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Archive for the ‘ethics’ category: Page 48

Sep 2, 2010

Self Transcendence

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, futurism

Will our lumbering industrial age driven information age segue smoothly into a futuristic marvel of yet to be developed technology? It might. Or take quantum leaps. It could. Will information technology take off exponentially? It’s accelerating in that direction. The way knowledge is unraveling its potential for enhancing human ingenuity, the future looks bright indeed. But there is a problem. It’s that egoistic tendency we have of defending ourselves against knowing, of creating false images to delude ourselves and the world, and of resolving conflict violently. It’s as old as history and may be an inevitable part of life. If so, there will be consequences.

Who has ever seen drama/comedy without obstacles to overcome, conflicts to confront, dilemmas to address, confrontations to endure and the occasional least expected outcome? Just as Shakespeare so elegantly illustrated. Good drama illustrates aspects of life as lived, and we do live with egoistic mental processes that are both limited and limiting. Wherefore it might come to pass that we who are of this civilization might encounter an existential crisis. Or crunch into a bottleneck out of which … will emerge what? Or extinguish civilization with our egoistic conduct acting from regressed postures with splintered perception.

What’s least likely is that we’ll continue cruising along as usual.

Not with massive demographic changes, millions on the move, radical climate changes, major environmental shifts, cyber vulnerabilities, changing energy resources, inadequate clean water and values colliding against each other in a world where future generations of the techno-savvy will be capable of wielding the next generation of weapons of mass destruction.

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Jul 30, 2010

Robots And Privacy

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, ethics, robotics/AI

Within the next few years, robots will move from the battlefield and the factory into our streets, offices, and homes. What impact will this transformative technology have on personal privacy? I begin to answer this question in a chapter on robots and privacy in the forthcoming book, Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics (Cambridge: MIT Press).

I argue that robots will implicate privacy in at least three ways. First, they will vastly increase our capacity for surveillance. Robots can go places humans cannot go, see things humans cannot see. Recent developments include everything from remote-controlled insects to robots that can soften their bodies to squeeze through small enclosures.

Second, robots may introduce new points of access to historically private spaces such as the home. At least one study has shown that several of today’s commercially available robots can be remotely hacked, granting the attacker access to video and audio of the home. With sufficient process, governments will also be able to access robots connected to the Internet.

There are clearly ways to mitigate these implications. Strict policies could reign in police use of robots for surveillance, for instance; consumer protection laws could require adequate security. But there is a third way robots implicate privacy, related to their social meaning, that is not as readily addressed.

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Jul 12, 2010

The True Cost of Ignoring Nonhumans

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, futurism, policy

Posted by Dr. Denise L Herzing and Dr. Lori Marino, Human-Nonhuman Relationship Board

Over the millennia humans and the rest of nature have coexisted in various relationships. However the intimate and interdependent nature of our relationship with other beings on the planet has been recently brought to light by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This ongoing environmental disaster is a prime example of “profit over principle” regarding non-human life. This spill threatens not only the reproductive viability of all flora and fauna in the affected ecosystems but also complex and sensitive non-human cultures like those we now recognize in dolphins and whales.

Although science has, for decades, documented the links and interdependence of ecosystems and species, the ethical dilemma now facing humans is at a critical level. For too long have we not recognized the true cost of our life styles and priorities of profit over the health of the planet and the nonhuman beings we share it with. If ever the time, this is a wake up call for humanity and a call to action. If humanity is to survive we need to make an urgent and long-term commitment to the health of the planet. The oceans, our food sources and the very oxygen we breathe may be dependent on our choices in the next 10 years.

And humanity’s survival is inextricably linked to that of the other beings we share this planet with. We need a new ethic.

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Jun 9, 2010

Have Corporations Become a Global Existential Threat?

Posted by in categories: business, ethics, existential risks

Perhaps you think I’m crazy or naive to pose this question. But more and more the past few months I’ve begun to wonder if there is a possibility here that this idea may not be too far off the mark.

Not because of some half-baked theory about a global conspiracy or anything of the sort but simply based upon the behavior of many multinational corporations recently and the effects this behavior is having upon people everywhere.

Again, you may disagree but my perspective on these financial giants is that they are essentially predatory in nature and that their prey is any dollar in commerce that they can possibly absorb. The problem is that for anyone in the modern or even quasi-modern world money is nearly as essential as plasma when it comes to our well-being.

It has been clearly demonstrated again and again — all over the world — that when a population has become sufficiently destitute that the survival of the individual is actually threatened violence inevitably occurs. On a large enough scale this sort of violence can erupt into civil war and wars, as we all know too well can spread like a virus across borders, even oceans.

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Jun 5, 2010

Friendly AI: What is it, and how can we foster it?

Posted by in categories: complex systems, ethics, existential risks, futurism, information science, policy, robotics/AI

Friendly AI: What is it, and how can we foster it?
By Frank W. Sudia [1]

Originally written July 20, 2008
Edited and web published June 6, 2009
Copyright © 2008-09, All Rights Reserved.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, artificial intellect, friendly AI, human-robot ethics, science policy.

