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Podcast Profile: Radio Bostrom

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28 episodes
2022 to present
Average episode: 58 minutes
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Categories: Monologue (Non-Course)

Podcaster's summary: Audio narrations of academic papers by Nick Bostrom.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-20 06:06 UTC. Episodes: 28. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2024-Mar-18 • 2 minutes
Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World (2024)
Nick Bostrom’s latest book, Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World, will be published on 27th March, 2024. It’s available to pre-order now: | | | The publisher describes the book as follows: | | A greyhound catching the mechanical lure—what would he actually do with it? Has he given this any thought? | | Bostrom’s previous book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies changed the global conversation on AI and became a New York Times bestseller. It focus...
2022-Aug-27 • 42 minutes
The Unilateralist’s Curse and the Case for a Principle of Conformity (2016)
By Nick Bostrom, Thomas Douglas & Anders Sandberg.Abstract:In some situations a number of agents each have the ability to undertake an initiative that would have significant effects on the others. Suppose that each of these agents is purely motivated by an altruistic concern for the common good. We show that if each agent acts on her own personal judgment as to whether the initiative should be undertaken, then the initiative will be undertaken more often than is optimal. We suggest that this phenomenon,...
2022-Aug-26 • 35 minutes
In Defense of Posthuman Dignity (2005)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Positions on the ethics of human enhancement technologies can be (crudely) characterized as ranging from transhumanism to bioconservatism. Transhumanists believe that human enhancement technologies should be made widely available, that individuals should have broad discretion over which of these technologies to apply to themselves, and that parents should normally have the right to choose enhancements for their children-to-be. Bioconservatives (whose ranks include such diverse write...
2022-Aug-25 • 13 minutes
A Primer on the Doomsday Argument (1999)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Rarely does philosophy produce empirical predictions. The Doomsday argument is an important exception. From seemingly trivial premises it seeks to show that the risk that humankind will go extinct soon has been systematically underestimated. Nearly everybody's first reaction is that there must be something wrong with such an argument. Yet despite being subjected to intense scrutiny by a growing number of philosophers, no simple flaw in the argument has been identified.Read the ...
2022-Aug-24 • 72 minutes
Propositions Concerning Digital Minds and Society (2022)
By Nick Bostrom and Carl Shulman. Draft version 1.10.Abstract:AIs with moral status and political rights? We'll need a modus vivendi, and it’s becoming urgent to figure out the parameters for that. This paper makes a load of specific claims that begin to stake out a position.Read the full paper: episodes at: ---Outline:(00:00) Introduction(00:36) Disclaimer(01:07) Consciousness and metaphysics(06:48) Respecting AI interests(21:41) Security a...
2022-Aug-23 • 59 minutes
Base Camp for Mount Ethics (2022)
By Nick Bostrom.Draft version 0.9Abstract:New theoretical ideas for a big expedition in metaethics.Read the full paper: episodes at: ---Outline:(00:17) Metametaethics/preamble(02:48) Genealogy(09:41) Metaethics(21:30) Value representors(26:56) Moral motivation(30:02) The weak(33:25) Hedonism(41:38) Hierarchical norm structure and higher morality(55:30) Questions for future research
2022-Aug-22 • 182 minutes
The Transhumanist FAQ (2003)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase. We formally define it as follows:(1) The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging...
2022-Aug-21 • 63 minutes
The Future of Human Evolution (2004)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Evolutionary development is sometimes thought of as exhibiting an inexorable trend towards higher, more complex, and normatively worthwhile forms of life. This paper explores some dystopian scenarios where freewheeling evolutionary developments, while continuing to produce complex and intelligent forms of organization, lead to the gradual elimination of all forms of being that we care about. We then consider how such catastrophic outcomes could be avoided and argue that under certai...
