Mushroom buildings, jurassic park and terraforming.
Did you ever hear about synthetic biology? No? Imagine that we could alter and produce DNA from scratch just like an engineer. Doesn’t it sound like one of the greatest interdisciplinary achievements in recent history?
Think about it, a bio-technologist is doing more or less the work of a programmer but instead of using a computer language he’s doing it by arranging molecules embedded in every living cell. The outcome, if ever mastered, could reshape the world around us dramatically.
If all the solar incident on Mars were to be captured with 100% efficiency, then Mars would warm to Earth-like temperatures in about 10 years. However, the efficiency of the greenhouse effect is plausibly about 10%, thus the time it would take to warm Mars would be ~100 years. This assumes, of course, adequate production of super greenhouse gases over that entire time. The super greenhouse gases desired for use on Mars would be per fluorinated compounds (PFCs) as these are not toxic, do not destroy ozone, will resist degradation by ultraviolet life, and are composed of elements (C, S, and F) that are present on Mars. Fluorine has been detected on Mars by Curiosity.
The Warming Phase of a terraforming project on Mars results in a planet with a thick CO2 atmosphere. The thickness is determined by the total releasable CO2 present on Mars.
The temperatures would become well above freezing and liquid water is common. An Earth-like hydrological cycle is maintained. Photosynthetic organisms can be introduced as conditions warm and organic biomass is thus produced. A rich flora and fauna are present. A natural result of this is the biological consumption of the nitrate and perchlorate in the.
The World Economic Forum has posted an article that hints at something that I have also suggested. (I am not taking credit. Others have suggested the idea too…But advancing tech and credible, continued visibility may help us to finally be taken seriously!)
I am not referring to purchasing and retiring carbon credits. I like that idea too. But here is a blockchain idea that can enable fleets of autonomous, shared, electric vehicles. Benefits to individuals and to society are numerous.
The future is just around the corner. Non-coin applications of the blockchain will support many great things. Goodbye car ownership. Hello clean air! The future of personal transportation.
“Using survey data from a sample of senior investment professionals from mainstream (i.e. not SRI funds) investment organizations we provide insights into why and how investors use reported environmental, social and governance (ESG) information.”
Mars may seem like a cold, arid wasteland these days, but the Red Planet is thought to have once had a thick atmosphere that could have maintained deep oceans filled with liquid water, and a warmer, potentially habitable climate.
Superlubricity nano-structured self-assembling coating repairs surface wear, decreases emissions and increases HP and gas mileage.
Globally about 15 percent of manmade carbon dioxide comes from vehicles. In more developed countries, cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and other vehicles account for a third of emissions related to climate change. Emissions standards are fueling the lubricant additives market with innovation.
Up to 33% of fuel energy in vehicles is used to overcome friction. Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion inclusive of friction, wear and lubrication. This is where TriboTEX, a nanotechnology startup is changing the game of friction modification and wear resilience with a lubricant additive that forms a nano-structured coating on metal alloys.
This nano-structured coating increases operating efficiency and component longevity. It is comprised of synthetic magnesium silicon hydroxide nanoparticles that self-assemble as an ultralow friction layer, 1/10 of the original friction resistance. The coating is self-repairing during operation, environmentally inert and extracts carbon from the oil. The carbon diamond-like nano-particle lowers the friction budget of the motor, improving fuel economy and emissions in parallel while increasing the power and longevity of the motor.
TriboTEX has a Kickstarter campaign that has just surpassed $100,000 in funding. The early bird round has just closed that offered the product at one half the cost of its retail. The final round offers the lubricant system self-forming coating at 75 percent and is ending shortly. The founder Dr. Pavlo Rudenko, Ph.D. is a graduate of Singularity University GSP11 program.
“Launched in 2007, the Fuller Challenge has defined an emerging field of practice: the whole systems approach to understanding and intervening in complex and interrelated crises for wide-scale social and environmental impact. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges. The rigorous selection process has set a unique standard, gaining renown as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.”
The Fuller Challenge attracts bold, visionary, tangible initiatives focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world’s complex problems.”
Posthumanists and perhaps especially transhumanists tend to downplay the value conflicts that are likely to emerge in the wake of a rapidly changing technoscientific landscape. What follows are six questions and scenarios that are designed to focus thinking by drawing together several tendencies that are not normally related to each other but which nevertheless provide the basis for future value conflicts.
