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Archive for the ‘policy’ category

Oct 20, 2019

Tennessee researchers join call for responsible development of synthetic biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics, policy

Engineering biology is already transforming technology and science, and a consortium of researchers across many disciplines in the international Genome Project-write is calling for more discussion among scientists, policy makers and the general public to shepherd future development. In a policy forum article published in the October 18 issue of Science, the authors outline the technological advances needed to secure the transformative future of synthetic biology and express their concerns that the implementation of the relatively new discipline remains safe and responsible.

Two researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are co-authors on the piece titled “Technological challenges and milestones for writing genomes: requires improved technologies.” Neal Stewart and Scott Lenaghan with the UTIA departments of Plant Sciences and Food Science, respectively, join Nili Ostrov, a Ph.D. research fellow in genetics at Harvard Medical School, and 18 other leading scientists from a number of institutions and disciplines, in outlining a potential timeline for the development of what they call transformative advances to and society.

Stewart and Lenaghan are the co-directors of the UT Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology (CASB). Formed in 2018, Stewart says CASB is the first synthetic center in the world aimed specifically at improved agriculture. A professor of plant sciences in the UT Herbert College of Agriculture, Stewart also holds the endowed Racheff Chair of Excellence in Plant Molecular Genetics. Lenaghan is an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science who also holds an adjunct position in the UT Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) Department.

Oct 15, 2019

“Metabesity and Longevity: USA Special Case Study” is an 85-page open-access analytical report produced jointly

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, life extension, policy, robotics/AI

By and Targeting Metabesity to examine the links between metabesity, Longevity and the USA’s current health shortfalls, including low health-adjusted life expectancy (“HALE”) and the large gap between HALE and life expectancy, despite its extremely high per-capita healthcare expenditures, and to chart policy recommendations to neutralize this vast health vs wealth deficit.


€œMetabesity and Longevity: USA Special Case Study € is an 85-page open-access analytical report produced jointly by Aging Analytics Agency and Targeting Metabesity to examine the links between metabesity, Longevity and the USA €™s current health shortfalls, including low health-adjusted life expectancy ( €œHALE €) and the large gap between HALE and life expectancy, despite its extremely high per-capita healthcare expenditures, and to chart policy recommendations to neutralize this vast health vs wealth deficit.

Link to Special Case Study: https://aginganalytics.com/longevity-usa/

Continue reading “‘Metabesity and Longevity: USA Special Case Study’ is an 85-page open-access analytical report produced jointly” »

Oct 10, 2019

Is Anticipation a Good Strategy?

Posted by in categories: education, futurism, policy, strategy, theory

Anticipation and to remain hopeful and patient in expecting a preferred future have a special place and a critical role in some moral and religious systems of faith. As a personal virtue, there are many natural, cultural, social, and educational factors that play a role in its development. However, for an economic agent and in general forward looking decision makers who follow a more secular worldview, the argument in favor of anticipation and how much it could be reasonable might be less clear. Therefore, it is worthwhile to explore when and under which circumstances we should choose anticipation. A convincing argument might be helpful. In this blog post I will build a framework based on game theory to provide a better and deeper insight.

Economists, mathematicians, and to some degree, engineers have contributed to the development of game theory. In neoclassic economics, it is assumed that each economic agent has a rational behavior. According to the prediction model based on such an assumption, decision makers, if they sell goods and services, tend to maximize profit and if they buy tend to maximize utility. In other words, people naturally seek the best and the most. Moreover, decision making is based on the principle of “predict then act”. The individual first predicts the likely consequences of choices and attribute to them utilities. In the next step, an alternative is chosen that has the best consequence or the most utility. This camp or school is often called the normative decision analysis.

Nonetheless, empirical studies on the behavior of real decision makers demonstrate that despite the prediction of rational models of choice, the individuals or economic agents, do not always follow the principle of the best and the most. In 1950s, for instance, Herbert Simon showed that when faced with uncertainty and due to lack of information about the future, there are cognitive limits to rationality such that contrary to the neoclassic economic theory, people do not make decisions rationally and logically in search of the optimal alternative. Instead they seek a combination of satisfaction and sufficing levels of utility which is also called “satisficing”. This camp or school is often called the behavioral or descriptive decision analysis. To further explain, no one can claim that in a certain decision the best alternative has been chosen, regardless of the choice criteria or the ideal level of utility. Because there is always a better alternative than the best alternative known to us now. That better alternative either exists now beyond our awareness or will appear in the future. But we never can choose it if we do not know about it. In brief, we can possibly choose from a subset of the best, the best element.

In light of the flaws of the actual decision making by humans, we tend to recognize both the pros and cons of normative and descriptive decision analysis. Pioneers of decision analysis therefore have attempted to work on a new integral school that is wise enough and take into account the natural cognitive limits. This camp or school is often called the “prescriptive” decision analysis. The aim is to educate and train better decision makers, both individually and collectively. Our approach here to the question of anticipation is also integral and prescriptive.

