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CrispR enabled Cane Toad on the menu soon...

A recent study posted the results of the first sequencing of the Cane Toad, Bufo Marinus.

The article is interesting as it posits that one thing that can come from this is the ability to devise biological methods to control this Toad which is an invasive species any where outside of it's native region in South America.

I found this interesting as the methods focused on involve various viruses that would be used to kill the toads in order to control their populations...but this is myopic thinking. In this age of rapidly advancing and accurate gene editing in the form of Crispr associated editing complexes we can do something far more than just make the Toads susceptible to a viral infection. In fact, thinking about the safety of this approach it leaves open the possibility that the virus modified to kill the toads could also have off species effects which could be very detrimental to those species where deployed.

Instead we should consider one of the main factors that lead to the …
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Waking Out: A proposal to emerging ethical super intelligence safely.

The zeitgeist of Science fiction is filled with stories that paint a dystopian tale of how human desires to build artificial intelligence can go wrong. From the programmed pathology of HAL in 2001 a space odyssey, to the immediately malevolent emergence of Skynet in The Terminator and later to the humans as energy stores for the advanced AI of the Matrix and today , to the rampage of "hosts" in the new HBO series Westworld.

These stories all have a common theme of probing what happens when our autonomous systems get a mind of their own to some degree and no longer obey their creators but how can we avoid these types of scenarios but still emerge generalized intelligence that will leverage their super intelligence with empathy and consideration the same that we expect from one another? This question is being answered in a way that is mostly hopeful that current methods used in machine learning and specifically deep learning will not emerge skynet or HAL.

I think this is the …

The End is Now.

So....the question begins....of how technological utopia could or could not save the world.

From my writings in this blog it should be clear that I am a fan of using technology to save us from ourselves. The focus on these efforts I've termed SHI, to describe the creation of a self healing technological fabric that frees human beings of all current mandatory forms of labor. This would included everything from identifying resource needs to extracting and processing raw resources into finished products and services.

The last 6 years has seen a revolution in the space of artificial intelligence now that machine learning models long thought to be inferior to formally modeled hard coded "intelligent" systems have taken the lead not only over those models for tasks like text reading and translation but also for things thought to be extremely hard or impossible for computers to "learn" even 10 years ago by many, such as image identification.

Now all that is in the pa…

Seeing into the human past, ancient North Africans were a divergent Near Eastern lineage

What a great day for paleo-anthropology!

Why?

A couple of months ago a paper published the results of dating of remains that showed that homo sapiens sapiens of modern anatomy were living in North Africa by 300,000 years ago...this pushed back the homo sapien emergence time line some what as these finds were older than the well known finds in East Africa thousands of miles away.

At the time, lazy and irresponsible conjecture on the matter supposed that the cradle of homo sapiens may not have been the rift valley but was instead north africa...this is nonsense for several reasons:

1) North Africa at the time did not present the complex combination of environmental factors that enabled the natural thriving of humans ...making it likely it was a place they moved to from some where else rather than evolved in situ.

2) Modern analysis of genetic lineages in Africa all center to lineages that are either in the east or southern regions of the continent...almost the furthest places you can b…

EctoSalience: The importance of salience in the womb to developing stable minds.

A recent advance in the ability to take immature female eggs to maturity in the petri dish prompted a deeper question regarding the connection of this advance to a plausible system for artificial wombs and ectogenesis of human beings and other organisms at some point in the future.

The advantages of such a system for research should be clear, Scientists would be able to cultivate and grow new embryos without the need of an actual living parent as as surrogate. A range of experiments focused on understanding the development of natal diseases could be investigated in real time through a highly monitored and controlled birth environment on a continuous basis.

In the social realm, a commercialized process for growing human embryos outside of a natural womb would allow women to forgo the risks of pregnancy entirely, freeing them from a natural source of social imbalance that has dogged their kinds since the dawn of our species.

However a possible negative aspect to such development must b…

Existential danger, but not from the drones you're thinking of...

Saw this video about a month ago, it is very well done and paints a very dystopian and very unfortunately near term usage of this type of autonomous drone technology. Very Black Mirror. About 5 years ago I wrote a short story set in a far future where advanced drone tech becomes part of the lethal kit deployed with each soldier ...allowing one Man to do the damage of an entire platoon or larger in a conventional military unit. I called this future of AI assistant killers for soldiers Sentinels and Snitches as used by Sargent Dunning Spitz on mission some where in Africa. http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-view-to-day-of-autnonous-consensus-on.html?q=dunning The rogue danger though is not just one that can come from the use of autonomous electronic systems that are weaponized we are arguably far more advanced in another area of technological advance right now... autonomous weaponized biosystems. I have been sounding the warning bells on that space for nearly 11 years now, the advance …

First *extra Galactic* planetary scale bodies observed

This headline


Significance?
So every so often I see a story that has me sitting at the keyboard for a few seconds...actually trying to make sure the story is not some kind of satire site because the headline reads immediately a nonsense.
This headline did just that.
So I proceeded to frantically click through and it appears it was a valid news item from a valid news source and my jaw hit the floor.
Many of you know that we've been finding new planets outside of our solar system for about 25 years now.
In fact the Kepler satellite and other ground observatories have been accelerating their rate of extra-solar planet discoveries in the last few years but those planets are all within our galaxy the Milky Way.
The three major methods used to detect the bulk of planets thus far are wobble detection, radial transit and this method micro lensing which relies on a gravitational effect that was predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity exactly 103 years ago.
https://exoplanet…