Is Immortality Hardwired Into Humans?

TOPIC
: Where does the almost universal concept that we are immortal come from?
TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
FINDING:
When it came to researching where notions of immortality come from, researchers decided to focus on pre-life beliefs. Cultures tend not to focus on life before birth, so the selected groups of children in the study could not have preconceived beliefs.

The two groups from Ecuador were comprised of indigenous children in one, and urbanised children in the other. Both groups were very similar, however, believing they didn’t have bodies before birth, but they did have feelings and emotions existing before birth.
immortal
IMPLICATIONS:
 At an early age Humans express a belief in the immortality of feelings and emotions. The researchers posited that this may come from our highly developed social reasoning. The ability to know what someone is thinking, how they are feeling, their needs, and, then, how they might act is such an important part of what it means to be Human that it can spill into other areas of life without our knowledge. However, scientifically, we still cannot explain where our concept of immortality comes from.

QUOTES:

“I study these things for a living but even find myself defaulting to them. I know that my mind is a product of my brain but I still like to think of myself as something independent of my body,” (Natalie Emmons; study leader)

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SOURCES:
http://www.futurity.org/hardwired-believe-immortal/?utm_source=Futurity+Today&utm_campaign=5c70919a35-January_29_20141_29_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e34e8ee443-5c70919a35-206308793
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12220/abstract

– See more at: http://theimn.com/tesa/technology/Is_Immortality_Hardwired_Into_Humans?

GENETICALLY ENHANCED HUMANS TAKE A STEP CLOSER

Geoffrey Baines Edinburgh, Scotland
Geoffrey Baines
Edinburgh, Scotland

TOPIC: Stem cells are programmed to grow cartilage inside the body TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

FINDING:
Researchers at Duke University have developed a way of incorporating viruses used to deliver gene therapy to the stem cells into a synthetic material that serves as a template for tissue growth.  and quality.

IMPLICATIONS:
The possibility of growing musculoskeletal tissues inside the human body – and more cheaply than can be envisaged outside of the body – tantalises the imagination with possibilities of lives being extended in both quantity and quality.

Other implications include strengthening healthy muscles and bones for sports and security purposes.  If the technology becomes mobile, it could be seen as a way of counteracting the affects of longterm space travel, allowing Humans to journey through the time and radiation barriers presently faced.
geneticallyenhancedeye

QUOTES:

“The resulting material is like a computer—the scaffold provides the hardware and the virus provides the software that programs the stem cells to produce the desired tissue.” (Futurity)

“While this study focuses on cartilage regeneration, [Farshid]Guilak and [Charles] Gersbach say that the technique could be applied to many kinds of tissues, especially orthopedic tissues such as tendons, ligaments and bones.  And because the platform comes ready to use with any stem cell, it presents an important step toward commercialisation.”  (Futurity)

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SOURCES:
Futurity: http://www.futurity.org/stem-cells-programmed-grow-cartilage-inside-body/?utm_source=Futurity+Today&utm_campaign=19d3465507-February_19_20142_19_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e34e8ee443-19d3465507-206308793

Original article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/02/13/1321744111.abstract

– See more at: http://www.theimn.com/tesa/genetically_enhanced_humans

Quick Thinking Flying Robot

TOPIC: Really small, flying robot that can make quick decisions.

TESA:
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts

FINDING: “Dutch scientists have developed the world’s smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.”

IMPLICATIONS: This technology has been developing for years but never before has it been this small or this smart. A “bug” that can fly around, potentially unnoticed, “seeing” what we see and recording data; a bug that can go into places where “radio control would be impossible”. It sounds like something from the movie Mission Impossible.

flying robot
flying robot

Beyond some of the less complex uses of this technology, such as spotting ripe fruit in a greenhouse or dressed up as Tinkerbell at Disneyland, it could be used to “spy” on people, record conversations and video record events happening behind closed doors where conventional (and legal by today’s standard) methods would be impossible.

This could have a serious influence on the laws surrounding the collection of evidence and it’s admissibility in court, among other areas. The DelFly could be the future undercover police officer, replacing the need to put people in harm’s way. As crimes become more complex, our laws and ways of enforcing them will need to also change in order to remain effective. The DelFly could be a useful tool in this way.

QUOTES:

“The Explorer has its own small lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for around nine minutes, while it “sees” with its onboard processor and a specially-developed algorithm to make instant decisions.”

“Over the next few years, research continued and the machine became smaller and smaller, said Sjoerd Tijmons, 28, who helped write the algorithm for the latest DelFly Explorer’s “brain”.”

“But De Croon admits that humans are not quite able to produce swarms of autonomous robotic insects the size of bees or flies, mainly because of restrictions on battery life.”

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/dutch-scientists-flap-future-39-insect-39-drone-042306036.html

Connected Cars in the EU by 2015

TOPIC: New connected car standards putting Europe back into the “digital fast lane”.

