While less controversial than it was fifty years ago, psychotherapy is an anomalous feature of modern culture, plagued by defects. Among its shortcomings, psychotherapy has made remarkably little use of information technologies. This blog considers electronic devices to measure human emotional response, that may have been stigmatized by their use in radical religious movements, or by their origins in primitive attempts a century ago to cure neurotics. I do not recommend simply adopting those religious or therapeutic practices, but adapting the technology to new uses. A mentally healthy individual could employ emotion-sensing hardware to identify personal goals, consider the meaning of past events, and explore future possibilities.
Jul 16, 2015
Transhumanism – The Final Religion?by Dirk Bruere
After several decades of relative obscurity Transhumanism as a philosophical and technological movement has finally begun to break out of its strange intellectual ghetto and make small inroads into the wider public consciousness. This is partly because some high profile people have either adopted it as their worldview or alternatively warned against its potential dangers. Indeed, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama named it “The world’s most dangerous idea” in a 2004 article in the US magazine Foreign Policy, and Transhumanism’s most outspoken publicist, Ray Kurzweil, was recently made director of engineering at Google, presumably to hasten Transhumanism’s goals.
Jul 11, 2015
Transhumanist Therapy I: Historical Case Studiesby William Sims Bainbridge
Transhumanists typically think of human enhancement in terms of biological and computational technologies that are physical in nature, and yet historically many schools of psychology have aimed to improve people through non-physical therapies, personality training, or methods of self-discovery based on relatively standard theories in social and behavioral science. The diversity of such approaches is absolutely astonishing, but in their underlying ideologies and treatment practices, some are indistinguishable from religions, others are clearly tied to science, and still others apparently are based on extrapolations from popular notions about the human mind that may or may not be correct.
Jul 7, 2015
Buddhism vs. Utilitarianism - two paths that seek to abolish sufferingby David Pearce
Setting aside differences of metaphysic, how closely do the core values of utilitarians/abolitionists and Buddhists coincide? If suffering and its abolition are central to life on Earth, can differences between the two traditions be resolved to questions of means, not ends?
Jul 7, 2015
The “God Helmet” Can Give You Near-Death and Out-of-Body ExperiencesBig Think
Steven Kotler explains that a new device and its imitators can trigger “mystical” experiences in the brain. His latest book is Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact (http://goo.gl/eLjsSX).
Jul 6, 2015
Humanism, Transhumanism, and Speculative Posthumanismby John Danaher
I have recently been working my through David Roden’s book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. It is a unique and fascinating work. I am not sure that I have ever read anything quite like it. In the book, Roden defends a position which he refers to as speculative posthumanism. This holds, roughly, that the future we are creating through technological change could give rise to truly weird and alien forms of posthuman life.
Jul 3, 2015
Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation MythsTEDxTalks
There is a certain mythology that seems to have attached itself to the practice of mediation. There are also a few myths that keep people from enjoying this ancient and life-enhancing daily ritual. Watkins will debunk the 5 most common myths and show you how you can benefit from very simple mediation in just 10 minutes a day.
Light Watkins is one of the world’s leading experts in meditation and creator of The Inner Gym book series. He has taught meditation in several countries, festivals, corporations, community centers and schools. His diverse list of clients include everyone from Oscar-nominated actors to stand-up comedians, dentists and lawyers.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
Jul 2, 2015
Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better, Even if You’re Not a MonkBig Think
You don’t have to become a monk to learn from one, says Dr. Wendy Suzuki, professor of neural science and psychology at New York University. Research into how meditation affects the brain is conclusive: Meditating immediately changes the frequency of your brain waves and, after five years, increases the size of white matter bundles in the prefrontal cortex.
But Suzuki’s best advice is to start small. In her book, Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better (http://goo.gl/udV8ST), she explains that 20 minutes of daily meditation was too large a commitment. So instead of reordering your life, she recommends practicing basic mindfulness exercises like concentrating on your breathing patterns. This technique will help you build your meditation muscle, and start you down a more peaceful and purposeful path.
Jun 18, 2015
All Christians Believe in Artificial Intelligenceby Christopher J. Benek
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings.”
That was my quote in an article about artificial intelligence and religion, in Gizmodo, a popular global technology site. The UK’s Daily Mail followed that with a feature commentary piece that compared my positive comments on AI to the extremely cautionary remarks of Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.
Jun 17, 2015
Will Artificial Intelligence be a Buddha? Is Fear of AI just a symptom of Human Self-Loathing?by Nicole Sallak Anderson
I’m interested in the intersection of consciousness and technology, so when I discovered the Consciousness Hacking MeetUp in Silicon Valley, (organized by IEET Affiliate Scholar Mikey Siegel) I signed up immediately.
Soon afterwards, I attended a MeetUp titled, “Enlightened AI”, at Sophia University in Palo Alto. The talk was led by Google researcher, Mohamad Tarifi, PhD. Not only is he a bright engineer working on the next level of artificial intelligence at one of the top companies in the Valley, he’s also very well versed in the philosophies of consciousness. From the Abrahamic traditions, to the Buddhists and Eastern teachings, Tarifi displayed a grasp of the whole of humanity unlike any other technologist I’ve met.