3-D printing – Any of various processes used to make a three-dimensional object. In 3D printing, additive processes are used, in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry, and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source. A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot. Several different 3D printing processes have been invented since the late 1970s. The printers were originally large, expensive, and highly limited in what they could produce. A large number of additive processes are now available. The main differences between processes are in the way layers are deposited to create parts and in the materials that are used.
Adiabatic – An adiabatic process is one that occurs without transfer of heat or matter between a system and its surroundings. The adiabatic process provides a rigorous conceptual basis for the theory used to expound the first law of thermodynamics, and as such it is a key concept in thermodynamics.
Adiabatic quantum computing – This technique is best suited to optimization problems — the kind in which the best possible outcome must be found for a number of criteria simultaneously. All the possible solutions to such problems can be imagined as a mountain range in which the higher elevations correspond to configurations that violate most of the criteria — enemies sitting next to enemies, so to speak — and the lowest points correspond to solutions in which most or all of the criteria are satisfied. The trick is to find those low points. A conventional adiabatic computer can do that through the equivalent of huffing and puffing over the mountain passes, systematically looking for dips. But a quantum adiabatic computer does a rapid global search. It starts with the analogue of tipping water onto a flat landscape — a state in which the qubits are in a perfect quantum superposition of zeroes and ones — then lets the mountains rise slowly, so that the water naturally pools in the best solutions.
The key to such a computer is that its qubits are meant to stay in their lowest energy state at all times — the precariously balanced pencils have already fallen over. This gives it the massive advantage of being relatively resistant to outside interference, so that little or no error correction is needed until the computer has thousands of qubits or more.
Alchemy – A medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life; a power or process of transforming something common into something special; an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting.
Algorithms – A set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor. In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm (al-guh-rith-uh m) is a self-contained step-by-step set of operations to be performed. Algorithms exist that perform calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning. An algorithm is an effective method that can be expressed within a finite amount of space and time and in a well-defined formal language for calculating a function.
Androgyny – A combination of male and female characteristics. In biology, androgynous refers to having both female and male characteristics; hermaphroditic. Or, being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior. The word became nominalized (that is, made the transition from an adjective to a noun) in the mid-nineteenth century. In psychological terms, a mixed personality style in which an individual displays psychological characteristics typically assigned to men and women, as opposed to one or the other (for example, nurturing and aggressive).
Antimatter – A substance composed of subatomic particles that have the mass, electric charge, and magnetic moment of the electrons, protons, and neutrons of ordinary matter but for which the electric charge and magnetic moment are opposite in sign. The antimatter particles corresponding to electrons, protons, and neutrons are called positrons (e+), antiprotons (p), and antineutrons (n); collectively they are referred to as antiparticles. Matter and antimatter cannot coexist at close range for more than a small fraction of a second because they collide with and annihilate each other, releasing large quantities of energy in the form of gamma rays or elementary particles. Because of this, if weaponized, it will be the most destructive force ever to be unleashed.
Apotheosis – Men elevated to divine status : deification.
Artificial intelligence (AI) – The science and engineering of making intelligent machines. An “intelligence explosion”, where superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds, that might occur very quickly and might not stop until the agent’s cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human.
Binaural beats – Music tracks which play distinct tones of different frequency in each ear. The combination creates a third track in the brain with an undulating or rhythmic sound. It has been found that these beats can produce a trance-like state, and depending on the particular track, can mimic the effects of certain drugs like cocaine, marijuana or xanax, for instance. At first listen it sounds like hell has put out loud speakers. It is discordant and harsh, to say the least. It epitomizes deception and destruction. But binaural beats are being popularized because they open the door to exactly what the elite are seeking with their 666 Surveillance/Beast system: a population totally under control and receptive to direction.
Biomechatronics – Science that aims to integrate mechanical elements, electronics and parts of biological organisms. Biomechatronics includes the aspects of biology, mechanics, and electronics. It also encompasses the fields of robotics and neuroscience.
Biometrics – Metrics related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance. Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals such as fingerprints, retina scans, facial characteristics, etc.
Bionics – The application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.
