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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Jun 19, 2017

Didier Coeurnelle – Life Extension and Existential Risks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, existential risks, government, life extension, transhumanism

Another LEAF interview from the International Longevity and Cryopreservation Summit in Madrid with Didier Coeurnelle of Heales.


LEAF director Elena Milova was recently at the International Longevity and Cryopreservation Summit in Madrid. During the conference she caught up with life extension advocate Didier Coeurnelle.

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Jun 8, 2017

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): Future A to Z

Posted by in categories: business, computing, cyborgs, engineering, ethics, existential risks, machine learning, robotics/AI, singularity

What is the ultimate goal of Artificial General Intelligence?

In this video series, the Galactic Public Archives takes bite-sized looks at a variety of terms, technologies, and ideas that are likely to be prominent in the future. Terms are regularly changing and being redefined with the passing of time. With constant breakthroughs and the development of new technology and other resources, we seek to define what these things are and how they will impact our future.

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Jun 1, 2017

Could Aliens Be Hibernating Through The Worst Time in The Universe?

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks, robotics/AI

As the Fermi paradox states, the Universe is a vast, unknowable space, filled with trillions upon trillions of potentially habitable planets, so… where are all the aliens?

In the latest attempt to solve this conundrum, a trio of researchers have suggested that advanced alien civilisations have gone into self-imposed ‘hibernation’ — waiting for a future where the Universe is far colder than it is now, which would facilitate the kind of processing power we could only ever dream about.

A new paper written by Oxford neuroscientist and AI expert, Anders Sandberg and Stuart Armstrong, together with Milan Ćirković from the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade, Serbia, argues that civilisations far more advanced than us could have conceivably explored a big chunk of the Universe already, and are now waiting for a better time to be alive.

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May 31, 2017

Cassini images suggest asteroid strike forced Enceladus poles to shift

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

NASA has announced that asteroid strikes may have tipped over Saturn’s icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus. Researchers came to the conclusion after analysing the latest images and data from Cassini.

Researchers say they have enough evidence to suggest the moon’s spin axis – the line through the north and south poles – reoriented from its original position due to a collision with a smaller body, most likely an asteroid. The shift from its original axis is by 55 degrees, more than halfway rolling completely onto its side.

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May 21, 2017

The Doomsday Vault Isn’t Flooded But We’re All Still Going to Die

Posted by in categories: existential risks, government, life extension, sustainability

Still, the seed vault is supposed to function without humans having to get involved with maintenance. The Norwegian government is studying the situation and plans to fix the leak.


It was a story that was too good to pass up. The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault had flooded because of global warming-induced high temperatures melting the surrounding permafrost. But according to one of the vault’s creators, the reports are pretty overblown and everything’s fine. Well, the vault’s fine. The apocalypse is still ticking along nicely.

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May 19, 2017

World Asteroid Day Hackathon

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, cybercrime/malcode, education, existential risks, media & arts

“A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, often including subject-matter-experts, collaborate intensively on software projects. Occasionally, there is a hardware component as well. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackathon

In February 2014, Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and famed guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, began working with Grigorij Richters, the director of a new film titled 51 Degrees North, a fictional story of an asteroid impact on London and the resulting human condition. May composed the music for the film and suggested that Richters preview it at Starmus, an event organized by Dr. Garik Israelian and attended by esteemed astrophysicists, scientists and artists, including Dr. Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Rick Wakeman. The result was the beginning of discussions that would lead to the launch of Asteroid Day in 2015. See : https://asteroidday.org/

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May 3, 2017

Rejuvenation would be too expensive to create

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, economics, existential risks, finance, life extension

Creating rejuvenation will probably be quite expensive, but that’s no reason to give up on it. We can pull it off.


The first thing to realise is that, when you wonder how much something will cost, you’re actually wondering how many resources and how many people doing how much work it will take to do that something. That’s all that really matters. The problem is that we have a sucky economic system such that even if we do have more than enough people and resources to do the job, the monetary cost of it could be so high that you can’t get the job done without creating financial problems left and right. This should be a hint that the problem, if it exists, lies in our crappy economic system, not in rejuvenation itself or whatever other thing we may create.

