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Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Nov 26, 2022

History of the Universe from a Neural Network

Posted by in categories: alien life, ethics, existential risks, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Vitaly Vanchurin, physicist and cosmologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth speaks to Luis Razo Bravo of EISM about the world as a neural network, machine learning, theories of everything, interpretations of quantum mechanics and long-term human survival.

Timestamp of the conversation:

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Nov 21, 2022

Legal Personhood For AI Is Taking A Sneaky Path That Makes AI Law And AI Ethics Very Nervous Indeed

Posted by in categories: ethics, law, robotics/AI

Would you like to see the classic magic trick of a rabbit being pulled out of a hat? I hope so since you are about to witness something ostensibly magical, though it has to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI) rather than rabbits and hats.

Here’s the deal.


A lot of debate takes place about whether we ought to recognize AI with some form of legal personhood. Surprisingly, some believe that we can already shoehorn AI into legal personhood by a bit of corporate legal wrangling. See what this is all about.

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Nov 20, 2022

NEW NOW. Transhumanism: beyond the human frontier?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, ethics, health, policy, transhumanism

The fourth discussion of the NEW NOW program, “Transhumanism: Beyond the Human Frontier?”, took place on December 16.

Together with our guest experts, we tried to identify the latest technology that has either already become a reality or is currently in development, focusing on the ethical aspects of the consequences that ensue. We reflected on the question of whether the realization of transhumanist ideas is likely to entail a radical change in the ways people relate to one another. How far are we prepared to go in changing our bodies in order to attain these enhanced capacities? We will attempt to identify the “human frontier”, beyond which the era of posthumanism awaits.

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Nov 16, 2022

The Future Will Be Shaped by Optimists | Kevin Kelly | TED

Posted by in categories: business, ethics

“Every great and difficult thing has required a strong sense of optimism,” says editor and author Kevin Kelly, who believes that we have a moral obligation to be optimistic. Tracing humanity’s progress throughout history, he’s observed that a positive outlook helps us solve problems and empowers us to forge a path forward. In this illuminating talk, he shares three reasons for optimism during challenging times, explaining how it can help us become better ancestors and create the world we want to see for ourselves and future generations.

If you love watching TED Talks like this one, become a TED Member to support our mission of spreading ideas: http://ted.com/membership.

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Nov 8, 2022

Global AI Ethics Agreement Commits Universities to Human-Centered AI

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI

A new global agreement has been established by eight worldwide universities to commit to the development of human-centered approaches to artificial intelligence (AI). The newest university to join the agreement, which could impact people all across the globe, was the University of Florida (UF).

The Global University Summit was held back on October 27 at Notre Dame University. Joseph Glover, UF provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, signed The Rome Call for AI Ethics on behalf of the University of Florida. He also served as a panelist for the two-day summit, which was attended by 36 universities from around the world.

Ensuring Human-Centered Principles

Nov 2, 2022

Sam Harris on “Free Will”

Posted by in categories: ethics, neuroscience

This lecture was recorded on March 25, 2012 as part of the Distinguished Science Lecture Series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society in California (1992–2015).

SAM HARRIS IS THE AUTHOR of the New York Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. His new book is short (96) pages, to the point, and will change the way we all view free will, as Oliver Sacks wrote: “Brilliant and witty — and never less than incisive — Free Will shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000.” UCSD neuroscientist V.S, Ramachandran notes: “In this elegant and provocative book, Sam Harris demonstrates — with great intellectual ferocity and panache — that free will is an inherently flawed and incoherent concept, even in subjective terms. If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings.”

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Oct 31, 2022

Biotechnology is creating ethical worries—and we’ve been here before

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, ethics, genetics, health

Matthew Cobb is a zoologist and author whose background is in insect genetics and the history of science. Over the past decade or so, as CRISPR was discovered and applied to genetic remodeling, he started to get concerned—afraid, actually—about three potential applications of the technology. He’s in good company: Jennifer Doudna, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for discovering and harnessing CRISPR, is afraid of the same things. So he decided to delve into these topics, and As Gods: A Moral History of the Genetic Age is the result.

Summing up fears

The first of his worries is the notion of introducing heritable mutations into the human genome. He Jianqui did this to three human female embryos in China in 2018, so the three girls with the engineered mutations that they will pass on to their kids (if they’re allowed to have any) are about four now. Their identities are classified for their protection, but presumably their health is being monitored, and the poor girls have probably already been poked and prodded incessantly by every type of medical specialist there is.

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Oct 29, 2022

Give peace a chance in Ukraine: The chorus rises, around the world and across the spectrum

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, military

The escalating crisis exposes the weakness of Biden’s position. He is gambling with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives, over which he has no moral claim, that Ukraine will somehow be in a stronger military position after a winter of war and power outages, with hundreds of thousands more Russian troops in the areas they control. This is a bet on a much longer war, in which U.S. taxpayers will shell out for thousands of tons of weapons and many more Ukrainians will die, with no clear endgame short of nuclear war.

#StopWar #NoWar #NuclearWar #WW3


Leaders in the global South, former U.S. diplomats and Henry Kissinger (!) agree: It’s time to negotiate for real.

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Oct 23, 2022

Resurrecting all humans ever lived as a technical problem

Posted by in category: ethics

One day, we might be able to bring back to life every human ever lived, by the means of science and technology. And it will be a good day.

To the best of my knowledge, the idea was first described in detail by Fyodorov, a 19th century thinker.

Fyodorov argued that it is our moral duty to save our ancestors from the claws of death, to resurrect every human ever lived. And one day, we’ll have the technology.

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Oct 17, 2022

Michael Levin: Intelligence Beyond the Brain

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, ethics, genetics, robotics/AI

*Intelligence Beyond the Brain: morphogenesis as an example of the scaling of basal cognition*

*Description:*
Each of us takes the remarkable journey from physics to mind: we start life as a quiescent oocyte (collection of chemical reactions) and slowly change and acquire an advanced, centralized mind. How does unified complex cognition emerge from the collective intelligence of cells? In this talk, I will use morphogenesis to illustrate how evolution scales cognition across problem spaces. Embryos and regenerating organs produce very complex, robust anatomical structures and stop growth and remodeling when those structures are complete. One of the most remarkable things about morphogenesis is that it is not simply a feed-forward emergent process, but one that has massive plasticity: even when disrupted by manipulations such as damage or changing the sizes of cells, the system often manages to achieve its morphogenetic goal. How do cell collectives know what to build and when to stop? Constructing and repairing anatomies in novel circumstances is a remarkable example of the collective intelligence of a biological swarm. I propose that a multi-scale competency architecture is how evolution exploits physics to achieve robust machines that solve novel problems. I will describe what is known about developmental bioelectricity — a precursor to neurobiology which is used for cognitive binding in biological collectives, that scales their intelligence and the size of the goals they can pursue. I will also discuss the cognitive light cone model, and conclude with examples of synthetic living machines — a new biorobotics platform that uses some of these ideas to build novel primitive intelligences. I will end by speculating about ethics, engineering, and life in a future that integrates deeply across biological and synthetic agents.

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