1. Introduction

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Mar 27, 2010

Critical Request to CERN Council and Member States on LHC Risks

Posted by in categories: complex systems, cosmology, engineering, ethics, existential risks, particle physics, policy

Experts regard safety report on Big Bang Machine as insufficient and one-dimensional

International critics of the high energy experiments planned to start soon at the particle accelerator LHC at CERN in Geneva have submitted a request to the Ministers of Science of the CERN member states and to the delegates to the CERN Council, the supreme controlling body of CERN.

The paper states that several risk scenarios (that have to be described as global or existential risks) cannot currently be excluded. Under present conditions, the critics have to speak out against an operation of the LHC.

The submission includes assessments from expertises in the fields markedly missing from the physicist-only LSAG safety report — those of risk assessment, law, ethics and statistics. Further weight is added because these experts are all university-level experts – from Griffith University, the University of North Dakota and Oxford University respectively. In particular, it is criticised that CERN’s official safety report lacks independence – all its authors have a prior interest in the LHC running and that the report uses physicist-only authors, when modern risk-assessment guidelines recommend risk experts and ethicists as well.

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Jul 26, 2009

Bioethics and the End of Discussion

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics

Abstract:

President Obama disbanded the President’s Council on Bioethics after it questioned his policy on embryonic stem cell research. White House press officer Reid Cherlin said that this was because the Council favored discussion over developing a shared consensus. This column lists a number of problems with Obama’s decision, and with his position on the most controversial bioethical issue of our time.

Bioethics and the End of Discussion

In early June, President Obama disbanded the President’s Council on Bioethics. According to White House press officer Reid Cherlin, this was because the Council was designed by the Bush administration to be “a philosophically leaning advisory group” that favored discussion over developing a shared consensus. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/us/politics/18ethics.html?_r=2

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Apr 29, 2009

DIYbio.org

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, chemistry, education, engineering, ethics, human trajectories, open access, open source

About

DIYbio is an organization that aims to help make biology a worthwhile pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists, and DIY biological engineers who value openness and safety. This will require mechanisms for amateurs to increase their knowledge and skills, access to a community of experts, the development of a code of ethics, responsible oversight, and leadership on issues that are unique to doing biology outside of traditional professional settings.

What is DIYbio in 4 minutes?

Get Involved

You can read about current events and developments in the DIYbio community by reading or subscribing to the blog.

Get in contact or get involved through discussions on our mailing list, or by attending or hosting a local DIYbio meetup.

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Apr 29, 2009

Ugolog Creates Surveillance Website To Watch Anyone, Anywhere

Posted by in categories: ethics, geopolitics

Ugolog Creates Surveillance Website To Watch Anyone, Anywhere

Written on April 28, 2009 – 2:43 am | by keith kleiner |

big_brother

What if people all over the world randomly decided to setup motion detection webcams and then send feeds from these webcams to a single website that would centralize the video data for anyone to search, view, and manipulate? Hot off of the heels of our story yesterday about the implications of cameras recording everything in our lives comes a website called Ugolog that does exactly this. The concept is both spooky and captivating all at once. The privacy implications are just out of control, opening the door to all sorts of immoral and illegal invasions of people’s privacy. On the other hand, the power and usefulness of such a network is extremely compelling.

When you go to the Ugolog website you are immediately impressed with the simplicity of the site (I sure hope they keep it this way!). No advertisements, no stupid gimmicks, no complicated interface. The site offers a bare bones, yet elegant design that allows you to do one thing quickly and easily: setup a motion detecting webcam and send the feed to Ugolog. No software is required, only a web browser and a properly configured camera. Don’t know how to setup the camera? No problem! The site has tutorials that tell you everything you need to know. Once Ugolog has a feed from one or more of your cameras, the data will be available for you and anyone else in the world to view along with all of the other feeds on the site.

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Apr 5, 2009

On Being Bitten to Death by Ducks

Posted by in categories: biological, complex systems, education, ethics, futurism, policy

(Crossposted on the blog of Starship Reckless)

Working feverishly on the bench, I’ve had little time to closely track the ongoing spat between Dawkins and Nisbet. Others have dissected this conflict and its ramifications in great detail. What I want to discuss is whether scientists can or should represent their fields to non-scientists.

There is more than a dollop of truth in the Hollywood cliché of the tongue-tied scientist. Nevertheless, scientists can explain at least their own domain of expertise just fine, even become major popular voices (Sagan, Hawkin, Gould — and, yes, Dawkins; all white Anglo men, granted, but at least it means they have fewer gatekeepers questioning their legitimacy). Most scientists don’t speak up because they’re clocking infernally long hours doing first-hand science and/or training successors, rather than trying to become middle(wo)men for their disciplines.

prometheus

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