ESA Member, Prof. Nick Bostrom

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Professor Nick Bostrom is Honorary and Advisory Philosopher of USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association.

Prof. Nick Bostrom is Swedish-born philosopher and polymath with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, and artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy. He is Professor at Oxford University, where he leads the Future of Humanity Institute as its founding director. (The FHI is a multidisciplinary university research center; it is also home to the Center for the Governance of Artificial Intelligence and to teams working on AI safety, biosecurity, macrostrategy, and various other technology or foundational questions.)

He is the author of some 200 publications, including Anthropic Bias (2002), Global Catastrophic Risks (2008), Human Enhancement (2009), and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014), a New York Times bestseller which helped spark a global conversation about artificial intelligence. Bostrom’s widely influential work, which traverses philosophy, science, ethics, and technology, has illuminated the links between our present actions and long-term global outcomes, thereby casting a new light on the human condition.

He is recipient of a Eugene R. Gannon Award, and has been listed on Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list twice. He was included on Prospect’s World Thinkers list, the youngest person in the top 15. His writings have been translated into 28 languages, and there have been more than 100 translations and reprints of his works. He is a repeat TED speaker and has done more than 2,000 interviews with television, radio, and print media.

“My interests cut across many disciplines and may therefore at the surface appear somewhat scattered, but they all reflect a desire to figure out how to orient ourselves with respect to important values. I refer to this as “macrostrategy”: the study of how long-term outcomes for humanity may be connected to present-day actions. My research seeks to contribute to this by answering particular sub-questions or by developing conceptual tools that help us think about such questions more clearly.

A key part of the challenge is often to notice that a problem even exists — to find it, formulate it, and then make enough initial progress in understanding it to let us break it into more tractable components and research tasks. Much of my work (and that of the Future of Humanity Institute) operates in such a pre-paradigm environment. We tend to work on problems that the rest of academia ignores either because the problems are not yet recognized as important or because it is unclear how one could conceivably go about doing research on them; and we try to advance understanding of them to the point where it becomes possible for a larger intellectual community to engage with them productively. For example, a few years ago, AI alignment fell into this category: hardly anybody thought it was important, and it seemed like the kind of thing a science fiction author might write novels about but that there was no way to study scientifically. By now, it has emerged as a bona fide research field, with people writing code and equations and making incremental progress. Significant cognitive work was required to get to this point.

I have also originated or contributed to the development of ideas such as the simulation argument, existential risk, transhumanism, information hazards, superintelligence strategy, astronomical waste, crucial considerations, observation selection effects in cosmology and other contexts of self-locating belief, anthropic shadow, the unilateralist’s curse, the parliamentary model of decision-making under normative uncertainty, the notion of a singleton, the vulnerable world hypothesis, along with a number of analyses of future technological capabilities and concomitant ethical issues, risks, and opportunities.

Technology is a theme in much of my work (and that of the FHI) because it is plausible that the long-term outcomes for our civilization depend sensitively on how we handle the introduction of certain transformative capabilities. Machine intelligence, in particular, is a big focus. We also work on biotechnology (both for its human enhancement applications and because of biosecurity concerns), nanotechnology, surveillance technology, and a bunch of other potential developments that could alter fundamental parameters of the human condition.

There is a “why” beyond mere curiosity behind my interest in these questions, namely the hope that insight here may produce good effects. In terms of directing our efforts as a civilization, it would seem useful to have some notion of which direction is “up” and which is “down”—what we should promote and what we should discourage. Yet regarding macrostrategy, the situation is far from obvious. We really have very little clue which of the actions available to present-day agents would increase or decrease the expected value of the long-term future, let alone which ones would do so the most effectively. In fact, I believe it is likely that we are overlooking one or more crucial considerations: ideas or arguments that might plausibly reveal the need for not just some minor course adjustment in our endeavours but a major change of direction or priority. If we have overlooked even just one such crucial consideration, then all our best efforts might be for naught—or they might even be making things worse. Those seeking to make the world better should therefore take it as important to get to the bottom of these matters, or else to find some way of dealing wisely with our cluelessness if it is inescapable.

The FHI works closely with the effective altruism community (e.g., we share office space with the Center for Effective Altruism) as well as with AI leaders, philanthropic foundations, and other policymakers, scientists, and organizations to ensure that our research has impact. These communication efforts are sometimes complicated by information hazard concerns. Although many in the academic world take it as axiomatic that discovering and publishing truths is good, this assumption may be incorrect; certainly it may admit of exceptions. For instance, if the world is vulnerable in some way, it may or may not be desirable to describe the precise way it is so. I often feel like I’m frozen in an ice block of inhibition because of reflections of this sort. How much easier things would be if one could have had a guarantee that all one’s outputs would be either positive or neutral, and one could go full blast!”

