Stelarc is an Australian performance artist focusing on extensions and modifications of the body. His latest artistic self-modding is having a third ear implanted in the forearm. He plans to update the ear with a Bluetooth transmitter in order to transmit a live feed on the internet. Weird.
In Michel Houellebecq‘s latest novel ‘The Possibility of an Island’, the story revolves about a cult (the ‘Elohimites’) who believes in creating eternal life by cloning humans. It turns out the story is based on a real, existing cult, the Raelians. Several of the quite absurd stories in Houellebecq’s book are based on reality: for instance, the cult leader is a former race car driver who believes he was chosen by extraterrestrial beings to preach the story of the Elohim (an advanced alien lifeform who created all of the terrestrial lifeforms). Clonaid, a company owned by the Raelians, claimed to have performed the first successful human cloning in 2002 – however, no scientific evidence for the cloning has ever been presented by Clonaid.
BTW, if you are to read a book by Houellebecq start with ‘Whatever’ (‘Extension du domaine de la lutte’) – it can be strongly recommended. (Though I liked ‘The possibility of an Island’, it is not on par with ‘Whatever’, ‘Platform’ or ‘Atomicity’).
Raymond Kurzweil was the synthesizer guru in the 80ies (I wanted one of those so badly back then). Since then he has become a prominent member of the Singularitarian community – people who strive to create a smarter-than-human intelligence (and ensure its safety!). According to Raymond a complete human brain simulation will be possible in 2025 and from that point on the singularity will be just around the corner.