Climate Risk and AI Risk for Dummies

The two figures below come from recent posts on climate change and AI. Please read them. The squiggles in the first figure illustrate uncertainty in how climate will change due to CO2 emissions. The squiggles in the second figure illustrate uncertainty in the advent of human-level AI.   Many are worried about climate change because …

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Ratchets Within Rachets

For those interested in political philosophy, or Trump’s travel ban, I recommend this discussion on Scott Aaronson’s blog, which features a commenter calling himself Boldmug (see also Bannon and Moldbug in the news recently ;-) Both Scott and Boldmug seem to agree that scientific/technological progress is a positive ratchet caught within a negative ratchet of societal and …

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Asking for a Skeptic Friend

I sometimes get email from people asking, in one way or another, whether our long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) with E. coli provides evidence of evolution writ large – new species, new information, or something of that sort. I try to answer these questions by providing some examples of what we’ve seen change, and by putting …

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To Edinburgh and Back

I had a terrific visit to Scotland last week.  The graduate students in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh invited me to speak there.  Thanks especially to Manon Ragonnet and Sam Lewis for organizing and hosting my visit. It seems a bit extravagant to fly overseas for a one-hour lecture.  But …

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Seeing mathematics everywhere…

Dame Kathleen Ollernshaw was deaf since the age of 8. Despite this she had an amazing life as a mathematician, amateur astronomer, politician (she served as mayor of Manchester as well as in the Thatcher administration) and mother. To learn more about her read this story on the Scientific American website, titled Centenarian Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw—Conqueror of Magic …

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