Prof. Nick Bostrom’s Hompage

Faculty Information, University of Oxford

*Reference from Prof. Nick Bostrom’s official homepage.

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Prof. Susan Schneider

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Professor Susan Schneider, PhD is an Advisory Cognitive Scientist of the United Sigma Intelligence Association.

Prof. Schneider is a Professor at the University of Connecticut, and the NASA-Baruch Blumberg Chair at the Library of Congress and NASA. She is also the Director of the AI, Mind and Society Group at the University of Connecticut. 

Schneider writes about the nature of the self and mind, especially from the vantage point of issues in philosophy, AI, cognitive science and astrobiology.

Within philosophy, she has explored the computational nature of the brain in her academic book, The Language of Thought: a New Direction. More recently, she defended an anti-materialist position about the fundamental nature of mind.

In her new book, Artificial You: AI and the Future of the Mind, she brings these topics together in an accessible way, discussing the philosophical implications of AI, and, in particular, the enterprise of “mind design.”

Her work in philosophy of AI has now taken her to the Hill (Washington, DC), where she will meet with members of Congress on AI policy and organize educational events for Congress and staffers in conjunction with the Library of Congress on a range of topics, such as data privacy, algorithmic bias, technological unemployment, autonomous weapons, and more.

Schneider appears frequently on television shows on stations such as PBS and The History Channel (see below for clips) as well as keynoting AI ethics conferences at places such as Harvard University and University of Cambridge.

She also writes opinion pieces for the New York Times, Scientific American and The Financial Times. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, (see “media” above), at venues like The New York Times, Science, Big Think, Nautilus, Discover and Smithsonian.

Professor Susan Schneider Website

AI, Mind and Society Group at the University of Connecticut. 

University of Connecticut Faculty Information

 

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Prof. Michael Ross

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Professor Michael R. Rose is an Advisory Evolutionary Biologist of the United Sigma Intelligence Association.

Prof. Rose is Distinguished Professor & Director of NERE, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology School of Biological Sciences at University of California, Irvine, and Cheif Scientist at Lyceum Pharmaceuticals. His research interests are Experimental Evolution, Human Evolution, Evolution of Sex, and Biological Immortality in addition to Aging and Drosophila,.

His academic distincions include British Commonwealth Scholar (1976-1979), NATO Science Fellow (1979-1981), NSERC of Canada University Research Fellow (1981-1988), President’s Prize (with others) American Society of Naturalists (1992), Excellence in Teaching Award, UCI Biological Sciences (1996), and Busse Prize, World Congress of Gerontology (1997).

Distinguished Professor Michael Ross, Faculty Information, University of California, Irvine

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN

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Dr. Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN is Advisory Neurologist of United Sigma Intelligence Association. 

Dr. Amit M. Shelat is a Professional Neurologist, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

In addition, he is the Vice Chairman of the New York State Board for Medicine. Dr. Shelat is also appointed to the Board for Professional Medical Conduct of the New York State Department of Health.

Dr. Shelat is certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Dr. Shelat is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (FAAN), the American College of Physicians (FACP), the New York Academy of Medicine (FNYAM), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FFSMB) and the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (FAAOE).

Dr. Shelat completed his neurology residency in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Program at Northwell Health. He completed his medical doctorate at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Shelat holds the Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management (MHCM) from the Harvard University, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Health Policy and Management from the New York University (NYU), Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He completed his undergraduate studies at New York University (NYU) and graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and psychology with departmental honors.

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Special Member, Ian Lawrence Bott

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Ian Lawrence Bott is an Education Consultant of USIA. Mr. Bott studied at Imperial College London, and after graduating, he is studying a Master degree in education at Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. He is also a member of Triple Nine Society.

“I grew up in London, England and spent my undergraduate studies between Imperial College London and Rice University.

After graduating, I sought out a career in education, first as a math teacher and then as a Dean of Academics, helping to found a high school in Houston, Texas.

Currently I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Mind, Brain, and Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, with the intention to go on to complete a PhD.

I am interested in 21st-century school reform, with a particular focus on individuality and personalization within education. I did not always feel that traditional education served my needs, and so I am always curious about new ways to unlock human potential. In my free time I like to play poker competitively, follow US politics, and spend time with my dog.”

