Chances are, you're at least familiar with "the singularity" even if you've never picked up Ray Kurzweil's book or read anything at all about "transhumanism" or "augmented reality" or HET ("human enhancement technology"). Simply stated, the human race appears to be on the cusp of overcoming its current physical and mental limitations through a mix of biological and computational means. The magazine that has become the voice of the singularity is h+ magazine (the name is rather self-effacing, but it stands for "humanity plus") -- and the Fall 2009 issue is one of the most, well, mind-bending magazines that I've read this year. It's like WIRED magazine mixed together with those New Age magazines at the checkout stands at Whole Foods, spiced up with a healthy mix of inscrutable Matrix-style science fiction. The current issue includes:
- Excerpts from a Stephen Hawking lecture, in which he notes that humans "may have entered a new stage of evolution"
- A story by Surfdaddy Orca on how people are using "cognitive enhancers" to improve brain performance
- An article on "psychedelic transhumanism" that references Timothy Leary
- Advertisements for "cryonic suspension"
- Discussion of "nano-persons" and "macro-persons"
Oh, and just to bring it all back to pop culture and make it somewhat accessible to the masses, the magazine features a cover story on Fox TV's The Dollhouse -- the futuristic, sci-fi show starring Eliza Dushku that's about "programmable human dolls" made possible by breakthroughs in neurological technology.