Most Of NASA’s Moon Rocks Remain Untouched By Scientists

we have only studied about 16 percent of the moon rocks taken during the Apollo missions. NASA's Apollo curator keeps them for future generations.

Forty-nine years ago this Friday, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. That day, they also became the first people to harvest samples from another celestial body and bring them back to Earth.

Over the course of the Apollo missions, astronauts collected about 2,200 individual samples weighing a total of 842 pounds (382 kg) for scientific study that continues today, NASA curator Ryan Zeigler told Futurism. Zeigler, who also conducts geochemical research, is responsible for overseeing NASA’s collection of space rocks from the Apollo missions, as well as those from Mars, asteroids, stars, and anywhere else other than Earth.

Scientists have only studied about 16 percent of all the Apollo samples by mass, Zeigler told Futurism. Within that 16 percent, just under one-third has been put on display, which Zeigler noted largely keeps the samples pristine. Another quarter were at least partially destroyed (on purpose) during NASA-approved research, and the rest have been analyzed in less destructive ways.

“Trying not to deplete the samples so that future scientists will still have the opportunity to work with them is definitely something we are considering,” says Zeigler. “Also, while I would consider the Apollo samples primarily a scientific resource (though as a scientist am obviously biased), it is undeniable that these samples also have significant historic and cultural importance as well, and thus need to be preserved on those grounds, too.”

The cultural reasons to preserve moon rocks, Zeigler says, are harder to define. But it’s still important to make sure future scientists have enough space rocks left to work with, especially since we can’t fully predict the sorts of questions they’ll try to answer using the Apollo samples, or the technology that will be at their disposal.

“Every decade since the Apollo samples came back has seen significant advances in instrumentation that have allowed samples to be analyzed at higher levels of precision, or smaller spatial resolution,” Zeigler says. “Our understanding of the Moon, and really the whole solar system, has evolved considerably by continuing studies of the Apollo samples.”

“Our understanding of the Moon, and really the whole solar system, has evolved considerably by continuing studies of the Apollo samples.”

In the last six years, Zeigler says that his curation team saw 351 requests for Apollo samples, which comes out to about 60 each year. Within those requests, the scientists have asked for about 692 individual samples per year, most of which weigh one to two grams each. Even if the researchers don’t get everything that they ask for, Zeigler says, most of the studies are at least partially approved, and he’s been loaning out about 525 samples every year. That comes out to just over 75 percent of what the scientists requested.

“So while it is true that significant scientific justification is required to get Apollo samples, and we (NASA, with the support of the planetary scientific community) are intentionally reserving a portion of the Apollo samples for future generations of scientists and scientific instruments to study, the samples are available to scientists around the world to study, and we are slowly lowering the percentage of material that is left,” Zeigler says.

Thankfully, about 84 percent of the Apollo samples are still untouched. That pretty much guarantees that the next generation of geologists and astronomers who try to decipher the Moon’s remaining secrets will have enough samples to fiddle with.

To read more on future lunar research, click here: Three Reasons Why We Might Return To The Moon

The post Most Of NASA’s Moon Rocks Remain Untouched By Scientists appeared first on Futurism.

See the original post:

Most Of NASA’s Moon Rocks Remain Untouched By Scientists

This New Startup Is Making Chatbots Dumber So You Can Actually Talk to Them

A Spanish tech startup decided to ditch artificial intelligence to make its chatbot platform more approachable

Tech giants have been trying to one-up each other to make the most intelligent chatbot out there. They can help you simply fill in forms, or take the form of fleshed-out digital personalities that can have meaningful conversations with you. Those that have voice functions have come insanely close to mimicking human speech — inflections, and even the occasional “uhm’s” and “ah’s” — perfectly.

And they’re much more common than you might think. In 2016, Facebook introduced Messenger Bots that businesses worldwide now use for simple tasks like ordering flowers, getting news updates in chat form, or getting information on flights from an airline. Millions of users are filling waiting lists to talk to an “emotional chatbot” on an app called Replika.

But there’s no getting around AI’s shortcomings. And for chatbots in particular, the frustration arises from a disconnect between the user’s intent or expectations, and the chatbot’s programmed abilities.

Take Facebook’s Project M. Sources believe Facebook’s (long forgotten) attempt at developing a truly intelligent chatbot never surpassed a 30 percent success rate, according to Wired — the remaining 70 percent of the time, human employees had to step in to solve tasks. Facebook billed the bot as all-knowing, but the reality was far less promising. It simply couldn’t handle pretty much any task it was asked to do by Facebook’s numerous users.

Admittedly, takes a a lot of resources to develop complex AI chatbots. Even Google Duplex, arguably the most advanced chatbot around today, is still limited to verifying business hours and making simple appointments. Still, users simply expect far more than what AI chatbots can actually do, which tends to enrage users.

The tech industry isn’t giving up. Market researchers predict that chatbots will grow to become a $1 billion market by 2025.

But maybe they’re going about this all wrong. Maybe, instead of making more sophisticated chatbots, businesses should focus on what users really need in a chatbot, stripped down to its very essence.

Landbot, a one-year-old Spanish tech startup, is taking a different approach: it’s making a chatbot-builder for businesses that does the bare minimum, and nothing more. The small company landed $2.2 million in a single round of funding (it plans to use those funds primarily to expand its operations and cover the costs of relocating to tech innovation hub Barcelona).

“We started our chatbot journey using Artificial Intelligence technology but found out that there was a huge gap between user expectations and reality,” co-founder Jiaqi Pan tells TechCrunch. “No matter how well trained our chatbots were, users were constantly dropped off the desired flow, which ended up in 20 different ways of saying ‘TALK WITH A HUMAN’.”

Instead of creating advanced tech that could predict and analyze user prompts, Landbot decided to work on a simple user interface that allows businesses to create chat flows that link prompt and action, question and answer. It’s kind of like a chatbot flowchart builder. And the results are pretty positive: the company has seen healthy revenue growth, and the tool is used by hundreds of businesses in more than 50 countries, according to TechCrunch.

The world is obsessed with achieving perfect artificial intelligence, and the growing AI chatbot market is no different. So obsessed in fact, it’s driving users away — growing disillusionment, frustration, and rage are undermining tech companies’ efforts. And this obsession might be doing far more harm than good. It’s simple: people are happiest when they get the results they expect. Added complexity or lofty promises of “true AI” will end up pushing them away if it doesn’t actually end up helping them.

After all, sometimes less is more. Landbot and its customers are making it work with less.

Besides, listening to your customers can go a long way.

Now can you please connect me to a human?

The post This New Startup Is Making Chatbots Dumber So You Can Actually Talk to Them appeared first on Futurism.

Link:

This New Startup Is Making Chatbots Dumber So You Can Actually Talk to Them

This Wearable Controller Lets You Pilot a Drone With Your Body

PUT DOWN THE JOYSTICK. If you’ve ever tried to pilot a drone, it’s probably taken a little while to do it well; each drone is a little different, and figuring out how to use its manual controller can take time. There seems to be no shortcut other than to suffer a crash landing or two.

Now, a team of researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have created a wearable drone controller that makes the process of navigation so intuitive, it requires almost no thought at all. They published their research in the journal PNAS on Monday.

NOW, PRETEND YOU’RE A DRONE. To create their wearable drone controller, the researchers first needed to figure out how people wanted to move their bodies to control a drone. So they placed 19 motion-capture markers and various electrodes all across the upper bodies of 17 volunteers. Then, they asked each volunteer to watch simulated drone footage through virtual reality goggles. This let the volunteer feel like they were seeing through the eyes of a drone.

The researchers then asked the volunteers to move their bodies however they liked to mimic the drone as it completed five specific movements (for example, turning right or flying toward the ground). The markers and electrodes allowed the researchers to monitor those movements, and they found that most volunteers moved their torsos in a way simple enough to track using just four motion-capture markers.

With this information, the researchers created a wearable drone controller that could relay the user’s movements to an actual drone — essentially, they built a wearable joystick.

PUTTING IT TO THE TEST. To test their wearable drone controller, the researchers asked 39 volunteers to complete a real (not virtual) drone course using either the wearable or a standard joystick. They found that volunteers wearing the suit outperformed those using the joystick in both learning time and steering abilities.

“Using your torso really gives you the feeling that you are actually flying,” lead author Jenifer Miehlbradt said in a press release. “Joysticks, on the other hand, are of simple design but mastering their use to precisely control distant objects can be challenging.”

IN THE FIELD. Mehlbradt envisions search and rescue crews using her team’s wearable drone controller. “These tasks require you to control the drone and analyze the environment simultaneously, so the cognitive load is much higher,” she told Inverse. “I think having control over the drone with your body will allow you to focus more on what’s around you.”

However, this greater sense of immersion in the drone’s environment might not be beneficial in all scenarios. Previous research has shown that piloting strike drones for the military can cause soldiers to experience significant levels of trauma, and a wearable like the EPFL team’s has the potential to exacerbate the problem.

While Miehlbradt told Futurism her team did not consider drone strikes while developing their drone suit, she speculates that such applications wouldn’t be a good fit.

“I think that, in this case, the ‘distance’ created between the operator and the drone by the use of a third-party control device is beneficial regarding posterior emotional trauma,” she said. “With great caution, I would speculate that our control approach — should it be used in such a case —  may therefore increase the risk of experiencing such symptoms.”

READ MORE: Drone Researchers Develop Genius Method for Piloting Using Body Movements [Inverse]

More on rescue drones: A Rescue Drone Saved Two Teen Swimmers on Its First Day of Deployment

The post This Wearable Controller Lets You Pilot a Drone With Your Body appeared first on Futurism.

Read the original post:

This Wearable Controller Lets You Pilot a Drone With Your Body

Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya

Alphabet has inked a deal with a Kenyan telecom to bring its balloon-powered internet to rural and suburban parts of Kenya

BADASS BALLOONS. In 2013, Google unveiled Project Loon, a plan to send a fleet of balloons into the stratosphere that could then beam internet service back down to people on Earth.

And it worked! Just last year, the project provided more than 250,000 Puerto Ricans with internet service in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria. The company, now simply called Loon, was the work of X, an innovation lab originally nestled under Google but now a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. And it’s planning to bring its balloon-powered internet to Kenya.

EYES ON AFRICA. On Thursday, Loon announced a partnership with Telkom Kenya, Kenya’s third largest telecommunications provider. Starting next year, Loon balloons will soar high above the East African nation, sending 4G internet coverage down to its rural and suburban populations. This marks the first time Loon has inked a commercial deal with an African nation.

“Loon’s mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies,” Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth told Reuters. Telkom CEO Aldo Mareuse added,“We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon’s balloon-powered internet in Africa.”

INTERNET EVERYWHERE. The internet is such an important part of modern life that, back in 2016, the United Nations declared access to it a human right. And while you might have a hard time thinking about going even a day without internet access, more than half of the world’s population still can’t log on. In Kenya, about one-third of the population still lacks access.