Bioprinting – The process of generating 3D structures and geometries utilizing cells and an encapsulation material. The medical applications are numerous, and are thus the subject of intensive research at academic institutions. One major application area is in the tissue engineering field of regenerative medicine and has seen much preliminary success in terms of generation of several different kinds of tissues. These include skin, bone, cartilage, trachea, and heart tissue. While preliminary success has been attained in tissue structures, significant research effort is directed towards the generation of fully functional replacement organs and tissues, such as aortic heart valves.
Bit – the basic unit of information. It is used to represent information by computers. Regardless of its physical realization, a bit has two possible states typically thought of as 0 and 1, but more generally—and according to applications—interpretable as true and false, night and day, or any other dichotomous choice. An analogy to this is a light switch—its off position can be thought of as 0 and its on position as 1.
Catom, Claytronics – Claytronics is an abstract future concept that combines nanoscale robotics and computer science to create individual nanometer-scale computers called claytronic atoms, or catoms, which can interact with each other to form tangible 3D objects that a user can interact with. This idea is more broadly referred to as programmable matter. Claytronics has the potential to greatly affect many areas of daily life, such as telecommunication, human-computer interfaces, and entertainment.
Centaurs (in AI) – Amalgamated teams of humans and algorithms. In practical terms, wearable computers which allow pattern-recognition algorithms to layer useful information onto people’s views of the real world.
CERN – CERN is an acronym for “Counseil European pour la Recherche Necleaire.” The European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.
CGI – The process used for generating animated images by using computer graphics. The more general term ”Computer-Generated Imagery” encompasses both static scenes and dynamic images while computer animation only refers to moving images.
Chatbot – An artificial person, animal or other creature which holds conversations with humans. This could be a text based (typed) conversation, a spoken conversation or even a non-verbal conversation. Chatbot can run on local computers and phones, though most of the time it is accessed through the internet. Chatbot is typically perceived as engaging software entity which humans can talk to.
Chimera – (pronounced ki-mear-ah, as in kite) A mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. In genetics, an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.
CRISPR technology – CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gives scientists a precise way to delete and edit specific bits of DNA—even by changing a single base pair, whereas conventional gene therapies crudely placed new genetic material at a random location in the cell and could only add a gene. CRISPR has been used for gene editing (adding, disrupting or changing the sequence of specific genes) and gene regulation in species. By delivering the Cas9 protein and appropriate guide RNAs into a cell, the organism’s genome can be cut at any desired location. This means they can rewrite the human genome at will. A drive gene can be inserted along with another genetic component which changes or repairs the original DNA structure of the organism. By inserting this drive gene, the changes can be passed generationally to alter the genomes of entire populations.
Cryonics – The low-temperature preservation (freezing) of animals and humans who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future.
Cyborg – Short for “cybernetic organism,” a theoretical or fictional being with both organic and biomechatronic parts. Cyborgs are different from bionics, and the term is usually applied to an organism that has restored function or enhanced abilities due to some artificial component or technology. While cyborgs are commonly thought of as human, they might be any kind of organism. Futurists often promote the idea that cyborg technology will form a part of future human evolution. They may be either clearly mechanical or indistinguishable from humans in pop culture.
Cyranoids – Humans who have allowed another person to dictate what they say and do.
Dattoo – A Tattoo that has digital content, usually only visible through some kind of tech spec, like google goggles. Techniques include simple chip implants that are radio readable (like today’s dog embedded dog ID) to digital ink that has embedded code which responds with link and graphic information instantly renderable upon viewing the “datt” or “digitatt”
Dark matter – Something must hold our solar system, galaxies and clusters of galaxies together and gravity is that “glue.” In some clusters, the space between galaxies is filled with gas so hot, scientists cannot see it using visible light telescopes. The gas only can be seen as X-rays or gamma rays. Scientists look at that gas and measure how much there is between galaxies in clusters. By doing this, they discovered that there must be five times more material in the clusters than we can detect. That invisible matter is called “dark matter” and it accounts for most of the matter in the universe. The existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. It has not been detected directly, making it one of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics.
Data mining – An interdisciplinary subfield of computer science. The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use. The term is a misnomer, because the goal is the extraction of patterns and knowledge from large amount of data, not the extraction of data itself. In business, data mining is the analysis of historical business activities, stored as static data in data warehouse databases. The goal is to reveal hidden patterns and trends. In recent years, data mining has been used widely in the areas of science and engineering, such as bioinformatics, genetics, medicine, education and engineering. Passage of the Health Information Technology Act (HITECH) mandated electronic health records (EHR) and supporting technology, and helped to open the door to medical data mining. Prior to the signing of this law, estimates of only 20% of United States based physicians were utilizing electronic patient records. Søren Brunak notes that “the patient record becomes as information-rich as possible” and thereby “maximizes the data mining opportunities.” In March 2015, the Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act was introduced, to enable people to control how their personal information gets used. In other words, hands off data brokers; stop making money off of my life without my consent.
