Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Aug 7, 2018

The Genetics (and Ethics) of Making Humans Fit for Mars

Posted by in categories: ethics, food, genetics, space

We could make people less stinky, more resistant to radiation, even less dependent on food and oxygen. But would the new creature be human?

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Aug 5, 2018

Employees at Google, Amazon and Microsoft Have Threatened to Walk Off the Job Over the Use of AI

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, information science, military, robotics/AI

There is. Our engagement with AI will transform us. Technology always does, even while we are busy using it to reinvent our world. The introduction of the machine gun by Richard Gatling during America’s Civil War, and its massive role in World War I, obliterated our ideas of military gallantry and chivalry and emblazoned in our minds Wilfred Owen’s imagery of young men who “die as Cattle.” The computer revolution beginning after World War II ushered in a way of understanding and talking about the mind in terms of hardware, wiring and rewiring that still dominates neurology. How will AI change us? How has it changed us already? For example, what does reliance on navigational aids like Waze do to our sense of adventure? What happens to our ability to make everyday practical judgments when so many of these judgments—in areas as diverse as credit worthiness, human resources, sentencing, police force allocation—are outsourced to algorithms? If our ability to make good moral judgments depends on actually making them—on developing, through practice and habit, what Aristotle called “practical wisdom”—what happens when we lose the habit? What becomes of our capacity for patience when more and more of our trivial interests and requests are predicted and immediately met by artificially intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa? Does a child who interacts imperiously with these assistants take that habit of imperious interaction to other aspects of her life? It’s hard to know how exactly AI will alter us. Our concerns about the fairness and safety of the technology are more concrete and easier to grasp. But the abstract, philosophical question of how AI will impact what it means to be human is more fundamental and cannot be overlooked. The engineers are right to worry. But the stakes are higher than they think.

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Aug 4, 2018

Five of the scariest predictions about artificial intelligence

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

AI is a buzzword that gets tossed around often in the business world and in the media, but it is already having tangible effects for a slew of industries — not least those that rely on a significant amount of manual labor.

As AI comes increasingly closer to maturity, and businesses continue to ramp up investments in it, some worry that not enough attention is being paid to the broader social and moral implications of the technology.

CNBC spoke with some experts to see what they think are the five scariest potential future scenarios for AI.

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Aug 3, 2018

Professor Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, media & arts, transhumanism

Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Ph.D. is a German metahumanist philosopher, Nietzsche scholar, philosopher of music, and an authority in the field of ethics of emerging technologies.

Stefan teaches philosophy at John Cabot University in Rome and is director and cofounder of the Beyond Humanism Network, Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), Research Fellow at the Ewha Institute for the Humanities at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, and Visiting Fellow at the Ethics Centre of the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, where he was also Visiting Professor during the Summer of 2016. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Posthuman Studies.

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Jul 27, 2018

Changes in Sperm RNA May Shape Future Generations, Scientists Warn

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

While the rest of the world debates the ethics of designer babies, a team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) have shown that we might not need CRISPR to change the genes of future generations. Their paper, released this week in the journal Developmental Cell, shows that things like diet and stress might affect some crucial genetic components of sperm, and that these tiny changes have real effects on how babies develop.

The same way rockets bound for outer space contain “payloads” like satellites, or astronauts who battle giant balls of urine, sperm are also like little rockets containing their own cargo: “small RNAs.” This study found that not only do RNA sequences play a crucial role in how genes get expressed early on in human development, but they can also be radically changed by the lifestyles of fathers. Things like diet, and in particular, stress can change the makeup of this crucial RNA cargo and lead to observable changes in offspring, says researcher Colin Conine, Ph.D., at UMass Medical School’s Rando Lab.

“Labs all over the world have been able to link changes in dad’s lifestyle to changes in RNA in the sperm, and then that leads to phenotypes in the offspring,” Conine tells Inverse. “Our study was one of the first to really look at how changes small RNAs affect early development. We wanted to ask, what are the first steps that lead to these phenotypes down the road?”

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Jul 23, 2018

Designer babies on horizon as ethics council gives green light to genetically edited embryos

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

Designer babies are on the horizon after an influential group of scientists concluded that it could be ‘morally permissible’ to genetically engineer human embryos.

In a new report which opens the door to a change in the law, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said that DNA editing could become an option for parents wanting to ‘influence the genetic characteristics of their child.’

Although it would be largely used to cure devastating genetic illnesses, or predispositions to cancers and dementia, the experts said they were not ruling out cosmetic uses such as making tweaks to increase height or changing eye or hair colour, if it would make a child more successful.

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Jul 19, 2018

Creating Genetically Modified Babies Is “Morally Permissible,” Says Ethics Committee

Posted by in categories: ethics, genetics

In a newly released report, an influential UK ethics council concludes that editing human embryos is “morally permissible.”

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Jul 14, 2018

NASA director reverses on climate change, after 1 month

Posted by in categories: astronomy, climatology, education, environmental, ethics, existential risks, governance, government, lifeboat, science, space, sustainability

For millennia, our planet has sustained a robust ecosystem; healing each deforestation, algae bloom, pollution or imbalance caused by natural events. Before the arrival of an industrialized, destructive and dominant global species, it could pretty much deal with anything short of a major meteor impact. In the big picture, even these cataclysmic events haven’t destroyed the environment—they just changed the course of evolution and rearranged the alpha animal.

But with industrialization, the race for personal wealth, nations fighting nations, and modern comforts, we have recognized that our planet is not invincible. This is why Lifeboat Foundation exists. We are all about recognizing the limits to growth and protecting our fragile environment.

Check out this April news article on the US president’s forthcoming appointment of Jim Bridenstine, a vocal climate denier, as head of NASA. NASA is one of the biggest agencies on earth. Despite a lack of training or experience—without literacy in science, technology or astrophysics—he was handed an enormous responsibility, a staff of 17,000 and a budget of $19 billion.

In 2013, Bridenstine criticized former president Obama for wasting taxpayer money on climate research, and claimed that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago.

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Jul 7, 2018

An Overview of National AI Strategies

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, policy, robotics/AI

Dont really care about the competition, but this horse race means AI hitting the 100 IQ level at or before 2029 should probably happen.

The race to become the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) has officially begun. In the past fifteen months, Canada, Japan, Singapore, China, the UAE, Finland, Denmark, France, the UK, the EU Commission, South Korea, and India have all released strategies to promote the use and development of AI. No two strategies are alike, with each focusing on different aspects of AI policy: scientific research, talent development, skills and education, public and private sector adoption, ethics and inclusion, standards and regulations, and data and digital infrastructure.

This article summarizes the key policies and goals of each national strategy. It also highlights relevant policies and initiatives that the countries have announced since the release of their initial strategies.

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Jul 7, 2018

Is Colonizing Mars the Most Important Project in Human History?

Posted by in categories: alien life, ethics

Interstellar travel one of the most moral projects? “one of the most moral projects might be to prepare for interstellar travel. After all, if the Earth becomes inhabitable—whether in 200 years or in 200,000 years—the only known civilization in the history of the solar system will suddenly go extinct. But if the human species has already spread to other planets, we will escape this permanent eradication, thus saving millions—possibly trillions—of lives that can come into existence after the demise of our first planet.”

The Red Planet is a freezing, faraway, uninhabitable desert. But protecting the human species from the end of life on Earth could save trillions of lives.

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