Entries by Ariel Conn

The Rise and Ethics of CRISPR

CRISPR. The acronym is short for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” which describes the structure of a specific type of gene sequence. CRISPR also represents a fast-growing, gene-editing technology that could change the way we approach disease, farming and countless other fields related to genetics and biology. CRISPR researchers believe the process can be used […]

Momentum to Address Climate Change Increases: Is It Enough?

From the New York Times: Reports from the Paris climate talks indicate that momentum is increasing among countries to improve emissions. Specifically, the emissions gap is decreasing. The emissions gap is the difference between a country’s pledge to decrease emissions by some amount in the coming years and what the scientific predictions state are the […]

Investing in Autonomous Weapons

Merrill Lynch recently put out a report highlighting the growth of artificial intelligence from an investment perspective, and according to a Wall Street Journal article about this report, robots are about to become a hot commodity for investors. However, that comes with a caveat: Autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” as the media likes to refer […]

From CNN: The Rise of the Killer Robots

Last week, CNN published an article by AI expert Toby Walsh, about the rise of autonomous weapons entitled, The Rise of the Killer Robots — and Why We Need to Stop Them. In the article, he highlights five major concerns: “Killer robots are near.” “There will be an arms race.” “Killer robots will proliferate.” “Killer […]

Reality Bytes

The following short story was written by Frank Wilczek. Early in the twenty-first century, many people feared that humanity as a whole might become, like Victor Frankenstein or Nathan Bateman, the target of its own brainchild, malignant artificial superintellgence. Their fear, we now know, was off the mark. For what do humans offer, that super […]

Eric Schlosser on Nuclear Weapons

Today’s Nuclear Dilemma In a paper just released by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists entitled, Today’s nuclear dilemma, Eric Schlosser considers the possible consequences of a new nuclear arms race, which now appears to be underway. After the Cold War ended, most of the world supported calls to reduce nuclear arsenals, and such a […]

MIRI November Newsletter

MIRI, one of our partner organizations, has just sent out their November newsletter, put together by Rob Bensinger. Check out the links below to learn more about the great work they do! Research updates A new paper: Leó Szilárd and the Danger of Nuclear Weapons New at IAFF: Subsequence Induction A shortened version of the Reflective Oracles paper has […]

From Physics Today: China’s no-first-use nuclear policy

“China’s entire nuclear weapons posture, and its relatively small arsenal of about 250 warheads, is based on its pledge of no first use, according to Pan Zhenqiang, former director of strategic studies at China’s National Defense University. Although that pledge is “extremely unlikely” to change, missile defense, space-based weapons, or other new technologies that threaten […]

From Time: How We Can Overcome the Risks of AI

“Apple’s recent acquisition of Vocal IQ, an artificial intelligence company that specializes in voice programs, should not on its face lead to much fanfare: It appears to be a smart business move to enhance Siri’s capabilities. But it is also another sign of the increased role of AI in our daily lives. While the warnings […]

From NASA: Oceanic Phytoplankton Declines

“The world’s oceans have seen significant declines in certain types of microscopic plant-life at the base of the marine food chain, according to a new NASA study. The research, published Sept. 23 in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, is the first to look at global, long-term phytoplankton community trends based on a […]

From UW Today: Oceans Releasing Frozen Methane

Bubble plumes off Washington, Oregon suggest warmer ocean may be releasing frozen methane “Warming ocean temperatures a third of a mile below the surface, in a dark ocean in areas with little marine life, might attract scant attention. But this is precisely the depth where frozen pockets of methane ‘ice’ transition from a dormant solid […]