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Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Jun 28, 2016

How VR Gaming will Wake Us Up to our Fake Worlds

Posted by in categories: architecture, augmented reality, economics, entertainment, ethics, futurism, holographs, homo sapiens, internet, journalism, philosophy, posthumanism, virtual reality

Human civilization has always been a virtual reality. At the onset of culture, which was propagated through the proto-media of cave painting, the talking drum, music, fetish art making, oral tradition and the like, Homo sapiens began a march into cultural virtual realities, a march that would span the entirety of the human enterprise. We don’t often think of cultures as virtual realities, but there is no more apt descriptor for our widely diverse sociological organizations and interpretations than the metaphor of the “virtual reality.” Indeed, the virtual reality metaphor encompasses the complete human project.

Figure 2

Virtual Reality researchers, Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson, write in their book Infinite Reality; “[Cave art] is likely the first animation technology”, where it provided an early means of what they refer to as “virtual travel”. You are in the cave, but the media in that cave, the dynamic-drawn, fire-illuminated art, represents the plains and animals outside—a completely different environment, one facing entirely the opposite direction, beyond the mouth of the cave. When surrounded by cave art, alive with movement from flickering torches, you are at once inside the cave itself whilst the media experience surrounding you encourages you to indulge in fantasy, and to mentally simulate an entirely different environment. Blascovich and Bailenson suggest that in terms of the evolution of media technology, this was the very first immersive VR. Both the room and helmet-sized VRs used in the present day are but a sophistication of this original form of media VR tech.

Read entire essay here

Jun 28, 2016

The Top Ten Reasons I Believe Vaccine Safety Is an Epic Mass Delusion

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, existential risks, government, health, life extension, policy, rants, science, scientific freedom

Its painful to bear views that make many think I’m an imbicile and dislike me. So please, if anybody has a rational argument why any of this is wrong, I beg to be enlightened. I’ve set up a diagram for the purpose that will support you to add your criticism exactly where it is pertinent. http://truthsift.com/search_view?id=406&nid=4083

(1) The National Academy’s Reviews Of Vaccine Safety
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has provided several multi-hundred page surveys studying the safety of vaccines, but rather than reassuring, these itemize some iatrogenic conditions being caused, and pronounce the scientific literature inadequate to say whether most others are. The 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Review[1] looked at 146 vaccine-condition pairs for causality, reporting:

  • 14 for which the evidence is said to convincingly support causality, the vaccine is causing the condition.
  • 4 where the evidence is said to favor acceptance.
  • 5 where the evidence is said to favor rejection, including MMR causing autism.
  • 123 where the evidence is said insufficient to evaluate.

The 2003 IOM Review on multiple vaccines said[2]:
“The committee was unable to address the concern that repeated exposure of a susceptible child to multiple immunizations over the developmental period may also produce atypical or non-specific immune or nervous system injury that could lead to severe disability or death (Fisher, 2001). There are no epidemiological studies that address this.”
and:
“the committee concludes that the epidemiological and clinical evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship between multiple immunization and an increased risk of allergic disease, particularly asthma.”

  • None of the IOM Safety Reviews[1][2][3][4] addressed the aluminum (for example whether the aluminum is causing autism), or mentioned contaminants, or discussed animal models although they had concluded as just quoted there is generally no epidemiological or clinical data worth preferring.

Continue reading “The Top Ten Reasons I Believe Vaccine Safety Is an Epic Mass Delusion” »

Jun 21, 2016

Structure-mapping engine enables computers to reason and learn like humans, including solving moral dilemmas

Posted by in categories: computing, ethics, neuroscience

Northwestern University’s Ken Forbus is closing the gap between humans and machines.

Using cognitive science theories, Forbus and his collaborators have developed a model that could give computers the ability to reason more like humans and even make moral decisions. Called the structure-mapping engine (SME), the new model is capable of analogical problem solving, including capturing the way humans spontaneously use analogies between situations to solve .

“In terms of thinking like humans, analogies are where it’s at,” said Forbus, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. “Humans use relational statements fluidly to describe things, solve problems, indicate causality, and weigh moral dilemmas.”