DARPA – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Because DARPA technology is used to protect national security and make the United States more effective militarily, it is largely classified. It is also extremely advanced, since the organization focuses on technological superiority. Periodically, information about agency projects does reach the public, but the details are usually deliberately obscured. Civilians, for example, might be aware that it is working on a cloaking device for camouflaging soldiers, but they will not be aware of the mechanics of the system. It is the government agency most identified with Black Ops.
Deep learning – A new area of Machine Learning research, which has been introduced with the objective of moving Machine Learning closer to one of its original goals: Artificial Intelligence. Deep Learning is about learning multiple levels of representation and abstraction that help to make sense of data such as images, sound, and text.
Echoborg – A living, breathing person who has temporarily given themselves over to become a robot’s mouthpiece.
Elastomer – A polymer with viscoelasticity (having both viscosity and elasticity) and very weak inter-molecular forces. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, although the latter is preferred when referring to vulcanisates. Each of the monomers which link to form the polymer is usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen or silicon.
Electronvolt (eV) – An electronvolt (eV) is the energy gained by one electron as it accelerates through a potential of one volt. The LHC reaches particle energies measured in trillions of eV: teraelectronvolts (TeV)
Epigenetic changes (or epigenetics) – The study of cellular and physiological trait variations that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. These alterations may or may not be heritable, although the use of the term epigenetic to describe processes that are not heritable is controversial. Unlike genetics based on changes to the DNA sequence (the genotype), the changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype of epigenetics have other causes. The term also refers to the changes themselves. One example in biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During embryo development, dividing stem cells become all of the various cell lines of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells.
Gene drives – So-called selfish genes that appear more frequently in offspring than normal genes, and which have about a 50-50 chance of being passed on since organisms that reproduce sexually carry two copies of each gene, and each parent hands one copy down to offspring. An engineered gene drive improves those odds. It contains a modified gene, coupled with an enzyme that will shred the normal, unaltered copy of the gene. When a cell tries to repair this damage, it will often use the unshredded copy, including the gene drive, as a template. That means more than half the offspring — in some organisms nearly all — will carry the new gene. Gene drives actually drive a gene through a population. When combined with modification through CRISPR technology, researchers just have to slip a new or modified gene into a drive system and let nature take care of the rest. Subsequent generations of whatever species being modified will have more and more individuals with that gene until, eventually, it’s everywhere.
Ex vivo contact – Experimentation or measurements done in or on tissue from an organism in an external environment with the minimum alteration of natural conditions. Ex vivo conditions allow experimentation on an organisms cells or tissue under more controlled conditions than is possible in in vivo experiments (in the intact organism), at the expense of altering the “natural” environment.
fMRI – A functional neuroimaging procedure using MRI technology that measures brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow. This technique relies on the fact that cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation are coupled. When an area of the brain is in use, blood flow to that region also increases.
Gamma rays – In the universe there are kinds of energy and different ways it manifests itself. One common form is radiation. Radiation is the wave energy produced by electromagnetic forces. There are alpha rays, beta rays, and finally gamma rays. Essentially each example is high energy particles traveling in a straight line. Alpha rays are the weakest; gamma rays are the strongest from of radiation. This is what makes nuclear radiation so dangerous. It’s a high energy form of radiation. In circumstances where gamma radiation is plentiful most life forms would be killed within a short amount of time. Alpha and beta rays are composed of discrete subatomic particles. Gamma rays are on a wholly different level. They are pure energy and radiation so only the most dense kind of matter (like lead) can deflect it.
Geoengineering – The deliberate modification of a planet’s environment by the addition or subtraction of a resource or energy input on a massive scale. It is accomplished through two primary ideologies, Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which is controlling sunlight before it reaches the planet. and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Chemtrailing is the public’s term for the CLASSIFIED ONGOING artificial modification of Earth’s climate systems using reflective nano-materials (aerosols) to reflect sunlight. The aerosols are dispersed via jet aircraft trails that expand into reflective artificial clouds.
