The Joy of Saving the Human Race
Re-Thinking Morality Amid Existential Threats: Old Issues Need a Fresh Outlook | #12

Re-Thinking Morality Amid Existential Threats: Old Issues Need a Fresh Outlook | #12

September 13, 2021

Debates about right and wrong have been around as long as humanity.  But now, as we face existential threats to human civilization, it forces us to reconsider morality.  Some values-laden issues (poverty, race, war, environment) have been around for generations or even thousands of years, but now are deeply intertwined with our ability to survive catastrophe.  So now, our public conversations need to change so that people understand their new importance.  And simply scolding people about morality doesn’t seem to work anyway.  Today, let’s start a new chapter in the human story.

The Joy of Saving the Human Race, hosted by Shelby Mertes
** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

The Joy of Saving the Human Race is also on YouTube - https://youtu.be/LM9rB4iCG1o 
Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

Theme music by Moby: https://mobygratis.com/

Resources:

The Guardian, 1/13/21
Top scientists warn of 'ghastly future of mass extinction' and climate disruption: Sobering new report says world is failing to grasp the extent of threats posed by biodiversity loss and the climate crisis
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/13/top-scientists-warn-of-ghastly-future-of-mass-extinction-and-climate-disruption-aoe

BBC, 6/2/20
Extinction crisis 'poses existential threat to civilisation'
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52881831

World Inequality Lab
https://inequalitylab.world/en/

Inequality.org
https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/

Oxfam International
5 shocking facts about extreme global inequality and how to even it up
https://www.oxfam.org/en/5-shocking-facts-about-extreme-global-inequality-and-how-even-it

New York Times Magazine, 7/23/20
The Great Climate Migration
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/23/magazine/climate-migration.html

Joy of Saving the Human Race, 8/24/21
COVID VACCINE BOOSTERS FOR THE MASSES?: Short-Sighted and Selfish. Beat the Pandemic Instead | #11 (about global vaccine disparities)
https://youtu.be/j22w3on1R2o

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Fact Sheet April 2020
Trends In World Military Expenditure, 2019
https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/fs_2020_04_milex_0_0.pdf

 

COVID Vaccine Boosters For the Masses?: Short-Sighted and Selfish.  Let’s Beat the Pandemic Instead. | #11

COVID Vaccine Boosters For the Masses?: Short-Sighted and Selfish. Let’s Beat the Pandemic Instead. | #11

August 24, 2021

Wealthier, well-vaccinated countries are starting to give COVID-19 vaccine boosters to their general population.  This is after several months of these countries hoarding COVID vaccines, keeping poorer countries from being vaccinated.  Now, “We're planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we're leaving other people to drown.”

Global public health experts warn us that new COVID-19 variants are most likely to emerge in unvaccinated countries where COVID is running rampant.

Today, I ask you to please consider these global factors as you decide whether to get a booster.

 

The Joy of Saving the Human Race, hosted by Shelby Mertes
** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

The Joy of Saving the Human Race is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/j22w3on1R2o

Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

Theme music by Moby: https://mobygratis.com/

 

Resources:

WIRED, 8/20/21
The US Is Getting Covid Booster Shots. The World Is Furious
https://www.wired.com/story/the-us-is-getting-covid-booster-shots-the-world-is-furious/

CNBC, 8/17/21
U.S. should focus on vaccinating the rest of the world before Covid booster shots, says Dr. Vin Gupta
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/17/covid-us-should-focus-on-vaccinating-the-rest-of-the-world-before-booster-shots-says-dr-vin-gupta.html

Our World In Data, 8/22/21
Share of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

NY Times, 3/31/21
See How Rich Countries Got to the Front of the Vaccine Line
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/03/31/world/global-vaccine-supply-inequity.html

NY Times, 8/2/21
Where a Vast Global Vaccination Program Went Wrong
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/02/world/europe/covax-covid-vaccine-problems-africa.html

