Thinking about it more: For a gene to become dominant in a population, it must do better than the absence of that gene. So if a gene mutated that killed off the the host at some specific age, it wouldn’t become dominant, (unless it really was statistically irrelevant – i.e. that “old age” gene was the cause of almost no deaths).
So I’m really…[Read more]
Why should life come to such a crashing halt? Imagine that you have an animal that doesn’t age. Despite its immortality, it can still starve, succumb to accidents, or fall to predators. Eventually, its luck always runs out. This imaginary creature should have a demography much like ours—lots of young individuals and fewer old ones. As such, evo…
@ phil rimmer,
That’s certainly a possibility, and I can see other ways for machines to become self-interested. But I am still not convinced that it would be necessary or inevitable that machines become self-interested as a result of sentience or consciousness (or the other way around). No-one really knows the nature of consciousness, so both…[Read more]
Why would humans be able to do any of these things better than a machine with superior mental capabilities? Sure, at first the mental superiority of AI will be specialised (as it already is), but over time, there is no reason (other than if the brain has a supernatural element to it) that their capabilities shouldn’t catch up and then…[Read more]
Yes, oddly, I think the Economist doesn’t really seem to understand what we are dealing with. They treat it as if it’s just more of the same, without really grasping that once machines achieve intelligence in the same way we use the word to apply to humans, then the game has fundamentally changed. When we invented machines that could do physical…[Read more]
Those imagining a technological solution to the ethical problem, such as limiting speed, are doomed to disappointment. There will always be a tiny number of freak accidents, even though, as had been pointed out, very few accidents will be reduced to a choice of choosing who should be the casualty. But the almost certain order-of-magnitude…[Read more]
Of course the British system of electing our government is not perfect. But it is vastly more direct and democratic than our ability to hire and fire EU law makers. I don’t think that’s realistically up for debate.
Even if we were able to vote more directly for a European government, though, the sheer size of the political unit…[Read more]
Where does the issue of lack of expertise end? This is primarily a referendum about our democratic aspirations. Never mind the arcane economic arguments in either direction. This is about whether Britain feels a sufficient level of identity to want to have a government that represents our interests. The ability to directly hire and fire those who…[Read more]
I can’t objectively defend this point of view, but it does seem to me that humans have a special relationship with dogs (and to a slightly lesser extent, horses) that goes beyond that which we have with other animals, be they pets (cats, guinea pigs etc), livestock, working animals, or wild animals.
These two species have such a long history of a…[Read more]
@ phil rimmer:
We seem to agree that we don’t have free will, despite the feeling that we are the true authors of our own thoughts and decisions. We also seem to agree that it’s useful to treat people as if they do have free will.
But I disagree with you that it doesn’t matter. The majority of people in the world still harbour the idea of free…[Read more]
@ phil rimmer:
Why is free will a theist’s question? Look at the disagreement over free will between Harris and Dennett, both atheists.
I side with Harris from a techncial point of view – I think that Dennett’s view of “emergent” free will is very useful, but is a cop-out when he uses it to wriggle out of acknowledging that ultimately our…[Read more]
Pro tip: The Daily Mail isn’t known as respected source of science journalism…
Mmm, but my comment was specifically a criticsim of the article’s claim to have somehow quantified the (un)likeliness of a conspiracy being successfully maintained. I outlined one major weakness in their […]
This kind of “research” seems a bit too well laced with assumptions. Surely it depends on how motivated the individuals are to keep the secret?
And while some conspiracies are genuine conspiracies (that is to […]