Germline modification – Making genetic changes to embryos.
Hegelian dialectic – Problem, reaction, solution. The process by which all change is being accomplished in society today by manipulating the minds of the average citizen to accept that change, where ordinarily they would refuse it. In short, it is the critical process by which the ruling elite create a problem, anticipating in advance the reaction that the population will have to the given crisis, and thus conditioning the people that a change is needed. When the population is properly conditioned, the desired agenda of the ruling elite is presented as the solution. The solution isn’t intended to solve the problem, but rather to serve as the basis for a new problem or exacerbate the existing one. When the newly inflamed difficulty reaches the boiling point of a crisis, it becomes the foundation upon which arguments may again be made for change. Hence, the process is repeated, over and over, moving society toward whatever end the planners have in mind.
Hive mind – A single, collective consciousness or intelligence occupying many bodies or entities. A group mind might be formed by telepathy, by adding brain-to-brain communication to ordinary individuals, or by some unspecified means. This term may be used interchangeably with “hive mind”. Hive minds are group minds with (almost) complete loss (or lack) of individuality, identity, and personhood. The individuals forming the hive may specialize in different functions, similarly to social insects; an intelligent version of real-life superorganisms such as an ant colony or beehive. Current fictional examples include “the Borg” in Star Trek.
Hologram – A negative produced by exposing a high-resolution photographic plate, without camera or lens, near a subject illuminated by monochromatic, coherent radiation, as from a laser: when it is placed in a beam of coherent light a true three-dimensional image of the subject is formed. Unlike 3-D or virtual reality on a two-dimensional computer display, a hologram is a truly three-dimensional and free-standing image that does not simulate spatial depth or require a special viewing device.
Humans 2.0 – Recent breakthroughs in bionics and lab-grown body parts, along with plans to recreate the intricacies of the human brain within a decade, show science is rapidly creating many of the parts needed to build a fully functional human almost from scratch. A person, imbued with superpowers that let him learn, play, and love in new ways. It’s also a society, rethinking how to vote, govern, prosecute, cure, and comfort. It’s as much about upgrades to our bodies—seeing around corners, navigating flawlessly, hearing things miles away—as it is about adding our thoughts to the hive mind of human consensus.
Internet of things – More objects are becoming embedded with sensors and gaining the ability to communicate. The resulting information networks promise to create sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers— linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it swiftly. These physical information systems are now beginning to be deployed, and some of them even work largely without human intervention.
Internet of Living Things – Any living thing, or system of living things, can be connected to the internet via any real-time DNA sensing device. Think about a device performing a real time inventory of living systems, perhaps blood, food production lines, ecosystems etc. This is designed to stream to cloud based analysis services and thence tracked both over time, by location and other related data. The biological state of anything, then, becomes an extension of the internet. Analytics based on such stateful data streams can provide a new layer of intelligence about natural systems.
Large hadron collider (LHC) – The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It first started up on 10 September 2008, and remains the latest addition to CERN’s accelerator complex. The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way. Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide. The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum. They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field maintained by superconducting electromagnets.
Living Services – How brands will use the Internet of Things and powerful data analytics to create services that come to life; predicting and reacting to consumers’ changing needs and circumstances. In other words, branded services that are personalized and change in real-time for every individual wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
Magick – Occult or ritual magic, as opposed to the usual common magic such as in magic shows. It often is used in wicca, for instance. in the context of Aleister Crowley’s Thelema, it is a term used to differentiate the occult from stage magic and is defined as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”, including both “mundane” acts of will as well as ritual magic.
Magnetopause – The magnetopause is the area of the magnetosphere wherein the pressure from the planetary magnetic field is balanced with the pressure from the solar wind. It is the abrupt boundary between a magnetosphere and the surrounding plasma, the convergence of the shocked solar wind from the magnetosheath with the magnetic field of the object and plasma from the magnetosphere. Because both sides of this convergence contain magnetized plasma, the interactions between them are complex. For planetary science, the magnetopause is the boundary between the planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind. The location of the magnetopause is determined by the balance between the pressure of the dynamic planetary magnetic field and the dynamic pressure of the solar wind. As the solar wind pressure increases and decreases, the magnetopause moves inward and outward in response.
