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Old 10-03-2019, 05:03   #31
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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Originally Posted by WingRyder View Post
.......I've had a life-long love of astronomy, and there are some terrifying things out there, that could end our civilization tomorrow... tens of thousands of them. They are called NEO's and Earth crossing asteroids. We could actually do something about this. Yet there is very little funding for those programs and space in general.....
If We Blow Up an Asteroid, It Might Put Itself Back Together
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......Hollywood may reckon that the best way to destroy an errant space rock is with nuclear weapons. This is rarely the preferred option of experts, but using some sort of spacecraft system to smash an asteroid into small, harmless pieces is seen as a real-world possibility. A new study, looking at a gigantic space rock-on-space rock clash, hints at how utterly ineffective this type of asteroid assassination attempt may be.

Using computer models, scientists simulated a 4,000-foot asteroid smashing into a 15.5-mile asteroid at 11,200 miles per hour. Immediately after colliding, the large asteroid cracked considerably, with debris flowing outward like a cascade of Ping-Pong balls. Despite some deep fractures, the heart of the asteroid was not comprehensively damaged.

As time went on, the gravitational pull of the asteroid’s resilient core was able to pull back ejected shards. It seems that asteroids don’t just absorb mind-boggling amounts of damage, but, as previous work has hinted, they also are able to rebuild themselves......

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Old 10-03-2019, 06:19   #32
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

The fascination with catastrophes is increasing especially among young people. The under 40 group seems especially overly concerned and the under 30 age group is even more troubled by impending doom.

My opinion is that we should stop reinforcing their fears with nonsense like a doomsday clock. There is no such clock. And the estimates these so-called scientists have been giving the past 50 years should call into question their motives. According to them, we’ve been a few minutes from end of the world for decades now. How they can continue to justify that defies all reason.

The obsession over what will kill off mankind is a mental health crisis. If a man believes he is going to die he will find a way to make it happen. If a population believes they are doomed then they are.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:38   #33
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

The Doomsday Clock is a design that warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. It is a metaphor, a reminder of the perils we must address if we are to survive on the planet.

When the Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons, in particular from the prospect that the United States and the Soviet Union were headed for a nuclear arms race. The Bulletin considered possible catastrophic disruptions from climate change in its hand-setting deliberations for the first time in 2007.

Ensuring the survival of our societies and the human species is not a political agenda. Cooperating with other countries to achieve control of extremely dangerous technologies should not involve partisan politics. If scientists involved with the Bulletin are critical of current policies on nuclear weapons and climate change, it is because those policies increase the possibility of self-destruction.

The Bulletin has moved the Clock hand away from midnight almost as often as it has moved it toward midnight, and as often during Republican administrations in the United States as during Democratic ones. It moved the hand farthest away in 1991, when US President George H.W. Bush’s administration signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Soviet Union.

In 1991 It was 17 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
With the Cold War officially over, the United States and Russia begin making deep cuts to their nuclear arsenals. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty greatly reduces the number of strategic nuclear weapons deployed by the two former adversaries. Better still, a series of unilateral initiatives remove most of the intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers in both countries from hair-trigger alert. "The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away," the Bulletin declares.
https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clo...announcements/

The Doomsday Clock is not a forecasting tool, and we are not predicting the future. Rather, we study events that have already occurred and existing trends. Our Science and Security Board tracks numbers and statistics—looking, for example, at the number and kinds of nuclear weapons in the world, the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the degree of acidity in our oceans, and the rate of sea level rise. The board also takes account of leaders’ and citizens’ efforts to reduce dangers, and efforts by institutions—whether of governments, markets, or civil society organizations—to follow through on negotiated agreements.

The Bulletin is a bit like a doctor making a diagnosis. We look at data, as physicians look at lab tests and x-rays, and also take harder-to-quantify factors into account, as physicians do when talking with patients and family members. We consider as many symptoms, measurements, and circumstances as we can. Then we come to a judgment that sums up what could happen if leaders and citizens don’t take action to treat the conditions.

As long as nuclear weapons exist and can be used, the risk that we could destroy civilization also exists. Such a calamity has not occurred because national leaders have so far heeded warnings, and because at critical times in the past 70 years, they have set up communication channels with adversaries, negotiated treaties to control the weapons, taken steps to radically reduce arsenals, and engaged erstwhile enemies in cooperative projects. Preventing nuclear war requires continued diplomacy, more exchanges of information, and open communications that engender trust.
Likewise, as long as Earth’s climate continues to change, we are at risk of suffering the potential consequences, in particular disruptions in the environment—such as extended droughts, changes in growing seasons, sea level rise, and fisheries die-offs—that threaten human survival.
Humans invented both nuclear weapons and the fossil-fuel powered machines that contribute to climate change; we know how they work, so presumably we can find ways to reduce or eliminate the harm. But we need concerted cooperation worldwide to prevent calamity.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:42   #34
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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Hi Gord,

I've often thought that the Doomsday Clock folks aren't properly assessing the threat of AI as a disruptive technology. Wondering what you think about that, since you seem to be one of the more thoughtful.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:11   #35
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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... I've often thought that the Doomsday Clock folks aren't properly assessing the threat of AI as a disruptive technology. Wondering what you think about that ...
The potential threats, posed by AI, are not in the forefront of my thoughts.

