Archive for the ‘policy’ category

Nov 19, 2015

France votes to give government powers to block online communications during state of emergency — By Paul Sauers | VentureBeat

Posted by in categories: government, internet, law, policy, security


“French members of parliament (MPs) have voted to give the government extra powers to block online communications when the country is under a “state of emergency.””

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Nov 18, 2015

Apple to Introduce 100% Solar-Powered Retail Store

Posted by in categories: policy, solar power, sustainability

Tech behemoth Apple is set to become the first completely solar-powered company in Singapore.

As part of a long-term partnership with Sunseap Group, Apple will draw upon Sunseap’s vast network of more than 800 solar panel-equipped buildings, which will satisfy the energy requirements for the company’s forthcoming 2,500-person corporate campus and retail store operations in Singapore.

According to Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, the company aims to completely kick its dependence on fossil fuels and rely instead on renewable energy sources for its facilities worldwide.

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Nov 17, 2015

Space Mining Bill Passes In Congress

Posted by in categories: business, geopolitics, policy, space, treaties

According to international treaties, no country is allowed to own things like moons or asteroids. But what about a company?

A new bill would allow space mining companies to own pieces of space. Although they couldn’t own a whole asteroid, for example, the bill would ensure that space mining businesses would legally own the resources they extract from that asteroid.

Last week the bill passed in the Senate with a few amendments, and yesterday those amendments were accepted in the House of Representatives. Now the bill is off to the Oval Office, where space policy experts predict President Obama will sign it into law.

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Nov 6, 2015

Bikk McKibben on Obama’s Keystone XL Rejection: ‘The Tide Is Starting to Turn’ — By Tessa Stuart | Rolling Stone

Posted by in categories: environmental, policy


“McKibben calls Friday’s announcement a turning point in the fight against climate change”

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Oct 29, 2015

China to end one-child policy and allow two

Posted by in category: policy

China decides to end its decades-long policy of allowing couples to have only one child, increasing the number permitted to two.

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Oct 28, 2015

Humanity on a Budget, or the Value-Added of Being ‘Human’

Posted by in categories: automation, economics, futurism, governance, human trajectories, law, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, theory, transhumanism

This piece is dedicated to Stefan Stern, who picked up on – and ran with – a remark I made at this year’s Brain Bar Budapest, concerning the need for a ‘value-added’ account of being ‘human’ in a world in which there are many drivers towards replacing human labour with ever smarter technologies.

In what follows, I assume that ‘human’ can no longer be taken for granted as something that adds value to being-in-the-world. The value needs to be earned, it can’t be just inherited. For example, according to animal rights activists, ‘value-added’ claims to brand ‘humanity’ amount to an unjustified privileging of the human life-form, whereas artificial intelligence enthusiasts argue that computers will soon exceed humans at the (‘rational’) tasks that we have historically invoked to create distance from animals. I shall be more concerned with the latter threat, as it comes from a more recognizable form of ‘economistic’ logic.

Economics makes an interesting but subtle distinction between ‘price’ and ‘cost’. Price is what you pay upfront through mutual agreement to the person selling you something. In contrast, cost consists in the resources that you forfeit by virtue of possessing the thing. Of course, the cost of something includes its price, but typically much more – and much of it experienced only once you’ve come into possession. Thus, we say ‘hidden cost’ but not ‘hidden price’. The difference between price and cost is perhaps most vivid when considering large life-defining purchases, such as a house or a car. In these cases, any hidden costs are presumably offset by ‘benefits’, the things that you originally wanted — or at least approve after the fact — that follow from possession.

Now, think about the difference between saying, ‘Humanity comes at a price’ and ‘Humanity comes at a cost’. The first phrase suggests what you need to pay your master to acquire freedom, while the second suggests what you need to suffer as you exercise your freedom. The first position has you standing outside the category of ‘human’ but wishing to get in – say, as a prospective resident of a gated community. The second position already identifies you as ‘human’ but perhaps without having fully realized what you had bargained for. The philosophical movement of Existentialism was launched in the mid-20th century by playing with the irony implied in the idea of ‘human emancipation’ – the ease with which the Hell we wish to leave (and hence pay the price) morphs into the Hell we agree to enter (and hence suffer the cost). Thus, our humanity reduces to the leap out of the frying pan of slavery and into the fire of freedom.

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Oct 21, 2015

Global Scenarios and National Workshops to Address Future Work/Technology Dynamics are being scheduled by The Millennium Project | PRWeb

Posted by in categories: business, disruptive technology, economics, education, futurism, policy


“The nature of work, employment, jobs, and economics will have to change over the next 35 years, or the world will face massive unemployment by 2050. This was a key conclusion of the Future Work/Technology 2050 study published in the “2015−16 State of the Future.”

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Sep 18, 2015

What if U.S. had raised interest rates?

Posted by in categories: economics, finance, government, policy

At the end of 2015, the US national debt will be 18.6 trillion dollars. With such a big number, it’s tempting to put it in perspective by comparing it with things more easily envisioned. 98e2c31e5c194d21be9fd3922dc45fde9207f454Alas, I can not think of anything that puts such an oppressive and unfair burden into perspective, except to this:

US debt represents a personal obligation of $60,000 for each American citizen. And it is rising quickly. Most of our GDP is used simply to pay down interest on that debt. Few pundits see a way out of this hole.

bretton_woods-aIn my opinion, that hole was facilitated in August 1971, when the US modified the Bretton Woods Agreement and unilaterally terminated convertibility of the US dollar to gold. By forcibly swapping every dollar in every pocket and bank account with the promise of transient legislators, individual wealth was suddenly based on fiat instead of something tangible or intrinsic.

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Aug 22, 2015

Transhumanist Party Brings Life Extension Front and Center — an Interview with Zoltan Istvan

Posted by in categories: life extension, policy

It’s not every day you get to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with a United States presidential candidate, let alone one who is also a Transhumanist. TechEmergence recently had the opportunity to do just that during an interview with Zoltan Istvan, the 2016 presidential candidate for the newly formed Transhumanist party and author of the 2013 published The Transhumanist Wager.

If you follow the emerging trends in artificial intelligence, then you have already likely heard of “Transhumanism.” Oxford’s Nick Bostrom, in his 2003 book Ethical Issues for the 21st Century, defined Transhumanism as “a loosely defined movement…that promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology.”

This philosophy could be a turning point in human evolution. But like all great movements, this one is seemingly slow to pick up a serious following (though perhaps in retrospect, we will comment on how quickly this direction moved society forward). Regardless, Zoltan Istvan is determined to usher in this transitional philosophy as a political player and advocate for human enhancement.

Fighting for Our Lives

How do you get the populace, and other governments, to listen to ideas that, by mainstream standards, buck tradition and fall on the extreme side of the socially-acceptable spectrum?

Continue reading “Transhumanist Party Brings Life Extension Front and Center — an Interview with Zoltan Istvan” »

Jul 24, 2015

What is water worth? — By Giorgis Kallis | Forbes India

Posted by in categories: economics, environmental, policy


The traditional framing of the issue is a choice between accepting the power of markets and ‘playing their game’ to win environmental concessions vs. the purist perspective of saying No to any hint of money or markets in environmental policy.
In this article we will describe the positions of two relatively new fields of study—Ecological Economics and Political Ecology—in an effort to redefine the terms of the choice and chart a path for a pragmatic approach.

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