Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies is an astonishing book with an alarming thesis: Intelligent machines are “quite possibly the most important and most daunting challenge humanity has ever faced.” In it, Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has built his reputation on the study of “existential risk,” argues forcefully that artificial intelligence might be the most apocalyptic technology of all.
In its Voices of Tomorrow feature, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invites graduate students, undergraduates, and high school scholars to submit essays, opinion pieces, and multimedia presentations addressing at least one of the Bulletin's core issues: nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, biosecurity, and threats from emerging technologies.
The August 2015 meeting of state parties to the Biological Weapons Convention brought a welcome but little-noticed development: a document submitted by the United States encouraging fellow members to develop a common understanding of “tacit knowledge,” arguably the key determinant of bioweapons development, but one which past nonproliferation efforts have largely ignored in favor of more tangible threats, such as the spread of materials, technologies, and more recent
China has a consistent history of publicizing its policy of “No First Use” of nuclear weapons. But China has one of the world’s most secretive nuclear weapons programs, so why is this doctrine understood as a sincere description of China’s attitude toward its ever-increasing nuclear arsenal? Why should the international community believe China’s promise not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in anger?
“Adoption Day” for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1 group and Iran arrived on October 18. In line with the terms of the deal, the United States and European Union have made legal and regulatory preparations for agreed sanctions-lifting, which will take effect on “Implementation Day” (likely in early 2016) once the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Iran has scaled back its nuclear activities as required.