Some notable individuals, such as legendary physicist Stephen Hawking [1], and Tesla and SpaceX leader and innovator Elon Musk [2], suggest Artificial Intelligence (AI) could potentially be very dangerous.
When we talk about the dangers posed by artificial intelligence, the emphasis is usually on the unintended side effects. We worry that we might accidentally create a super-intelligent AI, and forget to program it with a conscience; or that we’ll deploy criminal sentencing algorithms that have soaked up the racist biases of their training data, etc.
AI can encompass anything from Google’s search algorithms, to IBM’s Watson, to autonomous weapons.
But, what about the people who actively want to use AI for immoral, criminal, or malicious purposes? Aren’t they more likely to cause trouble, and sooner? The answer is yes.
Most researchers agree that a superintelligent AI is unlikely to exhibit human emotions like love or hate, and that there is no reason to expect AI to become intentionally benevolent or malevolent.

Instead, when considering how AI might become a risk, I worry about it’s DELIBERATE, criminal, misuse.

[1] ➥ https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/06/step...ilization.html

[2] ➥ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/elon...r-weapons.html
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:16   #36
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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Interesting how many people blindly follow the words of someone who's existence is unproven and doubtful while others deny that which stares them plainly in the face.
Very true. From George Carlin:
"Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch."

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
The fascination with catastrophes is increasing especially among young people....
...The obsession over what will kill off mankind is a mental health crisis. If a man believes he is going to die he will find a way to make it happen. If a population believes they are doomed then they are.
I agree with your sentiment completely...particularly the "he will find a way to make it happen" point. In the Middle East to the West the dominant religions (and subjugate philosophy which drives pubic understanding of the world even if not religious) all hold various 'end times' ideas as truths. This coupled with what psychologists call the sunk cost fallacy I think is the driving force behind the mass hysteria.

So on the one hand, it could be argued that this set of affairs has been going on to differing degrees for a couple thousand years in the West. The only difference is that now people have much better optics to see stuff going on worldwide to feed their observation biases. It certainly doesn't help that every other TV show/movie capitalizes on this theme (not to mention the global arms trades).

Meanwhile in the East historically people were taught/understood synchronicity...that there is no "end times" but rather that there are "bad times." This personally gives me solace, but the concept of synchronicity is completely incompatible with the world's dominant religions. Once someone learns to see the patterns in things then they see that the great religious books themselves are merely products of human activity and not the product of Carlin's invisible man in the sky.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:42   #37
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
...Meanwhile in the East historically people were taught/understood synchronicity...that there is no "end times" but rather that there are "bad times." This personally gives me solace, but the concept of synchronicity is completely incompatible with the world's dominant religions. Once someone learns to see the patterns in things then they see that the great religious books themselves are merely products of human activity and not the product of Carlin's invisible man in the sky.
Synchronicity (meaningful coincidences) is an interesting philosophical idea; unfortunately there is no evidence that it actually exists.

The appearance of synchronicity may be the result of the psychological phenomenon called confirmation bias; we much more easily notice and remember things that confirm our beliefs than those that do not. The human brain is very good at making connections and seeing designs in ambiguous stimuli and random patterns. Remembering the hits, and forgetting the misses, is the result of normal human perceptual and memory biases, not some mysterious cosmic synchronicity.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:07   #38
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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The potential threats, posed by AI, are not in the forefront of my thoughts.
Considering that intelligence is probably the most valuable resource imaginable, and that an AI arms race is inevitable (between countries and/or companies) it seems to me that the odds of this going out of control very quickly are quite high.

"Conscience" is probably a by-product of being an animal evolved from a long line of pack animals. Seems that "conscience" is a far more difficult problem than competence, and the arms race will focus on competence.

I agree that a calamity via nuclear weapons is inevitable on a long enough time scale, as long as you have them, and eventually we'll get unlucky. But... we do have at least the possibility of getting rid of them. With AI, I worry the calamity is inevitable once you start down the path (done). No brakes.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:21   #39
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Re: "Doomsday Clock"

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...The human brain is very good at making connections and seeing designs in ambiguous stimuli and random patterns. Remembering the hits, and forgetting the misses, is the result of normal human perceptual and memory biases, not some mysterious cosmic synchronicity.
Have to say too good, in many, perhaps most cases....at least in the mostly pre-eminently safe world we live in (for now).

'Doomsday' for one organism or group of organisms is nothing but the opening of niches for other organisms. Hope y'all's chillun like cnidarians...don't think the powers of evolution are going to work fast enough to forestall the 'readjustment' to pre and historical population norms...which, in the long run might be a good thing. Typical lifespan of a species is somewhere around 2-300,000 years, if memory serves, so perhaps we're 'due'.

Of course the argument could be made that the 'old' human species is already gone, replaced by the new 'trans-environment' one representing the Anthropocene, homo narcissus.
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