Would aliens or AI have religion?

The new Dune movie has reminded me of that franchise's vision of future religions. So I was probably more primed than usual to notice a brief article asking if aliens would be religious. The author, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, invokes the Copernican principle to conclude that they likely would be. After all, most humans are religious to … Continue reading Would aliens or AI have religion?

The return of heretical thought?

A nuclear explosion

A couple of weeks ago I highlighted Robin Hanson's ideas about alien civilizations. A big part of Hanson's reasoning involved the Fermi paradox, the question that, if alien civilizations are common, there where is everyone? It seems like Earth should have been colonized long ago. Hanson focused on the number of difficult evolutionary filters life … Continue reading The return of heretical thought?

The safety of nuclear power?

Kurzgesagt takes a look at the number of deaths from nuclear power in comparison with other sources. You might find the actual numbers surprising. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzfpyo-q-RM Kurzgesagt - in a Nutshell: How Many People Did Nuclear Energy Kill? Nuclear Death Toll I think the video makes an important point. But by focusing exclusively on deaths, it … Continue reading The safety of nuclear power?

Aliens and intergalactic spheres of influence

Over the years, I've done a lot of posts speculating about alien civilizations. My take is generally that while extraterrestrial life may be prevalent in the universe, complex life is rare, and intelligent civilization producing life is profoundly rare. This seems evident from our own history, where simple life appears to have started as soon … Continue reading Aliens and intergalactic spheres of influence

The real issues with colonizing space

At Nautilus, Phil Torres argues that we should think twice about colonizing space.  His reasoning appears to be that as we spread throughout the universe, we will undoubtedly diversify into different species, and that those species may come to distrust each other, and eventually try to destroy each other. Now, I've argued before that most … Continue reading The real issues with colonizing space

The dangers of artificial companionship

Lux Alpstraum at Undark argues against "Our Irrational Fear of Sexbots": When most people envision a world where human partners are abandoned in favor of robots, the robots they picture tend to be reasonably good approximations of flesh-and-blood humans. The sexbots of “Westworld” are effectively just humans who can be programmed and controlled by the … Continue reading The dangers of artificial companionship

Is the singularity right around the corner?

You've probably heard the narrative before.  At some point, we will invent an artificial intelligence that is more intelligent than we are.  The superhuman intelligence will then have the capability to either build an improved version of itself, or engineer upgrades that improve its own intelligence.  This will set off a process where the system … Continue reading Is the singularity right around the corner?