Magnetosphere – the area of space near an astronomical object in which charged particles are controlled by that object’s magnetic field. Near the surface of the object, the magnetic field lines resemble those of a magnetic dipole. Farther away from the surface, the field lines are significantly distorted by electric currents flowing in the plasma (e.g. in ionosphere or solar wind). When speaking about Earth, magnetosphere is typically used to refer to the outer layer of the ionosphere, although some sources consider the ionosphere and magnetosphere to be separate. Emissions from the Sun create conditions in our solar system that are very hostile to life. Earth’s magnetosphere protects the planet’s surface from charged particles of the solar wind. Without this protection, life as we know it would probably not exist on Earth.
Memristor technology – Computers that operate more like the human brain. Instead of operating like a conventional, digital system, these new devices could potentially function more like a network of neurons.
Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) – A special form of in vitro fertilization in which the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party donor. This technique is used in cases when mothers carry genetic mitochondrial diseases, and conventional in vitro fertilization techniques do not work. Mitochondrial diseases often involve energy production issues, and ultimately muscular issues down the road for people affected.
Moore’s Law – The observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. The capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore’s law: quality-adjusted microprocessor prices, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras. All of these are improving at roughly exponential rates as well.
This exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the effect of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy. Moore’s law describes a driving force of technological and social change, productivity, and economic growth in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Multidimensional Universe (or Multiverse) – The hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes (including the Universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes or “alternate universes.” Einstein’s theory of relativity opened up the universe to a multitude of dimensions, because there was no limit on how it functioned. Relativity worked just as well in four dimensions as in forty. But string theory only works in ten or eleven dimensions. If scientists can find evidence supporting string theory, they will have limited the number of dimensions that could exist within the universe. We only experience four dimensions. Scientists have theorized the missing dimensions predicted by string theory are curled up into a compact space. If the space is tiny, on the scale of the strings (on the order of 10-33 centimeters), then we would be unable to detect them. On the other hand, the extra dimensions could conceivably be too large for us to measure; our four dimensions could be curled up exceedingly small inside of these larger dimensions. The hidden dimensions and unseen realms make up a much larger proportion of the universe than the physical parts which are visible to us – physicists call the unseen parts “dark matter” and “dark energy.”
Nanobots – Incredibly tiny robots, on a microscopic scale. The name comes from a combination of the nanometer, the scale the devices are built at, and robot; also known as nanorobots, nanites, or nanomachines. The term nano describes a length of measurement equal to one-billionth of one meter which is approximately the width of 10 atoms. The resulting miniature robotic machines may be as small as a few molecules in length or width. In medicine, nanorobots can deliver and release biomolecules based on temperature. Built from molecules, the “DNA Nanocage” was designed by researchers, using programmable, synthetic DNA. DNA has emerged as the premier material for nanoscale construction. Its applications now extend beyond simple information storage, sensing, or even molecular computing, to being programmable vehicles for drug delivery and cell control.
Nanopore – A very small hole. It may, for example, be created by a pore-forming protein or as a hole in synthetic materials such as silicon or graphene. When a nanopore is present in an electrically insulating membrane, it can be used as a single-molecule detector.
Nanopore sequencing – a method under development since 1995 for determining the order in which nucleotides occur on a strand of DNA. A nanopore is simply a small hole with an internal diameter of the order of 1 nanometer. Certain porous transmembrane cellular proteins act as nanopores, and nanopores have also been made by etching a somewhat larger hole (several tens of nanometers) in a piece of silicon, and then gradually filling it in using ion-beam sculpting methods which results in a much smaller diameter hole.
Nanopore technology – Nanopore-based DNA sequencing involves threading single DNA strands through tiny pores in a membrane. Bases – the chemical letters of DNA – are read one at a time as they squeeze through the nanopore. The bases are identified by measuring differences in their effect on ions and electrical current flowing through the pore. Nanopores used in DNA sequencing are very tiny, perhaps only about 2 nanometers in diameter. A human hair, in contrast, is 100,000 nanometers wide.
Nano technology – Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology.
Neural networks – Any group of neurons that conduct impulses in a coordinated manner, as the assemblages of brain cells that record a visual stimulus. Also called neural net, a computer model designed to simulate the behavior of biological neural networks, as in pattern recognition, language processing, and problem solving, with the goal of self-directed information processing.
