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We do live a world that is uncertain of the Future. The planet is full of places subject to war, famine, pollution, natural disasters, and civil disorder. All of these problems, combined with the technology that humanity now has, can be catastrophic. Enter the Lifeboat Foundation, a non-profit and non-government organization that was founded by internet entrepreneur Eric Klien. The organization was started in 2002 with purpose of safeguarding humanity against existential risks . The Lifeboat Foundation is composed of Advisory Boards consisting of dozens of scientists, engineers, authors, and experts in various other fields. The foundation also funds various programs that are designed to protect the world population. The organization has also considered space colonies as a last resort if other defensive measures fail. The foundation also works on a friendly AI program and has instituted the very first Bitcon endowment fund.
An introduction to the Lifeboat Foundation.
This video serves as introduction to what the Lifeboat Foundation is about and what its goals are.
The mission of the Lifeboat Foundation.
The mission statement is as follows "...The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards the Singularity..." The technological Singularity is the second biggest concern of the foundation, with the first being existential risk. The foundation was founded to prevent existential disasters from occurring. Existential risk is a combination of various factors that include ecological disaster, Nuclear War, and over population that would lead to human extinction.
A major concern of the Foundation is the march toward Technological Singularity. The Foundation believes that this is inevitable given the pace of humanity's progress. Wikipedia defines The Singularity as "... the hypothesis that the invention of artificial super intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization." For this reason the Lifeboat Foundation developed their programs.
The Lifeboat Foundation has series of programs that is overseen by its Advisory Boards. The programs are intended to reduce existential risk and cover many different areas. Some of the programs are in current production while some are still being considered for the future. Current programs include an AI shield which is designed to protect against unfriendly AI, a Bio Shield to prevent pandemics, and Space Habitats should prevention programs fail and it becomes necessary to leave the planet. The future programs the foundation is planning are also just as varied. They are proposing a climate shield to combat unwanted climate change, a nuclear shield to prevent nuclear holocausts including destruction of entire cities, a personality preserver which would be used to preserve a person's personality via uploading or cryogenics. Finally, the foundation has some long range programs that have been proposed. These include an Alien Shield to prevent extermination via extraterrestrials, a Gama Ray shield for Gama Ray burst, and a Sun Shield for solar storms.
The foundation advisory board is very extensive and is composed of many experts from across diverse fields. The advisory boards are the heart of the foundation's endeavors. The 40 plus boards are populated by philosophers, economists, biologists, nanotechnologists, AI researchers, educators, policy experts, engineers, lawyers, ethicists, futurists, neuroscientists, physicists, space experts, and other top thinkers. The Foundation's goal is to develop a world-class think tank to encourage scientific advancements that would prevent existential risk. The boards range from topics such as SETI, ethics, finance, engineering, AI, Nano tech, and religion.
One of the most interesting and famous Advisory board members was Science Fiction author the late Fredric Pohl. Pohl who passed away in 2013 had a obituary written for the foundation by sci-fi author Davin Brin. His obituary can be read here. Mr. Pohl worked to safeguard humanity until the end of his life. More can be read here.
There are other Science Fiction authors that are also advisory board members. Among whom is Dr. David Brin who sits on about 6 boards which includes the Futurist Board, SETI board, and the Space Settlement board. Read more at this link. Greg Bear is another sci-fi author who also sits on the Space Settlement and Futurists Board with Dr. Brin. See more here.
There is also one author and podcaster I want to mention, Stephen Euin Cobb. He also sits on the Futurists and Space Settlement board as well. I have listened to his podcast and wrote a post on his podcast The Future and You, more here. It was through this post I first learned of the Lifeboat Foundation.
Global Existential Threat Advisory Systems (GETAS)
One unique program of the Foundation is GETAS. This program serves as a warning system for possible existential risk. It is comprised of a color code system of 6 ascending levels, each one superseding the previous level. The color green is the lowest level while flashing red is the highest. As of now the color code is blue or guarded, which means the risk of an event is considered low but with some risk possible. More on the GETAS here.
The Foundations video series.
This is one of many educational videos produced by the Lifeboat Foundation. This video touches on the topics of existential threats and the singularity, AI, Transhumanism and genetic engineering are mention as well.
This video that is produced by the Lifeboat Foundation shows the Doomsday curve and how it affects the survival of humanity. The Lifeboat Foundation song is also played in the audio portion of the video. The song is composed and sung by Greg Piccionelli.
The foundation blog post.
The foundation blog contains many different posts from a wide variety of sources. There are posts from the science and technology fields, current events, and other subject matter related to the Foundation. The posts are short entries followed by a link to a webpage with the complete story.
The press release section of the foundation's website is full of various links. The links connect to media webpages about interviews of foundation members, the foundation itself, and other resources. Read more here.
My thoughts on the Foundation.
I feel that the Lifeboat Foundation is a very interesting group of professionals and visionaries that have humanity's best interest at heart. Their plans to avert disaster seem very grandiose to most individuals but one must consider that the vast majority of its members are science fiction enthusiast. They want to make the impossible possible and want stop until it becomes reality. Should anything extreme should happen to the planet, I think the Lifeboat Foundation are ones governments should consult when all others options fail.