2022-Aug-20 • 103 minutes
Predictions from Philosophy? (1997)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:The purpose of this paper, boldly stated, is to propose a new type of philosophy, a philosophy whose aim is prediction. The pace of technological progress is increasing very rapidly: it looks as if we are witnessing an exponential growth, the growth-rate being proportional to the size already obtained, with scientific knowledge doubling every 10 to 20 years since the second world war, and with computer processor speed doubling every 18 months or so. It is argued that this technologi...
2022-Aug-19 • 19 minutes
[French Translation] Letter from Utopia (2008)
By Nick Bostrom. Translated by Jill Drouillard. Abstract:The good life: just how good could it be? A vision of the future from the future.Read the full paper: episodes at:
2022-Aug-18 • 14 minutes
What is a Singleton? (2005)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:This note introduces the concept of a "singleton" and suggests that this concept is useful for formulating and analyzing possible scenarios for the future of humanity.Read the full paper: episodes at: ---Outline:(00:18) Abstract(00:32) 1. Definition(01:35) 2. Examples and Elaboration(05:42) 3. Advantages with a Singleton(08:02) 4. Disadvantages with a Singleton(10:14) 5. The Singleton Hypothesis
2022-Aug-17 • 41 minutes
Embryo Selection for Cognitive Enhancement: Curiosity or Game-changer?
By Carl Shulman and Nick Bostrom. Abstract:Human capital is an important determinant of individual and aggregate economic outcomes, and a major input to scientific progress. It has been suggested that advances in genomics may open up new avenues to enhance human intellectual abilities genetically, complementing environmental interventions such as education and nutrition. One way to do this would be via embryo selection in the context of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this article, we analyze the feasibili...
2022-Aug-16 • 20 minutes
Letter from Utopia (2008)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:The good life: just how good could it be? A vision of the future from the future.Read the full paper: More episodes at:
2022-Aug-15 • 84 minutes
Technological Revolutions: Ethics and Policy in the Dark (2006)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Technological revolutions are among the most important things that happen to humanity. Ethical assessment in the incipient stages of a potential technological revolution faces several difficulties, including the unpredictability of their long‐term impacts, the problematic role of human agency in bringing them about, and the fact that technological revolutions rewrite not only the material conditions of our existence but also reshape culture and even – perhaps – human nature. This es...
2022-Aug-14 • 55 minutes
Human Enhancement Ethics: The State of the Debate (2008) Introduction Chapter.
By Nick Bostrom and Julian Savulescu.Abstract:Are we good enough? If not, how may we improve ourselves? Must we restrict ourselves to traditional methods like study and training? Or should we also use science to enhance some of our mental and physical capacities more directly?Over the last decade, human enhancement has grown into a major topic of debate in applied ethics. Interest has been stimulated by advances in the biomedical sciences, advances which to many suggest that it will become increasingly feas...
2022-Aug-13 • 23 minutes
How Vulnerable is the World? (2021)
By Nick Bostrom and Matthew van der Merwe.Abstract:Sooner or later a technology capable of wiping out human civilisation might be invented. How far would we go to stop it?Read the full paper: The Vulnerable World Hypothesis (2019) (original academic paper)- The Vulnerable World Hypothesis (2019) (narration by Radio Bostrom)Notes:This article is an adaption of Bostrom's academic paper "The Vulnerable World Hypothesis (2019)".The article was first published ...
2022-Aug-12 • 35 minutes
Crucial Considerations and Wise Philanthropy (2014)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Within a utilitarian context, one can perhaps try to explicate [crucial considerations] as follows: a crucial consideration is a consideration that radically changes the expected value of pursuing some high-level subgoal. The idea here is that you have some evaluation standard that is fixed, and you form some overall plan to achieve some high-level subgoal. This is your idea of how to maximize this evaluation standard. A crucial consideration, then, would be a consideration that rad...
2022-Aug-11 • 20 minutes
Astronomical Waste: The Opportunity Cost of Delayed Technological Development (2003)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore an opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace ...
2022-Aug-10 • 38 minutes
10. Are You Living In A Computer Simulation? (2003)
By Nick Bostrom. Abstract:This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run an...