Nucleotides – Organic molecules that serve as the monomers, or subunits, of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA. The building blocks of nucleic acids, nucleotides are composed of a nitrogenous base, a five-carbon sugar, and at least one phosphate group. Thus a nucleoside plus a phosphate group yields a nucleotide. Nucleotides serve to carry packets of energy within the cell in the form of the nucleoside triphosphates, playing a central role in metabolism. In addition, nucleotides participate in cell signaling, and are incorporated into important cofactors of enzymatic reactions.
Optogenetics – A relatively new neuroscience approach that combines genetics with the physics of light. It uses light to monitor and control neurons that have been genetically modified to sense and respond to light.
Panspermia – From the Greek, pan meaning all, and sperma meaning seed, or “seeds everywhere.” The hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and, also, by spacecraft in the form of unintended contamination by microorganisms.
Panspermia proposes that microscopic life forms can survive the effects of space, after becoming trapped in debris that is ejected into space during collisions between planets and small Solar System bodies that harbor life. Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. If met with ideal conditions on a new planet’s surfaces, the organisms become active and the process of evolution begins. Panspermia is not meant to address how life began, just the method that may cause its distribution in the Universe.
Also includes the theory of “Directed Panspermia,” first proposed in 1973 by Nobel prize winner Professor Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double helical structure of the DNA molecule, who found it impossible that the complexity of DNA could have evolved naturally. He argued that the strategy of directed panspermia may have already been pursued by an advanced civilization facing catastrophic annihilation, or hoping to terraform planets for later colonization.
Particle accelerator – Particle accelerators use strong electric fields to speed up tiny pieces of matter. The LHC beams contain hundreds of trillions of particles, each travelling at 99.99999999% of the speed of light
Posthuman – Either completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques. A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a “posthuman god”; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.
Programmable matter – Programmable matter can respond to input to change physical shape and other characteristics. This input can include commands from a user, much like those used to direct a computer, as well as feedback from an automated controller. The technology behind programmable matter has a wide range of potential applications for consumer products, scientific research, and military uses, among others. There are several approaches to the development of programmable matter that can be based on things like fluids, composites, and robotics systems. In all cases, the matter is capable of changing one or more properties. It could grow darker or lighter in response to input, for example, or might transform into another shape on command. The individual molecules within it may be able to change shape, creating molecular-level variations in composition that may be applied in a number of ways.
Qubit – In quantum computing, a qubit or quantum bit is a unit of quantum information—the quantum analogue of the classical bit. A qubit is a two-state quantum-mechanical system, such as the polarization of a single photon: here the two states are vertical polarization and horizontal polarization. In a classical system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other. However quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a superposition of both states at the same time, a property which is fundamental to quantum computing. A qubit has a few similarities to a classical bit, but is overall very different. There are two possible outcomes for the measurement of a qubit—usually 0 and 1, like a bit. The difference is that whereas the state of a bit is either 0 or 1, the state of a qubit can also be a superposition of both. In principle, they can explore different solutions simultaneously — reducing a multi-year calculation to seconds.
Ray Kurzweil – An American author, computer scientist, inventor, futurist, and director of engineering at Google. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, as has been displayed in his vast collection of public talks, wherein he has shared his primarily optimistic outlooks on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology. Kurzweil has been described as a “restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Kurzweil wrote and co-produced a movie called The Singularity Is Near: A True Story About the Future, in 2010 based, in part, on his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near. In 2008 he co-founded Singularity University, an unaccredited teaching organization located in Silicon Valley whose stated aim is to “educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”
RFID technology – RFID stands for Radio-Frequency IDentification. The acronym refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna, involving the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The chip typically is capable of carrying 2,000 bytes of data or less. The RFID device serves the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card; it provides a unique identifier for that object. And, just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart.
Singularity (or the Singularity) – Singularity is the point at which the continuation of humanity as we’ve always known it ceases. While there are many possible ways of reaching the singularity, some of the most likely are through the development of artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces or biologic enhancement (transhumanism). The goal of those seeking singularity? To live eternally on their own terms, rather than on God’s. Technological singularity is the hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect wherein artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing civilization in an event called “the singularity”. Because the capabilities of such an intelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is an occurrence beyond which events may become unpredictable, unfavorable, or even unfathomable. Some writers use “the singularity” in a broader way to refer to any radical changes in our society brought about by new technologies such as molecular nanotechnology, although some writers specifically state that without superintelligence, such changes would not qualify as a true singularity.
