Constant Rape in Chad and Darfur

A new Harvard-back study found that Darfuri women at refugee camps in Chad and Darfur are frequently being raped. Big surprise. Here’s how it works: you go to get firewood, and you get raped.

Like Joe Biden, I believe that there needs to be a military force in the region to put a stop to the genocide and rape. So far, only about 9,000 African Union and U.N. peacekeepers have been deployed in Darfur to protect and provide relief for 2.5 million civilians. This is not nearly enough. When hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children civilians are being murdered, tortured, and raped, it is humanity’s business. There needs to be a much larger military coalition, made up of all willing nations.

The Janjaweed are relatively small in number, just 20,000 by some estimates, and with primitive technology. They are essentially bandits with AK-47s on horseback, highly susceptible to missiles or machine gun fire from aircraft. The Sudanese government declines that it is supporting the group. Sudan has …

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The General Intelligence Factor

A Scientific American feature article from 1998, Linda Gottfredson on g. Quote:

The debate over intelligence and intelligence testing focuses on the question of whether it is useful or meaningful to evaluate people according to a single major dimension of cognitive competence. Is there indeed a general mental ability we commonly call “intelligence,” and is it important in the practical affairs of life? The answer, based on decades of intelligence research, is an unequivocal yes.

But, what if the fact that I don’t have an extremely high IQ makes me feel bad? Then I’ll dismiss all that research and ignore it. Who needs science that doesn’t make me feel better about myself?

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Kurzweil Defends Himself

Kurzweil defends himself against the Newsweek article by Daniel Lyon.

I certainly don’t always agree with Kurzweil, and I know for a fact that he’s made at least a dozen or more predictions that are wrong (pretty good considering how many predictions he’s made in total), but I think he’s basically spot on with this defense.

Especially important to me is his defense that he cares about the risks of technology:

Regarding the dangers of technology, Lyons writes, “But Kurzweil is having none of that — he thinks the “man-machine civilization” is going to be wonderful. He doesn’t argue. He just sits there smiling. “That’s a total misrepresentation. Extensive portions of my recent books and many of my speeches are devoted to what I describe as “the intertwined promise versus peril of new technology. Bill Joy’s famous cover story in WIRED on the dire dangers of new technologies was based, as he states at the beginning of his article, on my book The Age of Spiritual Machines. I’m not just sitting here smiling, but have worked …

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We Care About Your Opinion, But Are Still Committed (to the Singularity)

So, quite a few people are reacting to the Markoff piece, and the Singularity Institute (SIAI) has already been in touch with him. It seems nowadays that there are a lot of people in the NYT offices interested in the topics of this blog: AGI, extinction risk, transhumanism, and nanotechnology. Some colleagues in my circles have called this a “PR coup” — but we have to remember — journalists mostly just report on the opinions of experts, not issue their own. (Though framing is obviously involved.) Even if the cover of The New York Times began to look like Accelerating Future, it would still just transmit the positions of experts in nanotechnology, futurism, and AI.

Therefore, I encourage more academics and other professional thinkers to take a look at the ideas and formulate their opinions. Because the dialog is young and is picking up, there are still many opportunities to make quite a name for yourself, either as a Singularity proponent, like Kurzweil and myself, or critic, like Horgan. I’m just getting started myself, and …

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Michael Anissimov Debates John Horgan on the Singularity

I recently debated John Horgan via email on whether the Singularity is a cult or not. He posted our discussion at a blog for the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology (located in in Hoboken, NJ), where he is Director. It’s a privilege to debate with such a lauded journalist, even if I am supposedly a cultist in his eyes. If I’m going to be a cultist, I might as well be the best damn cultist I can be.

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Terminator Salvation: Preventing Skynet is Live

Well, I did it — Preventing Skynet is live. Just three essays up there right now, but I’m still soliciting additional essays, and will contribute my own soon. Please link to it from your blog or website! Include “Terminator Salvation” as part of the link to increase its ranking for that search term. So, like this:

Terminator Salvation: Preventing Skynet

This site will continue to be online as a resource forever, so we can keep adding things to it if we want to.

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Forecasts from the World Future Society

“Top 10 Forecasts for 2009 and beyond”. Here’s the ones I find the most interesting:

Forecast # 1: Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030. By the late 2010s, ubiquitous unseen nanodevices will provide seamless communication and surveillance among all people everywhere. Humans will have nanoimplants, facilitating interaction in an omnipresent network. Everyone will have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Since nano storage capacity is almost limitless, all conversation and activity will be recorded and recoverable. — Gene Stephens, “Cybercrime in the Year 2025,” THE FUTURIST July-Aug 2008. Forecast #2: Bioviolence will become a greater threat as the technology becomes more accessible. Emerging scientific disciplines (notably genomics, nanotechnology, and other microsciences) could pave the way for a bioattack. Bacteria and viruses could be altered to increase their lethality or to evade antibiotic treatment.– Barry Kellman, “Bioviolence: A Growing Threat,” THE FUTURIST May-June 2008. Forecast #6: The race for biomedical and genetic enhancement will — in the twenty-first century — be what the space race was in the previous century. Humanity is ready to pursue …

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