Thankfully, Alphabet isn’t the only company working to get the world connected. SpaceX, Facebook, and SoftBank-backed startup Altaeros have their own plans involving satellites, drones, and blimps, respectively. Between those projects and Loon, the world wide web may finally be available to the entire world.

READ MORE: Alphabet to Deploy Balloon Internet in Kenya With Telkom in 2019 [Reuters]

More on Loon: Alphabet Has Officially Launched Balloons that Deliver Internet In Puerto Rico

The post Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya appeared first on Futurism.

Follow this link:

Alphabet Will Bring Its Balloon-Powered Internet to Kenya

Google and The UN Team Up To Study The Effects of Climate Change

Google agreed to work with UN Environment to create a platform that gives the world access to valuable environmental data.

WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED… The United Nations’ environmental agency has landed itself a powerful partner in the fight against climate change: Google. The tech company has agreed to partner with UN Environment to increase the world’s access to valuable environmental data. Specifically, the two plan to create a user-friendly platform that lets anyone, anywhere, access environmental data collected by Google’s vast network of satellites. The organizations announced their partnership at a UN forum focused on sustainable development on Monday.

FRESHWATER FIRST. The partnership will first focus on freshwater ecosystems, such as mountains, wetlands, and rivers. These ecosystems provide homes for an estimated 10 percent of our planet’s known species, and research has shown that climate change is causing a rapid loss in biodiversity. Google will use satellite imagery to produce maps and data on these ecosystems in real-time, making that information freely available to anyone via the in-development online platform. According to a UN Environment press release, this will allow nations and other organizations to track changes and take action to prevent or reverse ecosystem loss.

LOST FUNDING. Since President Trump took office, the United States has consistently decreased its contributions to global climate research funds. Collecting and analyzing satellite data is neither cheap nor easy, but Google is already doing it to power platforms such as Google Maps and Google Earth. Now, thanks to this partnership, people all over the world will have a way to access information to help combat the impacts of climate change. Seems the same data that let’s you virtually visit the Eiffel Tower could help save our planet.

READ MORE: UN Environment and Google Announce Ground-Breaking Partnership to Protect Our Planet [UN Environment]

More on freshwater: Climate Change Is Acidifying Our Lakes and Rivers the Same Way It Does With Oceans

The post Google and The UN Team Up To Study The Effects of Climate Change appeared first on Futurism.

View original post here:

Google and The UN Team Up To Study The Effects of Climate Change

Malta Plans to Create the World’s First Decentralized Stock Exchange

Malta has announced plans to created the world's first decentralized stock exchange

BLOCKCHAIN ISLAND. The tiny European nation of Malta is truly living up to its nickname of “Blockchain Island.” On Thursday, MSX (the innovation arm of the Malta Stock Exchange) announced a new partnership with blockchain-based equity fundraising platform Neufund and Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges). Their goal: create the first global stock exchange that’s both regulated and decentralized.

THE NEW SCHOOL. There are a lot of complex concepts at play here, so let’s break them down.

First, tokens. In the realm of cryptocurrency, a token is a digital asset on a blockchain, a ledger that records every time two parties trade an asset. A token can represent practically anything, from money to a vote in an election. Today, many blockchain startups raise funds by selling “equity tokens” through initial coin offerings (ICO).

When a person buys one of these equity tokens, they are essentially buying a percentage ownership of the startup. They can later use an online platform known as a cryptocurrency exchange to sell the tokens or buy more from other investors at any time, quickly and fairly cheaply.

Though various governments are starting to look into regulating tokens, the cryptocurrency realm is still largely unregulated, making it an enticing target for scammers.

THE OLD SCHOOL. Equity securities, also known as stocks, are similar to equity tokens. A person who buys stock in a company owns a percentage of that company. However, securities are not traded via 24-hour online exchanges — they’re bought and sold via stock exchanges, which are only open during certain hours. Navigating them often requires the help of middleman, such as a broker or lawyer, which could be costly.

A government agency typically regulates a nation’s securities and stock exchanges — in the United States, that agency is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This regulation can protect investors from scams and ensure companies don’t try to swindle them.

TOKENIZED SECURITIES. Tokenized securities are a melding of these two worlds. They’re securities, and when they’re traded, a blockchain records the transaction. This combines the fast, cheap transactions associated with tokens with the protective oversight of securities.

Right now, there’s not a government-regulated, global platform hosting the trading of tokenized securities, and that’s the void the Malta team plans to fill with their decentralized stock exchange.

“We are thrilled to announce the partnerships with Malta Stock Exchange and Binance, that will ensure high liquidity to equity tokens issued on Neufund,” Zoe Adamovicz, CEO and Co-founder at Neufund, said in a press release. “It is the first time in history that security tokens can be offered and traded in a legally binding way.”

Experts estimate that the value of the world’s equity tokens could soar as high as $1 trillion by 2020. Malta’s project is still in the pilot stages, but if all the pieces for its decentralized stock exchange fall into place, the tiny European island could find itself at the center of that incredibly fruitful market.

READ MORE: Malta Paves the Way for a Decentralized Stock Exchange [TechCrunch]

More on tokens: Tokens Will Become the Foundation of a New Digital Economy

The post Malta Plans to Create the World’s First Decentralized Stock Exchange appeared first on Futurism.

View original post here:

Malta Plans to Create the World’s First Decentralized Stock Exchange

Federal Agencies Propose Major Changes to Endangered Species Act

A PROPOSAL. Species on the brink of extinction in the U.S. could soon have their government protections stripped from them.

On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (the government agency that manages the U.S.’s fish, wildlife, and natural habitats) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (a scientific government agency that studies the world’s oceans, major waterways, and atmosphere) proposed revisions to the Endangered Species Act, a law designed to empower the federal government to protect threatened or endangered species.

The agencies propose making changes to three sections of the ESA — Section 4, Section 4D, and Section 7 — and the full explanations of the proposed changes are available to the public via a trio of Federal Register notices. If you don’t have time to sift through all 118 pages of Register notices, though, here’s a breakdown of the changes that could have the biggest impact.

THERE’S ALWAYS MONEY IN THE PROTECTED LAND. One potentially major change centers on removing language designed to ensure regulators make decisions about species/habits solely based on scientific factors, not economic ones.

The agencies propose removing “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination” from the ESA because, they write, “there may be circumstances where referencing economic, or other impacts may be informative to the public.” As pointed out by The New York Times, this could make it easier for companies to obtain approval for potentially damaging construction projects, such as roads or oil pipelines.

Another major change centers on “threatened” species. These are currently defined as “any species which is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.”  But the proposal suggests giving the FWS the ability to define “foreseeable future” on a species-by-species basis. Today, threatened and endangered species receive more or less the same protections, but under the proposed changes, species newly classified as threatened wouldn’t automatically receive those protections.

PRAISE AND BACKLASH. The proposed changes quickly elicited an impassioned response from the public.

“For too long, the ESA has been used as a means of controlling lands in the West rather than actually focusing on species recovery,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, which lobbies on behalf of the oil and gas industry, told The New York Times. She added that she was hopeful the changes would “[help lift restrictions on] responsible economic activities on private and public lands.”

Environmental activists, however, see the changes as undercutting the purpose of the ESA: to protect endangered species.

“These proposals would slam a wrecking ball into the most crucial protections for our most endangered wildlife. If these regulations had been in place in the 1970s, the bald eagle and the gray whale would be extinct today,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit focused on protecting endangered species, said in a statement.

“Allowing the federal government to turn a blind eye to climate change will be a death sentence for polar bears and hundreds of other animals and plants,” he added. “This proposal turns the extinction-prevention tool of the Endangered Species Act into a rubber stamp for powerful corporate interests

Members of the public have 60 days to share their thoughts on the proposed changes with the government, though it’s hard to say what impact that might have. Ultimately, if environmental advocates are right, the U.S. could soon see a dramatic increase in the number of animals that move from endangered to outright extinct.

READ MORE: Law That Saved the Bald Eagle Could Be Vastly Reworked [The New York Times]

More on the Endangered Species Act: The War for Endangered Species Has Begun

The post Federal Agencies Propose Major Changes to Endangered Species Act appeared first on Futurism.

Read more:

Federal Agencies Propose Major Changes to Endangered Species Act

WhatsApp Updates Controls in India in an Effort to Thwart Mob Violence

WhatsApp has announced plans to update how users forward content, presumably in an effort to address mob violence in India.

CHANGE IS COMING. Today, more than 1 billion people use the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp to share messages, photos, and videos. With the tap of a button, they can forward a funny meme or send a party invite to groups of friends and family. They can also easily share “fake news,” rumors and propaganda disguised as legitimate information.

In India — the nation where people forward more WhatsApp content than anywhere else — WhatsApp-spread fake news is inciting mob violence and literally getting people killed. On Thursday, WhatsApp announced in a blog post that it plans to make several changes in an effort to prevent more violence.

Some of the changes will only apply to users in India. They will no longer see the “quick forward” button next to photos and videos that made that content particularly easy to send along quickly, without incorporating information about where it came from. They’ll also no longer be able to forward content to more than five chats at a time. In the rest of the world, the new limit for forwards will be 20 chats. The previous cap was 250.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Over the past two months, violent mobs have attacked two dozen people in India after WhatsApp users spread rumors that those people had abducted children. Some of those people even died from their injuries.

The Indian government has been pressuring WhatsApp to do something to address these recent bouts of violence; earlier on Thursday, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology threatened the company with legal action if it didn’t figure out some effective way to stop the mob violence.

The WhatsApp team, however, never mentions that violence is the reason for the changes in its blog post, simply asserting that the goal of the control changes is to maintain the app’s “feeling of intimacy” and “keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.”

TRY, TRY AGAIN. This is WhatsApps’ third attempt in the last few weeks to address the spread of fake news in India. First, the company added a new label to the app to indicate that a message is a forward (and not original content from the sender). Then, they published full-page ads in Indian newspapers to educate the public on the best way to spot fake news.

Neither of those efforts has appeared to work, and it’s hard to believe the latest move will have the intended impact either. Each WhatsApp chat can include up to 256 people. That means a message forwarded to five chats (per the new limit) could still reach 1,280 people. And if those 1,280 people then forward the message to five chats, it’s not hard to see how fake news could still spread like wildfire across the nation.

READ MORE: WhatsApp Launches New Controls After Widespread App-Fueled Mob Violence in India [The Washington Post]

More on fake news: Massive Study of Fake News May Reveal Why It Spreads so Easily

The post WhatsApp Updates Controls in India in an Effort to Thwart Mob Violence appeared first on Futurism.

