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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.


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.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Only Using 10% of Your Brain -- A Debunking Debunked -- AL, CPS, Self

If you've ever heard that the we only use 20% of our brains, or 10%, or less -- or have ever heard that declaration dismissed as an urban legend -- you might be curious as to where the original idea came from. Here's an explanation -- and an argument as to why the actual measure is very different from 10 or 20%. (The following is a quote from Dr. Win Wenger.)

"The literature hasn't been entirely too helpful in either regard, but the original study, the one that practically every workshop leader tosses off as gospel a la folklore without ever bothering to go to source or naming source, is that by J.Z. Young, published in 1964 in his A Model of The Brain (London: Oxford U. Press). He did the actual sampling and counting, and concluded that somewhere between 5% and 10% of the brain was developed, based upon what proportion of the sampled brain cells showed any development at all. Other researchers since have quarelled with his sampling strategies, but apparently did not come up with substantially different conclusions. None of these that I know of factored in the DEGREE of development. Degree can be physiologically demonstrated two ways - thickness of the myelin sheathing which insulates the nerve cell, making it easier to build up a charge difference between the insides and outsides of the cell so it can fire; and the number of dendritic connections the cell makes with other cells. The number of dendritic conections is more easily counted as an indicator. Some cells have been counted with more than sixty thousand connections with other cells, we can mark that as a kind of potential ceiling even though we don't know what actual ceiling exists except that it has to be that high or higher. Most brain cells that are developed at all have only a dozen or so connections with other cells. So,

"Factor the DEGREE of development in with the percentage of cells actually developed and we are already looking at well under 1% development of the brain, in fact well under 1% of 1%, just in physiological terms alone.

"If we turn to behavioral aspects, especially conscious and unconscious, we find similar considerations - for just the developed parts of the brain that we are using. For example, the apparent long-term permanent storage of either every, or at least an astronomical many, of our experiences dating back to infancy and even some in the womb, of which we have conscious use of but a tiny portion of these unless you use drugs, hypnosis, or some of our non-drug non-hypnotic non-intrusive processes that we use routinely in Project Renaissance. Factor that together, in turn, with this - -

"At arms' length distance, please hold up your index finger and stare fixedly at it. Without moving your eyes from your index finger, notice how much more of your surroundings you can see and make sense of. Your index finger is about the span of your visual focus, and represents nicely the still larger issue of the span of your attentiional focus for all ongoing sensory awarenesses and experience. The behaviorists all the way back to Watson demonstrated that that "lateral" information coming in also registers and goes into long-term data storage and whatever processing is engaged there. Either all of it, or at least a great amount of it.... Factor this focus-vs.-background factor together with the enormous beyond-conscious data storage together with the physiological less-than-1%, and I have to conclude - -

"1) The proportion of mind and brain we have developed and are consciously using is very substantially less than that 1%, and -

"2) We do have some room for improvement.

"In addition, we in Project Renaissance have had a lot of experience in bringing not only data, previously beyond-conscious, onto line with full verbal conscious focus, but also functions. It is moreover clear to us that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface.

"I cannot answer for Tony Buzan's literature which, I think, has somewhat different premises. But I'm afraid I have to stick to my statement that the 1% proposition was something of an understatement. With apologies, ....win

"PS - any of you who DO teach or train workshops, in which you've been using that piece of 5-10 per cent folklore, copy down my J.Z. Young reference above. I've done some of your homework for you. ...w

"PPS - For those of you who are currently practiced in ImageStreaming, one very nice "past history" process you can do this very minute if you care to research this topic experientially, is detailed for you at http://www.winwenger.com/part44.htm That one is not set up specifically for retrieving deep past memories - it is set up for another purpose - but it should be utterly easy for you to use that to retrieve some of your very deep, very beyond-conscious offline memories if you should care to. Additional deep retrieval procedures, more directly useful for that purpose, are contained in my book "Beyond O.K." (http://www.winwenger.com/beyondok.htm) .....w"

Funky Tech Alert -- Battery that Recharges in Just One Minute -- Tech

Another example of what working with nanoscale structures -- even if we still lack hard nano-assemblers -- is affecting our technology, especially when it comes to materials engineering.

