Culture & Politics

Virtually Human: The Promise—and the Peril—of Digital Immortality (collaborator)

Martine Rothblatt St. Martins Press September 2014

Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives. Meet Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina.

If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos through Instagram, or blogging regularly, you’re already on your way to creating a Mindfile—a digital database of your thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions that is essentially a back-up copy of your mind. Soon, this Mindfile can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that mimics the way human brains organize information, create emotions and achieve self-awareness.

This may sound like science-fiction, but the nascent technology already exists. Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working to create cyberconsciousness based on human consciousness and the Obama administration recently announced plans to invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and Rothblatt, with a Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue.

“Exponential technologies are driving a new dimension of human evolution. In her compelling book, Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt outlines how artificial consciousness is just around the corner, and explores the scientific and ethical ramifications. Science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact and the implications are breathtaking. Virtually Human is critical reading to anyone who plans to be around for the next couple of decades.”—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, CEO, XPRIZE; Exec Chairman, Singularity University; New York Times bestselling author of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think

“We are in the midst of a war between biological and electronic brains for dominance in our hybrid population. Bio-brains are, so far, ahead based on their inventiveness, energy-efficiency and exponential improvement rate. Will ethics asymmetrically restrict engineering humans or will it equally apply soon to ‘virtually human’ electronic brains?  Martine’s insights on these and many other topics are timely and welcome.”—George Church, Harvard Professor, and author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

“Virtually Human is a fascinating read that clearly brings Alan Turing into the 21st century. I have argued that we are DNA-software driven machines and as we expand digital-biological interconversions, Martine’s “mind clones” and functional avatars are a logical outcome. Only by attempting to recreate models of humans will we truly begin to understand ourselves. Virtually Human is a great beginning.” —J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., author of Life At The Speed Of Light and creator of the first synthetic cell

“In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt builds on the observation that “I think, therefore I am” in ways that Descartes could not have imagined.  With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, Rothblatt predicts that we soon will confront cyberconsciousness comparable to—indeed, indistinguishable from—the human mind. When we cross this technological Rubicon, we will be forced to reconsider the meaning of concepts as foundational as life and death, law and liberty, love and kinship. Bringing to bear the lessons of history, philosophy, psychology, law and science, Rothblatt makes abundantly clear that these unprecedented challenges will define the humanity not just of our technological doppelgangers but of ourselves.”— Rachel F. Moran, Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, and author of Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance

“Martine Rothblatt delivers an engaging exploration of the pathway to the near-term realization of our digital clones, and through the many ethical, legal, and spiritual challenges their advent will pose. Even skeptics, like myself, will find Virtually Human an intriguing vision filled with profoundly challenging ideas.”—Wendell Wallach, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, co-author of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong

“The social struggle over the moral status of uploaded personalities and machine minds will be as fraught and momentous as the struggles to end slavery and extend women’s suffrage.  In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt brings her remarkable intellect and profound ethical insight to this issue in a way that will make it essential reading.”—James J. Hughes, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

“Martine Rothblatt’s combination of stunning intellect, imagination, and optimism about the future take us to places that most of us can’t yet contemplate, but should. The term ‘renaissance person’ is overused, but so deserved in Rothblatt’s case. With her unparalleled expertise from several fields and deep understanding of our fears and trepidations, Rothblatt describes the science and human processes that will bring us to virtual humanity – and to the vast possibilities it brings.”—Judy Olian, Dean and John E. Anderson Chair in Management, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“A wide-ranging, very readable, and possibly prescient look at one of the future’s most exciting — and at the same time most disturbing — possibilities. Martine Rothblatt has been investigating this field, which some call uploading, for as long as anyone and has many rewarding insights.”—J. Storrs Hall, author of Beyond AI and Nanofuture

“Advances in cognitive and computer sciences render artificial humans possible, some duplicating natural individuals with increasing fidelity.  When must we confront the ethical, legal, and social implications?  Now, in Virtually Human! “—William Sims Bainbridge, author of Personality Capture and Emulation and eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming

“Martine Rothblatt has a knack for expanding our minds as well as our comfort zones beyond customary boundaries, be they of gender or substrate.” —Ray Kurzweil

Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character (editor)

Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono – Templeton Press, Spring 2014

If there was a new wonder drug on the market that got kids to behave better, improve their grades, feel happier, and avoid risky behaviors, many parents around the world would be willing to empty their bank accounts to acquire it. Amazingly, such a product actually does exist. It’s not regulated by the FDA, it has no ill side-effects, and it’s absolutely free and avail­able to anyone at any time. This miracle cure is gratitude.

Over the past decade, science has shown that gratitude is one of the most valuable and important emotions we possess, and it is a virtue that anyone can cultivate. In fact, researchers have developed many different methods people can use to foster an attitude of gratitude, and the science shows that many of them really work.

