New Page on Extraterrestrials, Excerpt from “The Millennial Project”

I’ve transcribed a few pages of Marshall T. Savage’s The Millennial Project (1992), a section specifically on why it seems that there are no aliens in our general vicinity. Here’s a great quote:

There is not a single thread of hard UFO evidence. Nothing I have heard of would even stand up in a court of law, let alone convince a hardened skeptic. The arrival of ETs on Earth would be the single greatest event in human history. By comparison, the discovery of fire, the fall of the Roman Empire, detonation of the atomic bomb, and landing on the Moon would all be reduced to trivialities. How could such an epoch-shaking affair transpire without producing any more evidence than a handful of blurry Polaroids? Belief in alien visitors requires hard evidence; at least a scrap, a smidgen, a particle, one iota, something. Anything! For my part, I would settle for a spliner of alien alloy, a corpuscle of alien blood, a fleck of alien dandruff. I will settle for anything you can actually put under …

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Greg Fish on Life Extension

Greg Fish, whose past posts on transhumanism have mainly appeared to be about why he doesn’t like mind uploading and why we need to copy the human brain to the last neurotransmitter to create AI, recently defended the merit of life extension against Paul Carr.

Paul’s post at TechCrunch has some funny bits:

Oh yes, go to any Silicon Valley party right now and you’ll find a scrawny huddle in the corner discussing the science of living forever: a topic that’s gone from fringe to hot to cliche in — ironically — less time that it takes a tsetse fly to start getting interested in girls. But then why wouldn’t it when the science of ageing touches on so many valley obsessions?

I am really enjoying the recent media against life extension. The arguments just aren’t persuasive. Arguments against LE filled with holes are an essential complement of solid arguments in favor of LE.

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Indian Law Professor: “Post-Human Humanitarian Law: The Law of War in the Age of Robotic Warfare”

“Post-Human Humanitarian Law: The Law of War in the Age of Robotic Warfare”

Indian Yearbook of International Law and Policy, Vol. 1, 2010

Abstract:

This Review Essay, to be published in the Indian Yearbook of International Law and Policy (2010) surveys the recent literature on the tensions between of autonomy and accountability in robotic warfare. Four books, taken together, suggest an original account of fundamental changes taking place in the field of IHL: P.W. Singer’s book Wired for War: the Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (2009), William H. Boothby;s Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict (2009), Armin Krishnan’s Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons (2009), and Ronald Arkin’s Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots (2009). This Review Essay argues that from the point of view of IHL the concern is not the introduction of robots into the battlefield, but the gradual removal of humans. In this way the issue of weapon autonomy marks a paradigmatic shift from the so-called “humanization” of IHL to possible post-human concerns.

Thanks to Carl Shulman for …

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