Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view



UPCOMING EVENTS: Cyber

Wendell Wallach @ Connecticut Science Center
May 5
Connecticut Science Center




MULTIMEDIA: Cyber Topics

All your devices can be hacked

Military robots and the future of war

The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn

Non-lethal weapons, a moral hazard?

Podcast Interview - Is High Tech Turning Us Into the Borg?

Manifesto for Cyborgs

Singularity 1 on 1: Compassion is the reason to reverse aging!

Episode 237 - The Sofalurity Is Near

Let’s design social media that drives real change

This is what happens when you reply to spam email

Governments Don’t Understand Cyber Warfare - We Need Hackers

Will technology’s dark side eclipse humanity’s bright future?

IEET Fellow Ben Goertzel on the Transformative Potential of Intelligent Robotics

Forget Wi-Fi. Meet the new Li-Fi Internet

How much should we care for virtual mice?




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Cyber Topics




Transhumanismus: Der neue Politiktrend?

by Roland Benedikter

Das humanistische Menschenbild prägte die Entwicklung westlicher Gesellschaften. Doch inzwischen ist der Transhumanismus auf dem Vormarsch. Vertreter dieser neuen ideologischen Strömung beraten westliche Regierungen, Firmen und Entscheidungsträger. Sie streben eine Cyborgisierung des Menschen an. Doch was sind die politischen Folgen?



Wendell Wallach book signing at Connecticut Science Center

IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach will be giving a talk and singing his recent book A Dangerous Master:  how to keep technology from slipping beyond our control at the Connecticut Science Center on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

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Link to A Dangerous Master: how to keep technology from slipping beyond our control



The Internet of Things and the Great Recalibration

by Anthony Miccoli

I’ve been playing catch-up since my tenure application and my class preps for the Spring semester, but I’ve finally been able to re-engage with my usual sites, and all of the fantastic content in my Google+ communities.  One thing that’s been coming up in various iterations is the concept of the “internet of things.” In a nutshell, the term loosely (and, I think perhaps a little misleadingly) refers to a technological interconnectivity of everyday objects: clothes, appliances, industrial equipment, jewelry, cars, etc, now made possible by advancements in creating smaller microprocessors.

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Who Controls the Internet?

by David Brin

The End of the Internet Dream?

Ever since Congress passed Al Gore’s bill, around 1990, setting the Internet free to pervade the world and empower billions, repressive governments have complained, seeing their despotic methods undermined. And yes, democratic governments have often muttered: “Why’d we go and do that?” as their citizens became increasingly rambunctious, knowing and independent-minded!

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IEET Affiliate Scholar Seth Baum interviewed on the History Channel

On Monday, January 4, 2016, the History Channel aired a 2-hour documentary called “The Seven New Signs of the Apocalypse” at 9pm ET.

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Link to The History Channel



Is there Trouble with Algorithmic Decision-making? Fairness and Efficiency-based Objections

by John Danaher

Tal Zarsky’s work has featured on this blog before. He is an expert in the legal aspects of big data and algorithmic decision-making. He recently published a paper entitled “The Trouble with Algorithmic Decision-Making” in which he tries to identify, categorise and respond to some of the leading objections to the use of algorithmic decision-making processes. This is a topic that interests me too, so I was eager to see what he had to say.



Paranoia, Conspiracies and Surveillance

by David Brin

== Another summons to resigned despair ==

Conspiracy theories abound.  They erupt out of human nature, it seems, and your ethnicity or caste or political leanings only affect which direction you credit with devilish cleverness, secret power and satanic values. For sure, as a science fiction author I can concoct plausible schemes and plots with the best of them!  Indeed, let me add that some real life cabals are so blatant and proudly obvious that you just have to admit – sometimes “they” are completely real and up to awful mischief.



Confronting Future Catastrophic Threats to Humanity

by Seth Baum

This is the introductory editorial to the Futures special issue.  It was co-written with Bruce E. Tonn.

Humanity faces a range of threats to its viability as a civilization and its very survival. These catastrophic threats include natural disasters such as supervolcano eruptions and large asteroid collisions as well as disasters caused by human activity such as nuclear war and global warming. The threats are diverse, but their would-be result is the same: the collapse of global human civilization or even human extinction.

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Responses to catastrophic AGI risk: a survey

by Roman Yampolskiy

Abstract

Many researchers have argued that humanity will create artificial general intelligence (AGI) within the next twenty to one hundred years. It has been suggested that AGI may inflict serious damage to human well-being on a global scale (‘catastrophic risk’).