Here is the original post:

WhatsApp Updates Controls in India in an Effort to Thwart Mob Violence

U.S. Department of Defense Established A Center To Better Integrate AI

The U.S. military's AI center will help the nation's armed forces develop and implement the latest in artificial intelligence

ALL EYES ON AI. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is going all-in on AI. The department, which oversees everything pertaining to the U.S.’s national security and armed forces, has been tossing around the idea of establishing a center focused on artificial intelligence (AI) since October 2016. On June 27, the idea became a reality when Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan issued a memo officially establishing the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).

The JAIC will serve as the military’s AI center, housing the DoD’s 600 or so AI projects. According to a request the DoD submitted to Congress in June, the center will cost an estimated $1.7 billion over the next six years.

“Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan directed the DoD Chief Information Officer to standup the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) in order to enable teams across DOD to swiftly deliver new AI-enabled capabilities and effectively experiment with new operating concepts in support of DOD’s military missions and business functions,” Department of Defense spokeswoman Heather Babb told Futurism.

AT THE JAIC. In his memo, Shanahan notes that advances in AI will likely change the nature of warfare and that the military needs a new approach to AI that will allow it to rapidly integrate any advances into its operations and “way of fighting.” He believes the military’s AI center could help in those efforts by focusing on four areas of need:

  • Helping the military execute its National Mission Initiatives (NMIs). These are large-scale AI projects designed to address groups of urgent, related challenges.
  • Creating a DoD-wide foundation for the execution of AI. This would mean finding a way to make any AI-related tools, data, technologies, experts, and processes available to the entire DoD quickly and efficiently.
  • Improving collaboration on AI projects both within the DoD and with outside parties, such as U.S. allies, private companies, and academics.
  • Working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to determine how to govern and standardize AI development and delivery.

CROSSING THE LINE. Last week, many of the biggest names in AI research from the private sector and academia took a stand against autonomous weapons, machines that use AI to decide whether or not to attempt to kill a person. Signatories of the pledge vowed to never work on any such projects; one even called autonomous weapons “as disgusting and destabilizing as bioweapons.”

By establishing an AI center, the U.S. government makes its stance clear: Not only does it see AI as an inevitable part of the future of war, it wants to be the best at implementing it. As Shanahan wrote in an email to DoD employees, “Plenty of people talk about the threat from AI; we want to be the threat.”

READ MORE: Pentagon’s Joint AI Center Is ‘Established,’ but There’s Much More to Figure Out [FedScoop]

More on autonomous weapons: Top AI Experts Vow They Won’t Help Create Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Editor’s note 7/23/18 at 3:15 PM: This piece was updated to include statements from Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and DoD spokesperson Heather Babb.

The post U.S. Department of Defense Established A Center To Better Integrate AI appeared first on Futurism.

Follow this link:

U.S. Department of Defense Established A Center To Better Integrate AI

China Is Investing In Its Own Hyperloop To Clear Its Crowded Highways

Chinese state-backed companies just made huge investments in U.S. based Hyperloop startups. But will it solve China's stifling traffic problems?

GRIDLOCK. China’s largest cities are choking in traffic. Millions of cars on the road means stifling levels of air pollution and astronomical commute times, especially during rush hours.

The latest move to address this urban traffic nightmare: Chinese state-backed companies are making heavy investments in U.S. hyperloop startups Arrivo and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, lining up $1 billion and $300 million in credit respectively. It’s substantial financing that could put China ahead in the race to open the first full-scale hyperloop track.

MAG-LEV SLEDS. Both companies are planning something big, although their approaches differ in some key ways. Transport company Arrivo is focusing on relieving highway traffic by creating a separate track that allows cars to zip along at 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) on magnetically levitated sleds inside vacuum-sealed tubes (it’s not yet clear if this will be above ground or underground).

Arrivo’s exact plans to build a Chinese hyperloop system have not yet been announced, but co-founder Andrew Liu told Bloomberg that $1 billion in funding could be enough to build “as many as three legs of a commercial, citywide hyperloop system of 6 miles to 9 miles [9.5 to 14.4 km] per section.” The company hasn’t yet announced in which city it’ll be built.

Meanwhile, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has already made up its mind as to where it will plop down its first Chinese loop. It’s the old familiar maglev train design inside a vacuum tube, but instead it’s passengers, not their cars, that will ride along at speeds of up to 750 mph (1200 km/h). Most of the $300 million will go towards building a 6.2 mile (10 km) test track in Guizhou province. According to a press release, this marks the third commercial agreement for HyperloopTT after Abu Dhabi and Ukraine from earlier this year.

A PRICEY SOLUTION. Building a hyperloop is expensive. This latest investment hints at just how expensive just a single system could be in the end. But providing high-speed alternatives to car-based transport is only one of many ways to deal with the gridlock and traffic jams that plague urban centers. China, for instance, has attempted to tackle the problem by restricting driving times based on license plates, expanding bike sharing networks, and even mesh ride-sharing data with smart traffic lights.

And according to a recent report by Chinese location-based services provider AutoNavi, those solutions seem to be working: a Quartz analysis of the data found that traffic declined by 12.5 and 9 percent in Hangzhou and Shenzhen respectively, even though the population grew by 3 and 5 percent.

MO’ MONEY, MO’ PROBLEMS. There are more hurdles to overcome before hyperloop can have a significant impact in China. There is the cost of using the hyperloop system — if admission is priced too high (perhaps to cover astronomical infrastructure costs), adoption rates may remain too low to have a significant effect.

The capacity of a maglev train system would also have to accommodate China’s  growing population centers. That’s not an easy feat HyperloopTT’s capusles have to squeeze through a four meter (13 feet) diameter tube and only hold 28 to 40 people at a time, and there are 3 million cars in Shenzhen alone.

We don’t know yet whether China’s hyperloop investments will pay off and significantly reduce traffic in China’s urban centers. But bringing new innovations to transportation in massive and growing cities — especially when those new innovations are more environmentally friendly — is rarely a bad idea.

The post China Is Investing In Its Own Hyperloop To Clear Its Crowded Highways appeared first on Futurism.

Read more:

China Is Investing In Its Own Hyperloop To Clear Its Crowded Highways

MIT Researchers Create an Aerosol Spray Loaded With Nanobots

MIT researchers have created nanobots that can travel via an aerosol spray, potentially opening up a new field in robotics.

AEROSOLS FOR GOOD. You may have sworn off aerosol sprays in the ’90s when everyone was talking about the hole in the ozone layer, but a team of researchers from MIT has found a use for aerosols that could be good for both the environment and our health. This spray contains nanobots, tiny sensors with the potential to do everything, from detecting dangerous leaks in pipelines, to diagnosing health issues. They published their research in Nature Nanotechnology on Monday.

NANO-SCALE SENSORS. Each sensor in the aerosol spray contains two parts. The first is a colloid, an extremely tiny insoluble particle or molecule. Colloids are so small, in fact, they can remain suspended in a liquid or the air indefinitely — the force of particles colliding around them is stronger than the force of gravity attempting to pull them down.

The second part of the sensor is a complex circuit containing a chemical detector built from a two-dimensional material, such as graphene. When this detector encounters a certain chemical in its environment, its ability to conduct electricity improves. The circuit also contains a photodiode, a device that can convert ambient light into electric current. This provides all the electricity needed to power the circuit’s data collection and memory.

The researchers grafted their circuits onto colloids, thereby giving them the colloid’s ability to travel in unique environments. Once combined, the researchers aerosolized the nanobots (converted them into a sprayable form). This delivery method wouldn’t be possible without the addition of the colloid. “[The circuits] can’t exist without a substrate,” said the study’s lead author Michael Strano in a news release. “We need to graft them to the particles to give them mechanical rigidity and to make them large enough to get entrained in the flow.”

TWO TYPES OF PIPELINES. The MIT team sees a number of potential diagnostic uses for their sprayable, microscopic sensors, demonstrating a couple in their study. As one example, they designed their sensors to detect the toxic chemical ammonia, then tested its ability within a sealed section of pipe. They sprayed the sensors into one side of a pipe, then gathered them at the other end using a piece of cheesecloth. When they examined the sensors, they could tell they’d come in contact with ammonia based on the information stored in the sensors’ memory.

In the real-world, this could save inspectors from having to manually look at an entire length of pipe from the outside. Instead, they could simply let the aerosol travel the length of the pipeline, then look for any data in its memory that might signal a problem, such as an encounter with an outside chemical that should not be in the pipeline.

As the MIT team noted in the news release, eventually, this same technology could help diagnose problems in the human body, for example, by traveling along our digestive tract, gathering data, and relaying it to medical experts. “We see this paper as the introduction of a new field [in robotics],” said Strano.

READ MORE: Cell-Sized Robots Can Sense Their Environment [MIT News]

More on nanobots: Kurzweil: By 2030, Nanobots Will Flow Throughout Our Bodies

The post MIT Researchers Create an Aerosol Spray Loaded With Nanobots appeared first on Futurism.

See the article here:

MIT Researchers Create an Aerosol Spray Loaded With Nanobots

Leaders Who Pledged Not To Build Autonomous Killing Machines Are Ignoring The Real Problem

That major pledge against building autonomous killing machines is a great start, but it has some glaring holes in what it covers.

Last week, many of the major players in the artificial intelligence world signed a pledge to never build or endorse artificial intelligence systems that could run an autonomous weapon. The signatories included: Google DeepMind’s cofounders, OpenAI founder Elon Musk, and a whole slew of prominent artificial intelligence researchers and industry leaders.

The pledge, put forth by AI researcher Max Tegmark’s Future of Life Institute, argues that any system that can target and kill people without human oversight is inherently immoral, and condemns any future AI arms race that may occur. By signing the pledge, these AI bigwigs join the governments of 26 nations including China, Pakistan, and the State of Palestine, all of which also condemned and banned lethal autonomous weapons.

So if you want to build a fighter drone that doesn’t need any human oversight before killing, you’ll have to do it somewhere other than these nations, and with partners other than those who signed the agreement.

Yes, banning killer robots is likely a good move for our collective future — children in nations ravaged by drone warfare have already started to fear the sky — but there’s a pretty glaring hole in what this pledge actually does.

Namely: there are more subtle and insidious ways to leverage AI against a nation’s enemies than strapping a machine gun to a robot’s arm, Terminator-style.

The pledge totally ignores the fact that cybersecurity means more than protecting yourself from an army of killer robots. As Mariarosaria Taddeo of the Oxford Internet Institute told Business Insider, AI could be used in international conflicts in more subtle but impactful ways. Artificial intelligence algorithms could prove effective at hacking or hijacking networks that are crucial for national security.

Already, as Taddeo mentioned, the UK National Health Service was held hostage by the North Korea-linked WannaCry virus and a Russian cyberattack took control of European and North American power grids. With sophisticated, autonomous algorithms at the helm, these cyberattacks could become more frequent and more devastating. And yet, because these autonomous weapons don’t go “pew pew pew,” the recent AI pledge doesn’t mention (or pertain to) them at all.

