Posts Tagged ‘transhumanist agenda’

Radical human modification is coming, like it or not, by the end of this century—if not earlier. How much are you willing to alter yourself?

eskobionics-body.jpg

This is my first column on TheAtlantic.com, which will regularly cover the interface between new discoveries in the life sciences and how it impacts people and society — and other random topics.

Last fall at the TEDMED meeting in San Diego I watched a man walk who was paralyzed from the waist down. Injured a year earlier, Paul Thacker hadn’t been able to stand since breaking his back in a snowmobile accident. Yet here he was walking, thanks to an early-stage exoskeleton device attached to his legs.

This wasn’t exactly on the level of “exos” we’ve seen in sci-fi films like Avatar and Aliens, which enable people to run faster, carry heavier loads, and smash things better. But Thacker’s device, called eLEGS — manufactured by Ekso Bionics in Berkeley, California — is one harbinger of what’s coming in the next decade or two to treat the injured and the ill with radical new technologies.

Other portents include first-generation machines and treatments that range from deep brain implants that can stop epileptic seizures to stem cells that scientists are using experimentally to repair damaged retinas.

No one would deny that these technologies, should they fulfill their promise, are anything but miraculous for Paul Thacker and others who need them. Yet none of this technology is going to remain exclusively in the realm of pure therapeutics. Even now some are breaking through the barrier between remedies for the sick and enhancements for the healthy.

Take the drug Adderall. A highly addictive pharmaceutical prescribed for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the drug works as a stimulant in people without ADHD — and is now used by at least one out of five college students to bump up their energy and attention when they want to perform well on tests or pull all-nighters.

Saying that college students are popping pills is like Claude Rains in Casablanca saying to Humphrey Bogart: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Yet the widespread use — and acceptance — of Adderall and other stimulants by students to enhance their academic performance is bumping up against something new. It’s pushing us into a realm where taking powerful pharmaceuticals that boost, say, attention or memory is becoming acceptable beyond pure recreation.

Can we be too far from a greater acceptance of surgically implanted devices that increase our ability to hear or see? Or new legs that allow us to run like cheetahs and scramble up walls like geckos?

Or that allow us to run in the Olympics like Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who may qualify for the games in London this year despite missing his lower legs? He runs using two sleek, metallic “legs” that combine with his natural speed and skill to do far more than overcome a disability.

Which leads us to the crucial question for the approaching age of human enhancement: How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medtech?

Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger?

Would you take a daily pill that not only stimulated your brain to help you do your best on a test, but also bumped up your memory?

Would you sign up for a genetic alteration that would make you taller and stronger?

Let’s up the ante and declare that these fixes had no deleterious side effects, and were deemed safe by a newly appointed U.S. Agency for Human Augmentation. Would this change your mind? (As an aside, I’m trying to imagine what the candidates now vying for the Republican nomination for president would say about an Agency for Human Augmentation.)

And what if everyone else at work — or all of the rest of the kids in your child’s class at school — were taking advantage of these enhancements?

Currently, none of these hypothetical modifications would be ethical, and most are illegal. Yet one doesn’t need to spend too much time delving into the world of near-future medtech to understand that each of these possibilities are likely to occur in one form or another in the lifetime of those college kids now swallowing Adderall.

For now, the device attached to Paul Thacker’s legs is clunky. The apparatus is little more than a pair of sophisticated braces with whirring mechanics attached to a computer he wears on his back — which is guided by a technician walking behind him, holding a control box attached to the computer with a wire. But it won’t be too long until this 37-year-old former champion snowmobile jumper will be walking with ease using an advanced exoskeleton.

In a few more years, you might be wearing your own eLEGS to carry heavy loads around the house, or as a soldier on patrol in some distant corner of the world (assuming we aren’t using only drones). Flash forward a few more years, and you may have the option of permanently implanting in your legs the “eLEGS LXII,” an endo-skeletal implant that stays with you like a futuristic hip or knee implant does today.

Back at TEDMED, Paul Thacker wasn’t thinking about anything nearly as grandiose as this. When I asked him what he wishes for most using the new eLEGS technology, he smiled and said something refreshingly mundane considering he is a herald of the future.

“Right now I’d like to be able to stand up and pee,” he said. “I really miss being able to do that.”