NPR, 8/20/21
They're Asking Biden To Vaccinate The World. It's Not Fair. But It's Not Impossible
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/08/20/1029263796/theyre-asking-biden-to-vaccinate-the-world-its-not-fair-but-its-not-impossible

Al Jazeera, 6/29/21
Explainer: What are patent waivers for COVID vaccines?
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/29/explainer-what-are-covid-vaccine-patent-waivers

 

Where Is Our Elon Musk Of Political Innovation?: We need better governments to save humanity | #10

Where Is Our Elon Musk Of Political Innovation?: We need better governments to save humanity | #10

August 10, 2021

Elon Musk is rich and famous as a technology innovator.  Do you know of anyone rich and famous for their innovations to improve government?

While billions are being spent to invent new technology, and tech leaders are idolized, government innovation is undervalued and ignored.  We need to improve this if we want to save humanity from a catastrophic future.  Innovation is especially important for global systems, which are not equipped for the enormous global problems we face.

In this episode I propose an XPRIZE competition to invent a new and improved United Nations, so human civilization can survive and thrive.

The Joy of Saving the Human Race, hosted by Shelby Mertes
** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

The Joy of Saving the Human Race is also available on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/fNh2StqvD2w

Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

Theme music by Moby: https://mobygratis.com/

Resources:

XPRIZE Foundation
https://www.xprize.org/home

Wired, 4/14/21
Is Silicon Valley Dead? Not According to Venture Dollars
https://www.wired.com/story/silicon-valley-dead-not-according-to-venture-capital/

Statista - Total global spending on research and development (R&D) from 1996 to 2018
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105959/total-research-and-development-spending-worldwide-ppp-usd/

Data Geeks Are Saving Humanity: Gregory Taff – World Resources Institute | #9

Data Geeks Are Saving Humanity: Gregory Taff – World Resources Institute | #9

July 25, 2021

Over many generations, humans have done extraordinary unintentional damage to the planet and to each other, simply by not understanding the impact of their behavior.  We can forgive our ancestors, but we now have no excuse for being clueless.  Powerful tools like computing, data collection and analysis, satellite imaging and modern research techniques help us understand the complexity of the world and help guide our choices.  And this capacity is growing.  These tools are improving the work done by government officials, citizens, journalists and organizations of many types.

At the forefront of deploying these tools is the World Resources Institute.  WRI is a global research organization that works with governments, businesses, multilateral institutions and civil society groups to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and protect nature. They organize their work around seven global challenges: Food, Forests, Water, Energy, Climate, the Ocean and Cities. They analyze these issues through the lenses of their four Centers of Excellence: Business, Economics, Finance and Equity

Gregory Taff is WRI’s Director of Research and Data Integrity.  He and his team make sure all WRI research follows best practices, and help grow the organization’s research capacities.

The Joy of Saving the Human Race, hosted by Shelby Mertes
** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

This episode, and all of them, are available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dYNy9UKf1ig

Theme music by Moby: https://mobygratis.com/

Resources:

World Resources Institute:  https://www.wri.org/
Gregory Taff bio: https://www.wri.org/profile/gregory-taff

Below are links to some of the WRI projects we discussed…

Global Forest Watch: https://globalforestwatch.org/
Quick data assisting forest protectors:  https://www.globalforestwatch.org/blog/people/indigenous-forest-monitors-reduce-deforestation/

Resource Watch: https://resourcewatch.org/
A dynamic platform featuring hundreds of data sets all in one place on the state of the planet’s resources and citizens.  Includes mapping tools, data dashboards and interesting blog posts.

Water, Peace and Security Partnership: https://waterpeacesecurity.org/
Innovative tools and services that help identify water-related security risks, and allow stakeholders to take action at an early stage.

Helping companies manage their environmental impact: https://www.wri.org/business

Creating a Sustainable Food Future: https://research.wri.org/wrr-food
Our crowded world has a collision of land use demands.  Nature is being crowded out, while agriculture is the biggest human use of land.  This effort strategizes how to get everyone fed adequately, while protecting nature, climate and water resources. 

