by Ian Monroe
Just got an email pointing out this excellent article on the Sentient Developments blog. Here's some of my favorite entries:
Fermi Paradox: The FP is the disturbing realization that, given the extreme age of the galaxy and the radical potential for post-Singularity intelligences (including their ability to disseminate Von Neumann replicators), our galaxy should be saturated with advanced civilizations and megaprojects by now. Yet, we see no signs of ETI's. Consequently, any predictions about the future of human intelligence must seek to reconcile this observation. Key theories to date include the Great Filter hypothesis, the migration hypothesis (pdf), and the transcension hypothesis (the idea of inward migration into increasingly sophisticated and complex MEST space (Matter, Energy, Space, and Time)).
Information Theoretic Death: New technologies will soon demand that we redefine what we mean by death. It is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory to declare death when the heart stops. As long as the information within the brain can be preserved and restored, a person should not be considered irrevocably dead. Given the potential for molecular nanotechnology and other future biotechnological advances, it is reasonable to suggest that most cognitive impairment will someday be repairable. Consequently, we will need to reconsider the status of persons frozen in cyronic stasis or hooked up to life support systems.
Neurodiversity: Pending biotechnologies will create a multiplicity of psychological modes of being. Today, recreational drug users and the autistic rights community contend that the obsession with maintaining 'neurotypicality' is a form of oppression. In the future, technologies such as neuropharmaceuticals, cybernetics and other cognotech will offer individuals an unprecedented opportunity to experience alternative subjective mental states. Like anything, however, neuroenablement and cognitive liberty are rights that will have to be fought for.
Participatory Panopticon: An offshoot of David Brin's transparent society, Steve Mann's sousveillance, and Charlie Stross's panopticon Singularity, the Participatory Panopticon is a proposed strategy for dealing with the onset of ubiquitous surveillance. Coined by environmentalist and forward thinker Jamais Cascio, the PP is the suggestion that all citizens will soon have the tools with which they can watch each other and keep themselves accountable for their actions.