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In this episode I talk to Ole Martin Moen. Ole Martin is a Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He works on how to think straight about thorny issues in applied ethics. He is the Principal Investigator of “What should not be bought and sold?”, a $1 million research project funded by the Research Council of Norway. In the past, he has written articles about the ethics of prostitution, the desirability of cryonics, the problem of wild animal suffering and the case for philosophical hedonism. Along with his collaborator, Aksel Braanen Sterri, he runs a podcast, Moralistene (in Norwegian), and he regularly discusses moral issues behind the news on Norwegian national radio. We talk about a potentially controversial topic: the anti-tech philosophy of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczysnki, and what's wrong with it.
You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher (the RSS feed is here).
- 0:00 - Introduction
- 2:05 - Should we even be talking about Ted Kaczynski's ethics? Does it not lend legitimacy to his views?
- 6:32 - Are we unnecessarily anti-rational when it comes to discussing dangerous ideas?
- 8:32 - The Evolutionary Mismatch Argument
- 12:43 - The Surrogate Activities Argument
- 20:20 - The Helplessness/Complexity Argument
- 23:08 - The Unstoppability Argument
- 26:45 - The Domesticated Animals Argument
- 30:45 - Why does Ole Martin overlook Kaczynski's criticisms of 'leftists' in his analysis?
- 34:03 - What's original in Kaczynski's arguments?
- 36:31 - Are philosophers who write about Kaczynski engaging in a motte and bailey fallacy?
- 38:36 - Ole Martin's main critique of Kaczynski: the evaluative double standard
- 42:20 - How this double standard works in practice
- 47:27 - Why not just drop out of industrial society instead of trying to overthrow it?
- 55:04 - Is Kaczynski a revolutionary nihilist?
- 58:59 - Similarities and differences between Kaczynski's argument and the work of Nick Bostrom, Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu
- 1:04:21 - Where should we go from here? Should there be more papers on this topic?
- 'The Unabomber's Ethics' by Ole Martin Moen
- "The Case for Cryonics" by Ole Martin Moen
- Ted Kaczynski on Wikipedia (includes links to relevant writings)
- "The Unabomber's Penpal" - article about the philosopher David Skrbina who has corresponded with Kaczynski for some time
- "The Unabomber on Robots" - by Jai Galliott (article appearing in Robot Ethics 2.0 edited by Lin et al)
- Unfit for the Future by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu
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People show up unannounced at John and his mother Ann’s home in South Africa, looking for stolen property, but John and Ann didn’t steal anything. For Gizmodo, Kashmir Hill investigates another case of IP address and geolocation mistaken for exactness:
John and Ann’s problems weren’t necessarily caused by one bad actor, but by the interaction of a bunch of careless decisions that cascaded through a series of databases. The NGA provides a free database with no regulations on its use. MaxMind takes some coordinates from that database and slaps IP addresses on them. Then IP mapping sites, as well as phone carriers offering “find my phone” services, display those coordinates on maps as distinct and exact locations, ignoring the “accuracy radius” that is supposed to accompany them.
The victims of theft, police officers, private investigators, the Hawks (South Africa’s FBI), and even foreign government investigators showed up mistakenly at John and Ann’s door, and none of them ever tried to figure out why.
Remember when we thought Kansas had unusually high porn views per capita?