Of course, that doesn’t make the pledge meaningless. Not by a long shot. But just as important as the high-profile people and companies that agreed to not make autonomous killing machines are the names missing from the agreement. Perhaps most notably is the U.S. Department of Defense, which recently established its Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) for the express purpose of getting ahead for any forthcoming AI arms races.

“Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan directed the DOD Chief Information Officer to standup the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) in order to enable teams across DOD to swiftly deliver new AI-enabled capabilities and effectively experiment with new operating concepts in support of DOD’s military missions and business functions,” Heather Babb, Department of Defense spokesperson, told Futurism.

“Plenty of people talk about the treat from AI; we want to be the threat,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote in a recent email to DoD employees, a DoD spokesperson confirmed to Futurism.

The JAIC sees artificial intelligence as a crucial tool for the future of warfare. Given the U.S.’s hawkish stance on algorithmic warfare, it’s unclear if a well-intentioned, incomplete pledge can possibly hold up.

More on pledges against militarized AI: Google: JK, We’re Going To Keep Working With The Military After All

The post Leaders Who Pledged Not To Build Autonomous Killing Machines Are Ignoring The Real Problem appeared first on Futurism.

More:

Leaders Who Pledged Not To Build Autonomous Killing Machines Are Ignoring The Real Problem

Tesla Is Reportedly Asking Suppliers to Refund Payments so It Can Appear Profitable

Tesla's refund request to suppliers is raising eyebrows in the financial world, with some calling it

RETROACTIVE NEGOTIATION. Tesla seems to have a weird understanding of the old adage “You have to spend money to make money.” In order to look like it’s making money, the company is asking for refunds on the money it’s already spent — even though the people paid delivered on their part of the deal.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that it had obtained a memo Tesla sent to one of its suppliers last week. In the memo, Tesla requested a refund on a “meaningful amount” of the money it had paid the supplier since 2016. The author of the memo, one of Tesla’s global supply managers, wrote that the money was “essential” to Tesla’s ability to continue operating and asked that the supplier view the refund as an “investment” that would allow Tesla and the supplier to continue to grow their relationship.

Though the memo claimed that all suppliers were receiving such refund requests, at least some contacted by The WSJ knew nothing about it.

HOW BIZARRE. A Tesla spokesperson doesn’t seem to think Tesla’s refund request is all that noteworthy, telling The WSJ it’s a standard practice. Many of those outside the company, however, think it’s downright bizarre. “I have never heard of that,” finance expert Ron Harbour told Bloomberg. “Suppliers have been asked for reductions, but going back for them in arrears reeks of desperation.”

It’s also a pretty self-centered move, according to manufacturing consultant Dennis Virag. “It’s simply ludicrous, and it just shows that Tesla is desperate right now,” he told The WSJ. “They’re worried about their profitability, but they don’t care about their suppliers’ profitability.”

TESLA’S WOES. Tesla’s current financial woes center on its Model 3, with frequent production issues repeatedly pushing back deliveries of the vehicle. The company currently carries more than $10 billion in debt and has been beset by one controversy after another throughout 2018. Just last month, shareholders even held a vote to decide whether or not to let CEO Elon Musk retain his position as chairman (they ultimately decided to let him stay on in that role).

If the plan behind Tesla’s refund request was to increase faith in the company as it continues to navigate the troubled waters of Model 3 production, it appears to be backfiring; Tesla’s stock dropped by 4 percent Monday morning, even though the first reviews of the Model 3 have started rolling out and have been largely positive (including from the WSJ).

On August 1, Musk will update shareholders on Tesla’s Q2 financial results, so he has just about a week to get the bad taste of Tesla’s refund request out of shareholders’ mouths. If he can’t, it’s not hard to imagine his role as chairman once again in jeopardy.

READ MORE: Tesla Asks Suppliers for Cash Back to Help Turn a Profit [The Wall Street Journal]

More on Model 3 production: In an Effort to Speed up Production, Tesla Is Assembling Model 3s in a Giant Tent

The post Tesla Is Reportedly Asking Suppliers to Refund Payments so It Can Appear Profitable appeared first on Futurism.

Follow this link:

Tesla Is Reportedly Asking Suppliers to Refund Payments so It Can Appear Profitable

History of nanotechnology – Wikipedia

The history of nanotechnology traces the development of the concepts and experimental work falling under the broad category of nanotechnology. Although nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. The emergence of nanotechnology in the 1980s was caused by the convergence of experimental advances such as the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985, with the elucidation and popularization of a conceptual framework for the goals of nanotechnology beginning with the 1986 publication of the book Engines of Creation. The field was subject to growing public awareness and controversy in the early 2000s, with prominent debates about both its potential implications as well as the feasibility of the applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, and with governments moving to promote and fund research into nanotechnology. The early 2000s also saw the beginnings of commercial applications of nanotechnology, although these were limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials rather than the transformative applications envisioned by the field. .

The earliest evidence of the use and applications of nanotechnology can be traced back to carbon nanotubes, cementite nanowires found in the microstructure of wootz steel manufactured in ancient India from the time period of 600 BC and exported globally.[1]

Although nanoparticles are associated with modern science, they were used by artisans as far back as the ninth century in Mesopotamia for creating a glittering effect on the surface of pots.[2][3]

In modern times, pottery from the Middle Ages and Renaissance often retains a distinct gold- or copper-colored metallic glitter. This luster is caused by a metallic film that was applied to the transparent surface of a glazing, which contains silver and copper nanoparticles dispersed homogeneously in the glassy matrix of the ceramic glaze. These nanoparticles are created by the artisans by adding copper and silver salts and oxides together with vinegar, ochre, and clay on the surface of previously-glazed pottery. The technique originated in the Muslim world. As Muslims were not allowed to use gold in artistic representations, they sought a way to create a similar effect without using real gold. The solution they found was using luster.[3][4]

The American physicist Richard Feynman lectured, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” at an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech on December 29, 1959, which is often held to have provided inspiration for the field of nanotechnology. Feynman had described a process by which the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules might be developed, using one set of precise tools to build and operate another proportionally smaller set, so on down to the needed scale. In the course of this, he noted, scaling issues would arise from the changing magnitude of various physical phenomena: gravity would become less important, surface tension and Van der Waals attraction would become more important.[5]

After Feynman’s death, scholars studying the historical development of nanotechnology have concluded that his actual role in catalyzing nanotechnology research was limited, based on recollections from many of the people active in the nascent field in the 1980s and 1990s. Chris Toumey, a cultural anthropologist at the University of South Carolina, found that the published versions of Feynmans talk had a negligible influence in the twenty years after it was first published, as measured by citations in the scientific literature, and not much more influence in the decade after the Scanning Tunneling Microscope was invented in 1981. Subsequently, interest in Plenty of Room in the scientific literature greatly increased in the early 1990s. This is probably because the term nanotechnology gained serious attention just before that time, following its use by K. Eric Drexler in his 1986 book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which took the Feynman concept of a billion tiny factories and added the idea that they could make more copies of themselves via computer control instead of control by a human operator; and in a cover article headlined “Nanotechnology”,[6][7] published later that year in a mass-circulation science-oriented magazine, OMNI. Toumeys analysis also includes comments from distinguished scientists in nanotechnology who say that Plenty of Room did not influence their early work, and in fact most of them had not read it until a later date.[8][9]

These and other developments hint that the retroactive rediscovery of Feynmans Plenty of Room gave nanotechnology a packaged history that provided an early date of December 1959, plus a connection to the charisma and genius of Richard Feynman. Feynman’s stature as a Nobel laureate and as an iconic figure in 20th century science surely helped advocates of nanotechnology and provided a valuable intellectual link to the past.[10]

The Japanese scientist called Norio Taniguchi of Tokyo University of Science was first to use the term “nano-technology” in a 1974 conference,[11] to describe semiconductor processes such as thin film deposition and ion beam milling exhibiting characteristic control on the order of a nanometer. His definition was, “‘Nano-technology’ mainly consists of the processing of, separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or one molecule.” However, the term was not used again until 1981 when Eric Drexler, who was unaware of Taniguchi’s prior use of the term, published his first paper on nanotechnology in 1981.[12][13][14]

In the 1980s the idea of nanotechnology as a deterministic, rather than stochastic, handling of individual atoms and molecules was conceptually explored in depth by K. Eric Drexler, who promoted the technological significance of nano-scale phenomena and devices through speeches and two influential books.

In 1980, Drexler encountered Feynman’s provocative 1959 talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” while preparing his initial scientific paper on the subject, Molecular Engineering: An approach to the development of general capabilities for molecular manipulation, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1981.[15] The term “nanotechnology” (which paralleled Taniguchi’s “nano-technology”) was independently applied by Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity. He also first published the term “grey goo” to describe what might happen if a hypothetical self-replicating machine, capable of independent operation, were constructed and released. Drexler’s vision of nanotechnology is often called “Molecular Nanotechnology” (MNT) or “molecular manufacturing.”

His 1991 Ph.D. work at the MIT Media Lab was the first doctoral degree on the topic of molecular nanotechnology and (after some editing) his thesis, “Molecular Machinery and Manufacturing with Applications to Computation,”[16] was published as Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation,[17] which received the Association of American Publishers award for Best Computer Science Book of 1992. Drexler founded the Foresight Institute in 1986 with the mission of “Preparing for nanotechnology. Drexler is no longer a member of the Foresight Institute.[citation needed]

Nanotechnology and nanoscience got a boost in the early 1980s with two major developments: the birth of cluster science and the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM). These developments led to the discovery of fullerenes in 1985 and the structural assignment of carbon nanotubes a few years later

The scanning tunneling microscope, an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level, was developed in 1981 by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.[18][19] Binnig, Calvin Quate and Christoph Gerber invented the first atomic force microscope in 1986. The first commercially available atomic force microscope was introduced in 1989.

IBM researcher Don Eigler was the first to manipulate atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope in 1989. He used 35 Xenon atoms to spell out the IBM logo.[20] He shared the 2010 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for this work.[21]

Interface and colloid science had existed for nearly a century before they became associated with nanotechnology.[22][23] The first observations and size measurements of nanoparticles had been made during the first decade of the 20th century by Richard Adolf Zsigmondy, winner of the 1925 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, who made a detailed study of gold sols and other nanomaterials with sizes down to 10nm using an ultramicroscope which was capable of visualizing particles much smaller than the light wavelength.[24] Zsigmondy was also the first to use the term “nanometer” explicitly for characterizing particle size. In the 1920s, Irving Langmuir, winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Katharine B. Blodgett introduced the concept of a monolayer, a layer of material one molecule thick. In the early 1950s, Derjaguin and Abrikosova conducted the first measurement of surface forces.[25]

In 1974 the process of atomic layer deposition for depositing uniform thin films one atomic layer at a time was developed and patented by Tuomo Suntola and co-workers in Finland.[26]

In another development, the synthesis and properties of semiconductor nanocrystals were studied. This led to a fast increasing number of semiconductor nanoparticles of quantum dots.