In Making Grateful Kids, two of the leading authorities on gratitude among young people, Jeffrey J. Froh and Giacomo Bono, introduce their latest and most compelling research, announce groundbreaking findings, and share real-life stories from adults and youth to show parents, teachers, mentors, and kids themselves how to achieve greater life satisfaction through gratitude. Most importantly perhaps, they expand on this groundbreaking research to offer practical and effec­tive common-sense plans that can be used in day-to-day interactions between kids and adults to enhance success and wellbeing.

Their unique, scientifically-based approach for producing grateful youth works whether these kids are very young ele­mentary school students or troubled teenagers. Not only does the purposeful practice of gratitude increase their happiness, but the research indicates that grateful kids also report more self-discipline, fulfilling relationships, and engagement with their schools and communities when compared to their less grateful counterparts. After reading Making Grateful Kids, parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will be able to connect more mean­ingfully with kids so that all parties can focus on the things that matter most and, in turn, create a more cooperative and thriving society.

“Of the key virtues that make for a successful life, gratitude is one that is often overlooked in child-rearing and education today. In Making Grateful Kids, Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono have given us the most valuable kind of guide to child development: one that is full of compelling examples and backed up by state-of-the-art research findings. Parents, educators, students, and practitioners will benefit greatly from this book.” — William Damon, professor of education, Stanford University, director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, and author of The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life

“In their thoughtful, engaging, and informative book, Froh and Bono contribute mightily to science and to families around the world. Making Grateful Kids explains the significance of the burgeoning scientific study of character development among youth, provides parents with evidence-based ideas for enhancing an essential facet of thriving among adolescents, and offers practitioners and policy makers a positive, hopeful vision for promoting positive development among present and future generations of young people. All readers will be grateful for this timely and important book. — Richard M. Lerner, PhD, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University, and author of The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years

“This book provides scientifically-based answers to the question that every parent asks: How can I get my kids to be more grateful? Froh and Bono, pioneers in the field of youth gratitude, point to specific practices and principles that can be used by parents, teachers, and kids alike. They make a compelling case for why, when it comes to future generations, gratitude is the single best investment we can make. My hope is that this book will help give rise to “Generation G”—Young adults that recognize the transforming power of gratitude.” — Robert A. Emmons, editor-in-chief, The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

“Making Grateful Kids is the book that parents have been waiting for. Chock-full of engaging examples and stories, reams of supportive empirical evidence, and clear, easy-to-follow recommendations for how to instill gratitude starting today, Froh and Bono impart a really valuable message: Gratitude matters and it matters most in kids.“ — Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness.

Israel: The Will to Prevail (collaborator)

Danny Danon Palgrave March 2012 – Paperback edition with new preface, October 2013

Danny Danon has been a vocal opponent of disengaging in the Gaza Strip and West bank, and transforming the stalemate “two state/one state” dialogue to include regional partners, at times standing in direct opposition to his own party’s leadership. A well-known and frequent speaker in the global arena, he is the rising voice for a fresh movement toward nationalism among the generation of Israelis currently coming to power. Here, Danon shares this vision with the world. It is a bold and uncompromising stance in the face of attacks on Israel’s sovereignty by other Middle Eastern nations as the United States sends mixed signals of support to further its own goals in the region. Danon dissects the missteps and wrong turns that Israel’s politicians have taken in the past by working to appease the United States and not offend their neighbors, instead of prioritizing their nation’s own viability. With electrifying zeal, he tackles the challenges Israel faces today to undo what he sees as a consequence brought on by years of acquiescence to US policy. Danon believes “US pressure on Israel is hurting Israel and will do nothing to advance peace”. Danon leads the charge toward a victorious future with an invitation for the United States and the Middle East to participate in, and not just dictate, Israel’s international relations and policies (as opposed to an Israel cuckolded with an endless array of caveats toward those who would see it fall). No stranger to controversy, Danon’s unabashed insights are a welcome revelation in the current quagmire of Middle-East international relations. A leading speaker to both Jewish groups and Christian Conservatives, the LA Jewish Journal says, “What Danny says is what Bibi is actually thinking.” For Danny Danon, this is only the beginning.

Secret of the Secret: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Runaway Bestseller
 (author/writer)

Karen Kelly

In the same vein as Breaking the Da Vinci Code, my book takes an independent look at the people and the ideas behind the phenomenon and examines what made the so-called law of attraction and the power of positive thinking, so tangible, possible, and real to the American public — and as a result so successful. (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne, August 2007) Rights sold in Australia, Brazil, France, Portugal, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and the UK. 6-week turnaround.

Seducing the Boy’s Club (collaborator)

Nina DiSesa. The first and only female chairman of McCann-Erickson tells women how to make it in the male-dominated corporate world. (Random House, Fall 2007).

Starring YOU! (collaborator)

Marta Tracy and Terence Noonan. Two TV producers explain how television works from the inside out. (HarperCollins, Fall 2007).