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.
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 March, while world leaders were scrambling to salvage the Iranian nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Saudi Arabia signed a $2 billion deal with South Korea to investigate the joint construction of two nuclear reactors over the next 20 years.
Released on July 15, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 (WNISR 2015) is the latest independent assessment of nuclear energy trends in a series first published in 1992. This year’s report comes at a time when most energy and environmental experts shy away from the words “nuclear renaissance” but some view nuclear power as an indispensable substitute for fossil fuels in global efforts to combat climate change.
In the international debate over nuclear disarmament, one long-running bone of contention is the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence—that is, using the threat of nuclear retaliation to prevent another state from going to war. Nuclear-armed states claim that maintaining (or only gradually reducing) the large arsenals required for deterrence is the safer path. Many non-nuclear states claim that nuclear deterrents make the world less safe, and that therefore rapid disarmament is required.