Singularity University – a California Benefit Corporation part university, part think-tank, part business-incubator located in Silicon Valley whose stated aim is to “educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.” It was founded in 2008 by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil in Moffett Field, CA. Singularity University began with an annual 10-week supplemental summer program and has since grown to an innovation pipeline with conference series, an array of classes, an incubation lab for startups and corporate teams, and an expanding global alumni network.
Globally, Singularity University aims to develop a global network of innovation ecosystems alongside a coalition of entrepreneurs, business leaders, universities, government agencies and nonprofits. The institution taps into a large and growing community of scientists, thinkers, engineers, investors, business leaders, and public policy makers who are motivated to explore the potential of rapidly advancing technologies to take on humanity’s big challenges.
Smart dust – The next generation of computers which will be able to carry out complex calculations but will be little bigger than a snowflake. These devices, a cubic millimeter in size, come equipped with sensors to monitor temperature or movement, say, and can send data via radio waves. The motes will live off the power they can scavenge from their surroundings. It is a system of many tiny microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) such as sensors, robots, or other devices, that can detect, for example, light, temperature, vibration, magnetism, or chemicals. They are usually operated on a computer network wirelessly and are distributed over some area to perform tasks, usually sensing through radio-frequency identification.
Sonogenics – A new method of selectively activating brain, heart, muscle and other cells using ultrasonic waves (the same type of waves used in medical sonograms) by activating neurons.
Standard model of physics – The standard model is the name given in the 1970s to a theory of fundamental particles and how they interact. It incorporated all that was known about subatomic particles at the time and predicted the existence of additional particles as well. There are seventeen named particles in the standard model. Fundamental particles are either the building blocks of matter, called fermions, or the mediators of interactions, called bosons. There are twelve named fermions and five named bosons in the standard model. Fermions cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Leptons and quarks are fermions, but so are things made from them like protons, neutrons, atoms, molecules, people, and walls. This agrees with our macroscopic observations of matter in everyday life. People cannot walk through walls unless the wall gets out of the way. Bosons, in contrast, have no problem occupying the same place at the same time. As the particles that make up light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, photons are the bosons we have the most direct experience with. In our everyday experience, we never see beams of light crash into one another. Photons are like phantoms. One may pass through the other with no effect. Three of the four fundamental forces of nature are included in the standard model of particle physics — electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force. Each force acts between particles because of some property of that particle — charge for electromagnetism, color for the strong force, and flavor for the weak force. Gravity does not fit in the standard model, and is the flaw in standard model of particle physics, which has led to the development of alternate theories, such as string theory.
Stargate (or portal) – An (artificial or natural subspace Wormhole) which is a traversable portal device that allows practical, rapid travel between dimensions or between two distant locations in the Universe. It can send one to another location light years away nearly instantaneously. Lorentzian traversable wormholes would allow travel in both directions from one part of the universe to another part of that same universe very quickly or would allow travel from one universe to another. Other types of traversable wormholes have been discovered as allowable solutions to the equations of general relativity.
String theory – String theory is a mathematical theory that tries to explain certain phenomena which is not currently explainable under the standard model of quantum physics. General relativity and quantum mechanics take different approaches at looking at how the universe works. Many physicists feel that there must be a method that unites the two. One contender for such a universal theory is superstring theory, or string theory. Protons, neutrons, and electrons are the basic subatomic particles that create all matter as we know it. Scientists have studied how these particles move and interact with one another, but the process has raised a number of conflicts. According to string theory, these subatomic particles do not exist. Instead, tiny pieces of vibrating string too small to be observed by today’s instruments replace them. Each string may be closed in a loop, or open. Vibrations from the string correspond with each of the particles and determine the particles’ size and mass. On a subatomic level, there is a relationship between the frequency at which something vibrates and its energy. At the same time, as Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 tells us, there is a relationship between energy and mass. Therefore, a relationship exists between an object’s vibrational frequency and its mass. Such a relationship is central to string theory.