And yes, kids, one day you'll be able to say to your grandchildren, "When I was your age, I had to plug in my cell phone a whole [I]minute[/I] before it'd recharge. Yeah, you heard me -- a [I][B]minute[/B][/I]!" =)


What's more, after a mere 1000 charges, it loses about 1% of its electrical capacity. Boy, we're really livin' in the dark ages, eh?

Poll (Humor): How to Spend $5 Million to Become Superhuman -- Part V -- All but Long, Rev and Super

And so we come to the end of my almost serious poll on "How would you become superhuman if you had a spare $5 million to spend on the project?" Before I toss out this last segment, let me add that I haven't by any means exhausted your potential options. But this five-part list does illustrate the fact that there are tons of methods and technologies out there which most people don't know about. And which could be suprisingly effective in changing some aspect of your abilities or life (particularly if you give credence to anecdotal evidence).

So here's your last set of options. Enjoy. And if you become superhuman in the future, by whatever standard, please let me know.

Acquire or develop cool gadgets like…

...all that spy stuff you can get in the kids section of Wal-Mart (nightvision goggles, eavesdropping microphones, detective’s kits, etc). There are action figures that have their own working nightvision goggles, and if Jake Justice deserves them, why don’t I? =)

…stylish bulletproof clothes. ‘Cause the clothes make the man. Or in this case, keep him from being unmade.

…floatation tanks, just because you can find the plans here and there online.

The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea by Michael Hutchison

…quantum computers, ‘cause I need some real Ubertech. http://www.betterhumans.com/Resources/Encyclopedia/article.aspx?articleID=2002-05-23-1

…nanotech, ‘cause I need even more Ubertech. http://www.betterhumans.com/Resources/Encyclopedia/article.aspx?articleID=2002-05-08-6http://crnano.org/

Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation by K. Eric Drexler

...nanomedicine, because I deserve to be immortal. Nanomedicine, Vol. I: Basic Capabilities by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

...power armor, ‘cause if it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for me. http://www.betterhumans.com/Errors/index.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/Robotic_Legs_Closer_for_US_Soldiers.Article.2004-03-05-2.aspx

Develop "metanormal" abilities (psi, magic, etc) by…

Becoming a cyborg, period (like those Borg on Star Trek!).

"Uploading" my brain or replacing its neurons with artificial ones. http://www.betterhumans.com/Resources/Encyclopedia/article.aspx?articleID=2002-05-22-3

Becoming a real cyborg – full body replacement, followed by full brain replacement! =) http://www.natasha.cc/primoguide.htm

Join the U.S. military, or the right government agency, and wait for them to turn me into a cyborg... or genetically enhance me... or give me all kinds of supertech... or all that and more...

Yes, according the following report, government researchers think that creating superhumans is not only possible, it’s likely and desirable if we choose to exploit the relevant emerging technologies.

And even if I don’t get into those experiments, I’ll join the U.S. military anyway, just to become one of their “future warriors.” http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/usaf/2025/index.html

Create a friendly artificial intelligence (AI) and hope that it will do something to improve my existence.

Wait for a technological “singularity” to advance science faster than we can imagine. Take advantage of all that unimaginable science.

Freeze my body and especially my brain, hoping that when the above singularity happens, the benevolent higher beings will resurrect me and give me superhuman powers. http://www.betterhumans.com/Resources/Encyclopedia/article.aspx?articleID=2002-05-08-3

Use eugenics or genetic selection to breed my own Master Race – of which I will, incidentally, not be a part…

Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future by Gregory Stock

Have my own genetics improved through gene therapy (doubling strength and/or enhanced cardio endurance are already within easy reach, so who knows what’s next)...

