Martine Rothblatt will speak at the Terasem Colloquium on December 10
Other speakers: Susan Schneider, Randal Koene, Max More, Ken Hayworth, Robert McIntyre. You are invited!
Greetings to all readers and subscribers, and special greetings to the paid subscribers!
Gabriel Rothblatt will be unable to give a talk at the Terasem Colloquium on December 10, 2021, 10am to 1pm ET via Zoom. So Martine Rothblatt will present Terasem’s view on consciousness and how to preserve it beyond physical death.
Martine Rothblatt is a technologist responsible for several satellite communications systems and new medicines. She is also an advocate for cyber consciousness via robots and cognitive software. Her most recent book on cyber consciousness is “Virtually Human: The Promise and Peril of Digital Immortality.”
The title of Martine’s talk is “The Lifenaut Approach to Creating Cyber-Consciousness.”
Other speakers: Susan Schneider, Randal Koene, Max More, Ken Hayworth, Robert McIntyre. You are invited! The Zoom access coordinates will be communicated here and on this page. The full Colloquium video will be posted to YouTube a few days after the Colloquium.
I have been reading “In un volo di storni. Le meraviglie dei sistemi complessi” (In a flight of starlings. The wonders of complex systems), by physicist and recent Nobel laureate Giorgio Parisi. The book is in Italian, but I think it is likely that it will be translated soon.
Giorgio Parisi received the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 “for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.” In the book, Parisi offers a simplified description of the research work for which he received the Nobel Prize.
The title: a flock of starling is a complex system with interesting ever changing shapes (picture above) and emergent group behaviors that result from the interactions of many individual components (the birds). Parisi shows, for example, that the dynamics of a flock of starlings protects the birds from predators.
But, I think, while having a propensity (resulting from evolution) to fit in group behavior, an individual bird does whatever the f# it wants. This is related to consciousness, free will and determinism (THE most interesting topics if you ask me), which are not addressed in the book.
Interestingly, some have been trying to portray Parisi as a militant atheist, based on a quote out of context “Dio per me non è neanche un' ipotesi” (To me, God is not even an hypothesis” that appeared in a 2010 interview. But then Parisi has distanced himself from militant atheism, saying that the existence of God is not a scientific hypothesis but something that transcends science and can’t be studied by science. According to Parisi, science and religion are separate. Science explains the physical world autonomously, religion interprets the world based on something that transcends the world and exists independently from the world. Parisi also said that scientists aren’t more qualified than others to discuss religion.
In this, Parisi is more intellectually honest than many other scientists. However, I disagree on the separation of science and religion being necessary. What good is science if it keeps far from everyone’s Big Questions (God, purpose, afterlife and all that)? I think future science will get closer to the Big Questions.
I’m one of the many who liked Meghan O'Gieblyn’s essay “God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism” (a shorter version of “Ghost in the Cloud: Transhumanism’s simulation theology,” republished in O'Gieblyn’s collection “Interior States: Essays.”
O'Gieblyn is a former evangelical and theology student who lost her faith and found some sort of replacement in Ray Kurzweil’s “The Age is Spiritual Machines.”
Also listen to O'Gieblyn’s interview with Micah Redding: “The Christian Transhumanist Podcast, Ep 34: Meghan O'Gieblyn's Strange Journey into Transhumanism.”
O'Gieblyn further elaborates in her recent book “God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning,” also delving into consciousness, quantum philosophy, artificial intelligence, the connected world, gadgets that seem (and perhaps are) more and more alive, and the future.
All the things that interest me packed into one book and interlaced with personal recollections and fresh thoughts. A five stars book. Mind you, O'Gieblyn is not fan or a “true believer.” She is an interested but critical observer.