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Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Jan 20, 2017

The UN Okays Synthetic Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, ethics, existential risks, genetics

That’s a relief.


Of all the potentially apocalyptic technologies scientists have come up with in recent years, the gene drive is easily one of the most terrifying. A gene drive is a tool that allows scientists to use genetic engineering to override natural selection during reproduction. In theory, scientists could use it to alter the genetic makeup of an entire species—or even wipe that species out. It’s not hard to imagine how a slip-up in the lab could lead to things going very, very wrong.

But like most great risks, the gene drive also offers incredible reward. Scientists are, for example, exploring how gene drive might be used to wipe out malaria and kill off Hawaii’s invasive species to save endangered native birds. Its perils may be horrifying, but its promise is limitless. And environmental groups have been campaigning hard to prevent that promise from ever being realized.

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Jan 17, 2017

MIT’s ‘Moral Machine’ wants you to decide who dies in a self-driving car accident

Posted by in categories: ethics, transportation

Yikes!


If there’s an unavoidable accident in a self-driving car, who dies? This is the question researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) want you to answer in ‘Moral Machine.’

The simplistic website is sort of like the famed ‘Trolley Problem’ on steroids. If you’re unfamiliar, according to Wikipedia, the Trolley Problem is as follows:

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Dec 30, 2016

The Ethics of Synthetic Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, ethics, law

Nice article raising old concerns and debates on ethics. Synbio like any technology or science can in the wrong hands be used to do anything destructive. Placing standards and laws on such technologies truly does get the law abiding researchers, labs and companies aligned and sadly restricted. However, it does not prevent an ISIS, or the black market, or any other criminal with money from trying to meet an intended goal. So, I do caution folks to at least step back assess and think before imposing a bunch of restrictions and laws on a technology that prevents it from helping those in need v. criminals who never follow ethics or the law.


When artists use synthetic biology, are they playing God, or just playing with cool new toys? Scientists Drew Endy and Christina Agapakis weigh in on the ethics.

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Dec 15, 2016

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence on Livestream

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI

Recently, New York University hosted a conference of philosophers, scientists and engineers discussing the topic of “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.” The conference was a virtual who’s who of artificial intelligence and machine ethics…

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Dec 13, 2016

IEEE publishes draft report on ‘ethically aligned’ AI design

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

IEEE’s new standards for ethically aligned AI — it’s a start focuses a lot on building ethics/ Morales into AI and not promote the building of autonomous AI Weapons, etc. However, without government & laws on the books this set of standards are a feel good document at best. When it gets into morals, values, not breaking laws, etc. this is when the standard really must come from social and cultural order/ practices, government, and most importantly laws to ensure the standards have the buy in and impact you need. My suggestion to IEEE, please work with gov, tech, legal sys. on this one.


More than 100 experts in artificial intelligence and ethics are attempting to advance public discussion surrounding the ethical considerations of AI.

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Dec 5, 2016

Westworld is raising some huge issues about our future

Posted by in categories: ethics, mobile phones, robotics/AI

But Westworld is more than just entertainment. It raises problems that society will have to face head-on as technology gets more powerful. Here are a couple of the biggest.

1. Can we treat robots with respect?

Westworld raises a moral question — at what point do we have to treat machines in a responsible manner? We’re used to dropping our smartphones on the ground without remorse and throwing our broken gadgets in the trash. We may have to think differently as machines show more human traits.

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Nov 22, 2016

China is at the forefront of manipulating DNA to create a new class of superhumans

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

In China, there are fewer regulations and ethical quandaries standing in the way of genetic progress.

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Nov 10, 2016

Lifespans Are (Not) Long Enough

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

Aubrey de Grey and Brian Kennedy debate the motion that “Lifespans are long enough” at Intelligence2. This was a great show and the results speak for themselves as do the convincing arguments presented by Brian and Aubrey. If you missed it first time around earlier this year you should watch it now.


“What if we didn’t have to grow old and die? The average American can expect to live for 78.8 years, an improvement over the days before clean water and vaccines, when life expectancy was closer to 50, but still not long enough for most of us. So researchers around the world have been working on arresting the process of aging through biotechnology and finding cures to diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. What are the ethical and social consequences of radically increasing lifespans? Should we accept a “natural” end, or should we find a cure to aging?”

On February 3rd, 2016, SRF’s Chief Science Officer Aubrey de Grey joined forces with Buck Institute for Research on Aging President/CEO Brian Kennedy to oppose the motion that “Lifespans Are Long Enough”, in a debate hosted at New York’s Kaufman Center by Intelligence2 Debates. The team proposing the motion comprised Paul Root Wolpe, Director of the Emory Center for Ethics, and Ian Ground of the UK’s Newcastle University.

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Oct 30, 2016

Breaking into the Simulated Universe

Posted by in categories: computing, Elon Musk, ethics, internet, neuroscience

I argued in my 2015 paper “Why it matters that you realize you’re in a Computer Simulation” that if our universe is indeed a computer simulation, then that particular discovery should be commonplace among the intelligent lifeforms throughout the universe. The simple calculus of it all being (a) if intelligence is in part equivalent to detecting the environment (b) the environment is a computer simulation © eventually nearly all intelligent lifeforms should discover that their environment is a computer simulation. I called this the Savvy Inevitability. In simple terms, if we’re really in a Matrix, we’re supposed to eventually figure that out.

Silicon Valley, tech culture, and most nerds the world over are familiar with the real world version of the question are we living in a Matrix? The paper that’s likely most frequently cited is Nick Bostrom’s Are you living in a Computer Simulation? Whether or not everyone agrees about certain simulation ideas, everyone does seem to have an opinion about them.

Recently, the Internet heated up over Elon Musk’s comments at a Vox event on hot tub musings of the simulation hypothesis. Even Bank of America published an analysis of the simulation hypothesis, and, according to Tad Friend in an October 10, 2016 article published in New Yorker, “two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”

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Oct 19, 2016

Program good ethics into artificial intelligence

Posted by in categories: ethics, robotics/AI

Concerns that artificial intelligence will pose a danger if it develops consciousness are misplaced, says Jim Davies.

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