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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Sep 24, 2022

NASA gears up to deflect asteroid, in key test of planetary defense

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Bet the dinosaurs wish they’d thought of this.

NASA on Monday will attempt a feat humanity has never before accomplished: deliberately smacking a spacecraft into an asteroid to slightly deflect its orbit, in a key test of our ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship launched from California last November and is fast approaching its target, which it will strike at roughly 14,000 miles per hour (23,000 kph).

Sep 24, 2022

A third of scientists working on AI say it could cause global disaster

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI

A survey of artificial intelligence researchers found that 36 per cent believe AIs could cause a catastrophe on the scale of nuclear war.

Sep 24, 2022

The Doomsday Explosive! (The Neutronium Bomb)

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

Neutronium was the material used in the hull of the doomsday machine in Star Trek.

Now I’m not terribly sure what the mechanical properties of neutronium would be like. It certainly is very dense (about a billion tons per cm3, about the volume of the end of your little finger), but it interacts with matter only weakly. I would expect both it to be pretty inefficient at stopping both electromagnetic radiation (neutrons only have a magnetic moment), and matter.

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Sep 24, 2022

JWST observes Earendel — the most distant star known — 12.8 billion ly away | Night Sky News Sep ‘22

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, chemistry, existential risks, information science, physics

For Physics & Chemistry experiments for kids delivered to your door head to https://melscience.com/sBIs/ and use promo code DRBECKY50 for 50% off the first month of any subscription (valid until 22nd October 2022).

To find out whether you can see the partial solar eclipse on 25th October 2022 put in your location here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2022-october-25

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Sep 24, 2022

Musing on Understanding & AI — Hugo de Garis, Adam Ford, Michel de Haan

Posted by in categories: education, existential risks, information science, mapping, mathematics, physics, robotics/AI

Started out as an interview ended up being a discussion between Hugo de Garis and (off camera) Adam Ford + Michel de Haan.
00:11 The concept of understanding under-recognised as an important aspect of developing AI
00:44 Re-framing perspectives on AI — the Chinese Room argument — and how can consciousness or understanding arise from billions of seemingly discreet neurons firing? (Should there be a binding problem of understanding similar to the binding problem of consciousness?)
04:23 Is there a difference between generality in intelligence and understanding? (and extentionally between AGI and artificial understanding?)
05:08 Ah Ha! moments — where the penny drops — what’s going on when this happens?
07:48 Is there an ideal form of understanding? Coherence & debugging — ah ha moments.
10:18 Webs of knowledge — contextual understanding.
12:16 Early childhood development — concept formation and navigation.
13:11 The intuitive ability for concept navigation isn’t complete.
Is the concept of understanding a catch all?
14:29 Is it possible to develop AGI that doesn’t understand? Is generality and understanding the same thing?
17:32 Why is understanding (the nature of) understanding important?
Is understanding reductive? Can it be broken down?
19:52 What would be the most basic primitive understanding be?
22:11 If (strong) AI is important, and understanding is required to build (strong) AI, what sorts of things should we be doing to make sense of understanding?
Approaches — engineering, and copy the brain.
24:34 Is common sense the same thing as understanding? How are they different?
26:24 What concepts do we take for granted around the world — which when strong AI comes about will dissolve into illusions, and then tell us how they actually work under the hood?
27:40 Compression and understanding.
29:51 Knowledge, Gettier problems and justified true belief. Is knowledge different from understanding and if so how?
31:07 A hierarchy of intel — data, information, knowledge, understanding, wisdom.
33:37 What is wisdom? Experience can help situate knowledge in a web of understanding — is this wisdom? Is the ostensible appearance of wisdom necessarily wisdom? Think pulp remashings of existing wisdom in the form of trashy self-help literature.
35:38 Is understanding mapping knowledge into a useful framework? Or is it making accurate / novel predictions?
36:00 Is understanding like high resolution carbon copy like models that accurately reflect true nature or a mechanical process?
37:04 Does understanding come in gradients of topologies? Is there degrees or is it just on or off?
38:37 What comes first — understanding or generality?
40:47 Minsky’s ‘Society of Mind’
42:46 Is vitalism alive in well in the AI field? Do people actually think there are ghosts in the machines?
48:15 Anthropomorphism in AI literature.
50:48 Deism — James Gates and error correction in super-symmetry.
52:16 Why are the laws of nature so mathematical? Why is there so much symmetry in physics? Is this confusing the map with the territory?
52:35 The Drake equation, and the concept of the Artilect — does this make Deism plausible? What about the Fermi Paradox?
55:06 Hyperintelligence is tiny — the transcention hypothesis — therefore civs go tiny — an explanation for the fermi paradox.
56:36 Why would *all* civs go tiny? Why not go tall, wide and tiny? What about selection pressures that seem to necessitate cosmic land grabs?
01:01:52 The Great Filter and the The Fermi Paradox.
01:02:14 Is it possible for an AGI to have a deep command of knowledge across a wide variety of topics/categories without understanding being an internal dynamic? Is the turing test good enough to test for understanding? What kinds of behavioral tests could reliably test for understanding? (Of course without the luxury of peering under the hood)
01:03:09 Does AlphaGo understand Go, or DeepBlue understand chess? Revisiting the Chinese Room argument.
01:04:23 More on behavioral tests for AI understanding.
01:06:00 Zombie machines — David Chalmers Zombie argument.
01:07:26 Complex enough algorithms — is there a critical point of complexity beyond which general intelligence likely emerges? Or understanding emerges?
01:08:11 Revisiting behavioral ‘turing’ tests for understanding.
01:13:05 Shape sorters and reverse shape sorters.
01:14:03 Would slightly changing the rules of Go confuse AlphaGo (after it had been trained)? Need for adaptivity — understanding concept boundaries, predicting where they occur, and the ability to mine outwards from these boundaries…
01:15:11 Neural nets and adaptivity.
01:16:41 AlphaGo documentary — worth a watch. Progresses in AI challenges human dignity which is a concern, but the DeepMind and the AlphaGo documentary seemed to be respectful. Can we manage a transition from human labor to full on automation while preserving human dignity?

