Lifeboat News #109


Lifeboat News

This issue published on 08/01/11. Copyright 2011 Lifeboat Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

1,500th Board Member

The Lifeboat Foundation celebrates the addition of our 1,500th advisory board member. John O. McGinnis is George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University Law School.
John authored the important paper "Accelerating AI" available at
In this paper he describes why strong AI has a substantial possibility of becoming a reality and then sketches the two threats that some ascribe to AI. He shows that relinquishing or effectively regulating AI in a world of competing sovereign states cannot respond effectively to such threats, given that sovereign states can gain a military advantage from AI, and that even within states, it would be very difficult to prevent individuals from conducting research into AI. Moreover, he suggests that AI-driven robots on the battlefield may actually lead to less destruction, becoming a civilizing force in wars as well as an aid to civilization in its fight against terrorism. Finally, he offers reasons that friendly artificial intelligence can be developed to help rather than harm humanity, thus eliminating the existential threat.
He concludes by showing that, in contrast to a regime of prohibition or heavy regulation, a policy of government support for AI that follows principles of friendliness is the best approach to artificial intelligence. If friendly AI emerges, it may aid in preventing the emergence of less friendly versions of strong AI, as well as distinguish the real threats from the many potential benefits inherent in other forms of accelerating technology.
The Lifeboat Foundation Advisory Board is broken up into 38 subboards ranging from Human Trajectories to Particle Physics to Space Settlement and has developed 26 programs ranging from a BioShield program to a NanoShield Program to a SecurityPreserver Program. More information about these programs is available at
The Lifeboat Foundation is developing a world-class think tank with a rich cognitive diversity of philosophers, economists, biologists, nanotechnologists, AI researchers, educators, policy experts, engineers, lawyers, ethicists, futurists, neuroscientists, physicists, space experts, and other top thinkers to help humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards the Singularity.
Unlike most organizations, whose advisory boards are too small to do more than provide some advice, our think tank provides action as well as words. Our board members have developed programs, created reports, donated money, fueled our blog, created educational videos, joined our staff, launched numerous forums, organized events, and provided input on a range of issues from web design to grant proposals to ideas for new areas that Lifeboat Foundation should be involved in.
Learn more at

Saving the World

Our James Blodgett will be giving a talk about "Saving the World" at the Triple Nine Global General Gathering in Philadelphia September 2-5.
Learn more at

DARPA/NASA 100 Year Starship Study Public Symposium

Our Gregory Benford, James Blodgett, Ian A. Crawford, Michael A.G. Michaud, Jack Sarfatti, Robert J. Sawyer, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch will be speaking at the DARPA/NASA 100 Year Starship Study Public Symposium which will be held from September 30 through October 2 at the Hilton Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Learn more at


Anyone who writes at least one post on our blog between now and the end of August will be entered into a drawing where one random winner will have $250 donated to the charity of their choice. Our blog is at
If you would like authorization to post to the official Lifeboat Foundation blog, send an email to [email protected] with the subject "Lifeboat Foundation blog".
So far, the following people have entered this drawing:
Odette Gregory with the post "This is a Rant" at
James Felton Keith with the post "The Technological Catalyst behind the Frequent Financial Market Capitulation" at
Naveen Jain with the post "Naveen Jain – Rethinking Sustainable Philanthropy" at
Alexander MacRae with the post "The Nature of the Identity, with Reference to Androids" at
Paul McGlothin with the post "Calorie Restriction: A Cell Signaling Diet!" at
Steve Nerlich with the post "Actually saving the Earth for a change" at
George Perry with the post "TEDxAlamo – George Perry – Living with Aging: Alzheimer's, the Disease of Our Time" at
Otto E. Rössler with the post "How Can I Convince the World That It Is Reasonable to Double Check?" at

Jumo Lifeboat Foundation Page

Our Mayel de Borniol launches our Jumo Lifeboat Foundation page. Jumo is a social network connecting individuals and organizations who want to change the world with their time, money, and skills.
Learn more at


Read "Nanorobotics Control Design for Nanomedicine" by our Adriano Cavalcanti at

Growing Membership

Recent donations/pledges we have received since the last newsletter:
Richard Kane: $85, Sergio M.L. Tarrero: $85, Philippe Van Nedervelde: $85, Kenneth P. Weiss: $85, Michael Breazeale: $25, Rick Hubbard: $25, Matthew L. McGuirl: $25, Rebecca G. Turner: $25, Anonymous: $10, Ronald Amos: $10, James Bracken: $10, Rebecca R. Cooper: $10, Thomas Dolphin: $10, George Garrett: $10, Charles Hawk: $10, Alexander Macrae: $10, Aaron Mayzes: $10, Glenn A. Miller: $10, Philip Morehead: $10, Phil Nadeau: $10, John N. Philipps (Jack): $10, Frank D. Smith: $10, and Maria Entraigues: $5.
Our Join Us page at now allows you to pay for your membership anywhere from monthly to every ten years.