Transhuman Tuesday – Daft and Empowering Visions

Posted By on December 20, 2016

Each Tuesday Nikolas Badminton, Futurist, summarizes 3 to 5 future looking developments in the realm of  transhuman and cyborg-related technologies.

In Transhuman Tuesday – Daft and Empowering Visions we look at some visions and thoughts for transhumanism, brain-controlled devices, and digging into Rhizome.

Humans review​ – simultaneously daft and affecting

It’s tiresome being human. Terrible posture, the fuel that incessantly has to go in, the bodily waste that won’t stop coming out, reasoning skills stuck in the mire of feelings, being rubbish at fighting. But enough about me. One of the most touching aspects of the second series of Humans (Channel 4) is the human children who aspire to become, not train drivers or astronauts, but synthetic beings.

Sophie has taken to asking her mother for the milk in a robotically affectless voice, and continues breakfast in a monotone. This is accompanied by sub-Peter Crouch robo-celebration-dance gestures until even her long-suffering if sympathetic mother (Kathryn Parkinson) howls across the table for her one-time human daughter to knock it off. Sophie’s brother’s girlfriend even wears a robo-wig and green contacts in her quest to become what she isn’t.

But while some humans want to become synths, this series ended with a more bracing notion of transformation. All the synths in this near future gained consciousness after Mattie, a coding whizz, did something on her laptop that I don’t pretend to understand. Being all-too-human, I think it unlikely that a captivatingly surly teen from Enfield, rather than, say, computer geniuses from Imperial and MIT, would catalyse this revolution in robotics, but what do I know? Plus, near the end of this episode, when Mattie had killed off synths Mia, Hester and Niska by activating the microchips in their heads, would it really be so easy to bring them back, not just to synth-like life, but to quasi-human consciousness, seconds later?

Read more at The Guardian

Jeremy McKeehen’s Vision of a Transhuman Future

Read more at The Creator’s Project

‘Here’s to Cyborgs!’ 10 Things We Learned at Rhizome + New Museum’s Tech Summit

Last Saturday, several groups of artists, scholars, entrepreneurs, writers, and more gathered in the basement of the New Museum for the second annual Open Score symposium, where they delved into topics like artificial intelligence, how memes relate to blackness, and ways the internet can create social infrastructures. The afternoon was co-presented by Rhizome, a contemporary arts organization centered on intersections of art and technology.

Open Score, which aimed to “discuss how technology is transforming culture [and] consider how … digital forms are called upon us to assist with tasks that range from the most banal to the most urgent,” was easily able to both adhere to and explode perceptions of academic panels and conferences. Each panel was populated with well-educated, articulate people who dutifully engaged with a complex topic, but instead of centering only people with fancy degrees spouting academic jargon, both panelists and panel attendees were a fairly diverse and accessible bunch.

The majority of panelists were also people of color, many of whom were artists or creators and discussed their own work in the panel. This seems like a significant improvement to last year’s Open Score: In a writeup for ArtNews, writer Alex Greenberger mentions that a panelist at last year’s Open Score remarked that hardly any works by artists of color were discussed at the symposium. In fact, award-winning artistic duo Mendi + Keith Obadike, whose conceptual eBay piece “Blackness for Sale” came up in last year’s Open Score, was a panelist this year.

Read more at Bedford and Bowery

How to control a robotic arm with your mind — no implanted electrodes required

Research subjects at the University of Minnesota fitted with a specialized noninvasive EEG brain cap were able to move a robotic arm in three dimensions just by imagining moving their own arms (credit: University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering)

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have achieved a “major breakthrough” that allows people to control a robotic arm in three dimensions, using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

The open-access study is published online today in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.


Read more at KurzweilAI



Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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