Blog

Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 2

Oct 22, 2019

Study suggests alien probes are too tiny for astronomers to spot

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks

Space scientists may have missed alien probes because they’re just too small.

That’s the bold claim from an astrophysicist who reckons we’ve been looking for extraterrestrial life the wrong way.

The argument is an attempt to explain the Fermi Paradox, a decades-old thought experiment.

Oct 21, 2019

Asteroid horror: NASA spots space rock half size of Ben Nevis on dangerous Earth-orbit

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

NASA is keeping a watchful eye on the mid-November close approach of a behemoth space rock that is almost half the size of Ben Nevis and hurtling towards earth at 18,000 miles per hour.

Oct 18, 2019

Evolution tells us we might be the only intelligent life in the universe

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution, existential risks

Are we alone in the universe? It comes down to whether intelligence is a probable outcome of natural selection, or an improbable fluke. By definition, probable events occur frequently, improbable events occur rarely—or once. Our evolutionary history shows that many key adaptations—not just intelligence, but complex animals, complex cells, photosynthesis, and life itself—were unique, one-off events, and therefore highly improbable. Our evolution may have been like winning the lottery … only far less likely.

The universe is astonishingly vast. The Milky Way has more than 100 billion stars, and there are over a trillion galaxies in the visible universe, the tiny fraction of the universe we can see. Even if habitable worlds are rare, their sheer number—there are as many planets as stars, maybe more—suggests lots of life is out there. So where is everyone? This is the Fermi paradox. The universe is large, and old, with time and room for intelligence to evolve, but there’s no evidence of it.

Could intelligence simply be unlikely to evolve? Unfortunately, we can’t study extraterrestrial life to answer this question. But we can study some 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, looking at where evolution repeats itself, or doesn’t.

Oct 6, 2019

“Human Compatible” is a provocative prescription to re-think AI before it’s too late

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI

Dr. Stuart Russell, a distinguished AI researcher and computer scientist at UC Berkeley, believes there is a fundamental and potentially civilization-ending shortcoming in the “standard model” of AI, which is taught (and Dr. Russell wrote the main textbook) and applied virtually everywhere. Dr. Russell’s new book, Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control, argues that unless we re-think the building blocks of AI, the arrival of superhuman AI may become the “last event in human history.”

That may sound a bit wild-eyed, but Human Compatible is a carefully written explanation of the concepts underlying AI as well as the history of their development. If you want to understand how fast AI is developing and why the technology is so dangerous, Human Compatible is your guide, literally starting with Aristotle and closing with OpenAI Five’s Dota 2 triumph.

An interview with Dr. Stuart Russell, author of “Human Compatible, Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”

Oct 2, 2019

Josh Mitteldorf — Cracking the Aging Code

Posted by in categories: evolution, existential risks, genetics, life extension, sustainability

New interview with author and researcher Dr. Josh Mitteldorf who runs the aging research blog Aging Matters.


Interview with author and researcher Dr. Josh Mitteldorf who runs the aging research blog ‘Aging Matters’.

Dr. Josh Mitteldorf is an evolutionary biologist and a long-time contributor to the growing field of aging science. His work in this field has focused on theories of aging. He asks the basic question: why do we age and die?

Continue reading “Josh Mitteldorf — Cracking the Aging Code” »

Sep 24, 2019

NASA Wants a New Space Telescope to Protect Us All from Dangerous Asteroids

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

NASA is pursuing a new space telescope tailored to spotting potentially hazardous asteroids.

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 17, 2019

Prof. Steve Fuller on Transhumanism: Ask yourself what is human?

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, existential risks, genetics, life extension, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Prof. Steve Fuller is the author of 25 books including a trilogy relating to the idea of a ‘post-’ or ‘trans-‘human future, and most recently, Nietzschean Meditations: Untimely Thoughts at the Dawn of the Transhuman Age.

During this 2h 15 min interview with Steve Fuller we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: the social foundations of knowledge and our shared love of books; Transhumanism as a scientistic way of understanding who we are; the proactionary vs the precautionary principle; Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Omega Point; Julian and Aldous Huxley’s diverging takes on Transhumanism; David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative as a concept straight out of Brave New World; the concept and meaning of being human, transhuman and posthuman; humanity’s special place in the cosmos; my Socratic Test of (Artificial) Intelligence; Transhumanism as a materialist theology – i.e. religion for geeks; Elon Musk, cosmism and populating Mars; de-extinction, genetics and the sociological elements of a given species; the greatest issues that humanity is facing today; AI, the Singularity and armed conflict; morphological freedom and becoming human; longevity and the “Death is Wrong” argument; Zoltan Istvan and the Transhumanist Wager; Transhumanism as a way of entrenching rather than transcending one’s original views…

Continue reading “Prof. Steve Fuller on Transhumanism: Ask yourself what is human?” »

Sep 11, 2019

Joe Rogan Experience #1350 — Nick Bostrom

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, neuroscience

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher at the University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk, the anthropic principle, human enhancement ethics, superintelligence risks, and the reversal test.

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.

Page 2 of 7212345678Last