Fullerenes were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl, who together won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Smalley’s research in physical chemistry investigated formation of inorganic and semiconductor clusters using pulsed molecular beams and time of flight mass spectrometry. As a consequence of this expertise, Curl introduced him to Kroto in order to investigate a question about the constituents of astronomical dust. These are carbon rich grains expelled by old stars such as R Corona Borealis. The result of this collaboration was the discovery of C60 and the fullerenes as the third allotropic form of carbon. Subsequent discoveries included the endohedral fullerenes, and the larger family of fullerenes the following year.[27][28]

The discovery of carbon nanotubes is largely attributed to Sumio Iijima of NEC in 1991, although carbon nanotubes have been produced and observed under a variety of conditions prior to 1991.[29] Iijima’s discovery of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in the insoluble material of arc-burned graphite rods in 1991[30] and Mintmire, Dunlap, and White’s independent prediction that if single-walled carbon nanotubes could be made, then they would exhibit remarkable conducting properties[31] helped create the initial buzz that is now associated with carbon nanotubes. Nanotube research accelerated greatly following the independent discoveries[32][33] by Bethune at IBM[34] and Iijima at NEC of single-walled carbon nanotubes and methods to specifically produce them by adding transition-metal catalysts to the carbon in an arc discharge.

In the early 1990s Huffman and Kraetschmer, of the University of Arizona, discovered how to synthesize and purify large quantities of fullerenes. This opened the door to their characterization and functionalization by hundreds of investigators in government and industrial laboratories. Shortly after, rubidium doped C60 was found to be a mid temperature (Tc = 32 K) superconductor. At a meeting of the Materials Research Society in 1992, Dr. T. Ebbesen (NEC) described to a spellbound audience his discovery and characterization of carbon nanotubes. This event sent those in attendance and others downwind of his presentation into their laboratories to reproduce and push those discoveries forward. Using the same or similar tools as those used by Huffman and Kratschmer, hundreds of researchers further developed the field of nanotube-based nanotechnology.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative is a United States federal nanotechnology research and development program. The NNI serves as the central point of communication, cooperation, and collaboration for all Federal agencies engaged in nanotechnology research, bringing together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field.”[35] Its goals are to advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development (R&D) program, foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit, develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology, and support responsible development of nanotechnology. The initiative was spearheaded by Mihail Roco, who formally proposed the National Nanotechnology Initiative to the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton administration in 1999, and was a key architect in its development. He is currently the Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation, as well as the founding chair of the National Science and Technology Council subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology.[36]

President Bill Clinton advocated nanotechnology development. In a 21 January 2000 speech[37] at the California Institute of Technology, Clinton said, “Some of our research goals may take twenty or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.” Feynman’s stature and concept of atomically precise fabrication played a role in securing funding for nanotechnology research, as mentioned in President Clinton’s speech:

My budget supports a major new National Nanotechnology Initiative, worth $500 million. Caltech is no stranger to the idea of nanotechnology the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level. Over 40 years ago, Caltech’s own Richard Feynman asked, “What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them?”[38]

President George W. Bush further increased funding for nanotechnology. On December 3, 2003 Bush signed into law the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act,[39] which authorizes expenditures for five of the participating agencies totaling US$3.63 billion over four years.[40] The NNI budget supplement for Fiscal Year 2009 provides $1.5 billion to the NNI, reflecting steady growth in the nanotechnology investment.[41]

“Why the future doesn’t need us” is an article written by Bill Joy, then Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems, in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine. In the article, he argues that “Our most powerful 21st-century technologies robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech are threatening to make humans an endangered species.” Joy argues that developing technologies provide a much greater danger to humanity than any technology before it has ever presented. In particular, he focuses on genetics, nanotechnology and robotics. He argues that 20th-century technologies of destruction, such as the nuclear bomb, were limited to large governments, due to the complexity and cost of such devices, as well as the difficulty in acquiring the required materials. He also voices concern about increasing computer power. His worry is that computers will eventually become more intelligent than we are, leading to such dystopian scenarios as robot rebellion. He notably quotes the Unabomber on this topic. After the publication of the article, Bill Joy suggested assessing technologies to gauge their implicit dangers, as well as having scientists refuse to work on technologies that have the potential to cause harm.

In the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Yearbook 2001 article titled A Response to Bill Joy and the Doom-and-Gloom Technofuturists, Bill Joy was criticized for having technological tunnel vision on his prediction, by failing to consider social factors.[42] In Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near, he questioned the regulation of potentially dangerous technology, asking “Should we tell the millions of people afflicted with cancer and other devastating conditions that we are canceling the development of all bioengineered treatments because there is a risk that these same technologies may someday be used for malevolent purposes?”.

Prey is a 2002 novel by Michael Crichton which features an artificial swarm of nanorobots which develop intelligence and threaten their human inventors. The novel generated concern within the nanotechnology community that the novel could negatively affect public perception of nanotechnology by creating fear of a similar scenario in real life.[43]

Richard Smalley, best known for co-discovering the soccer ball-shaped buckyball molecule and a leading advocate of nanotechnology and its many applications, was an outspoken critic of the idea of molecular assemblers, as advocated by Eric Drexler. In 2001 he introduced scientific objections to them[44] attacking the notion of universal assemblers in a 2001 Scientific American article, leading to a rebuttal later that year from Drexler and colleagues,[45] and eventually to an exchange of open letters in 2003.[46]

Smalley criticized Drexler’s work on nanotechnology as naive, arguing that chemistry is extremely complicated, reactions are hard to control, and that a universal assembler is science fiction. Smalley believed that such assemblers were not physically possible and introduced scientific objections to them. His two principal technical objections, which he had termed the fat fingers problem” and the “sticky fingers problem, argued against the feasibility of molecular assemblers being able to precisely select and place individual atoms. He also believed that Drexlers speculations about apocalyptic dangers of molecular assemblers threaten the public support for development of nanotechnology.

Smalley first argued that “fat fingers” made MNT impossible. He later argued that nanomachines would have to resemble chemical enzymes more than Drexler’s assemblers and could only work in water. He believed these would exclude the possibility of “molecular assemblers” that worked by precision picking and placing of individual atoms. Also, Smalley argued that nearly all of modern chemistry involves reactions that take place in a solvent (usually water), because the small molecules of a solvent contribute many things, such as lowering binding energies for transition states. Since nearly all known chemistry requires a solvent, Smalley felt that Drexler’s proposal to use a high vacuum environment was not feasible.

Smalley also believed that Drexler’s speculations about apocalyptic dangers of self-replicating machines that have been equated with “molecular assemblers” would threaten the public support for development of nanotechnology. To address the debate between Drexler and Smalley regarding molecular assemblers Chemical & Engineering News published a point-counterpoint consisting of an exchange of letters that addressed the issues.[46]

Drexler and coworkers responded to these two issues[45] in a 2001 publication. Drexler and colleagues noted that Drexler never proposed universal assemblers able to make absolutely anything, but instead proposed more limited assemblers able to make a very wide variety of things. They challenged the relevance of Smalley’s arguments to the more specific proposals advanced in Nanosystems. Drexler maintained that both were straw man arguments, and in the case of enzymes, Prof. Klibanov wrote in 1994, “…using an enzyme in organic solvents eliminates several obstacles…”[47] Drexler also addresses this in Nanosystems by showing mathematically that well designed catalysts can provide the effects of a solvent and can fundamentally be made even more efficient than a solvent/enzyme reaction could ever be. Drexler had difficulty in getting Smalley to respond, but in December 2003, Chemical & Engineering News carried a 4-part debate.[46]

Ray Kurzweil spends four pages in his book ‘The Singularity Is Near’ to showing that Richard Smalley’s arguments are not valid, and disputing them point by point. Kurzweil ends by stating that Drexler’s visions are very practicable and even happening already.[48]

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2004 report on the implications of nanoscience and nanotechnologies[49] was inspired by Prince Charles’ concerns about nanotechnology, including molecular manufacturing. However, the report spent almost no time on molecular manufacturing.[50] In fact, the word “Drexler” appears only once in the body of the report (in passing), and “molecular manufacturing” or “molecular nanotechnology” not at all. The report covers various risks of nanoscale technologies, such as nanoparticle toxicology. It also provides a useful overview of several nanoscale fields. The report contains an annex (appendix) on grey goo, which cites a weaker variation of Richard Smalley’s contested argument against molecular manufacturing. It concludes that there is no evidence that autonomous, self replicating nanomachines will be developed in the foreseeable future, and suggests that regulators should be more concerned with issues of nanoparticle toxicology.

The early 2000s saw the beginnings of the use of nanotechnology in commercial products, although most applications are limited to the bulk use of passive nanomaterials. Examples include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen, cosmetics and some food products; silver nanoparticles in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants and household appliances such as Silver Nano; carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles; and cerium oxide as a fuel catalyst.[51] As of March 10, 2011, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimated that over 1300 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available, with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 34 per week.[52]

The National Science Foundation funded researcher David Berube to study the field of nanotechnology. His findings are published in the monograph Nano-Hype: The Truth Behind the Nanotechnology Buzz. This study concludes that much of what is sold as nanotechnology is in fact a recasting of straightforward materials science, which is leading to a nanotech industry built solely on selling nanotubes, nanowires, and the like which will end up with a few suppliers selling low margin products in huge volumes.” Further applications which require actual manipulation or arrangement of nanoscale components await further research. Though technologies branded with the term ‘nano’ are sometimes little related to and fall far short of the most ambitious and transformative technological goals of the sort in molecular manufacturing proposals, the term still connotes such ideas. According to Berube, there may be a danger that a “nano bubble” will form, or is forming already, from the use of the term by scientists and entrepreneurs to garner funding, regardless of interest in the transformative possibilities of more ambitious and far-sighted work.[53]

Go here to see the original:

History of nanotechnology – Wikipedia

Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Professor Jonathan ClaydenSchool of Chemistry, University of Bristol, UK

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 9:00 am to 10:00 am

Discovery Theatrette, Level 4 The Matrix, 30 Biopolis Street, Biopolis

AbstractBiology solves the problem of communicating information through cell membranes by means of conformationally switchable proteins, of which the most important are the G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). The lecture will describe the design and synthesis of dynamic foldamers as artificial mimics of GPCRs, with the ultimate aim of controlling function in the interior of an artificial vesicle. Techniques that allow detailed dynamic conformational information to be extracted both in solution and in the membrane phase will be described.

About the SpeakerJonathan Clayden was born in Uganda in 1968, grew up in the county of Essex, in the East of England, and was an undergraduate at Churchill College, Cambridge. In 1992 he completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge with Dr Stuart Warren. After postdoctoral work with Professor Marc Julia at the cole Normale Suprieure in Paris, he moved in 1994 to Manchester as a lecturer. In 2001 he was promoted to full professor, and in 2015 he moved to a position as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

His research interests encompass various areas of synthesis and stereochemistry, particularly where conformation has a role to play: asymmetric synthesis, atropisomerism, organolithium chemistry, long-range stereocontrol. He has pioneered the field of dynamic foldamer chemistry for the synthesis of artificial molecules with biomimetic function.

