The Pentagon has admitted that a chunk of its cache of weapons meant for Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants in Kobani has fallen into terrorist hands. The Turkish president has been voicing his frustration with Washington over this.
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“Dreams of the far future destiny of man were dragging up from its shallow and unquiet grave the old dream of man as god…” – C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 1945
In 1945, George Orwell, famous for his stunningly accurate portrayal of a future police state in 1984, commented on prominent author C. S. Lewis’ book That Hideous Strength. Hideous Strength revolves around the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments (NICE) and the organization’s plot to seize control of all life. Orwell’s commentary was published in the Manchester Evening News in 1945 with the headline “THE SCIENTISTS TAKE OVER.” Orwell wrote,
“All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed, the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life upon themselves. Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the gods, or even to become a god himself.
There is nothing outrageously improbable in such a conspiracy. Indeed, at a moment when a single atomic bomb – of a type already pronounced “obsolete” – has just blown probably three hundred thousand people to fragments, it sounds all too topical. Plenty of people in our age do entertain the monstrous dreams of power that Mr. Lewis attributes to his characters, and we are within sight of the time when such dreams will be realisable.”
Do we live in an age when these dreams of power could become a reality? Lewis and Orwell have been proven very accurate in their portrayals of the future 70 years ago. Much of the momentum for the scientific developments that would create these formerly fantastical technologies began in the lifetimes of both Lewis and Orwell. They witnessed the rise of the science of molecular biology, initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation and other tax-exempt foundations who were interested in finding out how the human body operates, with an eye toward better controlling society. The eugenics and social control paradigms that sprung from this foundation sparked scientific revolution in the early 20th century are still in play today among the intelligentsia of western society.
Vannevar Bush became the first Science Advisor to the United States government during World War II under President Franklin Roosevelt. Bush played a vital role in the creation of what we know today as the Military Industrial Complex. Specifically, the method of scientific research of this gargantuan organization – beginning with the Office of Scientific Research and Development – was devised by Vannevar.
The roots of the internet can be traced to Bush’s ideas in 1945. The forerunner to the computer itself can also be attributed to his early designs. From 1935 to 1946 the Rockefeller Foundation funded Vannevar Bush’s development of the mechanical differential analyzer at MIT for a total of $230,500. This device, along with the Hollerith machine, is considered to be one of the forerunners of the desktop computer that we all know and use today.
Scientific developments and new technologies are often spun as beneficial things for humanity, and in fact many of them are. We need to remember that while each development brings power to mankind, it also gives power to some men over other men. As Orwell said, “There is nothing improbable” about such desires for power.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in his 1961 farewell speech “…in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”
In 1968 LIFE magazine profiled a man named Herman Kahn. Labeled an “action intellectual”, Kahn is a founding father of future studies. LIFE reports, “Herman Kahn has been a major figure in one of the most fascinating shifts of power in U.S. History: from identifiable public leaders to the ‘action intellectuals.’” The article continues, “As counselors to the decision-makers, men such as Kahn often have access to future technology (what is known, but not yet disclosed) and official intelligence (what is known, but not yet revealed, about the capacities and plans of other nations)… Thus, decisions – based on private knowledge, analyzed by private consultants and debated in private – can become public policy. This is a process of invisible power.”
Scientists from all over the world are warning that robots and artificial intelligence could eliminate humanity. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, a private space exploration company, told CNBC recently that he is worried about a “Terminator-like scenario” as a result of advancing AI technology.
Top A.I. researcher Hugo de Garis provides another example. De Garis explains that the development of super-intelligent A.I. may lead to a devastating “Artilect” war that could kill billions of people. This war could break out when two distinct groups of humanity emerge; One group embraces the god-like artificial intelligence and technological advancement with religious fervor, the other group fights to prevent it from ever being built. He adds that he is more than willing to take the risk, saying, “As a brain builder myself, am I prepared to risk the extinction of the human species for the sake of building an artilect? … yep.”