– Ian Bott

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Special Member, Mark Tabladillo

 

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Mark Tabladillo Ph.D. is a Special Member of the USIA. Dr. Tabladillo works for Microsoft as a Cloud Solution Architect. He has a science doctorate from Georgia Tech. Based in Atlanta, GA, Mark provides cloud enterprise solutions for companies in the US for Microsoft’s strategic clients. His professional focus includes developing Artificial Intelligence systems and has contributed to Microsoft’s Ethics guidelines for Artificial Intelligence. He is also volunteer Regional Director in Georgia for Ratio Christi, a campus apologetics alliance.

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Ronald Hoeflin

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Ronald K. Hoeflin, PhD is Honorary and Advisory Psychometrician (on high range) of United Sigma Intelligence Association.

Dr. Hoeflin is best known as the founder of Mega Society and Prometheus Society besides Omega Society and Epimetheus Society among others. Dr. Hoeflin is a pioneer in the field of psychometrics for high range intelligence creating Mega Test and Titan Test as the first high range test in history.

As an American Philosopher, Dr. Hoeflin received a PhD in Philosophy from The New School for Social Research, and In 1988, he won the American Philosophical Association’s Rockefeller Prize for his article, “Theories of Truth: A Comprehensive Synthesis.”

Presently, Dr. Hoeflin is nearing completion of his multi-volume book titled “The Encyclopedia of Categories“.

Dr. Hoeflin’s Society: Mega Society, Omega Society, Prometheus Society, Epimetheus Society, One in a Thousand Society, and Top One Percent Society

InSight Publishing Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin (Part One)

InSight Publishing Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin (Part Two)

InSight Publishing Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin (Part Three)

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Peter Singer

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Professor Peter Singer is a Honorary and Advisory Philosopher of United Sigma Intelligence Association.

Prof. Singer is best known as “World’s Most Influential Living Philosopher” credited with starting the Modern Animal Rights Movement, development of Effective Altruism, and Life Ethics in Bioethics.

He is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. Since 2005, Prof. Singer has been Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, both in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.

“Journalists have bestowed on me the tag of “world’s most influential living philosopher.” They are probably thinking of my work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, often credited with starting the modern animal rights movement, and with the influence that my writing has had on development of effective altruism. I am also known for my controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics.

Several key figures in the animal movement have said that my book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, led them to get involved in the struggle to reduce the vast amount of suffering we inflict on animals. To that end, I co-founded the Australian Federation of Animal Societies, now Animals Australia, the country’s largest and most effective animal organization. My wife, Renata, and I stopped eating meat in 1971.

I am the founder of The Life You Can Save, an organization based on my book of the same name. It aims to spread my ideas about why we should be doing much more to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty, and how we can best do this. You can view my TED talk on this topic.

My writings in this area include: the 1972 essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” in which I argue for donating to help the global poor; and two books that make the case for effective giving, The Life You Can Save (2009) and The Most Good You Can Do (2015).

I have written, co-authored, edited or co-edited more than 50 books, including Practical Ethics, The Expanding Circle, Rethinking Life and Death, One World, The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason) and The Point of View of the Universe (with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek. My writings have appeared in more than 25 languages.

I was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1946, and educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. After teaching in England, the United States, and Australia, in 1999 I became Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Since 2005 I have combined that role with the position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. One of the big attractions of being in Melbourne is that Renata and I can spend time with our three daughters and four grandchildren. We also enjoy hiking, and I surf.”

– Peter Singer 

*Reference from Prof. Peter Singer’s official website.

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association

ESA Member, Tom Chittenden

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Tom Chittenden, DPhil, PhD, PStat is an Advisory Statistical Scientist & AI Scientist of United Sigma Intelligence Association, and a fellow of  Extreme Sigma Associate Society. He is also a member of Omega Society.

Dr. Chittenden holds D.Phil. from University of Oxford, and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Presently, he is a Senior Biostatistics and Mathematical Biology Consultant at Harvard University, Medical School as an Advisory Board Member.

He has been a Lecturer and Research Fellow at Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT), University of Oxford among others. Dr. Chittenden is the Chief AI Scientist of WuXi NextCODE Genomics, and President and Founder of Complex Biological Systems Alliance.

Dr. Tom Chittenden was recently named one of the Top 100 Artificial Intelligence Leaders in Drug Discovery and Advanced Healthcare.

© 2007-2019 USIA: United Sigma Intelligence Association