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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

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The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Intellectual Blind Spots -- Bio, Myst, Psych, Soc, SkiP

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All right, we all have them. Intellectual blind spots -- a feeling that you already know enough about a subject to dismiss an idea as fanciful, or else accept it unthinkingly. Normally this would be someone's cue to begin a rant about the blindness of "the Establishment," but forget that debate for a moment.

What I really wanted to bring up was the unconscious prejudice that haunts almost every open-minded futurist. Someone particularly excited about the potential of artificial intelligence, for example, might dismiss a healthy diet and exercise as needless distractions, see genetics and nootropics as inherent dead ends and look at the greatest accomplishments of martials artists and other mental and physical prodigies as curious primitive exercises.

None of which is conducive to seeing the hidden value in other disciplines. This point is particularly important if we don't have a "Rapture Event" in any human enhancement field -- an invention or discovery so radical that it renders everything else beside the point. In AI, that would be the development of a superintelligent, "posthuman" supercomputer that immediately takes over the planet (while fast on its way to "godhood"). In cybernetics, it would be "uploading" an entire human consciousness into a supercomputer -- and having beings at least as smart as humans who think a million times faster.

If you have an event like either of those in the near future, you can be excused in the meantime for neither knowing nor caring about modern biological research. After all, everyone is about to stop being biological.

But in the real world, meanwhile, no such event has occurred (or at least, not that anyone knows of). So maybe a technology that makes you smarter or healthier will turn out to be useful in the meantime -- maybe even to help achieve that revolutionary technology you've got your heart set on.

The other aspect of blind spots is simple. I'm about to share a technique on this blog for developing the ability to sense a kind of energy. It's very simple, takes about a minute to learn, and is the sort of thing that skeptics and biologists often dismiss because the idea of sensing energy you can't properly quantify bothers many people. These are the kinds of facts which don't fit well into a materialistic world view.

The irony is, if you believe in the Scientific Method, you're obliged to look at the actual facts and develop your theories from there. Not to shuffle the facts to fit your theories.

The even greater irony? The following technique may actually be just the result of bio-electric fields in your hands and body interacting with one another, etc. But because most "serious scientists" will never look at questions like this, even when the data is easily replicated, they end up leaving this research to other people. People who make lack the training, resources or inclination to examine the question rigorously. Or who may simply be quacks.

My suggestion? If it only takes a couple minutes to test, try it, and draw your own conclusions. Don't blindly trust my assumptions or anyone else's. The quality of your thinking can only improve as a result.


Future Imperative

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