Self-hypnosis sounds cool. I think I’ll write my own scripts... http://www.hypnosis.demon.co.uk/v3/self_hypnosis/index.html

Or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), for that matter...
Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis by John Grinder and Richard Bandler

Use supercharged affirmations/positive visualizations... http://www.pavlovpublishing.com/archive.htm

Develop my psi, ESP, etc...

Develop remote viewing abilities...

Develop my telekinetic powers…

Use my telekinetic powers to reach back into the past…

Learning the inner mysteries of the ancient, mighty art of, um, acupressure!... http://www.acupressure.com

And if standing around in elaborate robes performing elaborate rituals works for the Ancient Order of the Sacred Moose, then it works for me. Let’s try hermetic magick! http://www.hermetics.org/home.html

Develop/adopt a philosophy/lifestyle that supports my efforts, such as......the Frank Herbert (of “Dune”) concept that people evolve when forced to by immense stress. http://tim.oreilly.com/sci-fi/herbert/ch00.html

...Dr. Win Wenger’s model of self-development through asking better questions... http://www.winwenger.com/part63.htm

...Socratic self-expression of the fine details of your own perceptions, which lets you tap those unutilized mental resources... http://www.winwenger.com/part57.htm http://www.winwenger.com/archives/part26.htm http://www.winwenger.com/archives/part7.htm

...and some further thoughts on the relevance of this kind of work... http://www.winwenger.com/part50.htm

Use whatever seems to work, whether it's on this list or not. (List any particular methods not yet mentioned here.)

Use some other funky plan I found on the Net…

Funky Plan Sites and Books:

The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature by Michael Murphy...
The Life We Are Given: A Long-Term Program for Realizing the Potential of Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul by George Leonard and Michael Murphy

Grasshopper Enterprises – Mind Games
http://www.grasshopper.com/mind_games.htm http://www.grasshopper.com/batmemes1.htm

Genius by Design

Genius Code by Dr. Win Wenger and Paul Scheele
A melding (reputedly powerful) of the accelerated learning/intelligence enhancement work of both these men.

How to Increase Your Intelligence by Dr. Win Wenger
A simple but intensive 3-week brain building program.

Ripples from the Zambezi by Ernesto Sirolli
How to stimulate lots of localized economic development – good for anyone who feels free enterprise is where they want to start forging their ultimate super-civ.

The Socratic Continuum – Draw Forth Genius in Yourself and All Those Around You http://www.winwenger.com/part57.htm

Underground Society (Plan for Developing “Elite Fighters”)http://members.fortunecity.com/kisociety/undergroundsociety/index.html

4 Day Plan: Blueprint for a Superman (Outline Only)

And of Course: Forget All These Other Foolish Plans – Send the Money to Meeee!!! =) =) =)

So... Any comments? =)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

"I Can't Get that Song Out of My Head..."-- AI, CPS, Cyber, Easy, Mind, Psych, Self, Tech

I was recently reminded of Dr. Wenger's innovations in the area of Improvitaping -- a method for rapidly learning how to sing or play beautiful music and also compose such music. The reason I thought of this technique was the report of a new musical invention. There is now a device that can enable people to play music using their minds, one apparently first conceived to help injured musicians keep up their skills while convalescing.

Much like the Fab Lab, this may be a device that makes it that much easier to exercise a talent made possible by accelerated learning/creativity enhancement – who wouldn’t find playing music just by thinking about it interesting? We may have to wait a while for it to be perfected, and it may not be as revolutionary to the field as a Fab Lab might be to practical inventing (especially if Dr. Wenger’s techniques make it possible for large numbers of people to master conventional musical instruments).

But for people with limited hand-eye coordination – such as the very young, the very old and the very sick – it could be a great way to get involved in instrumental music in the first place. With no more issues about one’s vision outpacing one’s skills.

Future Imperative

Energy Column -- Physical Supercharging/Unique Experience -- Easy, Myst, Psych, Self

Here's another powerful technique from Dr. Win Wenger's Beyond O.K. Yes, I'm about out of techniques I intend to share from that book -- if you want more, get your own copy. =) But like another of Dr. Wenger's publications, Your Limitless Inventing Machine, Beyond O.K. is packed with impressive exercises you can use to achieve all kinds of fascinating effects on your body and/or mind.

