Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Nov 30, 2015

Is Media Attention Hindering The Development Of Artificial Intelligence?

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI
Image Credit: LinkedIn

Image Credit: LinkedIn

As the line between tabloid media and mainstream media becomes more diffuse, news items such as Ebola, pit bulls, Deflategate, and Donald Trump can frequently generate a cocktail of public panic, scrutiny, and scorn before the news cycle moves on to the next sensational headline. According to Robotics Expert and self-proclaimed “Robot Psychiatrist” Dr. Joanne Pransky, the same phenomenon has happened in robotics, which can shape public perception and, by extension, the future development of robots and AI.

“The challenge, since robotics is just starting to come into the mainstream, is that most of the country is ignorant. So, if you believe what you read, then I think people have a very negative and inaccurate picture (of robotics),” Pransky said. “I spend a lot of time bashing negative headlines, such as ‘ROBOT KILLS HUMAN,’ when actually the human killed himself by not following proper safety standards. A lot of things are publicized about robotics, but there’s nothing about the robot in the article. It leads people on the wrong path.”

Hedging the Negative Media

Pransky has spent much of her time trying to present an accurate depiction and provoke thoughtful discussion about robotics that separates fact from science fiction, as elaborated upon in this well-written TechRepublic article. To that end, she’s spent almost her entire career educating the public on the real issues facing robots and robotics. Showing an actual robot in action, she believes, is the best way to educate the public about the potential, and limits, of robotics.

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Nov 27, 2015

Stuart Russell on Why Moral Philosophy Will Be Big Business in Tech

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

Russell also signed the letter, but he says his view is less apocalyptic. He says that, until now, the field of artificial intelligence has been singularly focused on giving robots the ability to make “high-quality” decisions.

“At the moment, we don’t know how to give the robot what you might call human values,” he says.

But Russell believes that as this problem becomes clearer, it’s only natural that people will start to focus their energy on solving it.

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Nov 5, 2015

Robot Evolution

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

Advances in robotics and say that in less than fifty years “organic” (man) and the “mecca” (robots) supposedly coexist harmoniously in a civilization that if I imagine there will be little to change his ethics. MAKI360.

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Oct 20, 2015

BioViva and Telocyte « Michael Fossel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, life extension, neuroscience

Dr Michael Fossel comments on the recent Bioviva announcement of the first human gene therapy against aging.

The other day, a friend of mine, Liz Parrish, the CEO and founder of BioViva, made quite a splash when she injected herself with a viral vector containing genes for both telomerase and FST. Those in favor of what Liz did applaud her for her courage and her ability to move quickly and effectively in a landscape where red tape and regulatory concerns have – in the minds of some – impeded innovation and medical care. Those opposed to what Liz did have criticized her for moving too rapidly without sufficient concern for safety, ethics, or (from some critics) scientific rationale.

Many people have asked me to comment, both as an individual and as the founder of Telocyte. This occurs for two reasons. For one thing, I was the first person to ever advocate the use of telomerase as a clinical intervention, in discussions, in published journal articles, and in published books. My original JAMA articles (1997 and 1998), my first book on the topic (1996), and my textbook (2004) all clearly explained both the rational of and the implications for using telomerase as a therapeutic intervention to treat age-related disease. For another thing, Liz knew that our biotech firm, Telocyte, intends to do almost the same thing, but with a few crucial differences: we will only be using telomerase (hTERT) and we intend to pursue human trials that have FDA clearance, have full IRB agreement, and meet GMP (“Good Medical Production”) standards.

We cannot help but applaud Liz’s courage in using herself as a subject, a procedure with a long (and occasionally checkered) history in medical science. Using herself as the subject undercuts much of the ethical criticism that would be more pointed if she used other patients. Like many others, we also fully understand the urgent need for more effective therapeutic interventions: patients are not only suffering, but dying as we try to move ahead. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, for example (our primary therapeutic target at Telocyte), there are NO currently effective therapies, a history of universal failure in human trials for experimental therapies, and an enormous population of patients who are currently losing their souls and their lives to this disease. A slow, measured approach to finding a cure is scarcely welcome in such a context.

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Oct 20, 2015

Drone ‘Angst’ extends beyond backyard spying

Posted by in categories: automation, counterterrorism, defense, disruptive technology, drones, ethics, military, privacy, surveillance

Oct 15, 2015

Billions in Change — Official Film

Posted by in categories: complex systems, energy, ethics, hacking, health, materials, sustainability, water

“The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.”

Oct 10, 2015

h+ Magazine: Synthetic Biology — The True Savior of Mankind

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, disruptive technology, DNA, environmental, ethics, futurism, genetics, health, innovation, science, sustainability, transhumanism

Encapsulation Pictures

Fear of scientists “playing god” is at the centre of many a plot line in science fiction stories. Perhaps the latest popular iteration of the story we all love is Jurassic World (2015), a film I find interesting only for the tribute it paid to the original Michael Crichton novel and movie Jurassic Park.

Full op-ed from h+ Magazine on 7 October 2015….f-mankind/

john hammond jurrasic parkIn Jurassic Park, a novel devoted to the scare of genetic engineering when biotech was new in the 1990s, the character of John Hammond says:

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Oct 6, 2015

UN panel warns against ‘designer babies’ and eugenics in ‘editing’ of human DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, genetics

Warning that rapid advances in genetics make “designer babies” an increasing possibility, a United Nations panel today called for a moratorium on “editing” the human genome, pending wider public debate lest changes in DNA be transmitted to future generations or foster eugenics.

While acknowledging the therapeutic value of genetic interventions, the panel stressed that the process raises serious concerns, especially if the editing of the human genome should be applied to the germline, thereby introducing hereditary modifications.

“Gene therapy could be a watershed in the history of medicine and genome editing is unquestionably one of the most promising undertakings of science for the sake of all humankind,” the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a news release on a report by its International Bioethics Committee (IBC).

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Sep 22, 2015

First application to pursue genome editing research in human embryos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics

Human embryos are at the center of a debate over the ethics of gene editing (credit: Dr. Yorgos Nikas/SPL)

The first application to pursue CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing research in viable human embryos has been submitted to the UK’s fertility regulator by a team of researchers affiliated with the Francis Crick Institute in London.

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Sep 20, 2015

Why we really should ban autonomous weapons: a response

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI

We welcome Sam Wallace’s contribution to the discussion on a proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons. This is a complex issue and there are interesting arguments on both sides that need to be weighed up carefully.

His article, written as a response to an open letter signed by over 2500 AI and robotics researchers, begins with the claim that such a ban is as “unrealistic as the broad relinquishment of nuclear weapons would have been at the height of the cold war.”

This argument misses the mark. First, the letter proposes not unilateral relinquishment but an arms control treaty. Second, nuclear weapons were successfully curtailed by a series of arms-control treaties during the cold war, without which we might not have been here to have this conversation.

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