After summarizing the arguments for why AGI may pose such a risk, we review the fieldʼs proposed responses to AGI risk. We consider societal proposals, proposals for external constraints on AGI behaviors and proposals for creating AGIs that are safe due to their internal design.

(This report was co-written with IEET contributing writer Kaj Sotala)

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Don’t Know Mind: Zen and the Art of AGI Indecision

by Gareth John

By now I’ve clocked up a relatively comprehensive slew of reading up on Artificial General Intelligence, in particular concerning its ethical implications. Still mostly in the dark when it comes to any of the difficulties and scientific quandaries that go into creating such a machine, I am at least at a level of understanding whereby I can begin to tease out for myself some of the wider implications AGI would present for humankind.



#23: The Age of Transhumanist Politics Has Begun: Will It Change the Concepts of Left and Right?

by Roland Benedikter

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on April 27, 2015, and is the #23 most viewed of the year.

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Magic Blockchains, but for Time? Blocktime Arbitrage

by Melanie Swan

There is no doubt that blockchains are a reality-making technology, a mode and means of implementing as many flavors of our own crypto-enlightenments as we can imagine! This includes newer, flatter, more autonomous economic, political, ethical, scientific, and community systems. But not just in the familiar human social constructs like economics and politics, possibly in physical realities too like time. Blocktime’s temporal multiplicity and malleability suggest a reality feature we have never had access to before – making more time.



#28: Posthumanisms: A Carnapian Experiment

by Daryl Wennemann

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on March 19, 2015, and is the #28 most viewed of the year.

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Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!

by David Brin

Time for a return to the core issue of our time: how shall we best preserve and extend freedom?  Along with freedom’s contingent benefits, like privacy?

In the LA Review of Books, Internet Privacy: Stepping Up Our Self-Defense Game, Evan Selinger reviews a slim book—Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, by Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum.



After Paris, can we be both safe and free?

by David Brin

Of course we are all still quivering, following the attacks in Paris last week that killed 129 people, not so very far from where my wife and I lived for a couple of years, as newlyweds during the 1990s.  Our hearts go out to the brave folk of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité in la Ville Lumiere.



Anonymous vs ISIS: Vigilante justice in the War against Terrorism

by Stefan Morrone

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind centred around the terrorist group knows as the Islamic State.  First, several attacks in Paris left 129 dead and countless others injured, then a bomb threat in Germany and a threat by ISIS to attack the rest of Europe and Washington, D.C. Fear grips the hearts of people around the world in an iron vice. And that is exactly what ISIS wants.  Right now, they are winning.



A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS

by Gennady Stolyarov II

The recent slaughters of hundreds of innocent civilians in Paris, in Ankara, in Beirut, and aboard the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 illustrate without a shadow of doubt that the threat from the barbaric sect known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, and the Islamic State cannot be contained within the Middle East. ISIS is an enemy of humanity, decency, and Western civilization. It will continue killing completely peaceful civilians of Western nations, both in their home countries and abroad, in gruesome ways. ISIS is a cancer upon humanity, and it will continue to metastasize and inflict damage until it is either eradicated or until it completely kills its host. Like cancer, ISIS cannot coexist with a healthy humankind. This cancerous “Islamic State” should be eradicated using the resources of any willing parties.



Blockchain Technology, Smart Contracts and Smart Property

by John Danaher

Blockchain technology is at the heart of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most people have heard of Bitcoin and some are excited by the prospect it raises of a decentralised, stateless currency/payment system. But this is not the most interesting thing about Bitcoin. It is the blockchain technology itself that is the real breakthrough. It not only provides the foundation for a currency and payment system; it also provides the foundation for new ways of organising and managing basic social relationships. This includes legal relationships such as those involved in contractual exchange and proprietary ownership. The most prominent expression of this potential comes in the shape of Ethereum, an open source platform that allows developers to use blockchains for whatever purpose they see fit.



IEET Co-Founder Nick Bostrom sets out threats from future technologies at UN meeting

IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom briefed a UN committee about the national and international security risks posed by artificial intelligence and other future technologies at a UN event last week.

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DARPA’S Tiny Guardians in the Form of Microchips

by B. J. Murphy

In the second decade of the 21st century, crime has fully embraced the age of advanced technology. To address these futurist crimes, we have to consider combating them, fire with fire. In other words, using advanced technology to counter-balance the level of power criminals could possibly attain at the opportunity of the technological age. Which is why DARPA is stepping up its game in terms of chip making.