Article Source Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/redesigning-people-how-medtech-could-expand-beyond-the-injured/253236/

JP

 

The Terminator

The Terminator: Real cyborgs will be less scary – the researchers think that the technology could help people suffering from brain malfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease – by replacing damaged or malfunctioning tissue with chips

Faulty parts of living brains have been replaced by electronic chips, in an astonishing and controversial scientific breakthrough.

It’s a move that has been anticipated many times in science fiction, with creatures such as The Terminator, a ‘cyborg’ hybrid of flesh and machinery.

But now, researchers at Tel Aviv University have successfully created circuits that can replace motor functions – such as blinking – and implanted them into brains.

They hope the technology could in the future help people suffering from brain malfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease – by replacing damaged or malfunctioning tissue with chips that perform the same function.

‘Imagine there’s a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand the architecture of this damaged area,’ said Professor Matti Mintz, a psychobiologist, speaking to the BBC.

‘So we try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics.’

Mintz has already successfully implanted a robotic cerebellum into the skull of a rodent with brain damage, restoring its capacity for movement.

However, anti-vivisection campaigners have described the experiments as ‘grotesque’.

‘Imagine there’s a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand how it works. We try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics,’ said Professor Mintz

The cerebellum is responsible for co-ordinating movement, says Mintz.

When wired to the brain, his ‘robo-cerebellum’ receives, interprets, and transmits sensory information from the brain stem, facilitating communication between the brain and the body.

To test this robotic interface between body and brain, the researchers taught a brain-damaged rat to blink whenever they sounded a particular tone.

The rat could only perform the behavior when its robotic cerebellum was functional.

According to the researcher, the chip is designed to mimic natural neuronal activity.

‘It’s a proof of the concept that we can record information from the brain, analyze it in a way similar to the biological network, and then return it to the brain,’ says Prof. Mintz, who recently presented his research at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge, UK.

In the future, this robo-cerebellum could lead to electronic implants that replace damaged tissues in the human brain.

‘This type of research raises enormous ethical concerns, let alone the poor animals whose lives are wasted on dubious and ego-driven experiments,’ Jan Creamer, CEO of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, in an interview with the BBC.

JP

SIGN 1

California Mega-Quake

SIGN 2

Tsunami's over both U.S. coastal regions

SIGN 3

Iran V Israel WW3

 In CONJUNCTION:

Listen for the Shofar

 THE WORLD WILL SEE:

Alien Abduction?

            OR

The Rapture

FOLLOWED BY:

Fallen Angel Demons on earth

Extermination of 'humanity'

AND

Transhuman enslavement

ROMANS 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

HERE IS THE LATEST TESTIMONY FROM ELVI ZAPATA ON WHAT’S TO COME VERY SOON!!

YT’r –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HqvPUM05Wq4

REPENT and you SHALL be SAVED from all that is to come UPON the earth.

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

Omega Man Radio from 9th December 2011, with guests Steve Quayle and Tom Horn, subjects are Transhumanism, Fallen Angels, The Mark of the Beast, 666, UFO’s, Chimera (vaccinations), Black Op Projects to merge man with Beast and with Angel.

An eye-opening show that MUST BE listened to in order to fully understand and be aware of what is actually going on in the world, how it got to be this way and where are we headed, and why?

Yt’r –   Part 1 of 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7bds4rXyK0&list=PL3D20CA4E529B1415&feature=plpp_play_all

Part 2 of 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPnneJckvD8&feature=related

Part 3 of 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olYVqB0caQQ&feature=related

Part 4 of 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIYf8fvC-_g&feature=related

Websites:

http://stevequayle.com
http://raidersnewsnetwork.com
http://omegamanradio.com

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

Process could help detect birth defects in human children

(Artist impression of a crocoduck)

Scientists have undone the progress made by evolution by altering chicken DNA to create embryos with alligator-like snouts instead of beaks.

Experts changed the DNA of chicken embryos in the early stage of their development, enabling them to undo evolutionary progress and give the creatures snouts which are thought to have been lost in the cretaceous period millions of years ago.

The scientific revelation of ‘rewinding’ evolution could pave the way for scientists altering DNA in the other direction and use the same process to create species better able to adapt to Earth’s climate.

 
Rewind evolution: The reseatrch changed the DNA of a chicken egg so the embryo developed an alligator-like snout
Rewind evolution: The reseatrch changed the DNA of a chicken egg so the embryo developed an alligator-like snout
 

Rewind evolution: The research changed the DNA of a chicken egg so the embryo developed an alligator-like snout

 

It has also been claimed that the breakthrough could eventually help eliminate birth defects in human children.

