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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 84

Jan 17, 2011

Stories We Tell

Posted by in categories: complex systems, existential risks, futurism, lifeboat, policy


What do Singularitarianism and popular Western religion have in common? More than you might imagine. A thumbnail evaluation of both ends of the American technocentric intelligence spectrum reveals both remarkable similarities in their respective narrative constructions and, naturally, amusing disparities. It would appear that all humans, regardless of our respective beliefs, seem to express goal-oriented hardwiring that demands a neatly constructed story to frame our experiences.

Be you a technophile, you are eagerly awaiting, with perhaps equal parts hope and fear, the moment when artificial general intelligence surpasses human intelligence. You don’t know exactly how this new, more cunning intelligence will react to humans, but you’re fairly certain that humanity might well be in a bit of trouble, or at very least, have some unique competition.

Be you a technophobe, you shun the trappings of in-depth science and technology involvement, save for a superficial interaction with the rudimentary elements of technology which likely do not extend much further than your home computer, cell phone, automobile, and/or microwave oven. As a technophobe, you might even consider yourself religious, and if you’re a Christian, you might well be waiting for the second-coming, the rapture.

Both scenarios lead humanity to ironically similar destinations, in which humankind becomes either marginalized or largely vestigial.

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Nov 26, 2010

“Rogue states” as a source of global risk

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics

Some countries are a threat as possible sources of global risk. First of all we are talking about countries which have developed, but poorly controlled military programs, as well as the specific motivation that drives them to create a Doomsday weapon. Usually it is a country that is under threat of attack and total conquest, and in which the control system rests on a kind of irrational ideology.

The most striking example of such a global risk are the efforts of North Korea’s to weaponize Avian Influenza (North Korea trying to weaponize bird flu http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50093), which may lead to the creation of the virus capable of destroying most of Earth’s population.

There is not really important, what is primary: an irrational ideology, increased secrecy, the excess of military research and the real threat of external aggression. Usually, all these causes go hand in hand.

The result is the appearance of conditions for creating the most exotic defenses. In addition, an excess of military scientists and equipment allows individual scientists to be, for example, bioterrorists. The high level of secrecy leads to the fact that the state as a whole does not know what they are doing in some labs.

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Nov 21, 2010

TSA and the Coming Great Filter

Posted by in categories: existential risks, policy

Many people think that the issues Lifeboat Foundation is discussing will not be relevant for many decades to come. But recently a major US Governmental Agency, the TSA, decided to make life hell for 310 million Americans (and anyone who dares visit the USA) as it reacts to the coming Great Filter.

What is the Great Filter? Basically it is whatever has caused our universe to be dead with no advanced civilizations in it. (An advanced civilization is defined as a civilization advanced enough to be self-sustaining outside its home planet.)

The most likely explanation for this Great Filter is that civilizations eventually develop technologies so powerful that they provide individuals with the means to destroy all life on the planet. Technology has now become powerful enough that the TSA even sees 3-year-old girls as threats who may take down a plane so they take away her teddy bear and grope her.

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Nov 11, 2010

What’s Your Dream for the Future of California?

Posted by in categories: education, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, human trajectories, open access, policy, sustainability


California Dreams Video 1 from IFTF on Vimeo.

INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE ANNOUNCES CALIFORNIA DREAMS:
A CALL FOR ENTRIES ON IMAGINING LIFE IN CALIFORNIA IN 2020

Put yourself in the future and show us what a day in your life looks like. Will California keep growing, start conserving, reinvent itself, or collapse? How are you living in this new world? Anyone can enter,anyone can vote; anyone can change the future of California!

California has always been a frontier—a place of change and innovation, reinventing itself time and again. The question is, can California do it again? Today the state is facing some of its toughest challenges. Launching today, IFTF’s California Dreams is a competition with an urgent challenge to recruit citizen visions of the future of California—ideas for what it will be like to live in the state in the next decade—to start creating a new California dream.

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Nov 9, 2010

The Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, ethics, existential risks, futurism, robotics/AI

Call for Essays:

The Singularity Hypothesis
A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment

Edited volume, to appear in The Frontiers Collection, Springer

Does an intelligence explosion pose a genuine existential risk, or did Alan Turing, Steven Hawking, and Alvin Toffler delude themselves with visions ‘straight from Cloud Cuckooland’? Should the notions of superintelligent machines, brain emulations and transhumans be ridiculed, or is it that skeptics are the ones who suffer from short sightedness and ‘carbon chauvinism’? These questions have remained open because much of what we hear about the singularity originates from popular depictions, fiction, artistic impressions, and apocalyptic propaganda.

