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Archive for the ‘law’ category: Page 70

Feb 11, 2017

Value Conflicts surrounding the Meaning of Life in the Trans/Post/Human Future

Posted by in categories: biological, cryonics, cyborgs, economics, environmental, ethics, futurism, governance, health, homo sapiens, law, mobile phones, policy, posthumanism, security, theory, transhumanism

Posthumanists and perhaps especially transhumanists tend to downplay the value conflicts that are likely to emerge in the wake of a rapidly changing technoscientific landscape. What follows are six questions and scenarios that are designed to focus thinking by drawing together several tendencies that are not normally related to each other but which nevertheless provide the basis for future value conflicts.

  1. Will ecological thinking eventuate in an instrumentalization of life? Generally speaking, biology – especially when a nervous system is involved — is more energy efficient when it comes to storing, accessing and processing information than even the best silicon-based computers. While we still don’t quite know why this is the case, we are nevertheless acquiring greater powers of ‘informing’ biological processes through strategic interventions, ranging from correcting ‘genetic errors’ to growing purpose-made organs, including neurons, from stem-cells. In that case, might we not ‘grow’ some organs to function in largely the same capacity as silicon-based computers – especially if it helps to reduce the overall burden that human activity places on the planet? (E.g. the brains in the vats in the film The Minority Report which engage in the precognition of crime.) In other words, this new ‘instrumentalization of life’ may be the most environmentally friendly way to prolong our own survival. But is this a good enough reason? Would these specially created organic thought-beings require legal protection or even rights? The environmental movement has been, generally speaking, against the multiplication of artificial life forms (e.g. the controversies surrounding genetically modified organisms), but in this scenario these life forms would potentially provide a means to achieve ecologically friendly goals.

  1. Will concerns for social justice force us to enhance animals? We are becoming more capable of recognizing and decoding animal thoughts and feelings, a fact which has helped to bolster those concerned with animal welfare, not to mention ‘animal rights’. At the same time, we are also developing prosthetic devices (of the sort already worn by Steven Hawking) which can enhance the powers of disabled humans so their thoughts and feelings are can be communicated to a wider audience and hence enable them to participate in society more effectively. Might we not wish to apply similar prosthetics to animals – and perhaps even ourselves — in order to facilitate the transaction of thoughts and feelings between humans and animals? This proposal might aim ultimately to secure some mutually agreeable ‘social contract’, whereby animals are incorporated more explicitly in the human life-world — not as merely wards but as something closer to citizens. (See, e.g., Donaldson and Kymlicka’s Zoopolis.) However, would this set of policy initiatives constitute a violation of the animals’ species integrity and simply be a more insidious form of human domination?

Continue reading “Value Conflicts surrounding the Meaning of Life in the Trans/Post/Human Future” »

Feb 10, 2017

The Hyperloop’s Best-Known Engineer—Brogan BamBrogan—Is Back in the Race With His Own Company

Posted by in categories: law, transportation

Brogan BamBrogan has jumped back into the race to transform transportation. The engineer, who left Hyperloop One amid a wild legal battle last summer, has launched his own effort to build a network of tubes and pods to fling people about the planet at near-supersonic speeds. It’s called Arrivo (Italian for “arrived”), and it plans to put you—or at least your stuff—in a working hyperloop in just three years.

As CEO, BamBrogan (yes, that’s his legal name) says the new Los Angeles–based company has lined up funding and is in talks to produce hyperloop systems for a variety of clients. Without revealing where those projects are, he says he plans to start by moving cargo, a good way to prove the system works and iron out the kinks without killing anybody, all while bringing in some revenue.

BamBrogan is a respected engineer who spent years at SpaceX before cofounding Hyperloop One with venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar in 2014. In July, he and three coworkers sued the company, alleging shenanigans like breach of fiduciary duty, violating labor laws, wrongful termination, and infliction of emotional distress. Hyperloop One countersued, accusing BamBrogan et al. of an attempted mutiny. In November, the aggrieved parties reached a confidential settlement and dropped the suits, which involved details like an overpaid fiancée, drunken shouting, a nightclub bouncer, and … um … a noose.

Continue reading “The Hyperloop’s Best-Known Engineer—Brogan BamBrogan—Is Back in the Race With His Own Company” »

Feb 8, 2017

French Polynesia signs agreement for Floating Island Project

Posted by in categories: economics, governance, government, law

The French Polynesian government, earlier this year, officially signed an agreement with The Seasteading Institute to cooperate on creating legal framework to allow for the development of The Floating Island Project. The legislation will give the Floating Island Project it’s own “special governing framework” creating an “innovative special economic zone”.

