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Perspectives on Humanity

  1. 2045: The Year Humans Become Immortal? (
      "Kurzweil puts the date of the Singularity ó never say he's not conservative ó at 2045. In that year, he estimates, given the vast increases in computing power and the vast reductions in the cost of same, the quantity of artificial intelligence created will be about a billion times the sum of all the human intelligence that exists today."

      " 'Through thick and thin, war and peace, boom times and recessions.' " Kurzweil calls it the law of accelerating returns: technological progress happens exponentially, not linearly."

      "It's impossible to predict the behavior of these smarter-than-human intelligences with which (with whom?) we might one day share the planet, because if you could, you'd be as smart as they would be. But there are a lot of theories about it. Maybe we'll merge with them to become super-intelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities. Maybe the artificial intelligences will help us treat the effects of old age and prolong our life spans indefinitely. Maybe we'll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually. Maybe the computers will turn on humanity and annihilate us." 02-11

  2. Bill Nye: The Most Amazing Thing About the Universe (
      "MC: Do you think aliens might already have visited us?"

      "BN: Itís possible, but not very likely. What is likely is that somebody else out there is broadcasting radio signals and we will hear them one day. That is not crazy. If we got such a signal, it would utterly change the world. It would change the way everybody felt about the Earth and what it means to be alive and so on. And thereís one way to make sure you never hear that signal. Not listening." 04-14

  3. Editorial: Are "Type III Civilizations Out There? (
      "A Type III Civilization blows the other two away, accessing power comparable to that of the entire Milky Way galaxy."

      "If this level of advancement sounds hard to believe, remember Planet X above and their 3.4 billion years of further development. If a civilization on Planet X were similar to ours and were able to survive all the way to Type III level, the natural thought is that theyíd probably have mastered inter-stellar travel by now, possibly even colonizing the entire galaxy." 06-14

  4. Editorial: Avoiding "Sagan Syndrome" (
      "But what happens if assume intelligent life is so rare, and the universe is so young, we only have a few examples within the Local Group? Or worst case the Virgo Supercluster? At this scale our Fermi Paradox problem goes away. Weíre now talking billions of years, if itís possible at all, to travel and expand between galaxies. Saganís solution of ETs needing more time to arrive can be made to work. What does all this mean? Well, nobody for millions of years will meet ETs face to face. But we can expect our billion year distant cyborg descendants to do so. Thereís lots of time, trillions of years in fact, for this to happen."

      "Iíd like to think Carl Sagan would prefer this approach, which recovers the Copernican Principle, to Tiplerís idea of defunding SETI. Our pale blue dot can be mundane at the scale of galactic clusters, while simultaneously being the crown jewel of the Milky Way. SETI has shown itís unlikely thereís anyone else here in our galaxy to talk to, so perhaps itís time for SETI to look outward. Much, much farther outward. The topic is called the Fermi Paradox. 06-14

  5. Fermi Paradox (
      "The Fermi paradox (or Fermi's paradox) is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity's lack of contact with, or evidence for, such civilizations." 06-14

  6. How Much Space Does Humanity Take? (
      "There are a lot of people on Earth--7.2 billion, in fact. Ever wondered what it would look like if you took all of us and piled us up on the floor of the Grand Canyon?" 04-14


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