But, to paraphrase the good doctor, don't take my word for it. Test this exercise yourself!

The next energy experience has been observed to immediately coincide with the disappearance of symptoms of a flu or cold -- totally, in most cases and at least partially in nearly all remaining instances. We invite everyone --especially physicians-- to test this protocol to help ferret out the actual causes.

Energy Column

1. Become very conscious of the top of your head...

2. While becoming increasingly conscious of the top of your head, alsobecome very conscious of the bottoms of your feet...increasingly conscious of both the top of your head and the bottoms of your feet...

3. Now become also very conscious of the column of space connecting the two, the top of your head and the bottoms of your feet...

4. Now like filling up a transparent bottle with white milk, let that whole connecting space between your feet and the top of your head fill and light up with tingling bright electric life energy...

5. Like pulling air in on fire to make it blaze brighter, breathe in through this entire column of energy all the way from your feet, making it blaze brighter. Blaze up so much energy in there that it no longer can be entirely contained in the space that is shaped by your physical body.

6. So much energy, in fact, that the bottom end of your energy column has to extend on down through and beyond your feet, on beyond the bottoms of your feet... keep breathing in from the bottom of the energy column rather than just from the bottoms of your feet, keep the whole thing brightening... let it extend way down beyond the bottoms of your feet... way beyond... However far you extend your energy column, breathe all the way up from the bottom end of it, pulling in air on its fire to make it blaze even brighter. ..keep on extending the bottom end of your energy column way on into the distance...

7. And still there is so much fire in your energy column, the top region of it cannot be contained either... let the top end of your energy column extend through the top of your head, beyond the top of your head, keep it extending way beyond the top of your head... way beyond... further still... further than that even... way further and further on into the distance above...

8. And pull in air all the way from the bottom of this extending column and breathe air through the whole length of this column... keep both ends of this energy column extending further on into the distance and breathe air through the whole extending length of it, blazing its fires brighter with each breath... fire it brighter still... extend it further still... continue brightening and extending this column... intensify this experience until it almost seems as if your physical body were a mere slight mote of flesh somewhere in the midst of this still-lengthening, still-brightening column of energy...

(The above experience, continued for 4-5 minutes, is what appears to relieve colds and flu -and appears to rebalance body chemistry as such even when there are no overt illnesses to address. Why this, compared to other energy processes, should be so peculiarly effective in such regards appears to be a matter of the stretching-out of the energy column "snapping lines-of-force" back into place-particularly as regards those energy focii the Yogas call "chakras" which (from what we Westerners would consider a "pre-scientific" society without knowledge of anatomy) coincide with the major endocrine glands. The remainder of this exercise, continued from above, is a "trip" for which a tape recorder or live partner to describe to is appropriate.)

9. Now move the center of where you are, where you are experiencing from, the center of your consciousness, the center from where you sense and think and visualize, down your energy column to a point just below your feet, be there just below your feet, looking up at the rest of your body...

10. Now bring the center of your consciousness back up through your feet, up your energy column on up through your body toward your head, through your head, on up through the top of your head and rise faster and faster on up your energy column... way on up... even accelerating on up toward infinity... When you find yourself coming into some extraordinary high experience, begin describing and recording as you go into that experience...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jobs, China and the Robots of Doom... -- AI, AL, CPS, Plan, Soc, Tech, $$$

A common concern these days relates to manufacturing jobs going to China. Strangely enough, not many people have been paying attention to a potentially larger trend in the development of basic robotics. No, I'm not talking about traditional assembly line robots, though those are important. Nor am I talking about the recent explosion in service robots.

No, instead I'm thinking about "Fab Labs" and rapid prototyping machines. These are machines capable of taking a wide variety of designs and producing the machines they detail -- or at least all the parts. (Some assembly required.)

The Fab Lab is described in this article in The Economist.