This mindset, common among scientific elites, was articulated by Arthur Kroker, Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria and Director of the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture. Kroker identified these individuals as “Suicidal nihilists” who “…can very happily ally themselves with a notion of nuclear holocaust or perfect exterminism… They’re creating again and again the exterminism of human memory, the exterminism of human sensibility, the exterminism of individuated human intelligence…”
Partly due to popular culture, transhumanism has begun to catch on with the younger generations. As Amanda Stoel, co-founder of the Facebook group “Singularity Network” told the Huffington Post, “Three years ago, we had only around 400 members, but today we have over 10,000 members.”
Another article from the Huffington Post says that the transhumanist movement is “on the verge of going mainstream” due to increasing popular culture references to transhumanist ideas. Art has been used for millennia to initiate and give support to ideas and movements. Transhumanist artwork in the form of sculptures, paintings, and music is now steadily flowing into our society. Movies like Transcendence, and Avatar are two recent examples.
A haunting sculpture of a humanoid robotic figure crawling through water is featured at the luxury Grove Hotel in Watford, UK.
The hotel was the site of the secretive 2013 Bilderberg meeting. The Grove hotel hosted Google’s annual Zeitgeist conference just a few short days prior to Bilderberg’s gathering. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, who currently employs top transhumanist Ray Kurzweil as director of engineering, must have felt a kindred spirit at the Grove and its metallic humanoid sculptures.
Transhumanists embrace the idea of radical human evolution aided by technology. Some see an entirely new species emerging when revolutionary technologies begin to be applied to the human race. Technologies for the improvement of human performance are at the center of transhumanist thought. Most of these technologies begin with military applications, and only after a period of use by the military or black operations are they unveiled to the general public. In 2008 the JASON group, the Pentagon’s top scientific advisers, warned that the U.S. military could face enemies with technologically enhanced abilities. These capabilities include brain-machine interfaces and pharmaceutical drugs that enhance cognitive abilities.
This new arms race will eventually force our society into a transhuman future due to the never ending desire to dominate our enemies. The debate over whether or not we should genetically modify or chip our soldiers will inevitably spill over into the general public, who will be using these technologies themselves. According to CNN, human trials in the civilian world for memory enhancing brain chips are set to begin in less than a year. Exoskeletons, which provide super-human strength to those who wear them, were originally developed by DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research agency.
Other examples of technology with possible transhumanist applications include nanotechnology, synthetic biology, genetic modification, and cognitive science. Initial uses of these technologies will be to help the disabled walk, hear, and see. After this, enhancement of normal individuals is an inevitability.
Marc Andreessen is a Silicon Valley tycoon who has founded several multi-billion dollar tech companies including Mosaic (the first widely used web browser) and Netscape. He recently drew criticism from Salon magazine for a “tweet storm” on twitter that praised the god-like power of advancing technology. Salon ran the headline “The tech industry’s God complex is getting out of control.”
Andreessen tweeted “I am firmly convinced many people are fundamentally underestimating the power and potential of these new superpowers in the years ahead.” He continued, “Combine modern bio, 3D printing, & computing–>prosthetics & exoskeletons; superpower: paralyzed to walk, disabled to abled, blind to see.”
Some scientists are predicting that getting chip implants will become mandatory due to overwhelming societal pressure. Cybernetics scientist Dr Mark Gasson told the Sydney Morning Herald that, “It’s not possible to interact in society today in any meaningful way, without having a mobile phone. I think human implants will go along a similar route. It will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”
The post The Road to Singularity: Utopian Visions and Potential Annihilation appeared first on Zen Gardner.
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With the CDC’s recent admitted omissions of data correlating vaccines to autism, more information continues to emerge on other factors which are “highly likely” to contribute to the incidence of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). A growing body of literature is also reporting strong associations between the disorder and pesticide exposures during pregnancy.
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Hundreds gathered in Beirut to pay tribute to Serena Shim, a Press TV reporter who died in a car crash near the Turkish-Syrian border. Shim was covering the crisis in the besieged Syrian city of Kobani and had allegedly been accused of ‘spying’ by Turkey.
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At least 32 civilians, including women and children, have been killed in US-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, said a monitoring group. All in all, 553 people died in the month-long campaign against the extremists.
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Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a…
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