I joined hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to talk about optimistic science fiction at The World Transformed podcast. Why are fictional views of a better world so important? And why are they so hard to come by? Tune in and explore.
The discussion at the Mormon Transhumanist Association Online Discussion Group, 26 October 2013, was centered on the establishment of a Christian Transhumanist Association (CTA). Watch the video below.
The CTA has not yet been formally established, but it already has a website and a Facebook Page, launched immediately after the discussion to complement the existing Facebook Group. If you are a Christian and a Transhumanist, or a Christian interested in Transhumanism, or a Transhumanist open to a religious interpretation of our ideas, we warmly encourage you to join.
I became a fan of Ted Chiang after reading The Lifecycle of Software Objects [full text], one of the best science fictional explorations of artificial intelligence, winner of the 2011 Locus Award for Best Novella and the Hugo Award for Best Novella. Now, Chiang’s new novella The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling [full text] explores memory and its technological augmentations, from writing to total recall. [found via io9]
Zoltan Istvan’s bestseller The Transhumanist Wager, often reviewed as a rabid anti-religion manifesto, includes the foundations of a new, Cosmist scientific religion, a “Third Way” alternative to traditional belief based on science, but at the same time able to offer all the benefits of religion.
3D Futures: The disembodied, the departed and the dispossessed, by Rob Walters, is a fresh, entertaining and thought-provoking science fiction novel with interleaved stories, including a thriller in a future society of uploads.
The October 2013 Discussion Group of the Mormon Transhumanist Association will be on Saturday, October 26, at 10:30am mountain time (9:30am PST, 12:30pm EST, 5:30pm UK, 6:30pm EU), in Google+ Hangouts.
Yesterday I participated in a London Futurists Hangout on Air: Futurists discuss The Transhumanist Wager, with Zoltan Istvan. Besides Zoltan, organizer David Wood, and myself, the two other panelists were Chris Armstrong and Rick Searle, who both wrote reviews of the book. Many viewers watched the streaming video of the discussion on Google+ and Youtube and submitted interesting questions, some (especially those upvoted by many viewers) answered in real time. Watch the full video recording below.
“A lot of the best science fiction inspires us, by showing how people can solve problems and conquer ignorance,” writes Charlie Jane Anders at io9. “What’s the most uplifting piece of optimistic science fiction you’ve ever seen?” There are many suggestions, and a good discussion.
Charlie Jane Anders on io9 | What if the cost of uploading your brain is giving up your body? Forever? That’s just one of the thought-provoking questions raised by Erin Biba’s piece on the ethics of uploading yourself, over at Tested.
Congratulations to Prof. Peter Higgs, Nobel Prize in Physics 2013, the theoretical physicist who predicted the Higgs Boson, often nicknamed the “God particle.” Prof. Higgs is an atheist, but a tolerant atheist who respects believers.
Black Holes are collapsed stars that are so dense they have several distinctive effects on objects nearby. At the gravitational states of black holes the universe operates rather haphazardly and different from the normal universe, let alone the parochial mundaneity of our Earth’s surface. It won’t serve much use to explore in exhaustive details what black holes do precisely, but there’s a specific problem with black holes that has profound theological implications for an all-powerful deity such as being believed in by (for instance) the catholic church.
BBC News has a good article on the importance of science fiction, featuring Peter Thiel, Peter Diamandis, neuroscientist Susan Greenfield and her science fiction novel 2121 – A Tale from the Next Century. In one of his great short videos, Jason Silva talks of the fundamental psychological importance of the awe and wonder inspired by good science fiction, which can give us the sense of purpose and drive that we need to do great things. The article mentions Project Hieroglyph, started by Neal Stephenson‘s article on “Innovation Starvation“, calling for a return to inspiration in contemporary science fiction.