SETI: A Systematic Theology

first_imgThick books on systematic theology usually include sections about creation, anthropology, and eschatology.  Those sections are also present in condensed form in an article by Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute at Space.com.  As for origins, Darwinian materialism was implicit passim and needed no elaboration.  As for anthropology, he said man is like a god, creating beings in his own image by his own free will: “A compelling theme in science fiction is the potential of humanity to create life and the hazards arising from such an endeavor.”  As for eschatology, he suggested that our robotic creations will someday evolve to make us superfluous; “once robots destroy mankind, they will be able to live on without us.”  If we can play god, so much for our eternality and omnipotence.    Though Brown admitted it is “fraught with danger to tell stories about the future to help make our decisions now,” he allowed himself some “imaginings” about “a timeline where humankind creates life and is destroyed by its creation.”  Our consolation will be to have been a part of the grand scheme of evolution:Is this inherently bad?  It certainly is not a reassuring future for the generation that will deal with such conflict, presumably a generation that will live not far from today.  But once the conflict is over, as long as we have invested in our creation the means of Darwinian evolution, it is likely that Earth, viewed as a complete ecosystem, will continue marching towards further technological achievement and eco-systemic enlightenment.  Humankind will have played a heroic part in this adventure.  Even robots (perhaps especially robots) will have to acknowledge that.  Our lives will have meaning through our progeny, a common enough goal for everyday man.He did not consider the possibility that the robots, as in 1984, will have written the memory of humans out of their history books.  Oh well, we will have been extinct too long a time by then to care.  Better this scenario than vanishing like smoke on a burning cinder of Earth after the sun goes out, he surmises.    Can a Darwinian be the Intelligent Designer?  Do we have a choice, assuming that evolution is propelling us in that direction?  Let Brown comment on those teasers, and their corollaries:Often the essential conflict for humans considering whether to produce intelligent life is: are we perfect enough to consider playing God?  It certainly is an achingly poignant question to a modern progressive thinker—but perhaps the question is moot.  Maybe machine life is inevitable in order that Darwinian evolution should continue on Earth.  Whether it is through humanity’s loins or through humanities laboratories that Darwin’s game is progressed may not matter.  Indeed, if humans gradually augment themselves with technology of their own creation in the coming centuries, will we fully realise when machines have ‘taken over’?  What will it be about a robot with a few original Homo sapien brain cells that makes it human?It seems odd that a SETI researcher would be talking about such theological matters.  The relevance to SETI, he ends, is that our alien friends may already be at that stage, and this affects what we should be looking for.  We need to realize the possibility that “when we make contact with alien beings, they may be the robotic progeny of beings similar to ourselves.”  What an astonishing thought; they might be watching, but thinking we are not yet evolved enough to be worth their fellowship.  “Is it possible they are waiting for us to be smart enough to construct a robot that can talk to them?”Sure; anything is possible in Fantasyland.  There could be monsters under the bed.  We could be software artifacts in the Matrix.  Or you can wish upon a star, and all your dreams come true.  Your robot progeny live happily ever after.  When people give free rein to the imaginations of their own hearts, miracles can happen.  Evolution can be progressive, and we can be as gods! (at least till the heat death of the universe).    Boy, what a weird dream.  OK, time to get up and go back to work.  Wise people don’t make decisions in the daytime about their nightmares at night.  Adrian, while staring at your console today, good luck finding a persistent narrowband whistle.  If you luck out, we’d love to hear your rational explanation of how it is not the work of intelligent design (12/03/2005, 02/16/2006) and why SETI doesn’t stand for “Seminary for Extra-Terrestrial Imaginings” (06/03/2006, 03/09/2006).  Be sure you’re wide awake when you answer, because we can tell when you’re doing science and when you’re daydreaming.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Kader Asmal remembered