Eat less meat, please:
https://www.wri.org/food/climate-friendly-diets
https://www.wri.org/insights/6-pressing-questions-about-beef-and-climate-change-answered

Modeling climate change futures and assessing progress on climate actions:
https://publications.wri.org/state_of_climate_action

Strengthening equity across all sectors: https://www.wri.org/equitable-development

 

COVID-19 Lab Leak: People Are Not Talking Solutions. Here’s Some. | #8

COVID-19 Lab Leak: People Are Not Talking Solutions. Here’s Some. | #8

July 4, 2021

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.  Surprisingly, even with all this attention, few people are talking about solutions that can actually make ourselves safer from future pandemics coming out of labs.  And even worse, we’re on the verge of really mismanaging the relationship with China.  So today, I’ll talk solutions.  Instead of just talking about the past, we can start working to create the safer future we all want. 

** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

This episode is also on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/kGO9l2XVS6M 

Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

 

Resources:

These couple guys have done great reporting on the lab leak possibility since early in the pandemic, long before it was widely accepted:

~ Jamie Metzl offers an exhaustive compilation of facts and resources
https://jamiemetzl.com/origins-of-sars-cov-2/

~ Virologist Dr. Chris Martenson at Peak Prosperity has done several episodes on this, and other valuable coverage of COVID and other issues.  His recent work on the lab leak possibility includes:
https://youtu.be/sNMmPw9_Iec
https://youtu.be/DNxoVFZwMYw
https://youtu.be/_A8Drix5taQ

A couple of the most solid overviews of the lab leak issue I’ve seen.  These review the evidence and the public discussion so far.  Start here if you’re new to the issue:

~ Vanity Fair, 6/3/21 (Katherine Eban)
The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

~ NY Times, 6/25/21 (Zeynep Tufekci)
Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/25/opinion/coronavirus-lab.html?referringSource=articleShare

Dr. Filippa Lentzos & Dr. Gregory Koblentz have done a great survey of BSL-4 labs around the world, and offer safety recommendations.  Their ideas deserve more public attention:

~ Kings College London, May 2021
Mapping Maximum Biological Containment Labs Globally
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/6048d7a0e9652c472e619f6f/t/60ae71cea2219b008f29d4ca/1622045135314/Mapping+BSL4+Labs+Globally+EMBARGOED+until+27+May+2021+1800+CET.pdf

~ The Conversation, 6/14/21
Fifty-nine labs around world handle the deadliest pathogens – only a quarter score high on safety
https://theconversation.com/fifty-nine-labs-around-world-handle-the-deadliest-pathogens-only-a-quarter-score-high-on-safety-161777

~ Global Biolabs Project
https://www.globalbiolabs.org/

This WHO summary has an optimistic and forward-looking tone, while admitting that there is significant work to be done to ensure adequate safety of labs working with dangerous pathogens:

~ World Health Organization, 4/28/21
Enhancement of laboratory biosafety
https://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA74/A74_18-en.pdf

There have been lab safety breaches in several countries for many years.  These articles summarize the risks we have faced for years:

~ USA Today, 3/22/21 (Alison Young)
Could an accident have caused COVID-19? Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory shouldn't be dismissed
https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/opinion/2021/03/22/why-covid-lab-leak-theory-wuhan-shouldnt-dismissed-column/4765985001/

~ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 6/17/21
Essential reading on lab leaks and gain-of-function research
https://thebulletin.org/2021/06/essential-reading-on-lab-leaks-and-gain-of-function-research/

~ Vox, 5/1/20 (Kelsey Piper)
Why some labs work on making viruses deadlier — and why they should stop
https://www.vox.com/2020/5/1/21243148/why-some-labs-work-on-making-viruses-deadlier-and-why-they-should-stop

