futurism
Why Banning Killer AI Is Easier Said Than Done

As we head deeper into the 21st century, the prospect of getting robots to do the dirty business of killing gets closer with each passing day. In Max Tegmark’s new book, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, the MIT physicist and founder of the Future of Life Institute contemplates this seemingly sci-fi possibility, weighing the potential benefits of autonomous machines in warfare with the tremendous risks. The ultimate challenge, he says, will be convincing world powers to pass on this game-changing technology. Read More >>

animals
Unethical Breeding is Creating Serious Health Problems for German Shepherds

German Shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds in the world, but their numbers have started to decline. New research suggests the decreasing demand for German Shepherds may have something to do with the breed’s propensity for health problems—likely the result of selective breeding for cosmetic traits. Read More >>

futurism
When Will Robots Deserve Human Rights?

Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviours are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when the time comes, we’ll do the right thing, and treat our intelligent machines with a little more dignity and respect. Read More >>

archaeology
Over 7,000 Bodies May Be Buried Beneath Mississippi University

In what sounds like a clichéd horror movie premise, a recent investigation suggests as many as 7,000 bodies are buried across 20 acres at the Mississippi Medical Center Campus—the former site of the state’s first mental institution. Officials at the university now face the grim task of pulling 100-year-old bodies out of the ground for scientific analysis. Read More >>

science
Widely-Reported Study on Fish and Microbeads Might Have Been Faked

A headline grabbing-study published in Science last year that warned about the effects of plastic microbeads on larval fish is on the verge of being retracted. In a case involving missing data, shoddy research methods, and outright fabrication, it’s one of the most egregious examples of scientific fraud we’ve seen in quite some time, and a case in which there’s plenty of blame to go around. Read More >>

uber
Report: Uber Had Yet Another Secret Tracking Program Called ‘Hell’

Uber has made a lot of questionable decisions behind closed doors, and today, yet another one emerged. According to The Information, between 2014 and 2016, Uber used secret software called “Hell” in order to track drivers from its biggest rival, Lyft. Read More >>

environment
India and New Zealand Were Wrong to Recognise Rivers as Persons

Courts in New Zealand and India have granted legal personhood status to three rivers. The strange status is meant to protect the waters from pollution, but the measure could lead to unintended consequences, while undermining efforts to grant personhood status to living beings who actually deserve it. Read More >>

science
Five Major Cancer Studies Are Proving Difficult to Reproduce

Humanity would understand very little about cancer, and be hard-pressed to find cures, without scientific research. But what if, when teams recreated each other’s research, they didn’t arrive at the same result? Read More >>

science
World’s First ‘Three Parent Baby’ Born Thanks to a New Fertility Technique

A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human. Read More >>

robotics
British Safety Authorities Compile Laws of Robotics 2.0

The British Standards Institute has decided it's time the world of robots had some official laws, so it's presented a few guidelines in the dull form of official guidance paper BS 8611:2016 Robots and Robotic devices, a paper described as being a "guide to the ethical design and application of robots and robotic systems." Read More >>

medicine
A 17-Year-Old in Belgium Becomes the First Minor to Die With Doctors’ Help

A terminally ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests were eliminated two years ago. It’s a historic precedent that could influence suicide laws elsewhere. Read More >>

science
Scientists Have Bred Live Mice with No Need for Fertilised Eggs

For the first time ever, scientists have produced live mice without a fertilised egg cell. The potentially revolutionary technique could one day allow gay men to produce biological offspring, or—even more radically—allow both men and women to self-fertilise. Read More >>

science
Brains of Nazi Victims Uncovered in German Psychiatric Institute

Dozens of brains and brain parts belonging to victims of the Nazi eugenics campaign — and possibly the Holocaust — have been uncovered during renovations at the Max Planck Psychiatric Institute in Munich, Germany. Read More >>

science
Most Americans Are Still Fearful of a Transhumanist Brave New World

Most American adults are nervous about the prospect of enhancing humans beyond normal capacities, a new Pew Research Center poll reveals. But while many of those surveyed expressed concerns about brain-boosting chips and designer babies, a significant number had a positive view of technology’s ability to transform humans and society. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Will Keep Violent Videos If they ‘Raise Awareness’

There’s been a lot of discussion over the ethics of posting violent livestreams on Facebook, and the social media site has decided to release subjective guidelines: if a person posts violent content to “raise awareness,” the video can stay. If someone shared the same video to mock the victim, it will be removed. Read More >>