MTA Conference 2016

Video – 2016 Annual Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Yesterday, April 9, the 2016 Annual Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association was held in in Provo, Utah, at the Provo City Library. The Conference reaches beyond Mormonism and is the de-facto annual conference of the religious/spiritual transhumanist community. The Conference was live-streamed and the recording of the stream is online on YouTube. You can watch more than nine hours of awesome talks at the intersection of transhumanism and religion.

I wasn’t able to attend in person, so I watched the live stream yesterday, and today I will watch the recording. And so should you – most of the talks are really great. The professionally edited videos of all talks will be available online soon.

Live video streaming was interrupted during keynote speaker Rosalynde Welch’s talk, so there are two separate videos:

First part – from the beginning to Rosalynde Welch’s talk (until interruption).

Second part – from Rosalynde Welch’s talk (resumed) to the end.

The Conference was opened by the outgoing President of the MTA Lincoln Cannon, followed by the incoming President Christopher Bradford. Thanks Lincoln for ten years of excellent leadership – open, friendly, and firm at the same time – and congratulations to Christopher!

  • spud100

    Did Steinhart not attend?

    • Giulio Prisco

      Sure he did. Eric’s talk is in the second video, at about 4 hours 50 minutes.

      • spud100

        Very well. Thanks, Dr. Prisco. I will give it a view. What do you guess the Church of Mormon has that other religions don’t as far as Transhumanist ideals?

        • Giulio Prisco

          From the article on Christianity and Transhumanism:

          — Mormonism has a concept of boundless elevation and exaltation of Man, through all means including science and technology, until he becomes like God. Conversely, God was once like Man before attaining an exalted status. “[Mormonism] allows for humans to ascend to a higher, more godlike level,” reads the introduction to “The Transhumanist Reader” written by Max More, “rather than sharply dividing God from Man.” Mormon transhumanists are persuaded that we will become like God – through science and technology – in a progression without end, and this seems a more faithful interpretation of the teachings of Joseph Smith and a return to the roots of the Mormon religion.—

          I am studying Christian theology and realizing that similar parallels can be found in Christianity as well, but more hidden.

          • spud100

            This is always a sensitive topic, but what did you feel about Steinharts’ lecture (300 minutes in)?? What did you find appealing in his talk, and what do you think is less appealing? I do see that Steinhart favors his own theory of Revision Theory of Resurrection. Do you see any concurrence between what Steinhart has written, and what Goertzel writes? Do you see anything of use in Steinhart’s ideas, that compliment your own Cosmist world view? My own sense of things is that if there are any superintelligences out in the universe, Titans, Steinhart spoke of them, as universes, and subsets there of, it might be helpful if they stopped by for a chat. Because we primates can use all the help we can get.


          • Giulio Prisco

            I find Eric’s views appealing, including the Revision Theory. There are some parallels with Ben’s ideas, but what I find interesting (and surprising) are the parallels with traditional Christian resurrection theology (continuity and discontinuity between the old body and the new body, the old creation and the new creation). Eric’s views seem an important part of modern Cosmism, or whatever you want to call our ideas. I can’t say more because I haven’t read Eric’s book in full yet. I hope to read it when the publisher cuts the price to a reasonable amount. High book prices are a powerful argument for piracy.

          • spud100

            Steinhart, did mention something about being published in paperback. I guess I am still loyal to Tipler’s orginal vision in 1994, or, he and Barrow in 1986. However, the long cosmological wait, via his standard model, we all know was way off, via the 1997 WMAP acceleration discovery. We may wait forever for an Omega Point singularity, while the Big Rip messes things up, way, beforehand.

            For myself, it seems that astronomy, rather than capitulate what the human endevour is about, is rather disconected from how the universe, pulses and expands, and our lives and our children’s lives flow. I always liked Hans Moravec’s alternative, he proposed in Mind Children, and Robot, which Steinhart used for his April 9th lecture. Yet, neither Moravec or Tipler have published much, in many years. which leads me to suspect, that they are less, passionate, about what they wrote in past decades. Basically, they probably, have moved on to more mentally, rewarding things, since, as we both know, this topic is harder than diamond or carbon 70 (whichever form of carbon you decide?). Ha! It’s now all up to you, Dr. Prisco! Are you not glad that I nominated you for this “easy” task? (Winking and back slapping). ;-D


          • Giulio Prisco

            The comment that I just posted at IEET is relevant here:

            Spud and I often discuss the How and When of technological resurrection. I say that I have no idea but scientists in the far future could know much more. Spud answers, that’s not good enough, we need to say something more precise now to keep people warm at night. Of course he is right, it would be nice to say something more precise, but I just don’t know what to say at this moment, we simply don’t know enough physics yet.

            But perhaps we could offer suggestive stories based on current physics, which, while being probably wrong because current physics is probably wrong, would convey the flavor of future theories.

            Tipler’s ideas belong to this category. I think Tipler’s mistake is thinking that we already know enough physics for eschatology, but at least he put his hands in the mud to work out a reasonably detailed story.

            This is another:

            The physics of miracles: the theologians quoted in my essay think miracles – and what’s resurrection if not the ultimate miracle? – don’t need to violate natural laws. God is smarter than that and can do miracles by using, as opposed to violating, the laws of nature.

            But a 19th century physicist would disagree, because 19th century physics is deterministic. A particle can go this way or that way, and if the laws of physics say that it must go this way, God can’t make it go that way without violating the laws of physics.

            Contrary to 19th century physics, modern physics isn’t deterministic. Modern non-quantum physics is non deterministic in practice (chaos), and modern quantum physics is non deterministic in principle (the random collapse of the wavefunction upon measurement).

            In other words, the particle can go this way or that way, and both ways are compatible with the laws of physics, so God can choose which way without violating the laws of physics. Therefore God can tweak complex events with messages hidden in random noise to choose the random outcomes of individual events in space-time. God is omnipotent indeed, and works “below” the laws of physics.

            Is that understandable? I am reading a book with this sort of ideas, and I will write an article (and forthcoming book chapter) with stories on the physics of theology and resurrection.

          • spud100

            Hello Dr. Prisco. Here is a link from a short 2013 essay on Science 2.0 from a CERN physicist, Tomaso Dorigo concerning, a plausible to him, afterlfe. Is he still at CERN? Did, he, like Galileo, recant his view, in the face of the inquistition of his fellows? Was he simply musing about a cosmological point of view? I do not know. This, is slightly, the type of conceptualization that I have been thinking about. I, myself, have imagined God as being a Boltzmann Brain, since I first knew of the concept, several years back. If true, I have zero ideas about what the implication would be?



          • Giulio Prisco

            Spud, see new post:
            I haven’t posted for a while because I have been studying and focusing on my forthcoming book, but I want to say something about my current studies and thoughts on physics, divine action, and resurrection, inspired by observations and comments by readers, especially Spud…