(CLIPS) Is Our Global Economy Killing Us?: How Our Purchases Destroy Nature, Warm the Climate and Cause Violence | #7

(CLIPS) Is Our Global Economy Killing Us?: How Our Purchases Destroy Nature, Warm the Climate and Cause Violence | #7

June 21, 2021

This contains highlights from the longer presentation, in case you don’t have time to hear that entire presentation.  You can find that longer show, along with links to resources, here:
https://youtu.be/RiYwqXtKkN8

DONATE to help the Banyamulenge in Democratic Republic of Congo:
https://bit.ly/3cEkcUt

Connect and learn more:
* https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com *

The Joy of Saving the Human Race is also on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGxigWHyCSrGp6OA0ahmnjA 

Please subscribe – it helps.  And it will help you know when new episodes are released.

Theme music by Moby:  https://mobygratis.com/

----------------------------

Interconnected global trade has brought more prosperity to more people than ever, allowing abundance (in some places) that our ancestors would have seen as magic. This modern globalized economy also allows us to devour the natural environment and warm the climate more efficiently than ever before. Our desire for electronics, beef, soy, palm oil – and everything else – is punishing nature. But we need intact nature if we want to keep a stable climate and avoid pandemics. We need ways to avoid killing ourselves and our planet with our consumer desires.

Today we explore how huge and interconnected our global economy has become. We see examples where our economy is destroying critical rainforests – the Amazon, in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Indonesia & Malaysia. We discuss some core economic philosophy that served its purpose over the years, but is no longer compatible with a safe climate and environment, on a crowded planet with human population of almost 8 billion people.  And we look at solutions, because solutions are really good.

 

Is Our Global Economy Killing Us?: How Our Purchases Destroy Nature, Warm the Climate and Cause Violence | #7

Is Our Global Economy Killing Us?: How Our Purchases Destroy Nature, Warm the Climate and Cause Violence | #7

June 14, 2021

Interconnected global trade has brought more prosperity to more people than ever, allowing abundance (in some places) that our ancestors would have seen as magic. This modern globalized economy also allows us to devour the natural environment and warm the climate more efficiently than ever before. Our desire for electronics, beef, soy, palm oil – and everything else – is punishing nature. But we need intact nature if we want to keep a stable climate and avoid pandemics. We need ways to avoid killing ourselves and our planet with our consumer desires.

Today we explore how huge and interconnected our global economy has become. We see examples where our economy is destroying critical rainforests – the Amazon, in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Indonesia & Malaysia. We discuss some core economic philosophy that served its purpose over the years, but is no longer compatible with a safe climate and environment, on a crowded planet with human population of almost 8 billion people.  And we look at solutions, because solutions are really good.

This show is also available on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/RiYwqXtKkN8 

* https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com *

DONATE to help the Banyamulenge in Democratic Republic of Congo
https://bit.ly/3cEkcUt

For most environmental data I shared, links are available with my other episode:
HUMANS ARE GOING NUTS: More global chaos reduction systems, please? | #2
https://youtu.be/TVlIGFanbv0

Environment/Climate:

~ Our World In Data, Extinctions
https://bit.ly/2TZdXnv

~ Global Footprint Network (1.6 Earths)
https://bit.ly/3zzdw3M

~ The Atlantic, March 2021
The Terrifying Warming Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record: Our climate models could be missing something big.
https://bit.ly/3gBCwyK

~ Gizmodo, 6/10/21
Landmark Report Links Earth’s 2 Biggest Existential Threats for the First Time: Fifty top scientists warn climate change and biodiversity loss are one and the same.
https://bit.ly/3gv93q2

~ Our World in Data, Human population
https://bit.ly/2QGcUYB

~ Our World in Data, World GDP over the last two millienia
https://bit.ly/3giMi9K

Global economic integration:

~ Our World in Data, Trade and Globalization
https://bit.ly/3cGbV29

~ Statista, July 2019
Trends in global export volume of trade in goods from 1950 to 2018
https://bit.ly/3pXtDUo