first_img1 July 2011 The late Kader Asmal, South African liberation struggle veteran, human rights activist, academic and politician, was “a great African patriot who devoted his life to the fight against human oppression,” Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at a memorial service on Thursday. “The agony that enveloped our country immediately after Professor Kader Asmal’s demise told of a grief-stricken nation,” Motlanthe said during a moving memorial service at City Hall in Cape Town. He said that Asmal had embraced a vision “that said a better human society based on human rights, equality, respect and celebration of our common humanity is possible and indeed desirable.” The Deputy President described the late African National Congress (ANC) veteran as an “an erudite professor” and an “organic intellectual in the truest sense of the word.” “His outlook was grounded in concrete, daily realities of the people he led,” he said. To Asmal’s wife, Louise, Motlanthe said: “We know you have not only lost a husband but also, you have lost a companion, a fried and a comrade.” During the ceremony, many people ranging from family, friends and comrades to politicians and academics gave testimonies on how they knew Asmal. Many described him as a “brilliant professor” and a “maverick of all sorts”, as well as a man with a sense of humour who also loved things like whisky and cricket. Poems and songs were performed in his honour as speaker after speaker quoted some of the poems which the late Cabinet minister loved. His Irish close friend of 47 years, Garry Kilgallen, said that he had met Asmal in 1964 in Ireland when he formed the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. He said that Asmal’s work in both Ireland and South Africa had left “living footprints on the sands of time.” He said that back home, people loved Asmal as he was loved in this country. He described him as a great source of advice as well as a great human rights activist, patriot and “a fighter for liberty.” Louise Asmal thanked everyone for the support she had received during this time of pain and urged the government to carry on with the work of uplifting the poor. Her speech received a standing ovation. Grandchildren Zoe and Oisin said that they would remember their grandpa as a man who was involved in their lives. They said he used to take them to school, walk them to the shops as well as mentoring them to be well cultured beings. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Contest: Tell Us About Your Road to the Cloud and Win a MacBook Air

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#cloud#Contests ReadWrite Sponsors 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A first step towards creating a virtualized infrastructure often comes at a point when the customer starts experiencing performance issues. Servers start failing as application loads increase. When these issues start occurring, what are the first steps to take into consideration? How should a virtualized infrastructure be deployed? How are these pre-production environments developed? What are the most effective ways to deploy a simplified, reliable and optimized virtualization solution?We are hoping the contest will get people talking about the basic principles that they believe form the elemental foundations of a stack built for the cloud. We will pick our winners through the prism of this conversation. Each month I will co-judge the contest with a recognized individual in the cloud computing world. In this first contest, I am happy to announce that my co-judge is George Reese. George is the founder of enStratus, a cloud infrastructure technology solutions company with customers that include Korea Telecom.Judges will be responsible for following the conversation threads and adding to the discussion.Our criteria for choosing the winners is as follows:Depth of understandingFactual examples to back up assertionsHow the conversation developsAccuracyStrength of argumentConcise writingOriginalityThe contest will run every 30 days, starting on the first of the month. Winners will also be announced on the first of the month. A Disqus account is required to participate. Please take a few moments to read the full list of rules before participating.We look forward to the conversation! Today we’re thrilled to announce the Road to the Cloud Contest. Thanks to our sponsors, we’re giving out a MacBook Air every month though the end of the year to those in our community with the most well-thought-out views about the road to adopting cloud computing.It’s our first contest on ReadWriteCloud so it’s pretty exciting for us. RWCloud has been around now for more than a year. And it has been a great ride as we’ve come to know the mosaic that this massive cloud computing ecosystem represents.But still it seems at times that the basics get overlooked too often. We can get caught up in the newest services and overlook the essentials that are fundamental to adopting cloud computing. Add vendor noise and the result is plenty of confusion for the ordinary customer.The road to cloud computing is a multi-step process. Companies don’t just start a new network in the cloud. They go through a long process that is different for every organization. Customers need to understand this process to know what they should be looking for when embarking on their way.And so for our first topic, we’d like your thoughts about the critical issues to consider when starting on that journey. Tell us about your road to the cloud and what you have learned.Please consider this topic and comment accordingly: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Forget Searching For Content – Content Is About To Start Searching For You

