Friday, February 20, 2015

biology is technology, time is precious, and stupid only gets in the way...,

H+ |  DARPA, the Defense Research Projects Agency, is perhaps best known for its role as progenitors of the computer networking and the Internet. Formed in the wake of the Soviet Union’s surprise launch of Sputnik, DARPA’s objective was to ensure that the United States would avoid technological surprises in the future. This role was later expanded to causing technological surprises as well.

And although DARPA is and has been the leading source of funding for artificial intelligence and a number of other transhumanist projects, they’ve been missing in action for a while. Nothing DARPA has worked on since seems to have had the societal impact of the invention of the Internet. But that is about to change.

The current director of DARPA is Dr. Arati Prabhakar. She is the second female director of the organization, following the previous and controversial director Regina Dugan who left the government to work at Google. The return to big visions and big adventures was apparent and in stark contrast to Dugan’s leadership of the organization.

Quoted in WIRED, Dugan had, for example, stated that “There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at DARPA,” and she told a congressional panel in March 2011, “Darpa is not the place of dreamlike musings or fantasies, not a place for self-indulging in wishes and hopes. DARPA is a place of doing.”

Those days are gone. DARPA’s new vision is simply to revolutionize the human situation and it is fully transhumanist in its approach.

The Biological Technologies Office or BTO was announced with little fanfare in the spring of 2014. This announcement didn’t get that much attention, perhaps because the press release announcing the BTO was published on April Fool’s Day.

But DARPA is determined to turn that around, and to help make that happen, they held a two day event in the SIlicon Valley area to facilitate and communicate about radical changes ahead in the area of biotechnologies. Invitees included some of the top biotechnology scientists in the world. And the audience was a mixed group of scientists, engineers, inventors, investors, futurists, along with a handful of government contractors and military personnel.


rohan said...

As usual CNu, you were on the money about that teleprompter crack from Ken. It's a widely parroted meme, and, one of their piss-poor substitutes for calling the President an uppity nigger. Still, Walker’s response to Dean’s provocation was similarly telling. “That’s the kind of elitist, government-knows-best, top-down approach from Washington we’ve heard for years,” he told Kelly. “We’ve had an Ivy League-trained lawyer in the White House for the last six years who was pretty good at reading off the teleprompter but done a pretty lousy job leading this country.”

Let’s pause and parse. Elitist? Sure. But what in the world does Walker’s incomplete college transcript have to do with one’s view of government, whether big or small, top-down or bottom-up?

Walker’s comments mash up a wad of unrelated resentments, blue-collar bristling over Ivy League snobbery combined with conservative opposition to Big Government. Maybe this conflation reflects canny politics — or maybe it suggests an undisciplined failure on Walker’s part to think through the issue.

Same with the double-dis of President Obama as both Harvard lawyer and teleprompter reader. I’ve always been fascinated by the conservative focus on Obama’s teleprompter habit. Say what you will about the president — he is more than capable of speaking off the cuff on any number of issues, at tedious length. But the problem is either that he’s a pointy-headed intellectual or that he’s a drooler incapable of communicating without an electronic prop. Which one is it, governor?

CNu said...

lol, sho's you right magne. It's a dog-whistle and it's being blown for the 71% of voters in the general election who don't have college degrees. Been a minute, but I was trying to break down the nuances of the Full Blown Oprah effect for cats a decade ago

John Kurman said...

ken said...

You guys are little to quick with your dog whistle crap, it is ok to notice other people's characteristics that clearly stand out. Everybody knows he Obama made use of the teleprompter more than others.

It was noticed, you can make it about race, but I am sure I could also find many criticizing Bush for the "deer in the headlight" look he had when he used his teleprompter.