~ Car and Driver, 1/11/19
U.S. Car Brands Aren't What They Used to Be
https://bit.ly/2Snfx2h

~ Our World In Data, 2/23/21
Cutting down forests: what are the drivers of deforestation?
https://bit.ly/3gvVHK3

Amazon Rainforest:

~ Seeker, 12/30/20
Amazon Rainforest Could Become A Savannah Within 15 Years, Here’s How (4:47)
https://bit.ly/35iChmU

~ Vox Atlas: The Amazon
Part 1 (11:44): https://bit.ly/3wi0IfY
Part 2 (10:57): https://bit.ly/3pMx1kQ
Part 3 (10:04): https://bit.ly/3wmko2m

~ Washington Post, 8/27/19
How Amazon deforestation is being done in the service of surging beef demand
https://wapo.st/3wnREWS

~ The Intercept, 8/30/20
How Larry Fink, Joe Biden’s Wall Street Ally, Profits From Amazon Cattle Ranching, a Force Behind Deforestation
https://bit.ly/3wltcWl

~ Trase, September 2019
Mapping the deforestation risk of Brazilian beef exports
https://bit.ly/3cCk8Eu

~ Our World In Data, Soy
https://bit.ly/2TSJ587

Indonesia/Malaysia:

~ The Guardian, 2/19/20
How the world got hooked on palm oil
https://bit.ly/3zraTAI

~ Yale Environment 360, 5/27/21
The Time Has Come to Rein In the Global Scourge of Palm Oil
https://bit.ly/2Tni1h8

~ Mongabay, August 2020
‘Meaningless certification’: Study makes the case against ‘sustainable’ palm oil
https://bit.ly/3gvge1n

~ Trase, 7/9/19
Supply chain transparency could be vital to easing tensions around Indonesian palm oil
https://bit.ly/3iDtDHn

~ Mongabay, 3/9/21
Deforestation in Indonesia hits record low, but experts fear a rebound
https://bit.ly/3cBGMNu 

Democratic Republic of Congo:

~ Mongabay, 12/21/20
Poor governance fuels ‘horrible dynamic’ of deforestation in DRC
https://bit.ly/2SnZjGb

~ World Resources Institute, 7/9/19
Congo Basin Deforestation Threatens Food and Water Supplies Throughout Africa
https://bit.ly/3iExi80

~ Mongabay, 7/16/19
Agriculture, mining, hunting push critically endangered gorillas to the brink
https://bit.ly/3vfs19u

~ Washington Post, 4/19/18
The quest for conflict-free mining in Congo: an ugly truth behind ‘ethical consumerism’
https://wapo.st/3xhWx3V

~ Genocide Watch, 10/10/20
Genocide Warning: The Vulnerability of Banyamulenge ‘Invaders’
https://bit.ly/2TsJk9G

~ Digital Trends, 9/9/18
Companies want to sell you conflict-free phones, but certification isn’t foolproof
https://bit.ly/3xhK2Fn

Economic Theory:

~ The New Yorker, 2/3/20
Can We Have Prosperity Without Growth?
https://bit.ly/35h032z

~ Degrowth, 8/31/20
Book review: ‘Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World’ by Jason Hickel
https://bit.ly/2U7O2dD
[I have not read this book yet.  I want to.  I read Hickel’s previous book The Divide, which was amazing.]

~ Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth
https://bit.ly/3gj7zA5

World Trade Organization:

~ Council on Foreign Relations, 2/16/21
What’s Next for the WTO?
https://on.cfr.org/3wyAnu4

I Support Vaccination: But I REFUSE My COVID-19 Vaccine.  Here’s Why…

I Support Vaccination: But I REFUSE My COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s Why…

May 19, 2021

I believe in vaccination, and I think COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.  But I’m refusing mine.  Listen and learn why.

