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Archive for the ‘ethics’ category

Nov 21, 2021

You don’t have free will, but don’t worry

Posted by in categories: ethics, neuroscience, quantum physics

In this video I explain why free will is incompatible with the currently known laws of nature and why the idea makes no sense anyway. However, you don’t need free will to act responsibly and to live a happy life, and I will tell you why.

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Sabine.

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Nov 18, 2021

What Are the Ethics of an Implant That Delivers Pleasure Directly Into Your Brain?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, neuroscience, sex

For example, scientists recently treated a patient’s severe depression with a neural implant that zaps her brain 300 times per day and, she says, has allowed her to spontaneously laugh and feel joy for the first time in years. Of course, the treatment requires an electrode implanted deep into the brain, which currently reserves it for the most extreme medical cases — but as brain interface tech inexorably becomes more advanced and widely available, there’s no reason such a device couldn’t become a consumer gadget as well.

At the research’s current rate of trajectory, experts told Futurism, the tech could conceivably hit the market in just a few years. But what we don’t know is what it will mean for us, psychologically as individuals and sociologically as a society, when we can experience genuine pleasure from the push of a button. And all those questions become even more complex, of course, when applied to the messy world of sex.

“A big question that remains unanswered is whether sextech will ultimately become a complement to our sex lives or a substitute,” Kinsey Institute research fellow Justin Lehmiller, an expert on sex and psychology, told Futurism.

Nov 13, 2021

Women in tech are fighting A.I. bias —but where are the men?

Posted by in categories: business, ethics, robotics/AI, transportation

Battling bias. If I’ve been a little MIA this week, it was because I spent Monday and Tuesday in Boston for Fortune ’s inaugural Brainstorm A.I. gathering. It was a fun and wonky couple of days diving into artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies that—for good or ill—seem increasingly likely to shape not just the future of business, but the world at large.

There are a lot of good and hopeful things to be said about A.I. and M.L., but there’s also a very real risk that the technologies will perpetuate biases that already exist, and even introduce new ones. That was the subject of one of the most engrossing discussions of the event by a panel that was—as pointed out by moderator, guest co-chair, and deputy CEO of Smart Eye Rana el Kaliouby—comprised entirely of women.

One of the scariest parts of bias in A.I. is how wide and varied the potential effects can be. Sony Group’s head of A.I. ethics office Alice Xiang gave the example of a self-driving car that’s been trained too narrowly in what it recognizes as a human reason to jam on the breaks. “You need to think about being able to detect pedestrians—and ensure that you can detect all sorts of pedestrians and not just people that are represented dominantly in your training or test set,” said Xiang.

Nov 12, 2021

The ethics of digital technology in the food sector

Posted by in categories: ethics, food, policy, robotics/AI

Imagine a world in which smart packaging for supermarket-ready meals updates you in real-time to tell you about carbon footprints, gives live warnings on product recalls and instant safety alerts because allergens were detected unexpectedly in the factory.

But how much extra energy would be used powering such a system? And what if an accidental alert meant you were told to throw away your food for no reason?

These are some of the questions asked by team of researchers, including a Lancaster University Lecturer in Design Policy and Futures Thinking, who—by creating objects from a “smart” imaginary new world—are looking at the ethical implications of using artificial intelligence in the food sector.

Nov 8, 2021

Anders Sandberg | Game Theory of Cooperating w. Extraterrestrial Intelligence & Future Civilizations

Posted by in categories: alien life, ethics, internet, neuroscience, policy, robotics/AI

I think intelligent tool making life is rare but there is plenty of room for those far, far in advance of us. Robert Bradbury, who thought up M-Brains, said he did not think truly hyper advanced entities would bother communicating with us. Being able to process the entire history of human thought in a few millionths of a second puts them further away from us than we are from nematodes. But then that might not be giving them credit for their intelligence and resources, as they might wish to see how well their simulations have done compared to reality.


Foresight Intelligent Cooperation Group.

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Nov 1, 2021

Ben Novak, Lead Scientist, Revive & Restore — De-Extinction Biotechnology & Conservation Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, ethics, evolution, existential risks, genetics, health

“De-Extinction” Biotechnology & Conservation Biology — Ben Novak, Lead Scientist Revive & Restore


Ben Novak is Lead Scientist, at Revive & Restore (https://reviverestore.org/), a California-based non-profit that works to bring biotechnology to conservation biology with the mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct animals (https://reviverestore.org/what-we-do/ted-talk/).

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Oct 28, 2021

Spooky Or Plain Creepy: Using AI Self-Driving Cars As Stalkerware To Sneakily Stalk Someone

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

Thankfully, there is a growing effort toward AI For Good.

This latest mantra entails ways to try and make sure that the advances in AI are being applied for the overall betterment of mankind. These are assuredly laudable endeavors and reassuringly crucial that the technology underlying AI is aimed and deployed in an appropriate and assuredly positive fashion (for my coverage on the burgeoning realm of AI Ethics, see the link here).

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, there is the ugly side of the coin too, namely the despicable AI For Bad.

Oct 27, 2021

Global catastrophic and existential risks: the weightiest complex phenomena?

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, existential risks, food

Anders Sandberg, University of Oxford.

One of the deepest realizations of the scientific understanding of the world that emerged in the 18th and 19th century is that the world is changing, that it has been radically different in the past, that it can be radically different in the future, and that such changes could spell the end of humanity as we know it. An added twist arrived in the 20th century: we could ourselves be the cause of our demise. In the late 20th century an interdisciplinary field studying global catastrophic and existential risks emerged, driven by philosophical concern about the moral weight of such risks and the realization that many such risks show important commonalities that may allow us as a species to mitigate them. For example, much of the total harm from nuclear wars, supervolcanic eruptions, meteor impacts and some biological risks comes from global agricultural collapse. This talk is going to be an overview of the world of low-probability, high-impact risks and their overlap with questions of complexity in the systems generating or responding to them. Understanding their complex dynamics may be a way of mitigating them and ensuring a happier future.

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Oct 19, 2021

AI chatbot justifies sacrificing colonists to create a biological weapon…if it creates jobs

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, robotics/AI

An AI chatbot for ethics developed by the Allen Institute for AI has some interesting responses, to say the least.

Oct 19, 2021

Real-Time Bidding: The Ad Industry Has Crossed A Very Dangerous Line

Posted by in categories: business, economics, ethics, policy

This post is a collaboration with Dr. Augustine Fou, a seasoned digital marketer, who helps marketers audit their campaigns for ad fraud and provides alternative performance optimization solutions; and Jodi Masters-Gonzales, Research Director at Beacon Trust Network and a doctoral student in Pepperdine University’s Global Leadership and Change program, where her research intersects at data privacy & ethics, public policy, and the digital economy.

The ad industry has gone through a massive transformation since the advent of digital. This is a multi-billion dollar industry that started out as a way for businesses to bring more market visibility to products and services more effectively, while evolving features that would allow advertisers to garner valuable insights about their customers and prospects. Fast-forward 20 years later and the promise of better ad performance and delivery of the right customers, has also created and enabled a rampant environment of massive data sharing, more invasive personal targeting and higher incidences of consumer manipulation than ever before. It has evolved over time, underneath the noses of business and industry, with benefits realized by a relative few. How did we get here? More importantly, can we curb the path of a burgeoning industry to truly protect people’s data rights?

There was a time when advertising inventory was finite. Long before digital, buying impressions was primarily done through offline publications, television and radio. Premium slots commanded higher CPM (cost per thousand) rates to obtain the most coveted consumer attention. The big advertisers with the deepest pockets largely benefitted from this space by commanding the largest reach.

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