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Ramez Naam on Singularity 1 on 1: The World Needs Innovation. Don’t Be a Spectator, Participate!

Yesterday I interviewed Ramez Naam for my singularity podcast.

Ramez is the author of an award-winning, timely and easy to digest book on the ethical, political, economic and other implications of transhumanism titled More Than Human.

Since I enjoyed reading the book very much I simply had to interview Naam and ask him to talk more about his ideas. During our conversation we discuss a variety of topics such as: Ramez’ early interest philosophy, physics and computer science; the motivation behind his work at Microsoft on projects such as MS Word, Outlook and the Bing search engine; the inspiration behind his book on transhumanism; human evolution and the way technology has become a crucial part of who we are; playing God in general and altering the human DNA in particular; life extension and the probability of overcoming death; artificial intelligencethe technological singularity and why he is not a singularitarian; the limits to growth, resource depletion, innovation and optimism.

(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.)

Who is Ramez Naam?

Ramez Naam is a computer scientist and entrepreneur. He is the author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, which the LA Times called “a terrific survey of current work and future possibilities in gene therapy, neurotechnology, and other fields.” For More Than Human, Naam was awarded the 2005 H.G. Wells Award for Contributions to Transhumanism.

Ramez spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he lead development on early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and most recently the Bing search engine.

Naam is a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and blogs at UnbridledSpeculation.com. He lives in Seattle, where he is currently working on his next book The Infinite Resource: Harnessing the Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.

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  • An interview full of great quotes! My 2 favorites, as a fiction writer and transhumanist / transhumanism enthusiast:

    ” . . fiction demands danger and risk, and the risk of catastrophe makes a good story.”

    ” . . the majority of humanity are transhumanists, and just don’t know it.”

    My one raised eyebrow in this interview is the mention of GMOs in a blanket positive light. I’m no fan of Monsanto, to put it most diplomatically!

  •  Thanks Cynthia, happy you liked the interview. I am myself not a big fan of Montsanto’s especially the now defunct “Terminator” seed program…

  • Thanks, Cynthia.  I 

  • Thanks, Cynthia.  I dislike some of Monsanto’s practices, though broadly speaking I like their products.  But more to the point, I think Monsanto is to GMOs what IBM was to computing.  They’re the first wave.  The waves to come will have more diversity, more start-ups, and more competition between developers of new crops to produce varieties that farmers and consumers love.

  • “more start-ups, and more competition between developers of new crops to produce varieties”

    I sincerely hope you are right! Thanks for a great interview. 🙂

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  • Thank you Socrates for this excellent interview with Ramez Naam. I am fascinated by the possibilites of how life experiences have changed me so fundamentally, I’m sure at a cellular level….and that creates possibilities with other creature for more and more change. It is difficult for me to grasp it without feeling that I might blow an inner circuit. I admire how you both are taking on these topics. I am trolling the internet trying to get people who I think might be interested (but also being extremely selecting so as to use my scant available time well) in taking a look at a socio-economic innovation called COPIOSIS ….. which I believe can help humanity, transform humaity, catapult humanity gracefully into these new systems that you guys are talking about.

    One of the aspects I love about it is that there is room for Monsanto …..if Monsanto was willing to make the shifts needed, of course.

    “I just heard in the interview the part where you both speak about personal freedoms and shifts needed to be taken from the bottom up. ” YES!

    Please look at our web site…. Copiosis.com . (I say OUR, but really I am just a enthusiastic messenger. There is a pdf written by the founder of Copiosis, Perry Gruber. — If you are interested in reading I can pass you a copy free of the Amazon charge with great pleasure. ) THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND FOR WORK IN OUR WORLD!

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