This episode is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/R4v_0U5-C20

Also, please listen to my longer, more thorough episode on pandemics:
We Hate Pandemics: So why are we making more of them? | #6
https://youtu.be/rzNcn2uDeMQ

** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

Resources:

~ CNN, 5/3/21
Video: The Covid-19 hospital in India so bad patients want to get out
https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/03/india/hospital-coronavirus-deaths-oxygen-delhi-intl-hnk-dst/index.html

~ Newsweek, 5/15/21
Indian Police Crack Down on Dumping of Bodies Into Ganges as Country Sees 326K New COVID Infections
https://www.newsweek.com/indian-police-crack-down-dumping-bodies-ganges-country-sees-326k-new-covid-infections-1591812

~ CNN, 5/14/21
The stark global divide in the Covid-19 pandemic
https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2021/05/world/covid-global-outlook-cnnphotos/

~ NY Times, 4/22/21
Opinion: I Run the W.H.O., and I Know That Rich Countries Must Make a Choice
(Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/opinion/who-covid-vaccines.html

~ NY Times, 5/14/21
Editorial: America Is Failing Its Moral Test on Vaccines
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/14/opinion/biden-covid-vaccines-world-india.html

~ Vox, 4/29/21
The world could be doing much more to help India: Countries can’t go it alone in tackling Covid-19
https://www.vox.com/world/22403722/india-covid-19-vaccine-variant-cases-coronavirus

~ Washington Post, 3/11/21
The Health 202: The U.S. bought enough coronavirus vaccines for three times its adult population
https://wapo.st/2RgU0HE

~ NY Times (continuously updated)
Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-vaccinations-tracker.html

 

We Hate Pandemics: So why are we making more of them? | #6

We Hate Pandemics: So why are we making more of them? | #6

May 4, 2021

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is probably just practice for other pandemics in the future, which might be far worse.  We are creating this risk ourselves – destroying nature, warming the climate, allowing poverty to persist, eating meat, and even inventing dangerous new viruses in labs.  And we still don’t have adequate global public health systems to protect us from these risks we’re creating.  But luckily, there are many solutions we can use – and we can afford it.

** Connect and learn more at: https://www.joyofsavingthehumanrace.com **

This show is also on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/rzNcn2uDeMQ 

Please subscribe and tell your friends about the show.

Resources:

Demographics:

~ World population - https://bit.ly/2QGcUYB
~ Urbanization - https://bit.ly/3xDIqqC

Destruction of nature:

~ Grist, 4/27/20
Deadly Leaps: These scientists saw the coronavirus coming. Now they're trying to stop the next pandemic before it starts.
https://bit.ly/3ecYmIJ

~ The Guardian, 8/30/20
Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics’
https://bit.ly/3tdUjA0 

~ The Guardian, 7/28/20
We are entering an era of pandemics – it will end only when we protect the rainforest
https://bit.ly/33fwgpL

~ Ensia, 12/8/20
There Are Worse Viruses Than COVID-19 Out There.  How Do We Avoid the Next Big One?
https://bit.ly/3eRFnlU  

~ Ensia, 3/17/20
Destruction of Habitat and Loss of Biodiversity Are Creating the Perfect Conditions for Diseases Like COVID-19 to Emerge
https://bit.ly/3vwvb9a

~ Rolling Stone, 12/7/20
How Climate Change Is Ushering in a New Pandemic Era
https://bit.ly/3vBxuIm

Meat production:

~ Vox - June 10, 2020
The meat we eat is a pandemic risk, too
“If you actually want to create global pandemics, then build factory farms.”
https://bit.ly/3xH2Qz3

~ The Guardian, 9/18/20
A 12-storey pig farm: has China found the way to tackle animal disease?
https://bit.ly/3eRMZ8f

~ NY Times, 4/29/19
U.N. Issues Urgent Warning on the Growing Peril of Drug-Resistant Infections
https://nyti.ms/3eaapX6

~ Foreign Policy, 5/21/20
China’s Farms Are Petri Dishes of Antibiotic Resistance
https://bit.ly/3eQcve4