The article notes, "The 'fab lab', as Dr Gershenfeld has nicknamed his invention, is a collection of commercially available machines that, while not yet able to put things together from their component atoms, can, according to its inventor, be used to make just about anything with features bigger than those of a computer chip."

Just think about what that means. If one machine can do that now, how much longer are we going to need our "plastic stuff" and cheap appliances assembled in other countries? Why not use a simple design, with a few parts to snap together at the end, and have most of your consumer items manufactured in your own home town? Especially if future Fab Labs could churn out parts for items in heavy demand in a region (say, Greater Chicago, or the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle) while dedicated robotic assembly lines put them together.

The article continues, "Among other tools it includes a laser cutter that makes two-dimensional and three-dimensional structures, a device that uses a computer-controlled knife to carve antennas and flexible electrical connections, a miniature milling machine that manoeuvres a cutting tool in three dimensions to make circuit boards and other precision parts, a set of software for programming cheap computer chips known as microcontrollers, and a jigsaw (a narrow-bladed cutting device, not a picture puzzle). Together, these can machine objects with a precision of a millionth of a metre. The fab lab's purpose is to endow inventors—particularly those in poor countries who lack a formal education and the resources to implement their ideas—with a set of tools that can translate back-of-the-envelope designs into working prototypes.

"And it works. In Pabal, an Indian village with a population of 5,000, a dairy farmer's income is tied to the fat content of his cow's milk. Students at the nearby Vigyan Ashram science school are using a fab lab to build a sensor that will give Pabal's farmers a precise measure of that fat content. In Takoradi, Ghana, people have used the labs to produce a cassava grinder, jewellery, car parts, agricultural tools and communication equipment such as radio antennas. Solar-powered items to harness the relentless local sunlight are in the works. In Norway, Sami animal herders—who are among Europe's last nomads—are using fab labs to make radio collars and wireless networks to track their charges. And in Boston (admittedly not part of the developing world, but conveniently near MIT), the residents of a mixed-income housing complex are using one of Dr Gershenfeld's labs to create a wireless communication network."

I should explain at this point that Dr. Win Wenger, whose techniques have been frequently discussed on this blog, has an exercise for quickly developing novel inventions. I haven't used this one myself... in part because I've found using his precursor technique for increasing intelligence, Image Streaming, leads me to spontaneously develop new inventions in my spare time all by itself.

But imagine if you had a group of people who could easily generate new inventions and rough, amateurish designs, and then turn those designs into working prototypes. Imagine the explosion in technological innovation and small business innovation that would be possible. Forget "a Fab Lab in every home." Imagine "a Fab Lab in every town" or "every neighborhood."

Of course, any such development plan would need to be able to teach people how to be effective entrepreneurs -- either selling their inventions or building their own businesses around them. But it's an intriguing notion. And both the inventor's workshop and the business incubator would be worthwhile additions to any community, even on their own.

Also on the subject of automated manufacturing, another article from Betterhumans.Com goes into the Rapid Prototyping Machine -- of which there are many versions. They're all still expensive...

"But Adrian Bowyer of the University of Bath has come up with an idea for dropping their price: put them to work making copies of themselves." Dr. Bowyer plans to get their price down to a few hundred dollars by having them reproduce. The idea being that our products could eventually cost no more than their raw materials and the energy used to create them.

I'd throw in the additional idea that plastics could conceivably be derived from biological (agricultural) products, and that both plastics and metals with low melting points can be recycled -- and might well be recycled by a more advanced version of this machine. So raw materials might not be much of a cost either. Throw in some really cheap alternative energy and the cost of living really goes down.

But in the meantime, it raises the question -- is the jobs problem going to be seen as foreign competition in ten years, or robots doing more and more of the manual labor? Are we going to have to train everybody to handle jobs far more challenging than those our machines handle now? Could the key be valuing people for their full potential? Perhaps putting them to work developing new technologies and innovations? And other new "intellectual properties" such as art, literature and music?

Future Imperative