Moral technology

A screen shows a demonstration of SenseTime Group Ltd’s SenseVideo pedestrian and vehicle recognition system in Beijing, China, on Friday 15 June 2018. Photo by Bloomberg/Getty Images Self-driving cars don’t drink and medical AIs are never overtired. Given our obvious flaws, what can humans still do best? Paula Boddington is a senior research fellow at Cardiff University. She is the author of Towards a Code of Ethics for Artificial Intelligence (2017). She lives in Oxford. Edited by Nigel Warburton A five-year-old boy is helping his grandmother cook by cutting out biscuits from the dough she’s made, and he’s doing it rather badly. He … Continue reading Moral technology

Alan Watts: What is the self?

image edited by F. Kaskais Self defined not as individual ego, but the whole universe. by Mike Colagrossi Alan Watts believed that we can comprehend a greater sense of the self. The self is not alienated from the universe, but a part of the whole process. Scientists have conceptualized a similar idea that sounds like it’s straight out of the Indian Vedanta. Western cultures rooted in scientific thinking and reductionist philosophies have always flirted with the tempting holism of the East. It was during the 1950s and ’60s that these philosophies finally burst through the dividing cultural membrane and … Continue reading Alan Watts: What is the self?

Buddhism and “The Matrix”

BY SAM LITTLEFAIR Twenty years ago this Sunday, The Matrix was released. I went to see it in theatres with my dad (I was in third grade), and it instantly became an all-time favorite. A lot of the movie went over my eight-year-old head, but even so the film’s central concept — that all of humanity exists in a simulation called “the Matrix” — blew my mind. The movie had that effect on a lot of people. Within a few years of its release, a popular theory arose that, statistically, it’s extremely likely that humanity only exists in such a simulation. To … Continue reading Buddhism and “The Matrix”

How the Universe Remembers Information

A “memory matrix” might solve Stephen Hawking’s black-hole paradox. BY GEORGE MUSSER It was one of the great missed connections of physics. In 1965 a particle theorist derived a formula for the collision of elementary particles. Twenty years later two gravitation theorists, using completely different techniques, derived a formula for the collision of stars or black holes. And they were the same formula. The only difference was that the first used “p” to denote momentum and the second used “P”. Harvard physicist Andy Strominger jokes that “a 6-year-old could look at those two papers” and spot the similarity. But evidently no 6-year-old did, so … Continue reading How the Universe Remembers Information


by Sergey Baranov, Contributor Waking Times In my recent book, The Mescaline Confessions, I wrote a chapter about a stark vision I one day received from the Huachuma cactus, warning of a future in which our own technology will devour us. Huachuma, also known as San Pedro, is a sacred cactus native to the Andes which is shamanically used in Peru and has been for thousands of years. Its active ingredient is the alkaloid mescaline, which was made known to the world by Aldous Huxley in his book The Doors of Perception. Technology, the cactus told me, is not our God – it is our servant. Technology itself … Continue reading THE SHAMANIC PERSPECTIVE ON AI AND TRANSHUMANISM

The blind spot

Photo by Andia/UIG via Getty Images It’s tempting to think science gives a God’s-eye view of reality. But we forget the place of human experience at our peril Adam Frank is professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester in New York. He is the author of several books, the latest being Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth(2018). Marcelo Gleiser is a theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he is the Appleton professor of natural philosophy and professor of physics and astronomy, and the director of the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement (ICE). He is … Continue reading The blind spot

Is Virtual Reality Getting Too Real?

An attendee tries out a virtual reality program during a panel discussion in Boulder, Colorado. | Photo by Dana Ming As VR technology takes the world by storm, two Buddhist teachers and a cognitive neuroscientist debate its spiritual potential and shortcomings. A conversation with Andrew Holecek, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, and Jordan Quaglia, edited by Julia Hirsch Tech moguls and gamers aren’t the only ones plugging into artificial virtual worlds these days. VR programs have helped treat phobias and PTSD, NASA scientists to envision life on Mars, and elementary schoolers to engage with science and history lessons. VR has also taken up shop in contemplative … Continue reading Is Virtual Reality Getting Too Real?