TESA:
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts

FINDING: EU establishes Communications Standards as a step towards making European Connected Cars a reality as soon as 2015.

IMPLICATIONS: The idea of my car communicating with the transportation infrastructure by a projection on my windscreen is amazing. Just last week there was a 100 car pileup on our main highway in Barrie just outside of Toronto, and hundreds more were simply stuck waiting for the firefighters to cut the metal median allowing them to turn around. Many of them could have been diverted long before had something like “connected cars” been in place.

Beyond the potential of increased safety, convenience factors and environmental benefits, the incredible amount of collaboration that is involved in connecting multiple countries, through varying networks, different vehicle makes and models, (among other sociopolitical differences) is an remarkable feat in and of itself.

Connected Car
Connected Car

As we discovered during the recent economic crisis, the global economy is far more connected than we realized as we live our everyday lives. We learned how the actions of some can have an enormous impact on us all. Connected Car Standards, I think, are a very positive step towards a future where our global connections will continue to grow. Might this development be a precursor of a future single global currency and perhaps even of a global minimum standard of living?

QUOTES:

“Imagine that you are driving along, and a message is projected on your windscreen, warning you of an accident that has just happened around the next corner. This could soon be a reality thanks to new European standards. Connected cars, able to communicate with each other and with road infrastructures, are expected to appear on European roads in 2015.”

“With this set of standards ready, connected cars are on the right track. Direct communication between vehicles and infrastructures will ensure safer and more efficient traffic flows, with great benefits for drivers & pedestrians, our environment and our economy. This shows Europe’s unique digital advantage. But for connected cars to really work, we also need more consistency in rules that underpin fast broadband networks. Our fragmented spectrum policy puts the brakes on our economy – now it’s time to get our connected continent up to cruising speed”

“Work on the Release 2 standardisation package has already begun to fine tune existing standards and deal with more complex use cases. European organisations cooperate closely with American and Japanese organisations to ensure that the systems are compatible across the globe.”

Source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-141_en.htm

Extreme DIY: evolution, biohacking, and body modification

TOPIC
Body modification as performed by biohackers who desire to be cyborgs.

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
transhuman
FINDING:
What happens when you combine the skills of a computer hacker, the pioneering mentality of body modifiers, and the desire to become a cyborg and live forever? Whatever you call it — bizarre, stupid, avant-garde, the future — It’s happening in basements, garages, and hotel rooms right now. You just cannot make this stuff up. Above ground, biotech is a respectable domain of study and biolabs are socially acceptable spaces. Check out for example the TED talk referenced below. But, then ask yourself, Is Ellen Jorgensen’s TED talk naive and overly optimistic or pragmatic and reasonable? Watch the other videos, employ your own knowledge of human nature, and draw your own plausible scenarios of potential futures.

IMPLICATIONS:
The next tech-savvy generations may drive the DIY evolution revolution from the underground as they push the boundaries of what is “normal” and socially “acceptable”. The socially acceptable boundaries of what one can do to one’s own body may become increasingly blurred. What began with the bizarre practices of tattooing and piercing (which are now perceived by some as “normal”) will continue down a painful path towards an unimaginable end. (Please see the video referenced below about the man who drilled holes in his head in order to don a metal mohawk as an example of how far some are willing to go). A counter-trend of those totally “unscarred” may emerge as a counter point. The assumed right of Governments and corporations to own information and eventually even the human body may be challenged by rogue biohackers. Yes, there will amazing possibilities for personal biotech as well but this “spot” is about the current underground.

QUOTES:

In the future, hackers’ and activists’ disputes with restrictive governments may not only be about communication, information, and digital infrastructure, but may also shift into debates about our own technologically-improved physical beings. In the face of companies and governmental agencies developing implants that are protected by patents and secret test procedures, the question of how to remain in control of our bodies may turn out to be a very real pressing social issue…

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SOURCES:
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/18/the-brave-new-worldofbiohacking.html
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-diy-cyborg



Will Zoos Disappear?

S for Society
Topic: Costa Rica Closes Zoos

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

Finding: Costa Rica plans to close its two zoos and end the caging of animals by May of 2014

Implications: Is this a “weak signal” foreshadowing the disappearance of zoos world wide? The costa rican feeling about this is that they want a new way of interacting with nature. Are we entering a new era in which returning the whole of the world to as pristine a state as possible becomes a value and a goal? It may be that returning animals to the wild may be a reflection of the human desire to return to a more natural, holistic way of being connected to the natural world.

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/costa-rica-close-zoos-citing-change-environmental-conscience-1371161

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What do you think?
What possible implications do you see or connections do you make?

Costa-Rica-closes-zoos-returns-animals-to-the-wild
An ocelot at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica. (CC/Hans Hillewaert)

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