Review: Transcendence — The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity
Dec20

Review: Transcendence — The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

Share By: Peter Rothman        December 19, 2014 Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity is a new book by former h+ Magazine editor R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell that will bring transhumanism to the masses. The title might be confusing; this isn’t just a book about spirituality, but is an encyclopedia of short articles on a wide range of topics related to transhumanism. The book clearly reflects R.U.’s personal take on the topic, which is brimming with cynical and somehow still fun optimism, and which is clearly influenced by the psychedelic side of the house. R.U.’s vision for a future transhuman world is a freaky party and we’re all invited. The book is organized around a list of words similarly to an encyclopedia or dictionary, and therefore each of the topics is presented in alphabetical order. This makes it relatively easy to find a topic of interest, or return to an old favorite, but the book is still fun to read linearly as well. In addition, each chapter includes one or more links to other chapter titles at the outset, a crude hypertext feature that sort of works. You will find some well known topics of interest like artificial general intelligence, cryonics, and nanotechnology that will be familiar to h+ Magazine reader,  as well as some somewhat less well known ideas such as “The Methuselarity”. My main quibble with this book is the title. The use of the title Transcendence seems like a decision from an SEO consultant looking to scarf hits from the movie release, and it has less to do with the content than the secondary title. It’s set up like an encyclopedia. But still, while this work is a fun and easy introduction to transhumanism, calling it an “encyclopedia” is a bit of an exaggeration. The book is neither large enough nor complete enough to earn this description I think, but perhaps a future version will be expanded to move in that direction. I would expect an encyclopedia to be more comprehensive and technical than this book, which is to say “encyclopedic”, but for now, this encyclopedia is fun but certainly not complete. Nevertheless, I expect that transhumanists will call this book simply “The Encyclopedia” and it will be widely read and enjoyed. Move over Ray Kurzweil. Of course any “encyclopedia” about transhumanism printed on paper is destined to be outdated rapidly or arguably immediately in the modern world. An annual update would be welcomed in addition to expanded and more technical coverage of some topics. The use of the wiki like text features here also suggests the benefits of an electronic version. But I like books too. The Encyclopedia includes a variety of short interviews or comments from...

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The singularity is coming — are you ready? | Dr. Jonathan White | TEDxEdmonton
Aug02

The singularity is coming — are you ready? | Dr. Jonathan White | TEDxEdmonton

ShareThis talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Would you upload your personality if you could? What do you think of the possibility of living without a physical body? Dr. White addresses a reality that is not so far off as we might think – and what the ethical and philosophical implications of this future might be. Dr. Jonathan White, originally from Northern Ireland, is a surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Dr. White is a renowned teacher, and has won numerous awards for his innovative and creative approach, including being the first surgeon ever selected as a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an honor bestowed in 2014. At TEDx, Dr. White will point out the unforeseen consequences of the rapid technological change we are experiencing – the unexpected societal, medical, and philosophical issues that we now must consider. He will introduce us to the concept of the “singularity”, a possibility which has enormous potential but also carries immense uncertainty. As we enter the next phase of human evolution, Dr. White will pose provocative questions that will challenge our ideas of what the future holds. About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and...

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Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers
May18

Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers

ShareBy Tom Scott   A science fiction story about what you see when you die. Or: the Singularity, ruined by lawyers…   If you liked this, you may also enjoy two novels that provided inspiration for it: Jim Munroe’s Everyone in Silico, where I first found the idea of a corporate-sponsored afterlife; Rudy Rucker’s trippy Postsingular, which introduced me to the horrifying idea of consciousness...

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