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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Feb 3, 2018

We are already Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, computing, cyborgs, DNA, evolution, existential risks, futurism, hacking, robotics/AI, theory, transhumanism

By Eliott Edge

“It is possible for a computer to become conscious. Basically, we are that. We are data, computation, memory. So we are conscious computers in a sense.”

—Tom Campbell, NASA

If the universe is a computer simulation, virtual reality, or video game, then a few unusual conditions seem to necessarily fall out from that reading. One is what we call consciousness, the mind, is actually something like an artificial intelligence. If the universe is a computer simulation, we are all likely one form of AI or another. In fact, we might come from the same computer that is creating this simulated universe to begin with. If so then it stands to reason that we are virtual characters and virtual minds in a virtual universe.

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Jan 29, 2018

The Doomsday Clock Just Moved Closer to Midnight. Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted by in category: existential risks

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight on Thursday morning, warning the world that it is as close to catastrophe in 2018 as it has ever been.


They say the world is as close to catastrophe as it has been in the nuclear age.

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Jan 23, 2018

India & Japan combine defense forces in AI, robotics to curb Chinese ambitions

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

India and Japan have vowed to strengthen their strategic ties by increasing cooperation in the defense, robotics and AI sectors in coming years in response to Chinese regional ambitions and North Korea’s nuclear plans.

“You should expect to see increased bilateral cooperation between us to develop unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and robotics,”Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura told the Times of India. The move follows the successful ratification of the Indo-Japanese civil nuclear agreement by Japan’s parliament in late 2017.

The two countries are launching a working group on cooperation between nuclear companies. “Japan’s intention is to start this quickly, possibly by the end of this month,” Sonoura said.

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Jan 18, 2018

Could science destroy the world? These scholars want to save us from a modern-day Frankenstein

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, existential risks, health, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, science

The dozen people working at CSER itself—little more than a large room in an out-of-the-way building near the university’s occupational health service—organize talks, convene scientists to discuss future developments, and publish on topics from regulation of synthetic biology to ecological tipping points. A lot of their time is spent pondering end-of-the-world scenarios and potential safeguards.


A small cadre of scientists worries that lab-made viruses, AI, or nanobots could drive humans to extinction.

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Jan 8, 2018

Using Technology to Reverse Extinction

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

The extinction of various species has led to a segregation of human activity and natural activity, says Stewart Brand of The Long Now Foundation, which focuses on long-term strategies for the next 10,000 years. The organization develops biotechnology to allow humans to better co-exist with nature. In this interview filmed at the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival, Brand discusses how biotechnology can be used to bring back the passenger pigeon from extinction and mitigate climate change at last.

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Dec 20, 2017

North Korea Is Trying to Fit Its Missiles With Anthrax

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks

Pyongyang is conducting tests to see if anthrax germs can survive at temperatures of 7,000 degrees or more.

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Dec 6, 2017

Daniel Ellsberg’s Memoir About Life as a Nuclear War Planner Would Be Terrifying Even if Trump Weren’t President

Posted by in categories: existential risks, government, military

Daniel Ellsberg gained notoriety in the early 1970s for leaking the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s top-secret history of the Vietnam War, and then for outspokenly protesting the war and the government’s secrecy which sustained it. Yet few, then or now, are aware that he spent much of the previous decade immersed in highly classified studies of the U.S. nuclear-war machine: how it works, who can launch an attack, and how much devastation it can wreak if someone ever pushed the button.

His new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, is his long-gestating memoir of those times and the years since, and it is one of the best books ever written on the subject—certainly the most honest and revealing account by an insider who plunged deep into the nuclear rabbit hole’s mad logic and came out the other side.


Dr. Strangelove “was a documentary,” writes the man behind the Pentagon Papers.

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Dec 4, 2017

US military agency invests $100m in genetic extinction technologies

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

‘UN diplomats confirmed that the new email release would worsen the “bad name” of gene drives in some circles. “Many countries [will] have concerns when this technology comes from DARPA, a US military science agency,” one said.‘.


Cutting-edge gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9 work by using a synthetic ribonucleic acid (RNA) to cut into DNA strands and then insert, alter or remove targeted traits. These might, for example, distort the sex-ratio of mosquitoes to effectively wipe out malarial populations.

Some UN experts, though, worry about unintended consequences. One told the Guardian: “You may be able to remove viruses or the entire mosquito population, but that may also have downstream ecological effects on species that depend on them.”

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Nov 29, 2017

How four recent launches signaled new leaps in North Korea’s missile capabilities

Posted by in categories: existential risks, policy

“There is no excuse for acting surprised when you see video of a mushroom cloud” on TV, said Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists for nuclear and defense policy.


North Korea has launched 18 missile tests in 2017, and 13 were successful.

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Nov 28, 2017

North Korea missile launch: regime says new type can hit anywhere in US

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

North Korea has claimed that the rocket it test-fired on Wednesday morning is a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM] that can strike anywhere on the United States mainland.

In a special announcement broadcast on state TV, the regime said it had successfully tested a Hwasong-15, which appears to be an advanced version of ICBMs it launched in July.

The claim has not been independently verified, but experts had been expecting North Korea to demonstrate that it now has all of the US in range – a development that significantly strengthens its position in any negotiations with Washington over its nuclear weapons programme.

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