Will ecological thinking eventuate in an instrumentalization of life? Generally speaking, biology – especially when a nervous system is involved — is more energy efficient when it comes to storing, accessing and processing information than even the best silicon-based computers. While we still don’t quite know why this is the case, we are nevertheless acquiring greater powers of ‘informing’ biological processes through strategic interventions, ranging from correcting ‘genetic errors’ to growing purpose-made organs, including neurons, from stem-cells. In that case, might we not ‘grow’ some organs to function in largely the same capacity as silicon-based computers – especially if it helps to reduce the overall burden that human activity places on the planet? (E.g. the brains in the vats in the film The Minority Report which engage in the precognition of crime.) In other words, this new ‘instrumentalization of life’ may be the most environmentally friendly way to prolong our own survival. But is this a good enough reason? Would these specially created organic thought-beings require legal protection or even rights? The environmental movement has been, generally speaking, against the multiplication of artificial life forms (e.g. the controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms), but in this scenario these life forms would potentially provide a means to achieve ecologically friendly goals.
Will concerns for social justice force us to enhance animals? We are becoming more capable of recognizing and decoding animal thoughts and feelings, a fact which has helped to bolster those concerned with animal welfare, not to mention ‘animal rights’. At the same time, we are also developing prosthetic devices (of the sort already worn by Steven Hawking) which can enhance the powers of disabled humans so their thoughts and feelings are can be communicated to a wider audience and hence enable them to participate in society more effectively. Might we not wish to apply similar prosthetics to animals – and perhaps even ourselves — in order to facilitate the transaction of thoughts and feelings between humans and animals? This proposal might aim ultimately to secure some mutually agreeable ‘social contract’, whereby animals are incorporated more explicitly in the human life-world — not as merely wards but as something closer to citizens. (See, e.g., Donaldson and Kymlicka’s Zoopolis.) However, would this set of policy initiatives constitute a violation of the animals’ species integrity and simply be a more insidious form of human domination?
Will human longevity stifle the prospects for social renewal? For the past 150 years, medicine has been preoccupied with the defeat of death, starting from reducing infant mortality to extending the human lifespan indefinitely. However, we also see that as people live longer, healthier lives, they also tend to have fewer children. This has already created a pensions crisis in welfare states, in which the diminishing ranks of the next generation work to sustain people who live long beyond the retirement age. How do we prevent this impending intergenerational conflict? Moreover, precisely because each successive generation enters the world without the burden of the previous generations’ memories, it is better disposed to strike in new directions. All told then, then, should death become discretionary in the future, with a positive revaluation of suicide and euthanasia? Moreover, should people be incentivized to have children as part of a societal innovation strategy?
Will the end of death trivialize life? A set of trends taken together call into question the finality of death, which is significant because strong normative attitudes against murder and extinction are due largely to the putative irreversibility of these states. Indeed, some have argued that the sanctity – if not the very meaning — of human life itself is intimately related to the finality of death. However, there is a concerted effort to change all this – including cryonics, digital emulations of the brain, DNA-driven ‘de-extinction’ of past species, etc. Should these technologies be allowed to flourish, in effect, to ‘resurrect’ the deceased? As it happens, ‘rights of the dead’ are not recognized in human rights legislation and environmentalists generally oppose introducing new species to the ecology, which would seem to include not only brand new organisms but also those which once roamed the earth.
Will political systems be capable of delivering on visions of future human income? There are two general visions of how humans will earn their keep in the future, especially in light of what is projected to be mass technologically induced unemployment, which will include many ordinary professional jobs. One would be to provide humans with a ‘universal basic income’ funded by some tax on the producers of labour redundancy in both the industrial and the professional classes. The other vision is that people would be provided regular ‘micropayments’ based on the information they routinely provide over the internet, which is becoming the universal interface for human expression. The first vision cuts against the general ‘lower tax’ and ‘anti-redistributive’ mindset of the post-Cold War era, whereas the latter vision cuts against perceived public preference for the maintenance of privacy in the face of government surveillance. In effect, both visions of future human income demand that the state reinvents its modern role as guarantor of, respectively, welfare and security – yet now against the backdrop of rapid technological change and laissez faire cultural tendencies.
Will greater information access turn ‘poverty’ into a lifestyle prejudice? Mobile phone penetration is greater in some impoverished parts of Africa and Asia than in the United States and some other developed countries. While this has made the developed world more informationally available to the developing world, the impact of this technology on the latter’s living conditions has been decidedly mixed. Meanwhile as we come to a greater understanding of the physiology of impoverished people, we realize that their nervous systems are well adapted to conditions of extreme stress, as are their cultures more generally. (See e.g. Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics.) In that case, there may come a point when the rationale for ‘development aid’ might disappear, and ‘poverty’ itself may be seen as a prejudicial term. Of course, the developing world may continue to require external assistance in dealing with wars and other (by their standards) extreme conditions, just as any other society might. But otherwise, we might decide in an anti-paternalistic spirit that they should be seen as sufficiently knowledgeable of their own interests to be able to lead what people in the developed world might generally regard as a suboptimal existence – one in which, say, the life expectancies between those in the developing and developed worlds remain significant and quite possibly increase over time.