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How science fails
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How science fails

There is a really interesting Aeon article on what bad science, and how it fails. What is Bad Science? According to Imre Lakatosh, science degenerates unless it is both theoretically and experimentally progressive. Can Lakatosh’s ‘scientific programme’ approach, which incorporates merits of both Khunian and Popperian ideas, help solve this problem? Is our current research…

Can We Improve the Science of Solving Global Coordination Problems?  Anders Sandberg
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Can We Improve the Science of Solving Global Coordination Problems? Anders Sandberg

Anders Sandberg discusses solving coordination problems: Includes discussion on game theory including:the prisoners dilemma (and the iterated form), the tit-for-tat strategy, and reciprocal altruism. He then discusses politics, and why he considers himself a ‘heretical libertarian’ – then contrasts the benefits and risks of centralized planning vs distributed trial & error and links this in…

Suffering, and Progress in Ethics – Peter Singer
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Suffering, and Progress in Ethics – Peter Singer

Suffering is generally bad – Peter Singer (who is a Hedonistic Utilitarian), and most Effective Altruists would agree with this. Though in addressing the need for suffering today Peter acknowledges that, as we are presently constituted, suffering is useful as a warning sign (e.g. against further injury). But what about the future? What if we…

Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari – Steve Fuller
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Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari – Steve Fuller

My sociology of knowledge students read Yuval Harari’s bestselling first book, Sapiens, to think about the right frame of reference for understanding the overall trajectory of the human condition. Homo Deus follows the example of Sapiens, using contemporary events to launch into what nowadays is called ‘big history’ but has been also called ‘deep history’…

Is there a Meaningful Future for Non-Optimal Moral Agents?
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Is there a Meaningful Future for Non-Optimal Moral Agents?

In an interview last year, I had a discussion with John Danaher on the Hedonistic Imperative & Superintelligence – a concern he has with HI is that it denies or de-emphasises some kind of moral agency – in moral theory there is a distinction between moral agents (being a responsible actor able to make moral…

The Knowledge Argument Applied to Ethics
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The Knowledge Argument Applied to Ethics

A group of interested AI enthusiasts have been discussing Engineering Machine Consciousness in Melbourne for over a decade. In a recent interview with Jamais Cascio on Engineering Happy People & Global Catastrophic Risks, we discussed the benefits of amplifying empathy without the nasty side effects (possibly through cultural progress or technological intervention – a form…

Rationality & Moral Judgement – Simon Laham
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Rationality & Moral Judgement – Simon Laham

Rationality & Moral Judgement – A view from Moral Psychology. Talk given at EA Global Melbourne 2015. Slides here. What have we learned from an empirical approach to moral psychology – especially in relation to the role of rationality in most every day morality? What are some lessons that the EA movement can take from…

Metamorphogenesis – How a Planet can produce Minds, Mathematics and Music – Aaron Sloman
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Metamorphogenesis – How a Planet can produce Minds, Mathematics and Music – Aaron Sloman

The universe is made up of matter, energy and information, interacting with each other and producing new kinds of matter, energy, information and interaction. How? How did all this come out of a cloud of dust? In order to find explanations we first need much better descriptions of what needs to be explained. By Aaron…

Star Wars on Trial – A Feudalistic Fantasia Pushing an Elitist Anti-Democratic Agenda
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Star Wars on Trial – A Feudalistic Fantasia Pushing an Elitist Anti-Democratic Agenda

The Star Wars movie series has been the mainstay of imaginative fiction for children and adults since the mid 70s – many saw it as the gold standard of science fiction. When I was a child I used to collect all sorts of Star Wars paraphernalia – figures of some of the characters, tie &…