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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.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More Sources of Open Source

Here's a comment, quoted in full, from Bryan Bishop, one of many people working in the field of do-it-yourself and open-source technology, albeit one who has done a great deal to promote the concept in certain circles. Bryan has many insightful things to say, but given just how fragile our present, just-in-time industrial world is today, I thought I'd draw attention to this brief statement, made some days ago.
 
In brief, while there is a great deal more to be said about open source and DIY, here are a few interesting lines of thought to consider now. 
 
The way I see it, open source paints a larger trend, not one of mere
transparency in our current politics, but rather a complete re-envisioning
of society entirely.

This is why we have individuals like Patri Friedman (Seasteading Institute)
working on a “startups of governments” framework. Transhumanists have known
Patri for some time now. He was recently re-elected to the board of
Humanity+ and has presented at these conferences before. His borrowed
concept is to make land out on the high seas available to “entrepreneurial
governments”. What would an entirely open source seasteading distribution
look like? There’s been no doubt that Debian and Ubuntu have been huge
forces in the free software world– will Seasteading Institute be as
influential in development?

This is also why we have Marcin Jakubowski (Factor E Farm)
working on the global village construction set. He’s creating the Global
Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance
technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50
different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable
civilization with modern comforts. Holy crap, mount that on Patri’s friggin’
seasteading platform. Marcin presented at H+ Summit 2009 in Irvine,
California. His farm out in Missourri has sort of been like a Zeitgeist or
Venus Project for people who have an urge to get down to business. He’ll be
presenting at TED sometime this year. And he really, really deserves his TED
talk.

This is why we have Adrian Bowyer (University of Bath) working on
RepRap,
an open-source 3D printer that hopes to one day make all of its own
components. It’s not really just Adrian now, but thousands of developers and
hundreds of repraps and derivatives, even businesses like Makerbot
Industries and MakerGear. This technology has ignited global, open
development. Humanity+ (this blog) thinks that open technology development
has tremendous acceleration benefits, especially in open
manufacturing.
I helped organize the Gada Prizes at Humanity+ including the
just-recently-announced Grand RepRap Prize .. and
there’s $80,000 at stake.

This is why Robert Freitas (Institute for Molecular Machinery)
has provided hundreds of hours of research in his book Kinematic
Self-Replicating Machines . For
many of the reprappers it (and Advanced Automation for Space
Missions)
has been a guiding star in both mechanical devices but also
nanotech.
I flip through these almost daily now.

Christopher Kelty once published an interesting seed of an idea about
recursive republics- societies that continuously use their technologies to
update their mandate in a giant feedback loop. At least, that’s the thought
he came to after chronicling the historical trends in the free software
movement  ...
er, which isn't his video.

((On a related note, it’s always amused me how Chris Peterson @ Foresight
Institute  was more involved in open
sourceback in the late 90s. There’s a few edge
cases in the transhumanist
communities, but in general, it seems that the futurists missed out on open
source. To be fair, open source isn’t easy to make. It’s hard work. But
nobody is going to hand-deliver you the future.
Biocurious(the
open source, DIY biohacking hackerspace) is ran by a few
transhumanists, so the future is looking bright for the Bay Area
transhumanists.))

The future of “open source politics” is going to be about technology
development. Don’t like your current government? You’ll get to spawn off a
spore and take a recent version of technological civilization with you- for
yourself, your family and your friends to go with you, if they think your
proposed system is worth leaving (just don’t “fork-and-forget”! ah, GitHub’s
one weakness). That’s the power of open source. But there seems to be a
chasm or disconnect between the events and trends I’ve outlined... and the
article’s take on Open Source, which is definitely crippling in dangerous
ways.

BTW: I’ll be in the Bay Area at the end of the month in case anyone wants to
hang out or, you know, feed me.

*Edit*: Also, there’s a BIL meetup in Long Beach, California on March
3rd-5th. Joseph Jackson has been recruiting lots of DIYbio folks to talk
about directed evolution, EEG, open source hardware projects, a mass
spectrometer project, etc. etc. (deets )


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