Every week I will re-post here the new entries in the Irrational Mechanics News page, which is frequently updated with links and short summaries.
Prof. Ralph Abraham, Dr. Ben Goertzel, Dr. Amit Goswami, Prof. Sisir Roy, and Prof. Frank Tipler, will be among the speakers at the India Awakens Conference. The Conference will explore the convergence of Eastern and Western science and spirituality, with speakers representing both geographic and thematic sides – East and West, science and spirituality, and the intersections thereof. The Conference will take place in Kolkata, India, on Sunday, February 12, 2017, from 10am to 7pm, in the Shivananda Hall of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.
My article “Christianity and Transhumanism Are Much Closer Than You Think” has been republished in the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) website. I have tried to build a two-way bridge between Christianity and Transhumanism, and show that Christians can embrace Transhumanism, and Transhumanists can embrace Christianity, without abandoning their existing convictions. Comments welcome!
The nature of mind, the foundations of physics, and the scientific foundation of psi phenomena and other anomalous phenomena such as instances of apparent survival after death and reincarnation… Ben Goertzel started a new blog – Eurycosm – with an aim of eventually turning it into a book, just like he did for “A Cosmist Manifesto.” Ben will blog his preliminary-draft exposition of these ideas to gather feedback on the writing as it proceeds. “My aim is to outline a different kind of model of the universe, one that is mostly consistent with physics and cognitive science as currently understood, yet also goes beyond these to embrace and at least partially explain other aspects of the cosmos,” says Ben.
High-profile physicists and philosophers gathered by Neil deGrasse Tyson debated whether we are real or virtual – and what it means either way. “I think the likelihood may be very high,” said Tyson. The idea that the universe is a simulation is a legitimate scientific hypothesis. Ideas from information theory keep showing up in physics. Physicist James Gates wonders why error-correcting codes show up in the equations of fundamental physics. “If the simulation hypothesis is valid then we open the door to eternal life and resurrection and things that formally have been discussed in the realm of religion,” Gates suggested. If someone somewhere created our simulation, would that make this entity God? Source: Scientific American. Video on YouTube.
More on the ideas of James Gates: In an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, physicist James Gates describes a digitally-encoded error checking algorithm embedded within the fundamental equations of String Theory (Video). See also “Superstring Theoretical Physicist on the Codes of Reality” and Gates’ article “Symbols of Power: Adinkras and the Nature of Reality.”
IBM press release: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM Collaborate to Build Brain-Inspired Supercomputer – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased a first-of-a-kind brain-inspired supercomputing platform developed by IBM. Based on a breakthrough neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses and consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer. The brain-like, neural network design of the IBM Neuromorphic System is able to infer complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips.
“Lawrence Livermore has commissioned a scale-up, brain-inspired supercomputer, and that’s what you’re looking at here,” said Dharmendra S. Modha, an IBM fellow and chief scientist of brain-inspired computing, in an interview with VentureBeat. “Our long-term goal is to build a brain in a box, with 10 billion neurons in a 2-liter volume, consuming about a kilowatt of power. That’s the long-term trajectory we are on.”
Two great articles on post-biological evolution. In The Problem of AI Consciousness Susan Schneider argues that we should regard the problem of AI consciousness as an open question. “The problem of AI consciousness asks whether AI, being silicon-based, is even capable of consciousness… consciousness may be limited to carbon substrates only…” In Where do minds belong? Caleb Scharf argues that advanced civilization might become post-biological and then biological again. “Any machine intelligence or transcendence elsewhere in the galaxy might be short-lived as an interstellar force… It might already be dreaming of becoming biological again… [Old civilizations] could have long ago reached the point where they decided to transition back from machines to biology.”