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On the Right Side of Futurology: A Look at the Struggle Ahead

by Phil Torres

Dan Barker, echoing an idea expressed by many atheists, describes theology as “a subject without an object.” Since there’s little reason for thinking a God exists – much less the God of the Bible – the entire field is ultimately vacuous, despite the grandiloquent rigamarole of, as Jerry Coyne puts it, Sophisticated Theologians(TM). Theology studies nothing. Its heart and soul is a phenomenon that almost certainly doesn’t exist.

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Why Superintelligence May Not Help Us Think about Existential Risks — or Transhumanism

by Steve Fuller

Among transhumanists, Nick Bostrom is well-known for promoting the idea of ‘existential risks’, potential harms which, were they come to pass, would annihilate the human condition altogether. Their probability may be relatively small, but the expected magnitude of their effects are so great, so Bostrom claims, that it is rational to devote some significant resources to safeguarding against them. (Indeed, there are now institutes for the study of existential risks on both sides of the Atlantic.) Moreover, because existential risks are intimately tied to the advancement of science and technology, their probability is likely to grow in the coming years.

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Would AI and Aliens be Moral in a Godless Universe?

by Rick Searle

Last time I attempted to grapple with R. Scott Bakker’s intriguing essay on what kinds of philosophy aliens might practice and remaining dizzied by questions.

Luckily, I had a book in my possession which seemed to offer me the answers, a book that had nothing to do with the a modern preoccupation like question of alien philosophers at all, but rather a metaphysical problem that had been barred from philosophy except among seminary students since Darwin; namely, whether or not there was such a thing as moral truth if God didn’t exist.

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Ensuring Human Control Over Military Robotics

by Wendell Wallach

Let us stop looking at the challenges posed by the robotization of warfare piecemeal, and begin to reflect comprehensively upon the manner in which autonomous weapons alter the future conduct of war. 

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IEET Fellows and Affiliate Scholars Receive AI Safety Grants

IEET co-founder Nick Bostrom, IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach and Affiliate Scholar Seth Baum are Principal Investigators on projects n funded by Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project and administered by the Future of Life Institute.

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A Tale of Vigilante Justice: Adulterers, Hackers, and the Ashley Madison Affair

by Russell Blackford

Hackers calling themselves “The Impact Team” recently stole the customer data of Ashley Madison, an online dating service for people who are married or in committed relationships. Ashley Madison employs a slogan that says it all: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

During July and August, customer data was released online by the hackers: the upshot is that it’s now possible to identify many individuals who held Ashley Madison accounts. This includes such intimate details as their sexual fetishes and proclivities.

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Why the Argument Against a Ban on Autonomous Killer Robots Falls Flat

by George Dvorsky

Three weeks ago an open letter was presented at an AI conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. The letter has been signed by nearly 14,000 prominent thinkers and leading robotics researchers, but not everyone agrees with its premise. Here’s the case against a ban on killer robots, and why it’s misguided.

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Humans

by Adrian Cull

The new television show Humans raises some important ethical questions for a not-too-distant future society where human-looking domestic robots are commonplace. The 8 part series, shown on AMC in the US and Channel 4 in the UK, is based on the Swedish series Äkta människor (“Real Humans”) and is set in modern day London with the only discernible difference being that a company is manufacturing and selling “synths” – multi-purpose robots designed to look like humans and work as direct replacements for them. The drama tackles a wide range of questions from how synths would be treated and their impact on society, alongside the main story line of what happens if the artificially intelligent humanoids gain true self awareness and consciousness.

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The TV Series Humans: A Deep Look into Our Humanity

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

I recently binge watched my first TV series, Humans, which airs Sunday nights on AMC. As a science fiction writer myself, many people have been suggesting I check it out for weeks now. Finally I gave in, sat down on the couch, and watched the first six episodes over the course of two days. Not bad for a mother of two. And now I have to wait two whole days to see what happens next!!!!!

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Mapping Approaches to AI Safety

by Alexey Turchin

When I started to work on this map of AI safety solutions, I wanted to illustrate the excellent 2013 article “Responses to Catastrophic AGI Risk: A Survey” by Kaj Sotala and IEET Affiliate Scholar Roman V. Yampolskiy, which I strongly recommend. However, during the process I had a number of ideas to expand the classification of the proposed ways to create safe AI.

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