Our Special Role in the Cosmos
Technology extends our thought, our reach, our vision, helps us transcend our boundaries. I think that's a message everybody can get behind.
I attended the Singularity University executive program. They had a special session in L.A., so we got to see all the latest cutting-edge biotech, nanotech, AI stuff. I remember seeing the demo of the Google self-driving cars. Did you see the commercial with the blind man and he was being driven around? I mean, unbelievable. I think they said that a million people a year die in auto-related accidents. That will end. I mean, those self-driving cars have been driving 200,000 miles already or more with zero accidents. I mean, unbelievable.
I’m interested, also, in the revolutions in the brain-machine interfaces. You know, increasingly being able to communicate with these extensions of our cognition at the speed of thought, just by thinking -- not even having to do physical action -- so that's very exciting.
Exoskeletons -- people don't like this word, but we already have them. Our automobiles are exoskeletons. Our airplanes are exoskeletons. I mean, these are essentially suits we put on and they extend our reach. The more biologically inspired exoskeletons are helping people that can't walk, walk again. I saw a demonstration of two people in a wheelchair using these exoskeletons to stand up.
This very viscerally conveys how technology extends our thought, our reach, our vision, helps us transcend our boundaries. I think that's a message everybody can get behind. We’re all interested in transcending our boundaries. It’s the one thing mankind has always done from the moment we left the caves and then civilizations and then going to the moon. When somebody says it’s impossible, that's when we say, "Okay, lets go ahead and do it." And it’s romantic. It makes me feel like we have a very special role to play here in the cosmos. You know, we may be small but we are mighty. You know, as Sophocles says, “Manifold the wonders. Nothing towers more wondrous than man.” That's kind of how I feel.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!
As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.
Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
- Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
- These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.
- Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
- Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
- The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.