Facebook’s Violence Problem, Engineering an Astronaut, and Christianity vs. Transhumanism—The Download, April 18, 2017
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The Growing Case for Geoengineering
Desperate times call for desperate measures—but it may pay to know how to deploy them. As the world continues to warm, some researchers argue that we should now be testing extreme measures to combat the effects of climate change in case the worst does happen. While the idea of engineering the planet is not a new one, many believe the idea of, say, releasing tons of dust into the skies to modify clouds is preposterous. But, asks our own James Temple, the real question is: preposterous compared to what?
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Cleaning Up Violence on Facebook
Facebook vows to “do better” at removing violent content. Over the weekend, Steve Stephens shot and killed Robert Godwin, posting a video of the murder and a live-streamed confession to the social network. The video remained online for 2 hours, clocking up over 1.6 million views before being removed. Facebook has come under fire for struggling to police violent content before, and its VP of Global Operations says that it will work harder to stop similar incidents in future, reaffirming that AI will help the social network to crack the problem—though it remains unclear how and when.
Gene-editing the Perfect Astronaut
Before heading to Mars, reinvent the human race. The rigors of long-term space travel will demand different qualities to a life spent on Earth: humans able to cope with high levels of radiation and low concentrations of oxygen, for instance, could thrive. But while the perfect combination of attributes is unlikely to occur naturally, the dawn of reliable gene editing means that they could soon be hard-coded into a human. Our own Antonio Regalado explains how scientists are pondering whether to rejigger the human genome to make the ideal astronaut.
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"The algorithm that allows systems to self-improve is perhaps 10 lines of pseudocode. What we are missing at the moment is perhaps just another five lines."
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