[extropy-chat] The PBS show 22nd Century takes you to the forefront of technology

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Wed Jan 10 16:22:57 UTC 2007

22nd Century <http://www.pbs.org/22ndcentury/> is an innovative new PBS
series about technological advances taking place today that within our
lifetimes will significantly change the way humans live and interact.

I think it is very important to communicate realistic visions of possible
future scenarios based on scientific speculations to television audiences,
with a future-friendly or at least not unfriendly attitude. Unfortunately I
cannot watch PBS from Europe but the 22nd Century websites has long
streaming videoclips. On Youtube there is a 22nd Century
videoclips contributed by users. The 22nd Century websites has
interesting polls - at this moment 50% of participants answer the question
"What would you rather see a show about?" with "The potential of living
forever". The KurzweilAI website <http://kurzweilai.net/> is one of the
futurist resources they list.

In an interview Ramez
the author of More Than Human <http://morethanhuman.org/>, discusses the
implications of technically enhancing the human body: "We have always, as
long as we have existed as humanity, we've always looked for ways to make
ourselves smarter, make ourselves live longer, give ourselves more physical
abilities.  That's why we invented writing.  That's why we picked up
sticks.  That's why we invented the use of fire.  We're always looking for
these ways to improve our lives, and improve our control over who we are,
and our environment. That's what it means to be human… The future is about
gaining control over our genes, gaining control over our bodies, gaining
control over our brains and minds, and being able to alter them so we can
look the way we want to, so we can be stronger, and faster, so that we can
work for decades, or maybe centuries more, so we can restore youth to people
who are aged, and so we can alter our thoughts, change our personalities,
become smarter, communicate things back and forth, from brain to brain".

>From the website:

Ever wonder what the world is going to be like in the future? Will people
routinely live to see their 250th birthdays? Will personal computers be
smarter than us?  (Or more personable?) Will machines shrink so small they
can make repairs inside a human cell? Science fantasy or futuristic
nightmare? The PBS show 22nd Century <http://www.pbs.org/22ndcentury/> takes
you to the forefront of technology and hears from people on the cusp of a
scientific revolution.

In the first episode we will meet a young man who was rendered unable to
communicate with the outside world due to a devastating automobile accident.
Surgeons implanted an electrode in his brain and it has allowed him to break
out of his isolation and communicate just by thinking about what he wants to
say. In another segment a leading neurophysicist tells how he has developed
bundles of wires thinner than spider webs that can be inserted into the
blood vessels of human brains.

The series is hosted by Robin Robinson, a Chicago-based journalist, who is
joined by two virtual co-hosts, each with insightful and often conflicting
viewpoints about the merits of this new technology. One is an actor playing
Aldous Huxley, the late author of Brave New World, who worried about the
dehumanizing consequences of scientific discoveries. The other is Orlanda
Bell, a time-traveling visitor from the future, who represents the best-case
scenario of these technological advancements. Is this a future that will
benefit the human race? Or will we lose all sense of individuality? Find out
on the premiere episode of the 22nd Century.

The program is one of three science pilots airing on PBS in January; only
one pilot will move forward to become a series. Watch online or on-air and
then tell us what you think of the program using the feedback form below.
[Perhaps if enough people write they will choose 22nd Century. My comment on
the feedback form: I just watched the videoclips and read the intervews.
Great show! This is a good example of "using the power of noncommercial
television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all
Americans through quality programs and education services that inform,
inspire and delight" as in PBS' mission statement].

In the premiere episode, guests arrive from the future, past and present to
guide you through a quirky tour of the "World Wide Mind," an intriguing
theory that proposes that in the future our brains will be wired up so that
we can communicate with the world effortlessly and instantly. Science
fantasy or futuristic nightmare? Watch the show and decide for yourself!
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