The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.

David Pearce, the British philosopher, activist and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association, is today's featured guest.

Topics include: Wireheading, recreational drugs, chewing coca leaves for micro-doses of cocaine, the abolition of suffering in all sentient life, veganism verses vegetarianism, why he is a founding member of the Order of Cosmic Engineers, the journal Medical Hypotheses, how he learned that he was a transhumanist, and how this lead to his co-founding of the World Transhumanist Association.

David also describes some of his essays such as: The Good Drug Guide, Superhappiness, Utopian Surgery, The Wired Society, The Hedonistic Imperative, and his Critique of Huxley's Brave New World.

His book-length manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative details how he believes the abolition of suffering can be accomplished in the coming decades through 'paradise engineering.' And he predicts that our descendants will enjoy genetically preprogrammed bliss that is orders of magnitude richer than anything accessible today.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the August 27, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 67 minutes]

In addition to co-founding (with Nick Bostrom) the World Transhumanist Association, David Pearce also co-founded the Abolitionist Society and serves as its honorary president. He is currently the director of BLTC Research; he serves on the editorial review board of the scientific journal Medical Hypotheses; and he is a vegan and a transhumanist. (Wikipedia article which has many more links to his work.) 

Direct download: TFAY_2008_8_27.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Les Johnson, author, lecturer and NASA scientist, is today's featured guest.

Topics include: one of NASA's advanced electromagnetic propulsion systems which uses no fuel and no rocket engines whatsoever; NASA's near future projects such as the next lunar lander and the new heavy lifting vehicle Aries V; and how we might eventually find ourselves fulfilling the vision of his non-fiction book: Living off the Land in Space.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the August 20, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 65 minutes]

Les Johnson is a NASA physicist and manager, as well as the author of popular science books and articles. He serves as the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Les has been on CNN, Fox News, NPR, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and in the New York Times. He made a few brief speaking appearances on camera in the BBC documentary series Space (released as Hyperspace in the USA) which was hosted by Sam Neil. He was the technical consultant for the movie Lost in Space. He is a frequent, and very popular, speaker at SF&F conventions concerning space and science. And he consulted on the books Deepsix by Jack McDevitt and War Surf by M. M. Buckner. (Two authors who have been interviewed on this show.)

Les Johnson's non-fiction books include: Living off the Land in Space (which he co-wrote with Gregory L. Matloff and C Bangs) and his latest Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (which he co-wrote with  Giovanni Vulpetti and Gregory L. Matloff). Nature (the highly-respected scientific journal now in its 139th year of publication) reviewed this book and placed it on their Recommended Reading List for the Spring.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_8_20.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Ben Goertzel, noted scientist, author, futurist and pioneer in the field of Artificial Intelligence, is today's featured guest. Topics he discusses include: Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), the singularity, transhumanism, human immortality and how long he expects to live, and why (like your host) he is a founding member of the Order of Cosmic Engineers.

Highlights of the interview include: The mechanism of human empathy seems to have been identified, and so can be reproduced in AI; even AI that is radically different in its thinking from human beings. Doctor Goertzel explains that this empathy is not based on emotion, and he emphasizes that he does not want to create an AI which is governed by its emotions.

He stresses that the human mind does not qualify as a completely 'General Intelligence' but lies somewhere on the spectrum between AGI on one end and 'Narrow AI' on the other. This is one of several reasons why he does not expect AGI to be achieved by mimicking the workings of the human brain.

He describes how our brains fool us into believing that we understand our actions and decisions when we don't. And why modeling an AI too closely on the human brain might make it too, vulnerable to false notions.

He also says, 'I think virtual worlds are going to be absolutely critical to the development of Artificial General Intelligence.' As well as 'Right now connecting AI's to virtual worlds is probably the best way to get an AI to have a general human-like embodied experience.'

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the August 13, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 74 minutes]

Ben Goertzel has a PhD in mathematics from Temple University, and has held several university positions in mathematics, computer science, and psychology, in the US, New Zealand and Australia. He is the Author of over 70 research papers, journalistic articles and 8 scholarly books dealing with topics in cognitive sciences and futurism. He has spent over 20 years in artificial intelligence research and commercialization. 

The former Chief Technical Officer of Webmind, a thinking machine company with 120 employees, he is today the CEO of Novamente, and is the Principle architect of the Novamente Cognition Engine. He is also the Director of Research, at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Direct download: TFAY_2008_8_13.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Owner of the BDSM and fetish performance-art theatrical troupe in Charlotte NC called Purgatory, our guest today goes by the name of 'Torch.'

Purgatory's live events feature a festival atmosphere, dance music by DJs, and performances of a BDSM and fetish nature which are partly scripted and partly improvisational. In addition to describing Purgatory, Torch also talks about: the confusion between BDSM and Goth; BDSM becoming trendy and fashionable; how the internet has changed BDSM, and the difficulty of staying 'tougher' than Christina Aguilera.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the August 6, 2008 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 45 minutes]

Also included are comments from Davey Beauchamps (author and anthologist), and a brief mini-interview concerning Big Mamma's: the classic burlesque and vaudeville show in Charlotte NC which includes magicians, jugglers, a freak show, and 'girls who strip down to pasties and twirl their tassels.'

Direct download: TFAY_2008_8_6.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT