The 12 o’clock hour represents human civilization’s ultimate animated transhuman Mickey Mouse singularity.
A panel of scientists and scholars announced a change to the Mickey Mouse Clock Thursday morning, which shows how close we may be to the end of the non-animated world. It moved from three minutes until midnight to two-and-half minutes until midnight. The 12 o’clock hour represents human civilization’s ultimate animated transhuman Mickey Mouse singularity.
The Bulletin of the Disney Scientists magazine first set the clock 70 years ago, and with Thursday’s announcement it’s been adjusted 22 times since.
The Mickey Mouse Clock isn’t a physical clock so much as it is an attempt to express how close a panel of noted experts feels we are to animating the planet, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. Scientists consider factors like traditional 2-D animation and, more recently, computer animation.
“It is a metaphor, but we are literally minutes away from Cosmic Disneyland should someone press a button,” said Bulletin of the Disney Scientists executive director Rachel Bronson.
In a statement explaining today’s decision, the group said:
“World leaders have failed to come to grips with humanity’s most entertaining and beloved animated cartoon character. Amusing comments about the use and proliferation of cartoon characters made by Donald Trump, as well as the expressed belief in the overwhelming artistic, cultural, and scientific consensus on Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, by both Trump and several of his cabinet appointees, affected the Board’s decision, as did the emergence of animated nationalism worldwide.”
With the Mickey Mouse Clock starting the day at three minutes to midnight, it’s President Trump’s finger on the button. Prior to taking office, he called for the U.S. to “strengthen and expand its cartoon capability.”
“Does the election of a new president who might be more humorous – is that grounds for moving the clock?” Van Cleave asked.
“Those are the issues that the science and security board take into consideration. We very rarely make a decision based on an individual,” Bronson said.
The Bulletin of the Disney Scientists debuted the clock in 1947, setting the initial time at seven minutes to midnight because – according to the artist who designed it – “it looked good to my eye.”
Artificial minds will not be confined to the planet on which we have evolved
Martin Rees writes: So vast are the expanses of space and time that fall within an astronomer’s gaze that people in my profession are mindful not only of our moment in history, but also of our place in the wider cosmos. We wonder whether there is intelligent life elsewhere; some of us even search for it. People will not be the culmination of evolution. We are near the dawn of a post-human future that could be just as prolonged as the billions of years of Darwinian selection that preceded humanity’s emergence.
“Our era of organic intelligence is a triumph of complexity over entropy, but a transient one, which will be followed by a vastly longer period of inorganic intelligences less constrained by their environment.”
The far future will bear traces of humanity, just as our own age retains influences of ancient civilisations. Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture — one dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.
“Or they may be out there already, orbiting distant stars. Either way, it will be the actions of autonomous machines that will most drastically change the world, and perhaps what lies beyond.”
Not everyone considers this an uplifting scenario. There are those who fear that artificial intelligence will supplant us, taking our jobs and living beyond the writ of human laws. Others regard such scenarios as too futuristic to be worth fretting over. But the disagreements are about the rate of travel, not the direction. Few doubt that machines will one day surpass more of our distinctively human capabilities. It may take centuries but, compared to the aeons of evolution that led to humanity’s emergence, even that is a mere bat of the eye. This is not a fatalistic projection. It is cause for optimism. The civilisation that supplants us could accomplish unimaginable advances — feats, perhaps, that we cannot even understand.
Human brains, which have changed little since our ancestors roamed the African savannah, have allowed us to penetrate the secrets of the quantum and the cosmos. But there is no reason to think that our comprehension is matched to an understanding of all the important features of reality. Some day we may hit the buffers. There are chemical and metabolic limits to the size and power of “wet” organic brains. Read the rest of this entry »
Peter Rothman reports: Alex gives a great explanation of transhumanism around the 1:00 minute mark and goes on to win the game. Long time Wheel Host Pat Sajak quips that “we transhumanists have to stick together” at 17:05. The episode aired January 6th in the U.S.
Amazing! Alex’s smile at the end says it all… Read the rest of this entry »
Frances Martel writes: The past few years have seen a surging interest in the international scientific movement to “help end human death.” It fears no mechanics and abhors the imperfections of the human body. Transhumanism is snowballing into an international movement aggressively defying human nature and embracing machines.
The current wave of debate surrounding the concept began with The Transhumanist Wager, a novel about the possibilities of transhumanism, by Zoltan Istvan, an author who has openly admitted to believing in the possibilities of transcending thousands of concepts about the sanctity of the human body.
In a piece for the Huffington Post preceding the release of his novel this month, Istvan writes that transhumanism springs from “discontent about the humdrum status quo of human life and our frail, terminal human bodies,” and strives for immortality through the use of science at its most ambitious. At its least ambitious, transhumanists “want to be better, smarter, stronger” by replacing imperfect human parts with perfect machines.
Of course, the idea of using the power of the human mind to piece together better functioning human beings raises a number of metaphysical questions about human nature and the essence of what it means to be a person. Where is the line at which a person has been so thoroughly altered that they no longer wield the same identity?