French Polynesia signs agreement for Floating Island Project

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Jan 20, 2017

The U.K.’s aggressive new surveillance law will have impacts beyond the nation’s shores

Posted by in categories: law, surveillance

Even if you don’t live in Britain, the U.K.’s new “Snooper’s Charter” is worth watching. It could inspire other democratic nations to adopt aggressive surveillance policies.

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Jan 16, 2017

Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

Posted by in category: law

Hmmm; maybe it also that folks are tired of dealing with the patent process that is extremely costly by the time your patent is approved; not to mention the time to push things through.


Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform.

The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos.

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Jan 12, 2017

MEPs vote on robots’ legal status

Posted by in categories: law, robotics/AI

An EU report lays out a set of rules for how humans interact with robots and artificial intelligence.

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Jan 11, 2017

Dark Web Offers Tools for Vengeance to Disgruntled Workers

Posted by in categories: law, security

It seems the dark web is now making it easier for disgruntled employees to take their revenge to the next level, we learn from the KrebsOnSecurity article, “Rise of Darknet Stokes Fear of the Insider.” The article cites Gartner analyst Avivah Litan; she reports a steep increase in calls from clients concerned about vindictive employees, current or former, who might expose sensitive information on the dark web. Not surprisingly, companies with a lot of intellectual property at stake are already working with law-enforcement or private security firms to guard against the threat.

How, exactly, is the dark web making worker retaliation easier than ever before? Writer Brian Krebs explains:

Noam Jolles, a senior intelligence expert at Diskin Advanced Technologies, studies darknet communities. I interviewed her last year in ‘Bidding for Breaches,’ a story about a secretive darknet forum called Enigma where members could be hired to launch targeted phishing attacks at companies. Some Enigma members routinely solicited bids regarding names of people at targeted corporations that could serve as insiders, as well as lists of people who might be susceptible to being recruited or extorted.

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Jan 9, 2017

Self-Driving Cars Will Fail

Posted by in categories: law, robotics/AI, transportation

The article does bring up many of the same points that many have raised with self driving cars; and folks still don’t seem to understand that we have thousands if not millions of laws in the US alone that must be reviewed and possibly changed to address this technology on the roads. When you look at every state, each county, and each town or city’s laws around driving on their roads; it could be a long and painful period for companies and consumers before the legal side of things catch up.


Self-driving car technology is not yet ready for prime time. Driver assist is.

The Legal challenges and potential liability are immense.

Continue reading “Self-Driving Cars Will Fail” »

Jan 8, 2017

The Message of Thomas Friedman’s New Book: It’s Going to Be O.K

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, law, sustainability

Friedman argues that man is actually a fairly adaptable creature. The problem is that our capacity to adapt is being outpaced by a “supernova,” built from three ever faster things: technology, the market and climate change.

Man has sped up his own response times. It now takes us only 10–15 years to get used to the sort of technological changes that we used to absorb in a couple of generations; but what good is that when technology becomes obsolete every five to seven years? The supernova is making a joke of both patent law and education. Governments, companies and individuals are all struggling to keep up.


Friedman’s main cause for optimism is based on a trip back to St. Louis Park, the Minneapolis suburb where he grew up. This is perhaps the most elegiac, memorable part of the book — a piece of sustained reportage that ranks alongside “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” Friedman’s masterly first book about the Middle East. He points out that the same communal virtues that made Minnesota work when he was young have survived — and are still useful. But somehow, the passages that lingered with this reader were the ones about the good old days that have disappeared — when baseball used to be a sport that everybody could afford to watch, when local boys like the young Friedman could caddy at the United States Open, when everybody in Friedman’s town went to public schools.

Continue reading “The Message of Thomas Friedman’s New Book: It’s Going to Be O.K” »

Dec 30, 2016

The Ethics of Synthetic Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, ethics, law

Nice article raising old concerns and debates on ethics. Synbio like any technology or science can in the wrong hands be used to do anything destructive. Placing standards and laws on such technologies truly does get the law abiding researchers, labs and companies aligned and sadly restricted. However, it does not prevent an ISIS, or the black market, or any other criminal with money from trying to meet an intended goal. So, I do caution folks to at least step back assess and think before imposing a bunch of restrictions and laws on a technology that prevents it from helping those in need v. criminals who never follow ethics or the law.


When artists use synthetic biology, are they playing God, or just playing with cool new toys? Scientists Drew Endy and Christina Agapakis weigh in on the ethics.

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