2022-Aug-09 • 60 minutes
The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (2011)
By Nick Bostrom and Eliezer Yudkowsky.Abstract:The possibility of creating thinking machines raises a host of ethical issues. These questions relate both to ensuring that such machines do not harm humans and other morally relevant beings, and to the moral status of the machines themselves. The first section discusses issues that may arise in the near future of AI. The second section outlines challenges for ensuring that AI operates safely as it approaches humans in its intelligence. The third section outlin...
2022-Aug-08 • 108 minutes
Information Hazards: A Typology of Potential Harms from Knowledge (2011)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Information hazards are risks that arise from the dissemination or the potential dissemination of true information that may cause harm or enable some agent to cause harm. Such hazards are often subtler than direct physical threats, and, as a consequence, are easily overlooked. They can, however, be important. This paper surveys the terrain and proposes a taxonomy.Read the full paper: episodes at: ---Outline:(00:18) Abstra...
2022-Aug-07 • 70 minutes
The Evolutionary Optimality Challenge (2021)
By Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, and Matthew van der Merwe.This is an updated version of The Wisdom of Nature, first published in the book Human Enhancement (Oxford University Press, 2009).Abstract:Human beings are a marvel of evolved complexity. When we try to enhance poorly-understood complex evolved systems, our interventions often fail or backfire. It can appear as if there is a “wisdom of nature” which we ignore at our peril. A recognition of this reality can manifest as a vaguely normative intuition,...
2022-Aug-06 • 33 minutes
Where Are They? Why I hope the search for extraterrestrial life finds nothing (2008)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:When water was discovered on Mars, people got very excited. Where there is water, there may be life. Scientists are planning new missions to study the planet up close. NASA’s next Mars rover is scheduled to arrive in 2010. In the decade following, a Mars Sample Return mission might be launched, which would use robotic systems to collect samples of Martian rocks, soils, and atmosphere, and return them to Earth. We could then analyze the sample to see if it contains any traces of life...
2022-Aug-05 • 76 minutes
The Reversal Test: Eliminating Status Quo Bias in Applied Ethics (2006)
By Nick Bostrom and Toby Ord.Abstract:In this article we argue that one prevalent cognitive bias, status quo bias, may be responsible for much of the opposition to human enhancement in general and to genetic cognitive enhancement in particular. Our strategy is as follows: first, we briefly review some of the psychological evidence for the pervasiveness of status quo bias in human decision making. This evidence provides some reason for suspecting that this bias may also be present in analyses of human enhanc...
2022-Aug-04 • 92 minutes
Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority (2012)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Existential risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Despite their importance, issues surrounding human-extinction risks and related hazards remain poorly understood. In this paper, I clarify the concept of existential risk and develop an improved classification scheme. I discuss the relation between existential risks and basic issues in axiolo...
2022-Aug-03 • 44 minutes
The Fable of The Dragon Tyrant (2005)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Recounts the Tale of a most vicious Dragon that ate thousands of people every day, and of the actions that the King, the People, and an assembly of Dragonologists took with respect thereto.Read the full paper: episodes at:
2022-Aug-02 • 60 minutes
Sharing the World with Digital Minds (2020)
By Carl Shulman & Nick Bostrom.Abstract:The minds of biological creatures occupy a small corner of a much larger space of possible minds that could be created once we master the technology of artificial intelligence. Yet many of our moral intuitions and practices are based on assumptions about human nature that need not hold for digital minds. This points to the need for moral reflection as we approach the era of advanced machine intelligence. Here we focus on one set of issues, which arise from the pro...
2022-Aug-01 • 150 minutes
The Vulnerable World Hypothesis (2019)
By Nick Bostrom.Abstract:Scientific and technological progress might change people’s capabilities or incentives in ways that would destabilize civilization. For example, advances in DIY biohacking tools might make it easy for anybody with basic training in biology to kill millions; novel military technologies could trigger arms races in which whoever strikes first has a decisive advantage; or some economically advantageous process may be invented that produces disastrous negative global externalities that are...