Beware the dangers of disruptive technologies

Yesterday, in what turned out to be a very disruptive day for many in British politics as the results of the UK general election today made clear, it now seems fitting that I went to a talk on disruptive technologies and the ethical implications and threats and opportunities they pose.

Thanks to an invitation from Prof Graham Dutfield at Leeds University’s School of Law, I heard philosopher, neuroscientist and geostrategist Prof Nayef Al-Rodhan, Senior Fellow and Programme Director of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland.

Al-Rodhan_book2He highlighted his concerns about a wide range of emerging technologies, ranging from Artificial intelligence to synthetic biology to precision genetic engineering, to quantum computing, to neuromorphic chip technology. The way many of these were converging together, their potential for contamination of the biosphere and three in particular were of concern as he explained in a brief interview after his talk. He also outlined his view of human nature as emotional, amoral egoism:

He called for precautionary-based regulation now before it was too late to manage these emerging technologies. You can find much more about his work and numerous publications in this area on his website Sustainable History.

About geofftansey

I curate the Food Systems Academy, a free, on-line, open education resource to transform our food systems. I am also a member of the Food Ethics Council and chaired the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which reported in 2015.
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