~ NY Times, 6/7/19
Warning of ‘Pig Zero’: One Drugmaker’s Push to Sell More Antibiotics
https://nyti.ms/3eL6YFG

Virology labs:

~ Newsweek, 4/27/20
The Controversial Experiments and Wuhan Lab Suspected of Starting the Coronavirus Pandemic
https://bit.ly/3tlF2gV

~ Washington Post, 4/30/20
Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release
https://wapo.st/3vAXpzJ

~ Vox, 5/1/20
Why some labs work on making viruses deadlier — and why they should stop
https://bit.ly/3uccdVa

~ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - February 25, 2019
Human error in high-biocontainment labs: a likely pandemic threat
https://bit.ly/3eaavOE

~ Jamie Metzl - Origins of SARS-CoV-2
[This site contains TONS of resources related to the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a China lab.]
https://bit.ly/3edTYZY

Bioterrorism:

~ TED, 7/17/19
How synthetic biology could wipe out humanity -- and how we can stop it | Rob Reid
https://bit.ly/3xJfVYw

Pandemic resilience systems:

~ UN Environment Programme, 7/6/20
Preventing the next pandemic - Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission
https://bit.ly/3nHIxgr

~ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Escaping the Era of Pandemics
https://bit.ly/3xJhXb6

~ Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/3/21
The Five Things to Get Right Before the Next Pandemic
https://bloom.bg/3xJAnbG

 ~ The Guardian, 7/23/20
Cost of preventing next pandemic 'equal to just 2% of Covid-19 economic damage'
https://bit.ly/3gUYLBc

Global vaccine distribution:

~ The Hill, 4/23/21
WHO leader blasts vaccine inequity on anniversary of COVAX plan
https://bit.ly/2PGAtzK

~ Washington Post, 3/11/21
The U.S. bought enough coronavirus vaccines for three times its adult population
https://wapo.st/2RgU0HE

~ New York Times, 12/15/20
With First Dibs on Vaccines, Rich Countries Have ‘Cleared the Shelves’
https://nyti.ms/3aWKMY0

~ New York Times, 1/31/21
As Virus Variants Spread, ‘No One Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe’
https://nyti.ms/2QHPSk2

~ New York Times, 1/23/21
If Poor Countries Go Unvaccinated, a Study Says, Rich Ones Will Pay
https://nyti.ms/3vCfAoN

Hunger:

~ United Nations – Global Humanitarian Overview, 11/30/20
https://bit.ly/3uce8ZS

~ World Politics Review, 12/7/20
COVID-19 Poses the Greatest Challenge Yet to the U.N. Humanitarian System
https://bit.ly/3nL6Cmj

~ World Food Program - July 2, 2020
Coronavirus and hunger: WFP ready to assist largest number of people ever
https://bit.ly/3eaNCdH

~ New York Times, 11/1/20
How the Wealthy World Has Failed Poor Countries During the Pandemic
https://nyti.ms/33cNLac

Water:

~ World Resources Institute - January 21, 2020
It Could Only Cost 1% of GDP to Solve Global Water Crises
https://bit.ly/3nEe174

Technology VS. Society & Survival: Artificial Intelligence, Social Media & Deepfakes | #5

Technology VS. Society & Survival: Artificial Intelligence, Social Media & Deepfakes | #5

April 17, 2021

Some of our new digital technologies are helping to tear our politics apart, make us more angry and hateful, and even make it impossible to know what’s true.  Facebook gets a lot of the negative attention (rightfully), but the problem is so much bigger.  Our society is clearly not dealing with these technologies effectively.  Basically, people are allowed to invent and put into the world whatever they want, no matter how harmful – and there are no rules.  Then, on top of this very shaky foundation, people are creating artificial intelligence that will be profoundly more powerful than anything humanity has created before.

Computing is advancing at an exponential rate.  Things are already moving faster than we’ve been able to keep up with, and it’s about to go a LOT faster.

