Archive

Ethical Machines episode 4: David J. Klein

One of the most impor­tant insights that I’ve got­ten in work­ing with biol­o­gists and ecol­o­gists is that today it’s actu­al­ly not real­ly known on a sci­en­tif­ic basis how well dif­fer­ent con­ser­va­tion inter­ven­tions will work. And it’s because we just don’t have a lot of data.

The Conversation #40 — Mary Mattingly

It’s inter­est­ing and scary to think about an Earth that could be com­plete­ly con­trolled by humans, but it seems like it’s def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble. I could find fun think­ing about liv­ing under the sea or all the places that humans real­ly haven’t been able to sus­tain them­selves in very well. Like, if we could real­ly get con­trol of that. I mean, it’s def­i­nite­ly a dark future, but I think some­thing that I could embrace if we did go there.

Forbidden Research: Messing with Nature Part II: Climate

Solar geo­engi­neer­ing rests on a sim­ple idea that it is tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble to make the Earth a lit­tle more reflec­tive so that it absorbs a lit­tle less sun­light, which would part­ly coun­ter­act some of the risks that come from accu­mu­lat­ing car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere. When I say tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble, it appears that at least doing this in a crude way is actu­al­ly easy, in the sense that it could be done with com­mer­cial off-the-shelf tech­nolo­gies now, and it could be done at a cost that is real­ly triv­ial, sort of a part in a thou­sand or a part in ten thou­sand of glob­al GDP.

The Conversation #37 — David Keith

There are biol­o­gists who’ve spent their careers work­ing on some species of bee­tle in the trop­i­cal rain­for­est, and they just love the rain­for­est in their bones And they feel that when they go tes­ti­fy in Congress to some com­mit­tee, that they can’t just say, I love it in my bones and you guys will love it too, if you share it with me.” They have to say, Oh, we’ve done all this math and com­put­ed that there’s an ecosys­tem ser­vice here.” And I think that that has real­ly impov­er­ished our debate about envi­ron­men­tal issues.

Crafting Visions

It’s the expec­ta­tions them­selves that start to change the mate­r­i­al qual­i­ties of our world, the mate­r­i­al qual­i­ties around sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, around our polit­i­cal activ­i­ties. That it’s not just that the entrails have been read, but the fact that you now have to make a deci­sion whether you’re going to [ward?] that warn­ing or not.