He is a co-author of the widely used textbook Organic Chemistry, and his book Organolithiums: Selectivity for Synthesis was published by Pergamon in 2002.

He has received the Royal Society of Chemistrys Meldola (1997) and Corday Morgan (2003) medals, Stereochemistry Prize (2005), Hickinbottom Fellowship (2006) and Merck Prize (2011), and the Novartis Young European Investigator Award (2004). He held senior research fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society in 2003-4 and 2009-10 and has held a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award and a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant (2.5M).

This seminar is free and no registration is required.

Visit link:

Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Grey goo – Wikipedia

Grey goo (also spelled gray goo) is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all biomass on Earth while building more of themselves,[1][2] a scenario that has been called ecophagy (“eating the environment”, more literally “eating the habitation”).[3] The original idea assumed machines were designed to have this capability, while popularizations have assumed that machines might somehow gain this capability by accident.

Self-replicating machines of the macroscopic variety were originally described by mathematician John von Neumann, and are sometimes referred to as von Neumann machines or clanking replicators. The term gray goo was coined by nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler in his 1986 book Engines of Creation.[4] In 2004 he stated, “I wish I had never used the term ‘gray goo’.”[5] Engines of Creation mentions “gray goo” in two paragraphs and a note, while the popularized idea of gray goo was first publicized in a mass-circulation magazine, Omni, in November 1986.[6]

The term was first used by molecular nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler in his book Engines of Creation (1986). In Chapter 4, Engines Of Abundance, Drexler illustrates both exponential growth and inherent limits (not gray goo) by describing nanomachines that can function only if given special raw materials:

Imagine such a replicator floating in a bottle of chemicals, making copies of itself…the first replicator assembles a copy in one thousand seconds, the two replicators then build two more in the next thousand seconds, the four build another four, and the eight build another eight. At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion. In less than a day, they would weigh a ton; in less than two days, they would outweigh the Earth; in another four hours, they would exceed the mass of the Sun and all the planets combinedif the bottle of chemicals hadn’t run dry long before.

According to Drexler, the term was popularized by an article in science fiction magazine Omni, which also popularized the term nanotechnology in the same issue. Drexler says arms control is a far greater issue than grey goo “nanobugs”.[7]

In a History Channel broadcast, a contrasting idea (a kind of gray goo) is referred to in a futuristic doomsday scenario: “In a common practice, billions of nanobots are released to clean up an oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. However, due to a programming error, the nanobots devour all carbon based objects, instead of just the hydrocarbons of the oil. The nanobots destroy everything, all the while, replicating themselves. Within days, the planet is turned to dust.”[8]

Drexler describes gray goo in Chapter 11 of Engines of Creation:

Early assembler-based replicators could beat the most advanced modern organisms. ‘Plants’ with ‘leaves’ no more efficient than today’s solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough, omnivorous ‘bacteria’ could out-compete real bacteria: they could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stopat least if we made no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.

Drexler notes that the geometric growth made possible by self-replication is inherently limited by the availability of suitable raw materials.

Drexler used the term “gray goo” not to indicate color or texture, but to emphasize the difference between “superiority” in terms of human values and “superiority” in terms of competitive success:

Though masses of uncontrolled replicators need not be grey or gooey, the term “grey goo” emphasizes that replicators able to obliterate life might be less inspiring than a single species of crabgrass. They might be “superior” in an evolutionary sense, but this need not make them valuable.

Bill Joy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, discussed some of the problems with pursuing this technology in his now-famous 2000 article in Wired magazine, titled “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us”. In direct response to Joy’s concerns, the first quantitative technical analysis of the ecophagy scenario was published in 2000 by nanomedicine pioneer Robert Freitas.[3]

Drexler more recently conceded that there is no need to build anything that even resembles a potential runaway replicator. This would avoid the problem entirely. In a paper in the journal Nanotechnology, he argues that self-replicating machines are needlessly complex and inefficient. His 1992 technical book on advanced nanotechnologies Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation[9] describes manufacturing systems that are desktop-scale factories with specialized machines in fixed locations and conveyor belts to move parts from place to place. None of these measures would prevent a party from creating a weaponized grey goo, were such a thing possible.

Prince Charles called upon the British Royal Society to investigate the “enormous environmental and social risks” of nanotechnology in a planned report, leading to much media commentary on gray goo. The Royal Society’s report on nanoscience was released on 29 July 2004, and declared the possibility of self-replicating machines to lie too far in the future to be of concern to regulators.[10]

More recent analysis in the paper titled Safe Exponential Manufacturing from the Institute of Physics (co-written by Chris Phoenix, Director of Research of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, and Eric Drexler), shows that the danger of grey goo is far less likely than originally thought.[11] However, other long-term major risks to society and the environment from nanotechnology have been identified.[12] Drexler has made a somewhat public effort to retract his grey goo hypothesis, in an effort to focus the debate on more realistic threats associated with knowledge-enabled nanoterrorism and other misuses.[13]

In Safe Exponential Manufacturing, which was published in a 2004 issue of Nanotechnology, it was suggested that creating manufacturing systems with the ability to self-replicate by the use of their own energy sources would not be needed.[14] The Foresight Institute also recommended embedding controls in the molecular machines. These controls would be able to prevent anyone from purposely abusing nanotechnology, and therefore avoid the grey goo scenario.[15]

Grey goo is a useful construct for considering low-probability, high-impact outcomes from emerging technologies. Thus, it is a useful tool in the ethics of technology. Daniel A. Vallero[16] applied it as a worst-case scenario thought experiment for technologists contemplating possible risks from advancing a technology. This requires that a decision tree or event tree include even extremely low probability events if such events may have an extremely negative and irreversible consequence, i.e. application of the precautionary principle. Dianne Irving[17] admonishes that “any error in science will have a rippling effect….”. Vallero adapted this reference to chaos theory to emerging technologies, wherein slight permutations of initial conditions can lead to unforeseen and profoundly negative downstream effects, for which the technologist and the new technology’s proponents must be held accountable.

Read the original post:

Grey goo – Wikipedia

Libertarianism – Wikipedia

“Libertarians” redirects here. For political parties that may go by this name, see Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning “freedom”) is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.[1] Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment.[2][3][4] Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.[5]

Left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty.[6][7][8][9] In contrast, modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights,[10] such as in land, infrastructure, and natural resources.

The first recorded use of the term “libertarian” was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in the context of metaphysics.[11]

“Libertarian” came to mean an advocate or defender of liberty, especially in the political and social spheres, as early as 1796, when the London Packet printed on 12 February: “Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians”.[12] The word was again used in a political sense in 1802 in a short piece critiquing a poem by “the author of Gebir” and has since been used with this meaning.[13][14][15]

The use of the word “libertarian” to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate, libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Djacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[16][17][18] Djacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City.[19][20] In the mid-1890s, Sbastien Faure began publishing a new Le Libertaire while France’s Third Republic enacted the lois sclrates (“villainous laws”), which banned anarchist publications in France. Libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism since this time.[21][22][23]

The term “libertarianism” was first used in the United States as a synonym for classic liberalism in May 1955 by writer Dean Russell, a colleague of Leonard Read and a classic liberal himself. He justified the choice of the word as follows: “Many of us call ourselves ‘liberals.’ And it is true that the word ‘liberal’ once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding. Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word ‘libertarian'”.[24]

Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian”. The person most responsible for popularizing the term “libertarian” was Murray Rothbard,[25] who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s.

Libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal freedom[26] (for common meanings of conservative and liberal in the United States) and it is also often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism.[27][28]

Although the word “libertarian” has been used to refer to socialists internationally, its meaning in the United States has deviated from its political origins.[29][30]

There is contention about whether left and right libertarianism “represent distinct ideologies as opposed to variations on a theme”.[31] All libertarians begin with a conception of personal autonomy from which they argue in favor of civil liberties and a reduction or elimination of the state.

Left-libertarianism encompasses those libertarian beliefs that claim the Earth’s natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Contemporary left-libertarians such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman believe the appropriation of land must leave “enough and as good” for others or be taxed by society to compensate for the exclusionary effects of private property. Libertarian socialists (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists, council communists, Luxemburgists and DeLeonists) promote usufruct and socialist economic theories, including communism, collectivism, syndicalism and mutualism. They criticize the state for being the defender of private property and believe capitalism entails wage slavery.

Right-libertarianism[32] developed in the United States in the mid-20th century and is the most popular conception of libertarianism in that region.[33] It is commonly referred to as a continuation or radicalization of classical liberalism.[34][35] Right-libertarians, while often sharing left-libertarians’ advocacy for social freedom, also value the social institutions that enforce conditions of capitalism, while rejecting institutions that function in opposition to these on the grounds that such interventions represent unnecessary coercion of individuals and abrogation of their economic freedom.[36] Anarcho-capitalists[37][38] seek complete elimination of the state in favor of privately funded security services while minarchists defend “night-watchman states”, which maintain only those functions of government necessary to maintain conditions of capitalism and personal security.

Anarchism envisages freedom as a form of autonomy,[39] which Paul Goodman describes as “the ability to initiate a task and do it one’s own way, without orders from authorities who do not know the actual problem and the available means”.[40] All anarchists oppose political and legal authority, but collectivist strains also oppose the economic authority of private property.[41] These social anarchists emphasize mutual aid, whereas individualist anarchists extoll individual sovereignty.[42]

Some right-libertarians consider the non-aggression principle (NAP) to be a core part of their beliefs.[43][44]

Libertarians have been advocates and activists of civil liberties, including free love and free thought.[45][46] Advocates of free love viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of individual sovereignty and they particularly stressed women’s rights as most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.[47]

Free love appeared alongside anarcha-feminism and advocacy of LGBT rights. Anarcha-feminism developed as a synthesis of radical feminism and anarchism and views patriarchy as a fundamental manifestation of compulsory government. It was inspired by the late-19th-century writings of early feminist anarchists such as Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Virginia Bolten. Anarcha-feminists, like other radical feminists, criticise and advocate the abolition of traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles. Free Society (18951897 as The Firebrand, 18971904 as Free Society) was an anarchist newspaper in the United States that staunchly advocated free love and women’s rights, while criticizing “comstockery”, the censorship of sexual information.[48] In recent times, anarchism has also voiced opinions and taken action around certain sex-related subjects such as pornography,[49] BDSM[50] and the sex industry.[50]

Free thought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic and reason in contrast with authority, tradition or other dogmas.[51][52] In the United States, free thought was an anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both free thought and anarchism. In 1901, Catalan anarchist and free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Gurdia established “modern” or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church.[53] Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in “freedom in education”, i.e. education free from the authority of the church and state.[54] The schools’ stated goal was to “educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting”. Later in the 20th century, Austrian Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich became a consistent propagandist for sexual freedom going as far as opening free sex-counselling clinics in Vienna for working-class patients[55] as well as coining the phrase “sexual revolution” in one of his books from the 1940s.[56] During the early 1970s, the English anarchist and pacifist Alex Comfort achieved international celebrity for writing the sex manuals The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex.