Should we keep idolizing technology, and let tech companies and inventors do whatever they want?  Or should we responsibly manage these transformative changes to our society, with political and economic systems that encourage safety?

 

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Resources:

Deep Fakes:

~ Bloomberg News, 9/27/18
It's Getting Harder to Spot a Deep Fake Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLoI9hAX9dw
~ Radiolab, July 2017
Breaking News
http://futureoffakenews.com/videos.html
(go here to see videos of researchers developing deep fake software)
~ 80,000 Hours Podcast, 4/6/21
Nina Schick on Disinformation and the Rise of Synthetic Media
https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/nina-schick-disinformation-synthetic-media/

Social Media:

~ New York Times, 10/15/18
A Genocide Incited on Facebook, With Posts From Myanmar’s Military
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/technology/myanmar-facebook-genocide.html
~ BBC News, 9/12/18
The country where Facebook posts whipped up hate
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-45449938
~ MIT Technology Review, 3/11/21
How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation
https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/11/1020600/facebook-responsible-ai-misinformation/
~ Center for Humane Technology
https://www.humanetech.com/

Artificial Intelligence:

~ The Independent, 5/1/14
Stephen Hawking: Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence - but are we taking AI seriously enough?
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stephen-hawking-transcendence-looks-at-the-implications-of-artificial-intelligence-but-are-we-taking-9313474.html
~ CNBC, 3/13/18
Elon Musk: ‘Mark my words — A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes’
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/elon-musk-at-sxsw-a-i-is-more-dangerous-than-nuclear-weapons.html
~ SingularityHub, 7/15/18
Why Most of Us Fail to Grasp Coming Exponential Gains in AI
https://singularityhub.com/2018/07/15/why-most-of-us-fail-to-grasp-coming-exponential-gains-in-ai/
~ AlphaZero (chess-playing artificial intelligence)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlphaZero
~ MuZero (chess- and Atari-playing artificial intelligence)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MuZero
~ SingularityHub, 6/18/20
OpenAI’s New Text Generator Writes Even More Like a Human
https://singularityhub.com/2020/06/18/openais-new-text-generator-writes-even-more-like-a-human/
~ SingularityHub, 8/2/20
This AI Could Bring Us Computers That Can Write Their Own Software
https://singularityhub.com/2020/08/02/this-ai-could-bring-us-computers-that-can-write-software/
~ SingularityHub, 5/31/17
Google’s AI-Building AI Is a Step Toward Self-Improving AI
https://singularityhub.com/2017/05/31/googles-ai-building-ai-is-a-step-toward-self-improving-ai/ 
~ Science, 4/13/20
Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/artificial-intelligence-evolving-all-itself
~ Future of Life Institute - Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence
https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/
~ Future of Life Institute Podcast, 3/19/21
Roman Yampolskiy on the Uncontrollability, Incomprehensibility, and Unexplainability of AI
https://futureoflife.org/2021/03/19/roman-yampolskiy-on-the-uncontrollability-incomprehensibility-and-unexplainability-of-ai/
~ AI Research Considerations for Human Existential Safety (ARCHES) by Andrew Critch & David Krueger, 6/11/20
https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.04948
(This academic paper is a long read, but I highly recommend it.  It’s understandable and well-written.  It does an excellent job of explaining why AI safety is quite difficult because of complex interactions between multiple people and organizations, and multiple AI systems.)

Lethal Autonomous Weapons:

~ Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
https://www.stopkillerrobots.org/
~ Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
https://autonomousweapons.org/

Efforts to regulate artificial intelligence:

~ International Congress for the Governance of AI
https://www.icgai.org/
~ Future of Life Institute
https://futureoflife.org/policy-work/
~ Centre for the Governance of AI / Future of Life Institute at University of Oxford
https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/govai/
~ Center for AI and Digital Policy
https://caidp.dukakis.org/
~ Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence
https://gpai.ai/

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