Continue reading “Structure-mapping engine enables computers to reason and learn like humans, including solving moral dilemmas” »

Jun 4, 2016

Sex robots to become a reality

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

The debate over them highlights one of the more controversial aspects of the increasingly social nature of our interactions with robots as they move from factories into our homes and someday, our bedrooms.”

“‘How we treat robots — it’s a mirror of our own psychology in a way,’ said Kate Darling, an expert in robot ethics at MIT’s Media Lab.


Advancements in machines that can mimic human beings are raising a host of new ethical, legal and moral questions.

Continue reading “Sex robots to become a reality” »

Jun 3, 2016

Scientists want to perfect humanity with synthetic DNA

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

Following a controversial top-secret meeting last month, a group of scientists have announced that they’re working on synthesizing human genes from scratch. The project, currently titled HGP-Write, has the stated aim of reducing the cost of gene synthesis to “address a number of human health challenges.” As the group explains, that includes growing replacement organs, engineering cancer resistance and building new vaccinations using human cells. But in order for all of that to happen, the scientists may have to also work on developing a blueprint for what a perfect human would look like.

In some ways, the concept is just an extension of current gene editing (CRISPR) techniques that are proving their worth by saving lives. CRISPR has already been used to save the life of a one-year-old girl with a terminal case of drug-resistant leukemia. Other initiatives using the system involve curing hemophilia and HIV, although the latter has proven capable of fighting back against attempts to kill it. This new project, meanwhile, will devote time and resources to examining the ethics and economics of how far we should go with gene editing.

HGP-Write is being led by DNA pioneer George Church, a Harvard biologist who is already working on various projects to tweak humanity. In a profile, Stat revealed that the scientist published a paper in 2014 pushing “de novo synthesis,” the concept of creating perfect genes from scratch. In early 2015, he used CRISPR to implant wooly mammoth DNA into a living Asian elephant as the first step toward bringing extinct animals back from the dead. Which, when you write it down like that, makes him sound like a less plausible version of John Hammond, the fictional creator of Jurassic Park.

Continue reading “Scientists want to perfect humanity with synthetic DNA” »

Jun 1, 2016

Why Should We Ban Autonomous Weapons? To Survive

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

I reported on this 3 months ago; and glad to see others seeing the light.


While debate has focused on moral and legal issues of autonomous weapons, too little attention has been paid to the material dangers of an AI-powered war.

Jun 1, 2016

Artificial intelligence should be protected

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

With huge leaps taking place in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), right now, experts have started asking questions about the new forms of protection we might need against the formidable smarts and potential dangers of computers and robots of the near future.

But do robots need protection from us too? As the ‘minds’ of machines evolve ever closer to something that’s hard to tell apart from human intelligence, new generations of technology may need to be afforded the kinds of moral and legal protections we usually think of as ‘human’ rights, says mathematician Marcus du Sautoy from the University of Oxford in the UK.

Du Sautoy thinks that once the sophistication of computer thinking reaches a level basically akin to human consciousness, it’s our duty to look after the welfare of machines, much as we do that of people.

Continue reading “Artificial intelligence should be protected” »

May 16, 2016

Should we synthesise a human genome?

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

As specialists gather in private to discuss a grand plan for constructing a human genome, Drew Endy and Laurie Zoloth argue that such an enormous moral gesture should not be discussed behind closed doors.

Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images.

At Harvard today, an invitation-only group of about 150 scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs, met to discuss if and how to construct from scratch an entire human genome – the heritable genetic material that in nature is transferred from parents to children.

May 6, 2016

Top stories: Embryo ethics, CRISPR’s pitfalls, and hitting pay dirt in dino drilling

Posted by in category: ethics

The week’s top Science news.

Apr 30, 2016

China intensifies crackdown on websites for spreading porn

Posted by in categories: ethics, internet

China’s moral conduct code over rules the web.


In a nationwide crackdown, a group of internet video player service providers have been investigated and punished for allegedly spreading pornography in China.

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