Most left-libertarians are anarchists and believe the state inherently violates personal autonomy: “As Robert Paul Wolff has argued, since ‘the state is authority, the right to rule’, anarchism which rejects the State is the only political doctrine consistent with autonomy in which the individual alone is the judge of his moral constraints”.[41] Social anarchists believe the state defends private property, which they view as intrinsically harmful, while market-oriented left-libertarians argue that so-called free markets actually consist of economic privileges granted by the state. These latter libertarians advocate instead for freed markets, which are freed from these privileges.[57]

There is a debate amongst right-libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate: while anarcho-capitalists advocate its abolition, minarchists support minimal states, often referred to as night-watchman states. Libertarians take a skeptical view of government authority.[58][unreliable source?] Minarchists maintain that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud. They believe the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police and courts, though some expand this list to include fire departments, prisons and the executive and legislative branches.[59] They justify the state on the grounds that it is the logical consequence of adhering to the non-aggression principle and argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional, that the enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.[citation needed] Another common justification is that private defense agencies and court firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough.[60]

Anarcho-capitalists argue that the state violates the non-aggression principle (NAP) by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen or vandalized private property, assaulted anyone or committed fraud.[61][62] Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government’s citizenry can not desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[63]

Left-libertarians believe that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[64][65] and maintain that natural resources ought to be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[66]

Right-libertarians maintain that unowned natural resources “may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes his labor with them, or merely claims themwithout the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them”. They believe that natural resources are originally unowned and therefore private parties may appropriate them at will without the consent of, or owing to, others.[67]

Left-libertarians (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists and left-wing market anarchists) argue in favor of socialist theories such as communism, syndicalism and mutualism (anarchist economics). Daniel Gurin writes that “anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the exploitation of man by man. Anarchism is only one of the streams of socialist thought, that stream whose main components are concern for liberty and haste to abolish the State”.[68]

Right-libertarians are economic liberals of either the Austrian School or Chicago school and support laissez-faire capitalism.[69]

Wage labour has long been compared by socialists and anarcho-syndicalists to slavery.[70][71][72][73] As a result, the term “wage slavery” is often utilised as a pejorative for wage labor.[74] Advocates of slavery looked upon the “comparative evils of Slave Society and of Free Society, of slavery to human Masters and slavery to Capital”[75] and proceeded to argue that wage slavery was actually worse than chattel slavery.[76] Slavery apologists like George Fitzhugh contended that workers only accepted wage labour with the passage of time, as they became “familiarized and inattentive to the infected social atmosphere they continually inhale[d]”.[75]

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the labourer works under external control “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is”.[77] For Marxists, labour-as-commodity, which is how they regard wage labour,[78] provides an absolutely fundamental point of attack against capitalism.[79] “It can be persuasively argued”, noted philosopher John Nelson, “that the conception of the worker’s labour as a commodity confirms Marx’s stigmatization of the wage system of private capitalism as ‘wage-slavery;’ that is, as an instrument of the capitalist’s for reducing the worker’s condition to that of a slave, if not below it”.[80] That this objection is fundamental follows immediately from Marx’s conclusion that wage labour is the very foundation of capitalism: “Without a class dependent on wages, the moment individuals confront each other as free persons, there can be no production of surplus value; without the production of surplus-value there can be no capitalist production, and hence no capital and no capitalist!”.[81]

Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism) names several related, but distinct approaches to political and social theory which stresses both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, i.e. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism, among others.[82][83] Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resouces.[84]

While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private property, arguing that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[85][86] and maintain that natural resources (land, oil, gold and vegetation) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under the condition that recompense is offered to the local community.[86] Many left-libertarian schools of thought are communist, advocating the eventual replacement of money with labor vouchers or decentralized planning.

On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market.[82]

Right-libertarianism (or right-wing libertarianism) refers to libertarian political philosophies that advocate negative rights, natural law and a major reversal of the modern welfare state.[87] Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property.[88] This position is contrasted with that of some versions of left-libertarianism, which maintain that natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[89] Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire, minarchist liberalism.[note 1]

Elements of libertarianism can be traced as far back as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and the higher-law concepts of the Greeks and the Israelites.[90][91] In 17th-century England, libertarian ideas began to take modern form in the writings of the Levellers and John Locke. In the middle of that century, opponents of royal power began to be called Whigs, or sometimes simply “opposition” or “country” (as opposed to Court) writers.[92]

During the 18th century, classical liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America.[93][94] Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.[95] For libertarian philosopher Roderick T. Long, both libertarian socialists and libertarian capitalists “share a commonor at least an overlapping intellectual ancestry… both claim the seventeenth century English Levellers and the eighteenth century French encyclopedists among their ideological forebears; and (also)… usually share an admiration for Thomas Jefferson[96][97][98] and Thomas Paine”.[99]

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the text of 1689, he established the basis of liberal political theory: that people’s rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.[100] The United States Declaration of Independence was inspired by Locke in its statement: “[T]o secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”.[101] Nevertheless scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood says that “there are doctrines of individualism that are opposed to Lockean individualism… and non-Lockean individualism may encompass socialism”.[102]

According to Murray Rothbard, the libertarian creed emerged from the classical liberal challenges to an “absolute central State and a king ruling by divine right on top of an older, restrictive web of feudal land monopolies and urban guild controls and restrictions”, the mercantilism of a bureaucratic warfaring state allied with privileged merchants. The object of classical liberals was individual liberty in the economy, in personal freedoms and civil liberty, separation of state and religion, and peace as an alternative to imperial aggrandizement. He cites Locke’s contemporaries, the Levellers, who held similar views. Also influential were the English “Cato’s Letters” during the early 1700s, reprinted eagerly by American colonists who already were free of European aristocracy and feudal land monopolies.[101]

In January of 1776, only two years after coming to America from England, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense calling for independence for the colonies.[103] Paine promoted classical liberal ideas in clear, concise language that allowed the general public to understand the debates among the political elites.[104] Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating these ideas,[105] selling hundreds of thousands of copies.[106] Paine later would write the Rights of Man and The Age of Reason and participate in the French Revolution.[103] Paine’s theory of property showed a “libertarian concern” with the redistribution of resources.[107]

In 1793, William Godwin wrote a libertarian philosophical treatise, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, which criticized ideas of human rights and of society by contract based on vague promises. He took classical liberalism to its logical anarchic conclusion by rejecting all political institutions, law, government and apparatus of coercion as well as all political protest and insurrection. Instead of institutionalized justice, Godwin proposed that people influence one another to moral goodness through informal reasoned persuasion, including in the associations they joined as this would facilitate happiness.[108][109]

Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.[110]

As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution, William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought.[111][112] According to Peter Kropotkin, Godwin was “the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work”,[113] while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke.[114]

Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as philosophical anarchism. He argued in Political Justice (1793)[112][115] that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought that the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power. Rather, Godwin advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[112][116]

His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people’s “mental enslavement”, the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. Godwin considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.

In France, various anarchist currents were present during the Revolutionary period, with some revolutionaries using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793.[117] The enrags opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that “government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wishes to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself”.[118] In his “Manifesto of the Equals”, Sylvain Marchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of “the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed”.[118]

Libertarian socialism, libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism are all phrases which activists with a variety of perspectives have applied to their views.[119] Anarchist communist philosopher Joseph Djacque was the first person to describe himself as a libertarian.[120] Unlike mutualist anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he argued that “it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature”.[121][122] According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term “libertarian communism” was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[123] The French anarchist journalist Sbastien Faure started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[124]

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and their will over any kinds of external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.[125][126] An influential form of individualist anarchism called egoism[127] or egoist anarchism was expounded by one of the earliest and best-known proponents of individualist anarchism, the German Max Stirner.[128] Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own, published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy.[128] According to Stirner, the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire,[129] without regard for God, state or morality.[130] Stirner advocated self-assertion and foresaw unions of egoists, non-systematic associations continually renewed by all parties’ support through an act of will,[131] which Stirner proposed as a form of organisation in place of the state.[132] Egoist anarchists argue that egoism will foster genuine and spontaneous union between individuals.[133] Egoism has inspired many interpretations of Stirner’s philosophy. It was re-discovered and promoted by German philosophical anarchist and LGBT activist John Henry Mackay. Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist,[134] and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published.[135] For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent… that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews… William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.”.[136] Later, Benjamin Tucker fused Stirner’s egoism with the economics of Warren and Proudhon in his eclectic influential publication Liberty. From these early influences, individualist anarchism in different countries attracted a small yet diverse following of bohemian artists and intellectuals,[137] free love and birth control advocates (anarchism and issues related to love and sex),[138][139] individualist naturists nudists (anarcho-naturism),[140][141][142] free thought and anti-clerical activists[143][144] as well as young anarchist outlaws in what became known as illegalism and individual reclamation[145][146] (European individualist anarchism and individualist anarchism in France). These authors and activists included Emile Armand, Han Ryner, Henri Zisly, Renzo Novatore, Miguel Gimenez Igualada, Adolf Brand and Lev Chernyi.

