Gift Guide 2012
Okay, folks: this is not a drill. The Singularity is set to hit the silver screen, with Batman director Christopher Nolan signed on to executive produce.
The Wrap reports that in the film, titled Transcendence and based on a story by Jack Paglen, Johnny Depp “will play a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer” while trying to create the first ever sentient computer. Nanotechnology and the Singularity are also said to play pivotal roles in the film, which explains the nerd boner you are currently sporting.
The Future Will See You Now
What do you get the person who’s intent to live forever? Diamonds may last as long as your giftee’s hopeful lifespan, but we’re guessing the futurist in your life is more into the doctrine of Ray Kurzweil than Harry Winston.
The Future Will See You Now
What’s a thousand-pound steel monster controlled entirely by a computer, no human required? It’s a driverless car! And it’s one step closer to legally operating on public roads. The Singularity is nigh, friends.
According to Ars Technica, the California State Senate officially passed SB 1289, which–following the creation of standards and performance requirements by the DMV–would allow robot cars to hit the open road.
A few weeks ago, a 23-year-old girl named Kim Suozzi took to Reddit with a tragic backstory: during her senior year of college, she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer that–after many treatment options had been explored–was deemed untreatable. Ms. Suozzi wrote that she has a 6 to 10 month median survival rate. “I have to prepare to die,” she wrote painfully matter-of-factly. “In a way, I am fortunate because the lesion is primarily in my brain stem (controls things like breathing), so I will likely die before the tumor spreads to the areas central to who I am.”
Ms. Suozzi was writing to Reddit to ask for donations so that she could afford her dying wish. Fund-raisers for cancer patients on the social news site are nothing new, particularly because potent group pathos is a familiar chord plucked in the community, one that has proven to be a compelling driving force. What makes Ms. Suozzi’s case especially interesting is what exactly her dying wish is: the 23-year-old St. Louis resident wants to have her body cryogenically frozen:
We’re not sure how closely you follow the fascinating world of college dropout fans Peter Thiel & Pals, but the writers at Betabeat have had more than one animated conversation about Thiel-funded libertarian utopias and life longevity experiments. One of the PayPal cofounder’s buddies is Patri Friedman, the San Francisco-based grandson of economist Milton Friedman, who shares some of Mr. Thiel’s notions of libertarian politics: mainly, that establishing floating cities in international zones will “give people the opportunity to peacefully test new ideas about how to live together.”
Mr. Thiel has funneled millions into the Seasteading Institute, the primary initiative working to construct these floating cities, which is the brainchild of Mr. Friedman. But recently, Mr. Friedman stepped down as the institute’s executive officer to become chairman of the board, a move that had some wondering whether Mr. Thiel and Mr. Friedman had had a falling out.
The Financial Times had a fascinating piece this weekend about a new breed of entrepreneurs who are applying the same metrics-obsessed, data-driven approach to optimizing their start-ups to optimizing their bodies. These “self-quantifiers” seem to embody the credo best-satirized by Radiohead on their 1997:
Fitter, happier, more productive/comfortable, not drinking too much/regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)/getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries/at ease/eating well/(no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
There is at least one local devotee of the practice: Aviary co-founder and CCO Michael Galpert. In fact, not only is Mr. Galpert self-quantifying, he’s urging Aviary’s employees to quantify as well