Filmed in the dandenong ranges in victoria, australia.

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Sep 23, 2022

Requiem For A NUCLEAR WAR

Posted by in category: existential risks

Hi guys, my name is Captain Red Fist Gaming and this is my first video. It is a scenario of a Nuclear War.

WARNING!!! Some of these clips are not mine. all credit goes there to rightful owners.

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Sep 22, 2022

Countdown to DART Impact

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

In a first-of-its-kind test for planetary defense, NASA’s DART spacecraft is scheduled next week to crash into an asteroid and alter the celestial body’s course.

If all goes according to plan, on September 26th at 7:14 pm Eastern Daylight Time, NASA’s DART spacecraft will meet a fiery end. DART, whose name stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is poised to intentionally crash into an asteroid that, at the time of impact, will be 11 million km from Earth. The goal of the mission is to alter the speed and trajectory of the impacted space boulder. The technology developed for the mission could one day aid in shifting the orbit of an asteroid that—unlike this one—is on a collision course with Earth.

“Our DART spacecraft is going to impact an asteroid in humanity’s first attempt to change the motion of a natural celestial body,” said Tom Statler, a scientist in NASA’s planetary defense team, in a recent press conference about the mission. “It will be a truly historic moment for the entire world.”

Sep 21, 2022

10 Spooky Alien Zoo Hypothesis Scenarios

Posted by in category: existential risks

An exploration of ten somewhat spooky scenarios hidden within the zoo hypothesis solution to the Fermi Paradox.

My new clips and live channel:

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Sep 20, 2022

Why Are More of Us Skeptical About “Facts” These Days?

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, existential risks, sustainability

How do we reduce the distrust in the face of climate change and other existential threats? Teaching scientific reasoning skills is proposed.

Sep 19, 2022

How Australia is Regreening its Deserts Back into a Green Oasis

Posted by in categories: employment, existential risks

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on planet earth, and is home to The Great Australian Desert which is the 4th largest desert in the world after The Antarctic, The Arctic and The Sahara.
Australia is comparable in size to The United States however its population is significantly less than America’s, the whole of Australia has about the same number of people living in it as the state of Texas. Despite the low population Australia is one of the worst developed countries in the world for broadscale deforestation, wiping out endangered forests and woodlands. In fact, they have cleared nearly half of all forest cover in the last 200 years!

It began in around the early 1800s when the British colonized Australia in search of land and fortunes. At that time Britain had already been completely stripped of trees for centuries by intensive agriculture and war, even today The United Kingdom has one of the lowest percentages of forest cover in Europe. British timber companies were granted free access to vast areas of virgin forest in Australia and trees were felled for agriculture and railway tracks which were constructed alongside other transit infrastructure such as roads, bridges and jetties.

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