Continue reading “Is Anticipation a Good Strategy?” »

Oct 9, 2019

Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho — Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada — Migrant Health, Pandemics, and Aging — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, geopolitics, governance, government, health, law, policy, science, strategy, sustainability

Oct 8, 2019

The US just blacklisted 8 Chinese AI firms. It could be what China’s AI industry needs

Posted by in categories: business, government, policy, robotics/AI

The US Commerce Department has said it is adding 28 Chinese government organizations and private businesses, including eight tech giants, to its so-called Entity List for acting against American foreign policy interests.

What does that mean? The move effectively bars any US companies from selling technology to the blacklisted firms and organizations without US government approval.

Why? The US says they have been involved in human rights violations against Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Sep 22, 2019

Artificial Intelligence: it will kill us | Jay Tuck | TEDxHamburgSalon

Posted by in categories: drones, military, policy, robotics/AI

For more information on Jay Tuck, please visit our website www.tedxhamburg.de

US defense expert Jay Tuck was news director of the daily news program ARD-Tagesthemen and combat correspondent for GermanTelevision in two Gulf Wars. He has produced over 500 segments for the network. His investigative reports on security policy, espionage activities and weapons technology appear in leading newspapers, television networks and magazines throughout Europe, including Cicero, Focus, PC-Welt, Playboy, Stern, Welt am Sonntag and ZEITmagazin. He is author of a widely acclaimed book on electronic intelligence activities, “High-Tech Espionage” (St. Martin’s Press), published in fourteen countries. He is Executive Producer for a weekly technology magazine on international television in the Arab world. For his latest book “Evolution without us – Will AI kill us?” he researched at US drone bases, the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and AI research institutions. His lively talks are accompanied by exclusive video and photographs.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Sep 21, 2019

Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, energy, environmental, existential risks, geopolitics, government, homo sapiens, lifeboat, policy, treaties

If you are a Lifeboat subscriber or have been reading these pages for awhile, you may know why it’s called “Lifeboat”. A fundamental goal of our founder, board, writers and supporters is to sustain the environment, life in all its diversity, and—if necessary—(i.e. if we destroy our environment beyond repair, or face a massive incoming asteroid), to prepare for relocating. That is, to build a lifeboat, figuratively and literally.

But most of us never believed that we would face an existential crisis, except perhaps a potential for a 3rd World War. Yet, here we are: Burning the forests, killing off unspeakable numbers of species (200 each day), cooking the planet, melting the ice caps, shooting a hole in the ozone, and losing more land to the sea each year.

Regading the urgent message of Greta Thunberg, below, I am at a loss for words. Seriously, there is not much I can add to the 1st video below.

Information about climate change is all around us. Everyone knows about it; Most people understand that it is real and it that poses an existential threat, quite possibly in our lifetimes. In our children’s lives, it will certainly lead to war, famine, cancer, and massive loss of land, structures and money. It is already raising sea level and killing off entire species at thousands of times the natural rate.

Continue reading “Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever” »

Sep 21, 2019

Bullying And The Shaping of The Adolescent Brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health, neuroscience, policy

There has been a continuously increasing volume of data which has demonstrated that victimization, the clinical term for bullying, affects hundreds of millions of children and adolescents which can sometimes last for years and even decades. This is seen as a global health challenge by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. However, researchers maintain there is still a limited understanding of how this act can affect the developing brain physically.

Most of the research into the neurobiological processes that might contribute to these negative health outcomes has occurred in the past decade, much of it focused on bullying’s impact on the body’s stress response system. A paper published last December in the journal Molecular Psychiatry sheds some light on a different area: brain architecture. The trauma stemming from chronic bullying can affect the structure of the brain, according to longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data collected by an international team based at King’s College London. The findings echo previous research, which has demonstrated similar changes in children and adults who experienced what’s known as “child maltreatment” — neglect or abuse by adult caregivers.

Long-term changes to the brain’s structure and chemistry are an indicator “of how sinister bullying is” says Tracy Vaillancourt, a developmental psychologist at the University of Ottawa. Along with others in the field, she is hopeful that studies like the one from King’s College will be a catalyst for further research which could ultimately be used to inform policy decisions and support anti-bullying interventions.

Sep 9, 2019

Russian x-risks newsletter, summer 2019

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, policy

This is the first Russian x-risks newsletter, which will present news about Russia and global catastrophic risks from the last 3 months.

Given the combination of high technological capabilities, poor management, high risk tolerance and attempts to catch up with West and China in the military sphere, Russia is prone to technological catastrophes. It has a 10 times higher level of aviation catastrophes and car accidents than developed countries.

Thus it seems possible that a future global catastrophe may be somehow connected with Russia. However, most of the work in global catastrophic and existential risk (x-risks) prevention and policy efforts are happening in the West, especially in US, UK and Sweden. Even the best policies adopted by the governments of these countries may not help if a catastrophe occurs in another country or countries.

Sep 3, 2019

Algorithmic Foreign Policy

Posted by in categories: information science, policy, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence capable of predicting world events could radically change geopolitics.

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