once I want to.”

Wide Access: If human enhancement technology appears but is restricted to a tiny elite, that is not the preferred outcome. Transhumanists want to give access to everyone who wants it.

We don’t want to just avoid death, we want to deny it to everyone who does not wish for it. We truly want people to stop suffering and dying involuntarily.

I notice that a lot of the people who criticize transhumanism as some sort of rich libertarian thing don’t seem to be aware that we actually want this sort of arrangement, which is pretty odd since it is also one of those big things you notice from reading pretty much any of the influential transhumanists…

We do want everyone to be able to improve themselves, be healthy, and have longer lives. It is more fair, it increases the chances that our loved ones and us will benefit, it reduces global suffering much more than limiting to an elite would…

We also do think that, unless great efforts are made against this, human enhancement will eventually reach everyone. If history teaches us anything, it is that new technology usually does start out as nice toys for the rich, but then the price drops and everyone can enjoy it. It has happened many times before.

Hope for the future: Another trend we notice through history is that, in general, things have been getting much better over time.

This is the hope that the trend continues. But hope is a lousy defense.

We also try to promote work based on this hope. Work to prevent global catastrophe and improve people’s lives.

The future is to be protected before it can be enjoyed. The present does not treat everyone nicely, so we want to help those who need it. Nature does not care about us, but we do.

Do my transhumanist followers have more to add?

Nope. Nothing to add. This is the sort of transhumanism I can get behind.

I was tagged by serenescientist (and also by stormingtheivory, I’ll get to that later today) to post my background.

These are the backgrounds for my laptop. Iron Man is my main wallpaper, the other one (which I like significantly less) is for the second desktop which I don’t really use.

I like the first one because it doesn’t distract. It’s very minimalist while still doing a good job of showing of Iron Man. Like a lot of tumblr, I really like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Iron Man is probably my favorite Avenger. Tony is the one Avenger who creates his own way of saving the world. Not just the suit, but also green energy. And Tony has ADD, which I like a lot.

The second background is a bit boring, but I can’t be bothered to change it.

I’m gonna tag just two people, and two more when I show off the wallpapers of my PC. (I think I’m always going to tag just two people for stuff like this, that seems like a good rule.) hot-gay-rationalist, bishiesparkleflash

shlevy:

sings “is man an error of God’s, or God of man’s?”

Love between Robots or Technology and Humans weirds people out.

stormingtheivory:

lolmythesis:

Communication Arts: Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"I Believe in a (Human) Thing Called Love: The New Hot Topic in Science Fiction Film and TV"

uh ahem it weirds BORING people out

seriola-lalandi:

A friendly octopus friend :)

seriola-lalandi:

A friendly octopus friend :)

(via ilovecephalopods)

ozymandias271:

sonata-green:

ozymandias271:

mybodyisarationalisttemple:

ozymandias271:

I was, in fact, totally unironically saved by Jesus, and this fact is one of the things that amuses me most about my life

#ozy is the worst at atheism

I will fight you for this title.

omg this is the best club I want to join this club 

we can hang out and talk about our favorite heresies

I want in on this. I would probably be a minister if it wasn’t for the inconvenient detail that all of the religions are incorrect.

oh god yeah me too, I would be SO GOOD at nun and I am SO MAD that this is not a viable career option for me

atheists who are really mad that they can’t believe in God and occasionally lurk at apologetics blogs to see if they have come up with any good arguments yet club 2k14

The fact that secular monasteries don’t exist seems like a civilizational failing.

drewsandwich:

he tweeted me like any other, he gave me his trust, he called me brother….

drewsandwich:

he tweeted me like any other, he gave me his trust, he called me brother….

(via bishiesparkleflash)

drewlsummitt:

Pegging the price of birds in hand to birds in bush is not a stable currency system

Story Requests

dataandphilosophy:

Can I please get more fantasy westerns?

  • Hotshot young elementalists slinging fire at each other
  • Hydromancers supplying water to drought-stricken towns
  • Female mages accepted along with the rest, because nobody cares if you’re good and wiling to do the work
  • Shamans trying to preserve the old ways (If you touch magical POC as plot device I wil smack you, but this could really fun)
  • Geomancers making tunnels for railroads
  • Fancy doctor-mages coming out from Harvard to where they can actually help people. Bostion Brahmin adjusts to the west is always a fun trope.
  • Fantasy western stories.

I’d like to recommend stories from Jakkard. It’s pretty much high-quality Magic: The Gathering fanfiction, but you don’t need an understanding of MtG lore beyond: (1) There are five colors of mana (2) There are infinite worlds, called planes and (3) Some individuals, called Planeswalkers, can move between those worlds.

Jakkard is a plane based on Western tropes. It has gunslinging lizard-people, angels who wear their wings as ponchos, centaur sheriffs, people riding giant insects… Some guns are mundane, some run on magic. The trains run on leylines, sometimes with magical effects.

The events in the stories happen just after the Waste (an uninhabitable wasteland without magic - in this setting no magic means no life) is starting to see a resurgence of magic, which causes people to come out of the crowded city and go Wastewards.

ozymandias271:


I have decided today is the day of collages <3

behold a girlfriend

These collages are a great idea. I’m going to make one for my girlfriend for when she’s sad again. 1337 GIMP skills will be necessary.

ozymandias271:

I have decided today is the day of collages <3

behold a girlfriend

These collages are a great idea. I’m going to make one for my girlfriend for when she’s sad again. 1337 GIMP skills will be necessary.

"ADD is a common disorder in children and in recent years adults have been diagnosed with increasing frequency as well. Adults with ADD are often frustrated by the gap between their ability, intelligence, and skills and their actual performance."

— I need to stop doing online tests and see an actual doctor about this.

I recently became very aware how little my opinions and beliefs rely on explicit theory. I’m not sure if I should do anything about it and if I should, what I should do about it.

"I believe GTA V is one of the most boring games I’ve ever played…"

— (via killerthrower)
I still need to play it. It can’t be a step back from GTA IV, can it? And it certainly can’t be worse than Assassin’s Creed III.

Tags: GTA V