Supersymmetry (SUSY) – An extension of the Standard Model of physics which was introduced to cancel out some divergencies. It also provides a framework for attempts to unify electromagnetic, weak, strong, and gravitational interactions. It’s a theory of particle physics, a proposed type of spacetime symmetry that relates two basic classes of elementary particles: bosons and fermions. If supersymmetry is a true symmetry of nature, it would explain many mysterious features of particle physics and would help solve paradoxes. Direct confirmation would entail production of superpartners at collider experiments, such as at the Large Hadron Collider of CERN. Supersymmetry is part of a larger enterprise of theoretical physics to unify everything we know about the universe into a single consistent set of physical principles, known as the quest for a Theory of Everything (TOE). A significant part of this larger enterprise is the quest for a theory of quantum gravity, which would unify the classical theory of general relativity and the Standard Model.
Targeted muscle re-innervation – A new type of surgery that rewires the nerve endings that control the limbs so amputees can better control their electronic prosthetic arms and legs.
Telomeres – A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. They have been likened to the aglets (tips) on the ends of shoelaces that keep them from fraying. The telomere shortening mechanism normally limits cells to a fixed number of divisions, and animal studies suggest that this is responsible for aging on the cellular level and sets a limit on lifespans.
The Matrix – Originally a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film. It depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer “Neo” learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the “dream world.” Since that time, it has been used generally as a term to describe existence in a “virtual reality” in which reality could be simulated—for example by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from “true” reality.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation – A noninvasive method used to stimulate small regions of the brain. During a TMS procedure, a magnetic field generator, or “coil”, is placed near the head of the person receiving the treatment. The coil produces small electric currents in the region of the brain just under the coil via electromagnetic induction. The coil is connected to a pulse generator, or stimulator, that delivers electric current to the coil. The treatment often is used for depression but it can change thoughts and beliefs in those undergoing treatment also.
Transgenic – Of, relating to, or containing a gene or genes transferred from another species, such as transgenic mice. A transgene is a gene or genetic material that has been transferred naturally, or by any of a number of genetic engineering techniques from one organism to another. The introduction of a transgene has the potential to change the phenotype (observable traits and products of behavior, such as a bird’s nest) of an organism. In its most precise usage, the term transgene describes a segment of DNA containing a gene sequence that has been isolated from one organism and is introduced into a different organism.
Transhumanism – An intermediary form between human and posthuman; a transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans. These abilities might include improved intelligence, awareness, strength, or durability. Transhumans sometimes appear in science-fiction as cyborgs or genetically-enhanced humans.
WIMPS – Weakly interacting massive particles. Like the term “dark matter,” WIMP is generic: the name describes the energy scale at which these hypothetical particles interact with ordinary matter, which in turn reveals something about their mass. For that reason, the majority of dark matter experiments are looking for WIMPs, and in most discussions when we say “dark matter,” we really mean “WIMP.”
Because supersymmetric extensions of the standard model of particle physics readily predict a new particle with these properties, a stable supersymmetric partner has long been a prime WIMP candidate. However, recent null results from direct detection experiments including LUX and SuperCDMS, along with the failure to produce evidence of supersymmetry in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment has cast doubt on the simplest WIMP hypothesis.
Xenotransplantation – Named by the Genetic Literacy Program, the process, being developed by the California company Ganogen, removes the organs from aborted babies, transplants them into a rat or pig and then allows them to grow so they can be transplanted into a human. Work initially has been done on kidneys.
Xenotransplantation – Any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of either (a) live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source, or (b) human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivo contact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues or organs.
Zoltan Istvan – Zolton Istvan is probably the foremost proponent of transhumanism today. An American author, he has written a best-selling book, “The Transhumanist Wager” which takes the transhumanist idea to the extreme. It is a novel, and has been compared to “Atlas Shrugged” both for his literary ability and for the comprehensive, influential vision of the world which it sets forth. Istvan views transhumanism as a scientific concept and as an athiest he has disdain for any faith-based worldview. Yet he is inconsistent, for if you read much of his writing, you’ll soon find that his ideas are just as faith-based as those he criticizes. It’s merely that his faith is in transhumanism. It basically has become a religion for him. He also is a candidate for President on the Transhumanist Party Ticket. He writes transhumanist-themed columns: “The Transhumanist Philosopher” for Psychology Today and “Transhumanist Future” for Vice’s Motherboard. He has also worked as a reporter for the National Geographic Channel and is a blogger of futurist, transhumanist, and atheist topics for The Huffington Post.