Apart from the obvious fact that other hysterically expensive endeavours (such as space missions) are pulled off despite their costs, we must take into account that desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. We don’t need to tear apart our economic system and replace it with another before we create rejuvenation, and neither would we if faced with another health crisis (such as a pandemic) or a planetary crisis, but we need to get the job done despite its costs and the consequences they may have. We can’t give up on rejuvenation on the grounds that it may be too expensive to create, just like we wouldn’t in the case of an existential risk. Can you imagine that? There’s a huge asteroid on a collision course with Earth, and our only hope is a spectacularly expensive space mission to destroy it before it’s too late. Just who in their right mind would step up and say: ‘Nah, too expensive. Let’s not do it.

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May 2, 2017

Why Silicon Valley Can’t “Disruptively” Vote Its Way To Digital Immortality

Posted by in categories: existential risks, governance, life extension, lifeboat, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

You’ve probably heard about billionaires’ Plan B for when the end of the world comes, much of it centering around property in New Zealand. It’s not exactly a bad plan as far as doomsday prepping goes; buy a nice bunker somewhere in Middle Earth and wait out the chaos in luxury on one of two fairly isolated islands. Now, you may have noticed that front and center for such planning is Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump backer Peter Thiel of the pay-to-sue-Gawker-into-oblivion fame to the public at large, and ultra-libertarian venture capitalist with some crazy ideas about the future to the techies who know him. His backing of seasteading and support for Trump just because he got bored with Obama, are but a warmup to what he really has in mind for the future: immortality as a sentient super-AI.

No, you didn’t read that wrong, and no, this is not hyperbole. In fact, yours truly was once invited to an event where Thiel was a featured speaker after a rather public spat with the president of the Singularity Institute. I did not take up the offer because I had to be in class to learn how to build actual AI systems. And for full disclosure, I was invited to join an advisory board for a group of futurists called The Lifeboat Foundation, but like Groucho Marx, I didn’t want to be involved in a club that would accept someone like me as a member, much less as an advisor based on little more than me being a grad student at the time. So Thiel’s involvement with a group of futurists and an occasional computer scientist who thinks we’re on the verge of something a lot like the plot of Transcendence, is extremely well known in tech.

In fact, the belief that at some point, artificial intelligence and the march of technology will create a singularity that will alter humanity forever, has an alarming number of adherents in Silicon Valley. The face of the Singularity today, Ray Kurzweil, works at Google and runs Singularity University where it’s preached thanks to a multimillion commitment from his employer. And the fact that this belief is so popular in the world’s biggest tech hub isn’t all that surprising if we consider its followers. They’re told that their code and the technology they’re developing is changing the world, or they’re devoted followers of popular science news ready for the incredible future promised to us by the glossy magazines and sci-fi movies to arrive. To be told that by 2035 or 2045 we may become immortal through technology is appealing to say the least, and empowering for those who think they can help.

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Apr 26, 2017

Why Haven’t We Met Aliens Yet? Because They’ve Evolved into AI

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks, robotics/AI, transhumanism

Happy #Alien Day. Here’s my trilogy of alien stories for Vice. I’ll start by listing #2 first for those who only have time for one, but they do go in chronological order: 2) https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-havent-we-met…ed-into-ai & 1) https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/the-internet-will…wake-it-up & 3) (covered recently by the History Channel): https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/the-language-of-a…cipherable #transhumanism


While traveling in Western Samoa many years ago, I met a young Harvard University graduate student researching ants. He invited me on a hike into the jungles to assist with his search for the tiny insect. He told me his goal was to discover a new species of ant, in hopes it might be named after him one day.

Whenever I look up at the stars at night pondering the cosmos, I think of my ant collector friend, kneeling in the jungle with a magnifying glass, scouring the earth. I think of him, because I believe in aliens—and I’ve often wondered if aliens are doing the same to us.

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Apr 18, 2017

Huge asteroid to give Earth a very close shave on April 19

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

NASA says a 2,000-foot-wide space rock will pass within 1.1 million miles of our planet this week.

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