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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

May 18, 2016

Space exploration will spur transhumanism and mitigate existential risk

Posted by in categories: alien life, cyborgs, existential risks, geopolitics, policy, robotics/AI, solar power, space travel, sustainability, transhumanism

Friends have been asking me to write something on space exploration and my campaign policy on it, so here it is just out on TechCrunch:


When people think about rocket ships and space exploration, they often imagine traveling across the Milky Way, landing on mysterious planets and even meeting alien life forms.

In reality, humans’ drive to get off Planet Earth has led to tremendous technological advances in our mundane daily lives — ones we use right here at home on terra firma.

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May 16, 2016

Evidence of ancient giant asteroid discovered in Australia

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

ACTON, Australia, May 16 (UPI) — Researchers in Australia recently found a collection of spherules, evidence of a massive asteroid that struck Earth as it was still forming.

Spherules are tiny glass beads formed from material vaporized in the intense heat of an asteroid impact. They were found in northwestern Australia by a team of geologists led by Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University.

The glass beads were found scattered among ancient ocean sediments dated to the middle of the Archean Eon — 3.46 billion years ago. The spread of the spherules deposit suggests the impact would have left a crater between 12 and 18 miles in diameter.

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May 4, 2016

If Something Is Going To Destroy Humanity, It’s Going To Be One Of These Catastrophes

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, existential risks, sustainability

Pandemics, asteroids, nuclear war, and sudden, destructive climate change are all unlikely—but not so unlikely that we shouldn’t be planning for them.

Apr 27, 2016

If You Care About the Earth, Vote for the Least Religious Presidential Candidate

Posted by in categories: energy, existential risks, genetics, geopolitics, policy, transportation

My new Vice Motherboard article on environmentalism and why going green isn’t enough. Only radical technology can restore the world to a pristine condition—and that requires politicians not afraid of the future:


I’m worried that conservatives like Cruz will try to stop new technologies that will change our battle in combating a degrading Earth

But there are people who can save the endangered species on the planet. And they will soon dramatically change the nature of animal protection. Those people may have little to do with wildlife, but their genetics work holds the answer to stable animal population levels in the wild. In as little as five years, we may begin stocking endangered wildlife in places where poachers have hunted animals to extinction. We’ll do this like we stock trout streams in America. Why spend resources in a losing battle to save endangered wildlife from being poached when you can spend the same amount to boost animal population levels ten-fold? Maye even 100-fold. This type of thinking is especially important in our oceans, which we’ve bloody well fished to near death.

Continue reading “If You Care About the Earth, Vote for the Least Religious Presidential Candidate” »

Apr 25, 2016

Adelaide AI pioneer says Terminator-like takeover unlikely

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI, singularity

Apparently, Rodney Brooks, AI pioneer (@MIT CS & AI Lab; iRobot), is skeptical about artificial superintelligence:

“The difference between science fiction robots and real-life creations was the concept of robots being able to learn and teach themselves independently. A person can generalise, but we don’t have that kind of generalisation in any of these AI learning systems. So relax is my message.”

Or is he? This article by ABC Australia was focused on the same unfortunate meme, the unlikely Terminator which nobody has ever seriously suggested is realistic: “The Terminator series of movies foretold the future of humans and robots with Skynet becoming self-aware and launching its own nuclear war. But Professor Brooks said that was just science fiction.”

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Apr 16, 2016

Stephen Hawking: Human Aggression Could ‘Destroy Us All’

Posted by in categories: existential risks, space travel

I couldn’t agree more…aggression and recklessness.


Stephen Hawking may be getting some Hollywood love for “The Theory of Everything,” a biopic about his life that earned actor Eddie Redmayne the best actor Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards. But that hasn’t stopped the world-famous physicist from issuing yet another warning about humanity’s impending doom.

Human aggression threatens to destroy us all, Hawking said during a tour of London’s Science Museum last week. The remark was in response to a question about what human shortcomings he would most like to alter. Hawking suffers from a neurological disease similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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Apr 16, 2016

Tweaking Genes to Save Species

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, existential risks, genetics

Another gene editing triumph.


Genetic engineering may emerge as an important tool to avert extinctions. But ecosystems are complex, and this tinkering might not unfold as planned.

Apr 12, 2016

Jeff Bezos wants to open the way for millions to live, work in space

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

COLORADO SPRINGS — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, could not be more clear about what he believes is mankind’s future.

“I want millions of people living and working in space. I want us to be a space-faring civilization,” Bezos told a packed audience at the Space Symposium on Tuesday in Colorado Springs.

“My motivation is, I don’t want Plan B to be, ‘Good news, Earth got destroyed by a big comet but we live on Mars.’ I think we need to explore and utilize space in order to save the Earth,” he said, referring to the need to shift industrial manufacturing to space to limit the impact on Earth’s resources.

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Apr 11, 2016

Why Pessimistic Predictions For Future of AI May be More Hype than High Tech

Posted by in categories: complex systems, cryonics, existential risks, futurism, life extension, robotics/AI, singularity

The growth of human and computer intelligence has triggered a barrage of dire predictions about the rise of super intelligence and the singularity. But some retain their skepticism, including Dr. Michael Shermer, a science historian and founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine.

quote-i-m-a-skeptic-not-because-i-do-not-want-to-believe-but-because-i-want-to-know-michael-shermer-71-29-72

The reason so many rational people put forward hypotheses that are more hype than high tech, Shermer says, is that being smart and educated doesn’t protect anyone from believing in “weird things.” In fact, sometimes smart and educated people are better at rationalizing beliefs that they hold for not-so-rational reasons. The smarter and more educated you are, the better able you are to find evidence to support what you want to be true, suggests Shermer.

“This explains why Nobel Prize winners speak about areas they know nothing about with great confidence and are sure that they’re right. Just because they have this great confidence of being able to do that (is) a reminder that they’re more like lawyers than scientists in trying to marshal a case for their client,” Shermer said. “(Lawyers) just put together the evidence, as much as you can, in support of your client and get rid of the negative evidence. In science you’re not allowed to do that, you’re supposed to look at all the evidence, including the counter evidence to your theory.”

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Apr 7, 2016

Newly discovered planet could destroy Earth any day now

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Look up the definition of irresponsible journalism and you’ll probably find a link to THIS article.


A mysterious planet that wiped out life on Earth millions of years ago could do it again, according to a top space scientist.

And some believe the apocalyptic event could happen as early as this month.

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