Seeking to promote this debate, this edited, peer-reviewed volume shall be concerned with scientific and philosophical analysis of the conjectures related to a technological singularity. We solicit scholarly essays offering a scientific and philosophical analysis of this hypothesis, assess its empirical content, examine relevant evidence, or explore its implications. Commentary offering a critical assessment of selected essays may also be solicited.

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Sep 2, 2010

Self Transcendence

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, futurism

Will our lumbering industrial age driven information age segue smoothly into a futuristic marvel of yet to be developed technology? It might. Or take quantum leaps. It could. Will information technology take off exponentially? It’s accelerating in that direction. The way knowledge is unraveling its potential for enhancing human ingenuity, the future looks bright indeed. But there is a problem. It’s that egoistic tendency we have of defending ourselves against knowing, of creating false images to delude ourselves and the world, and of resolving conflict violently. It’s as old as history and may be an inevitable part of life. If so, there will be consequences.

Who has ever seen drama/comedy without obstacles to overcome, conflicts to confront, dilemmas to address, confrontations to endure and the occasional least expected outcome? Just as Shakespeare so elegantly illustrated. Good drama illustrates aspects of life as lived, and we do live with egoistic mental processes that are both limited and limiting. Wherefore it might come to pass that we who are of this civilization might encounter an existential crisis. Or crunch into a bottleneck out of which … will emerge what? Or extinguish civilization with our egoistic conduct acting from regressed postures with splintered perception.

What’s least likely is that we’ll continue cruising along as usual.

Not with massive demographic changes, millions on the move, radical climate changes, major environmental shifts, cyber vulnerabilities, changing energy resources, inadequate clean water and values colliding against each other in a world where future generations of the techno-savvy will be capable of wielding the next generation of weapons of mass destruction.

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Jul 22, 2010

My book in Lulu

Posted by in category: existential risks

My book “STRUCTURE OF THE GLOBAL CATASTROPHE Risks of human extinction in the XXI century” is now available through Lulu http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/structure-of-the-globa…y/11727068 But it also available free on scribd http://www.scribd.com/doc/6250354/STRUCTURE-OF-THE-GLOBAL-CA…I-century– This book is intended to be complete up to date source book on information about existential risks.

Jun 26, 2010

Existential Risk Reduction Career Network

Posted by in categories: existential risks, finance, lifeboat

The existential risk reduction career network is a career network for those interested in getting a relatively well-paid job and donating substantial amounts (relative to income) to non-profit organizations focused on the reduction of existential risks, in the vein of SIAI, FHI, and the Lifeboat Foundation.

The aim is to foster a community of donors, and to allow donors and potential donors to give each other advice, particularly regarding the pros and cons of various careers, and for networking with like-minded others within industries. For example, someone already working in a large corporation could give a prospective donor advice about how to apply for a job.

Over time, it is hoped that the network will grow to a relatively large size, and that donations to existential risk-reduction from the network will make up a substantial fraction of funding for the beneficiary organizations.

In isolation, individuals may feel like existential risk is too large a problem to make a dent in, but collectively, we can make a huge difference. If you are interested in helping us make a difference, then please check out the network and request an invitation.

Please feel free to contact the organizers at [email protected] with any comments or questions.

Jun 25, 2010

Lifeboat Foundation in Games

Posted by in categories: existential risks, fun

The RPG Eclipse Phase includes the “Singularity Foundation” and “Lifeboat Institute” as player factions. Learn more about this game!

P.S. In case you don’t know, there is a Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.


Eclipse Phase is a roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic transhuman conspiracy and horror.

An “eclipse phase” is the period between when a cell is infected by a virus and when the virus appears within the cell and transforms it. During this period, the cell does not appear to be infected, but it is.

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Jun 9, 2010

Have Corporations Become a Global Existential Threat?

Posted by in categories: business, ethics, existential risks

Perhaps you think I’m crazy or naive to pose this question. But more and more the past few months I’ve begun to wonder if there is a possibility here that this idea may not be too far off the mark.

Not because of some half-baked theory about a global conspiracy or anything of the sort but simply based upon the behavior of many multinational corporations recently and the effects this behavior is having upon people everywhere.

Again, you may disagree but my perspective on these financial giants is that they are essentially predatory in nature and that their prey is any dollar in commerce that they can possibly absorb. The problem is that for anyone in the modern or even quasi-modern world money is nearly as essential as plasma when it comes to our well-being.

It has been clearly demonstrated again and again — all over the world — that when a population has become sufficiently destitute that the survival of the individual is actually threatened violence inevitably occurs. On a large enough scale this sort of violence can erupt into civil war and wars, as we all know too well can spread like a virus across borders, even oceans.

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