WTA Launches $25K Matching Grant Challenge

The World Transhumanist Association (WTA) is having a fundraising drive. If you can afford it, pitch in! Here’s the letter from the new Executive Director of the WTA, James Clement:

Dear Fellow Transhumanist,

Be a part of Transhumanist history!

Bill Faloon of Life Extension Foundation and Brian Cartmell of Cartmell Holdings, LLC, have generously offered to help us kick off our first fundraising event by matching your donations up to $25,000 until January 31, 2008.

We need 250 members to give $100 each, so your donations can be doubled. This is a unique opportunity we cannot afford to miss!

This money will fund three projects necessary for the WTA’s survival against a well-funded, organized, and vocal opposition. We intend to spread our memes through:

1) H+ Quarterly Digital Magazine

Featuring stories, interviews, news, and an events calendar, to be edited by the visionary journalist R.U. Sirius. It will be a fresh, fun and powerful medium for presenting all of our ideas to our membership and the general public.

2) Website Redesign, …

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Liveblogging 3rd Annual Terasem Colloquium on the Law of Transbeman Persons

I’m in Melbourne Beach, Florida today, covering the 3rd Annual Terasem Colloquium on the Law of Transbeman Persons. There are about 20 of us in a classroom-style arrangement, with a nice large flatscreen at the front of the room for presentations. This colloquium is being thoroughly recorded in every possible way: there is a filming team (the same company that covers Space Shuttle launches), a time-delayed streaming video, professional stenographer, and call-in listening available. (Callers within the continental U.S. and Canada may dial 1-877-879-6207; other countries: (00+1) 1-719-325-4775.) This post will be regularly updated as new information comes in. The program is available here. Lots of condensed brainpower in this room — Marvin Minsky, Max More, Mike Perry (from Alcor), Justin Lowe (from ImmInst), and quite a few Ph.Ds I was fortunate to meet with at the reception the previous night before.

Dr. Martine Rothblatt is opening up the day with her welcoming announcements. She’s reviewing the history of various law colloquia. For instance, in 1958 …

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Scratching my Head about Global Risks

Zooming in on the real global risks:

1. custom-engineered prions/virions? 2. genetically engineered viruses 3. genetically engineered bacteria 4. cybernetic (combinations of bio and nano) microbes 5. molecular manufacturing – self-replicating nanites 6. molecular manufacturing – nanowarfare, arms races 7. human or near-human-level artificial intelligence – controlled self-improvement 8. human or near-human-level artificial intelligence – unrestrained self-improvement 9. human intelligence enhancement gone awry

Broadly, I categorize these risks as either self-replicating (1-6) or self-amplifying (7-9).

In terms of the time window of risk:

For 1-3, the risk window is approximately 2010 onward. For 4, the risk window begins around 2010, but doesn’t get serious until 2020+. For 5-6, this is a big unknown. Some argue for emerging risk as early as 2010, but 2020 onward seems more realistic to me. Once it emerges, it will balloon quickly. The time frames for 7-9 are the most unsure and contentious. For those who see human-equivalent AI or human intelligence enhancement as prospects at all, predictions cluster around 2020-2030.

What do all these risks have in common? They’re relatively close, quite serious, …

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