Arkhat Abzhanov, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, developed the chickens with snouts by cutting a square hole in the shell of a chicken egg and dropping in a small gelatinous protein bead before watching the embryo develop.

The changes allowed separate molecules on the side of the face free to grow into snouts within 14 days.

Although ethical rules prevent the eggs from bring hatched, Dr Abzhanov said he hopes to complete the work one day by turning chickens into Maniraptora.

Dr Abzhanov made the changes by analysing the ‘signalling molecules’ which control the anatomical changes in birds and other animals.

Adding protein beads to the egg which stifle the development of certain molecules also prevents the birds from growing certain features.

The revolutionary work by biologist Dr Arkhat Abzhanov could help prevent birth defects in human childrenThe revolutionary work by biologist Dr Arkhat Abzhanov could help prevent birth defects in human children

Maniraptora are small dinosaurs which it is thought spawned thousands of species of birds which exist today.

Chickens and other birds are thought to have descended from dinosaurs through a series of genetic changes.

By altering the DNA of chickens to resemble alligator genes before the beak developed, Dr Abzhanov was able to change the evolutionary path of chickens so that they grew snouts instead.

Dr Abzhanov told the New Scientist: ‘It looks exactly like a snout looks in an alligator [at this stage].’

Jack Horner, a leading paleontologist based at the University of Montana, is conducting similar work in an attempt to make a ‘chickenosaurus‘ with a tail and hands similar to those of a dinosaur.

Craig Albertson, a developmental biologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, said: ‘Abzhanov’s ‘snouted’ chicken provides a striking demonstration of just how easy it can be to provoke major evolutionary changes.’

Source Article Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2027558/Scientists-undo-evolution-create-chicken-maniraptora-snout.html

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

 

IBM has developed a microprocessor which it claims comes closer than ever to replicating the human brain.

The system is capable of “rewiring” its connections as it encounters new information, similar to the way biological synapses work.

Researchers believe that that by replicating that feature, the technology could start to learn.

Cognitive computers may eventually be used for understanding human behaviour as well as environmental monitoring.

Dharmendra Modha, IBM’s project leader, explained that they were trying to recreate aspects of the mind such as emotion, perception, sensation and cognition by “reverse engineering the brain.”

The SyNAPSE system uses two prototype “neurosynaptic computing chips”. Both have 256 computational cores, which the scientists described as the electronic equivalent of neurons.

One chip has 262,144 programmable synapses, while the other contains 65,536 learning synapses.

Man machine

In humans and animals, synaptic connections between brain cells physically connect themselves depending on our experience of the world. The process of learning is essentially the forming and strengthening of connections.

A machine cannot solder and de-solder its electrical tracks. However, it can simulate such a system by “turning up the volume” on important input signals, and paying less attention to others.

IBM has not released exact details of how its SyNAPSE processor works, but Dr Richard Cooper, a reader in cognitive science at Birkbeck, University of London said that it likely replicated physical connections using a “virtual machine”.

Instead of stronger and weaker links, such a system would simply remember how much “attention” to pay to each signal and alter that depending on new experiences.

Artist impression of neurons connecting
IBM’s processor replicates the synaptic connections between neurons found in the brain
 

“Part of the trick is the learning algorithm – how should you turn those volumes up and down,” said Dr Cooper.

“There’s a a whole bunch of tasks that can be done just with a relatively simple system like that such as associative memory. When we see a cat we might think of a mouse.”

Some future-gazers in the cognitive computing world have speculated that the technology will reach a tipping point where machine consciousness is possible.

However, Dr Mark Bishop, professor of cognitive computing at Goldsmiths, was more cautious.

“[I] understand cognition to be something over and above a process simulated by the execution of mere computations, [and] see such claims as verging on the magical,” he said.

IBM’s work on the SyNAPSE project continues and the company, along with its academic partners, has just been awarded $21m (£12.7m) by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Source Article Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14574747

(Author’s Note: I think we have ALL seen the Terminator movies!!  I think we ALL understand the consequences of technologies becoming self-aware!!  Hollywood and the entertainment industries have been ‘programming’ us since their inception, to accept these ‘new’ technological innovations, as just mere human ‘advancement’.

Judgement Day is upon us, in the Terminator-esque style, and in the Biblical sense.  We will never learn.)

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP