United Nations Adopts Ban on Nuclear Weapons
This month, 72 years after their invention, states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons.
With 122 votes in favor, one vote against, and one country abstaining, the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” was adopted Friday morning and will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on September 20, 2017. Civil society organizations and more than 140 states have participated throughout negotiations.
On adoption of the treaty, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:
“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security. No one believes that indiscriminately killing millions of civilians is acceptable – no matter the circumstance – yet that is what nuclear weapons are designed to do.”
In a public statement, Former Secretary of Defense William Perry said:
“The new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is an important step towards delegitimizing nuclear war as an acceptable risk of modern civilization. Though the treaty will not have the power to eliminate existing nuclear weapons, it provides a vision of a safer world, one that will require great purpose, persistence, and patience to make a reality. Nuclear catastrophe is one of the greatest existential threats facing society today, and we must dream in equal measure in order to imagine a world without these terrible weapons.”
Read more about the effort to ban nuclear weapons and what the treaty will encompass.
with Anthony Aguirre and Andrew Critch
How well can we predict the future? In this podcast, Ariel speaks with Anthony Aguirre and Andrew Critch about the art of predicting the future, what constitutes a good prediction, and how we can better predict the advancement of artificial intelligence. They also touch on the difference between predicting a solar eclipse and predicting the weather, what it takes to make money on the stock market, and the bystander effect regarding existential risks.
Anthony is a professor of physics at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He’s one of the founders of the Future of Life Institute, of the Foundational Questions Institute, and most recently of Metaculus, which is an online effort to crowdsource predictions about the future of science and technology. Andrew is on a two-year leave of absence from MIRI to work with UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Compatible AI. He cofounded the Center for Applied Rationality, and previously worked as an algorithmic stock trader at James Street Capital.
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What We’ve Been Up to This Month
Viktoriya Krakovna attended a conference at the Leverhulme Center for the Future of Intelligence, on July 13 – 14, where speakers discussed the development and future of artificial intelligence. Topics discussed included visions for the future, how humans perceive intelligent robots, trust and understanding with AIs, and the ethical and legal complications from AI.
FLI in the News
Jaan Tallinn was recently featured in a video interview about the risks posed by artificial intelligence.
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