first_imgLocation is part of what experts call “contextual search,” which becomes even more important with the rise of mobile computing. Where we are and who we are makes a big difference in the search results we want, and contextually aware search engines are working to use that information to decide what results to return to us.According to J Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, there are four aspects of contextual searching that all have to work together:WhereRelevancePushSecurity and privacyFirst, there’s the where – what Schwan refers to as geo-fencing. Where you are, as noted above, makes a difference in what search results are most appropriate.Then there’s relevance, which dictates results through explicit preferences that you have set, the results delivered to other users in a similar context and what is going on around you at that particular time (traffic, weather, business hours, etc.).The third aspect Schwan highlighted is relatively new, but fast-becoming more important to contextual search: push. Rather than waiting for users to search and then reacting to that query, data providers and search engines are working on how to push data to users based on their context. Google Now does this now on Android and its Chrome browser extension: cards based on your search results, location and even email messages will appear that give you the traffic report to get home or inform you of the latest sports score.The final aspect is the wrapper of security and privacy that has to work with all of this to ensure a user’s data doesn’t go where it’s not supposed to.Squinting For SEOContextual searching is perfect for mobile, because, well, mobile users are by definition moving around. But the mobile form factor also makes contextual search more important.Many people may have honking big 27-inch monitors on their home PCs, but relatively tiny smartphone screens inherently limit the amount of information we can access. In that context, it’s even more important for mobile users to get the right results near the top of the results screen.This is even more true when adding natural interfaces to search, such as voice-activated searching using systems like Apple’s Siri. Forget search strings, Siri has to process natural-language queries and either speak or display usable results on a small screen. For search-engine optimization (SEO), this is a huge challenge: With contextual search, it’s no longer enough to get your business or product listed on the first Web page of results. On a mobile device, as well as in push situations, SEO is really effective only if you can push your results into the top position, or at least into the first few lines.Wearable devices like Google Glass and the rumored iWatch could put even more pressure on search results. We don’t yet know what their interfaces will look like, but it seems safe to assume that there may be even less real estate available to display search results.  Tags:#Apple#Bing#Google#Google Glass#Internet of Things#mobile#search brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting This is one reason why the search engines are working so hard to deliver knowledge rather than just Web page links in their results. Google and Bing both now feature “knowledge boxes” that try to encapsulate the pertinent information about a topic in one glance. This “knowledgization” of search results is conducive to mobile search because it parses data into easily displayed and digestible chunks – essential for the smaller screen.We may already be seeing the early effects of this trend. Last Fall, Google reported its first-ever drop in search volume. Some of this decline is no doubt attributable to competition – such as Bing, Yahoo or even local searches through services like Yelp. But how much of it is due to pushed content and knowledge replacing what might have otherwise been searched for? If the information being received is of better quality, then perhaps we won’t have to search as much in the future.By incorporating context and working towards knowledge – useful information instead of just plain data – the next evolution of search will take advantage of new opportunities and cope with new demands and challenges.Will that help us make better decisions? We can hope.Lead image and Notre Dame images courtesy of Shutterstock. How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloudcenter_img The world of search is about to be flipped completely on its head. As part of that sea change, today’s reactive Web-based searches are about to give way to proactive, geo-fenced answers that will pop up before you even frame the question.In many cases, you won’t be searching for content – content will be searching for you.Putting The New Search In ContextSearch, to date, has mostly worked something like this: You type a word or phrase into a search bar in a browser or mobile app and a search engine with a funny name returns a list of Web pages it deems related to your query.In recent years, search has gotten a lot better in a number of ways. One key improvement takes location into account. If I type “Notre Dame” while I’m in my hometown, then it’s very likely I will get results about the University. If I were located near Cleveland, though, I might get results about Notre Dame College. And if I were in France, surely my results would focus on this beautiful edifice.  Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more

People’s march to seek Goa CM’s resignation

first_imgFew Goa-based NGOs, political parties, including Congress, civil society groups and individuals will join a ‘people’s march’ led by social activist Rajan Ghate to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s private residence on Tuesday, to demand his resignation. “The march will be held on Tuesday, November 20,” activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues told the press at Azad Maidan, venue of the on-going hunger strike by Mr. Ghate. Mr. Ghate’s indefinite hunger strike to demand the resignation of of ailing Chief Minister to “improve collapsed governance in the State” entered fourth day on Monday.“Mr. Ghate will lead the march to the Dona Paula residence of CM Manohar Parrikar. The march will be attended by Goa’s NGOs, leading individuals and some political parties, including the Congress,” Mr. Rodridgues said. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar confirmed his party’s participation in the march.Mr. Ghate has been on fast-unto-death for the last four days at the city square demanding that Mr. Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been unable to attend office for several months now, either resign or handover the charge of the government in public interest.Apart from the Opposition, which has been demanding his resignation for several months now, on Saturday some Cabinet Ministers from the ruling alliance also conceded while interacting with media that Mr. Parrikar’s prolonged absence from office had brought administration to a standstill.last_img read more