Security is Paramount

For billions of years on this planet, there were no rules. In many places there still are not. A wolf can dine on the entrails of a living doe he has brought down, and no one can stop him. In some species, rape is a more common variety of impregnation than consensual sex. Nature is fucked up, and anyone who argues otherwise has not actually seen nature in action.

This modern era, with its relative orderliness and safety, at least in the West, is an aberration. A bizarre phenomenon, rarely before witnessed in our solar system since its creation. Planetwide coordination is something that just didn’t happen until the invention of the telegraph and radio made it possible.

America and Western Europe are full of the most security-deluded people of all. The most recent generations, growing up without any major global conflict — Generation X and Y — are practically as ignorant as you can get. Thousands of generations of tough-as-nails people underwent every manner of horrors to incrementally build the orderly and safe society many of us have …

Read More

Tech Company Identifies Marijuana Strains With Artificial Intelligence

Marijuana is just the beginning. Soon, systems like this will be able to help people identify other plants, products, textures, landscapes, sounds, and locations.

Ever wonder what type of marijuana you have? There’s an app for that, and it’s called StrainBrain-the newest creation from the Medical Cannabis Network (MCN). At StrainBrain.com, medical marijuana patients can upload pictures of their cannabis, and the web application will use a proprietary software system (similar to facial recognition technology) to automatically identify the strain and its medical uses, show locations where the strain can be purchased legally, and provide strain suggestions for similar strains. This is the first time in history that facial recognition technology has been applied to the cannabis industry, making StrainBrain the most sophisticated marijuana reviews site ever created.

And yeah, this is not referring to artificially intelligent marijuana…

Read More

Elon Musk: I’ll Put a Man on Mars in 10 Years

I find such statements inspiring whether they are meant seriously or not, and whether they come true or not.

Elon Musk shows that you can be rich and spend a lot of money without increasing net existential risk. Not increasing it, not decreasing it, just… risk-free behavior.

Space travel does not significantly lower the probability of existential risk because the majority of the probability mass is occupied by human-indifferent superintelligence, which can casually reach into space if it wants to. Also, self-sufficient space colonies are very far off. You need something miles across at a cost of tens of millions of dollars given current technology.

Another point I’ve made in the past is that as everyone becomes uploads and accelerates their thinking speeds, space will begin to seem very far away. Right now, Luna is 3-4 days away. To beings whose brains are made up of molecular computers with 100 GHz switching speeds, Luna is about 3,000,000,000 days away. That’s about eight million years. An eight million year trip to go to an empty …

Read More

Interview at H+ Magazine: “Mitigating the Risks of Artificial Superintelligence”

A little while back I did an interview with Ben Goertzel on existential risk and superintelligence, it’s been posted here.

This was a fun interview because the discussion got somewhat complicated, and I abandoned the idea of making it understandable to people who don’t put effort into understanding it.

Read More

First Practical Artificial Leaf Developed

From Science Daily:

Scientists have claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy — development of the first practical artificial leaf. Speaking in Anaheim, California at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, they described an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

Wired reports that the leaf is ten times more efficient than a real leaf.

Read More