February 12, 2012

Robots in the anthropocene

I gave a talk at the Robotics Innovation Challenge conference on February 9, describing my views on how robotics might develop in the near future. My notes for the talk/an essay are here as a PDF

During the panel I ended up arguing a bit with Rodney Brooks about the problem of AI security. He responded to an audience question with a "total Hollywood nonsense"-response very similar to others I have heard in other disciplines. And he does have a good point - most robotic systems are utterly safe and the things to worry about are entirely separate from robot uprisings. However, that rapid dismissal also tends to throw out the baby of AI safety with the bathwater: implementing proper AI safety has just as much problem with simplified story renditions (actual claim heard from someone who ought to have known better: "Oh, we can always use a computer virus to stop it!")

Posted by Anders3 at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2012

Shiny sushi

SushiI love sushi. I also like genetic engineering. And fluorescence is cool. So http://www.glowingsushi.com/ is right up my alley.

My biggest problem with the idea is just that eating whole fishes (even when small zebrafish) doesn't appeal to me. I prefer fillets. But that is just a matter of either skilled microsurgery, or making bigger fluorescent fishes.

Overall, I think making the biosphere more colourful is a lovely idea. Sure, there are glorious beetles, flowers and corals out there, but mammals are usually fairly drab.

Posted by Anders3 at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2012

Enhancement again

I gave a talk a while ago at the positive philosophy seminar series about cognition enhancement. Here are the videos of the talk:

and the Q&A:

Maybe well-trodden ground for me and most of my readers. Tomorrow I will give a different kind of talk, on commercialising robotics. Then back to transhumanism and the singularity for TEDx Vasastan, cognitive enhancement in Washington and the far future in Paris. I like talking.

Posted by Anders3 at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2012

Dyson Spheres Make the Fermi Paradox Worse

My friend and colleague Stuart Armstrong gave a talk titled von Neumann probes, Dyson spheres, exploratory engineering and the Fermi paradox to the physics department yesterday.

It is based on a paper we are writing together that analyses how much harder the Fermi question (because it is not really a paradox, just a question with answers we tend to dislike/disagree on) becomes once you take modern ideas about self replication and exploratory engineering into account. The main finding is that intergalactic expansion is likely doable using local resources and a very high branching factor, and that makes the solar neighbourhood accessible to at least millions of times more potential alien civilizations. So either alien civilizations have to be even rarer than we think, they have to approach some non-visible behavioural attractor with very high fidelity, or they are here and hiding efficiently (in this case likely because the first expanding civilization used its probes to enforce some set of rules for everybody else).

My friends who happen to be members of the Enceladus Protection Society will be happy to know that no moons of Saturn were harmed in this analysis.

Posted by Anders3 at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)