In 1873, the follower and translator of Proudhon, the Catalan Francesc Pi i Margall, became President of Spain with a program which wanted “to establish a decentralized, or “cantonalist,” political system on Proudhonian lines”,[147] who according to Rudolf Rocker had “political ideas…much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order”.[148] On the other hand, Fermn Salvochea was a mayor of the city of Cdiz and a president of the province of Cdiz. He was one of the main propagators of anarchist thought in that area in the late 19th century and is considered to be “perhaps the most beloved figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement of the 19th century”.[149][150] Ideologically, he was influenced by Bradlaugh, Owen and Paine, whose works he had studied during his stay in England and Kropotkin, whom he read later.[149] The revolutionary wave of 19171923 saw the active participation of anarchists in Russia and Europe. Russian anarchists participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both the February and October 1917 revolutions. However, Bolsheviks in central Russia quickly began to imprison or drive underground the libertarian anarchists. Many fled to the Ukraine.[151] There, in the Ukrainian Free Territory they fought in the Russian Civil War against the White movement, monarchists and other opponents of revolution and then against Bolsheviks as part of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months. Expelled American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman protested Bolshevik policy before they left Russia.[152]

The victory of the Bolsheviks damaged anarchist movements internationally as workers and activists joined Communist parties. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the CGT and IWW joined the Communist International.[153] In Paris, the Dielo Truda group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno, issued a 1926 manifesto, the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), calling for new anarchist organizing structures.[154][155]

The Bavarian Soviet Republic of 19181919 had libertarian socialist characteristics.[156][157] In Italy, from 1918 to 1921 the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Unione Sindacale Italiana grew to 800,000 members.[158]

In the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of fascism in Europe, anarchists began to fight fascists in Italy,[159] in France during the February 1934 riots[160] and in Spain where the CNT (Confederacin Nacional del Trabajo) boycott of elections led to a right-wing victory and its later participation in voting in 1936 helped bring the popular front back to power. This led to a ruling class attempted coup and the Spanish Civil War (19361939).[161] Gruppo Comunista Anarchico di Firenze held that the during early twentieth century, the terms libertarian communism and anarchist communism became synonymous within the international anarchist movement as a result of the close connection they had in Spain (anarchism in Spain) (with libertarian communism becoming the prevalent term).[162]

Murray Bookchin wrote that the Spanish libertarian movement of the mid-1930s was unique because its workers’ control and collectiveswhich came out of a three-generation “massive libertarian movement”divided the republican camp and challenged the Marxists. “Urban anarchists” created libertarian communist forms of organization which evolved into the CNT, a syndicalist union providing the infrastructure for a libertarian society. Also formed were local bodies to administer social and economic life on a decentralized libertarian basis. Much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 1930s Spanish Civil War against authoritarian and fascist forces.[163] The Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth[164] (FIJL, Spanish: Federacin Ibrica de Juventudes Libertarias), sometimes abbreviated as Libertarian Youth (Juventudes Libertarias), was a libertarian socialist[165] organisation created in 1932 in Madrid.[166] In February 1937, the FIJL organised a plenum of regional organisations (second congress of FIJL). In October 1938, from the 16th through the 30th in Barcelona the FIJL participated in a national plenum of the libertarian movement, also attended by members of the CNT and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI).[167] The FIJL exists until today. When the republican forces lost the Spanish Civil War, the city of Madrid was turned over to the francoist forces in 1939 by the last non-francoist mayor of the city, the anarchist Melchor Rodrguez Garca.[168] During autumn of 1931, the “Manifesto of the 30” was published by militants of the anarchist trade union CNT and among those who signed it there was the CNT General Secretary (19221923) Joan Peiro, Angel Pestaa CNT (General Secretary in 1929) and Juan Lopez Sanchez. They were called treintismo and they were calling for “libertarian possibilism” which advocated achieving libertarian socialist ends with participation inside structures of contemporary parliamentary democracy.[169] In 1932, they establish the Syndicalist Party which participates in the 1936 spanish general elections and proceed to be a part of the leftist coalition of parties known as the Popular Front obtaining 2 congressmen (Pestaa and Benito Pabon). In 1938, Horacio Prieto, general secretary of the CNT, proposes that the Iberian Anarchist Federation transforms itself into a “Libertarian Socialist Party” and that it participates in the national elections.[170]

The Manifesto of Libertarian Communism was written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of the anarchist-communist current known as platformism.[171] In 1968, in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference to advance libertarian solidarity. It wanted to form “a strong and organised workers movement, agreeing with the libertarian ideas”.[172][173] In the United States, the Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1954 as a left-libertarian political organisation building on the Libertarian Book Club.[174][175] Members included Sam Dolgoff,[176] Russell Blackwell, Dave Van Ronk, Enrico Arrigoni[177] and Murray Bookchin.

In Australia, the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label “Sydney libertarianism”. Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow,[178] Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David Makinson, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Frank Moorhouse and Lillian Roxon. Amongst the key intellectual figures in Push debates were philosophers David J. Ivison, George Molnar, Roelof Smilde, Darcy Waters and Jim Baker, as recorded in Baker’s memoir Sydney Libertarians and the Push, published in the libertarian Broadsheet in 1975.[179] An understanding of libertarian values and social theory can be obtained from their publications, a few of which are available online.[180][181]

In 1969, French platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Gurin published an essay in 1969 called “Libertarian Marxism?” in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards suggested that “[l]ibertarian marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the ‘elites’; libertarian marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralysed by a heavy ‘scientific’ apparatus, doesn’t equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown”.[182] Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels’ later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France.[183] They emphasize the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state.[184] Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism and New Left.[185][unreliable source?] In the United States, from 1970 to 1981 there existed the publication Root & Branch[186] which had as a subtitle “A Libertarian Marxist Journal”.[187] In 1974, the Libertarian Communism journal was started in the United Kingdom by a group inside the Socialist Party of Great Britain.[188] In 1986, the anarcho-syndicalist Sam Dolgoff started and led the publication Libertarian Labor Review in the United States[189] which decided to rename itself as Anarcho-Syndicalist Review in order to avoid confusion with right-libertarian views.[190]

The indigenous anarchist tradition in the United States was largely individualist.[191] In 1825, Josiah Warren became aware of the social system of utopian socialist Robert Owen and began to talk with others in Cincinnati about founding a communist colony.[192] When this group failed to come to an agreement about the form and goals of their proposed community, Warren “sold his factory after only two years of operation, packed up his young family, and took his place as one of 900 or so Owenites who had decided to become part of the founding population of New Harmony, Indiana”.[193] Warren termed the phrase “cost the limit of price”[194] and “proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce”.[195] He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental labor-for-labor store called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by labor notes. The store proved successful and operated for three years, after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism, including Utopia and Modern Times. “After New Harmony failed, Warren shifted his ideological loyalties from socialism to anarchism (which was no great leap, given that Owen’s socialism had been predicated on Godwin’s anarchism)”.[196] Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist[195] and the four-page weekly paper The Peaceful Revolutionist he edited during 1833 was the first anarchist periodical published,[135] an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type and made his own printing plates.[135]

Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the intentional communal experiments pioneered by Warren were influential in European individualist anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as mile Armand and the intentional communities started by them.[197] Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews, individualist anarchist and close associate, wrote the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren’s own theories in The Science of Society, published in 1852.[198] Andrews was formerly associated with the Fourierist movement, but converted to radical individualism after becoming acquainted with the work of Warren. Like Warren, he held the principle of “individual sovereignty” as being of paramount importance. Contemporary American anarchist Hakim Bey reports:

Steven Pearl Andrews… was not a fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America and adopted a lot of fourierist principles and practices… a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized abolitionism in the United States, free love, spiritual universalism, Warren, and Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy… He was instrumental in founding several ‘intentional communities,’ including the ‘Brownstone Utopia’ on 14th St. in New York, and ‘Modern Times’ in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts & the North American Phalanx in New Jersey)in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious (for ‘Free Love’) and finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (and Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, and spiritualist tendencies.[199]

For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[it is apparent… that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form”.[200] William Batchelder Greene was a 19th-century mutualist individualist anarchist, Unitarian minister, soldier and promoter of free banking in the United States. Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system; and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school. After 1850, he became active in labor reform.[200] “He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon’s scheme of mutual banking, and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union”.[200] Greene then published Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875).[200] He saw mutualism as the synthesis of “liberty and order”.[200] His “associationism… is checked by individualism… ‘Mind your own business,’ ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign, as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason he demands ‘mutuality’ in marriagethe equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property”.[200]

Poet, naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings; and his essay Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. In Walden, Thoreau advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization.[201] Civil Disobedience, first published in 1849, argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. These works influenced green anarchism, anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-pacifism,[202] as well as figures including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy.[202] “Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan. For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid-19th century”.[201] Zerzan included Thoreau’s “Excursions” in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings, Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections.[203] Individualist anarchists such as Thoreau[204][205] do not speak of economics, but simply the right of disunion from the state and foresee the gradual elimination of the state through social evolution. Agorist author J. Neil Schulman cites Thoreau as a primary inspiration.[206]

Many economists since Adam Smith have argued thatunlike other taxesa land value tax would not cause economic inefficiency.[207] It would be a progressive tax[208]primarily paid by the wealthyand increase wages, reduce economic inequality, remove incentives to misuse real estate and reduce the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles.[209][210] Early proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer, and Hugo Grotius,[84] but the concept was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George.[211] George believed that people ought to own the fruits of their labor and the value of the improvements they make, thus he was opposed to income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on improvements and all other taxes on production, labor, trade or commerce. George was among the staunchest defenders of free markets and his book Protection or Free Trade was read into the U.S. Congressional Record.[212] Yet he did support direct management of natural monopolies as a last resort, such as right-of-way monopolies necessary for railroads. George advocated for elimination of intellectual property arrangements in favor of government sponsored prizes for inventors.[213][not in citation given] Early followers of George’s philosophy called themselves single taxers because they believed that the only legitimate, broad-based tax was land rent. The term Georgism was coined later, though some modern proponents prefer the term geoism instead,[214] leaving the meaning of “geo” (Earth in Greek) deliberately ambiguous. The terms “Earth Sharing”,[215] “geonomics”[216] and “geolibertarianism”[217] are used by some Georgists to represent a difference of emphasis, or real differences about how land rent should be spent, but all agree that land rent should be recovered from its private owners.

Individualist anarchism found in the United States an important space for discussion and development within the group known as the “Boston anarchists”.[218] Even among the 19th-century American individualists there was no monolithic doctrine and they disagreed amongst each other on various issues including intellectual property rights and possession versus property in land.[219][220][221] Some Boston anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker, identified as socialists, which in the 19th century was often used in the sense of a commitment to improving conditions of the working class (i.e. “the labor problem”).[222] Lysander Spooner, besides his individualist anarchist activism, was also an anti-slavery activist and member of the First International.[223] Tucker argued that the elimination of what he called “the four monopolies”the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffswould undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people, while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker’s anarchist periodical, Liberty, was published from August 1881 to April 1908. The publication, emblazoned with Proudhon’s quote that liberty is “Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order” was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a forum for debate. Contributors included Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Florence Finch Kelly, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie, Lillian Harman and Henry Appleton.[224] Later, Tucker and others abandoned their traditional support of natural rights and converted to an egoism modeled upon the philosophy of Max Stirner.[220] A number of natural rights proponents stopped contributing in protest and “[t]hereafter, Liberty championed egoism, although its general content did not change significantly”.[225] Several publications “were undoubtedly influenced by Liberty’s presentation of egoism. They included: I published by C.L. Swartz, edited by W.E. Gordak and J.W. Lloyd (all associates of Liberty); The Ego and The Egoist, both of which were edited by Edward H. Fulton. Among the egoist papers that Tucker followed were the German Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand, and The Eagle and The Serpent, issued from London. The latter, the most prominent English-language egoist journal, was published from 1898 to 1900 with the subtitle ‘A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy and Sociology'”.[225]

By around the start of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed.[226] H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock were the first prominent figures in the United States to describe themselves as libertarians;[227] they believed Franklin D. Roosevelt had co-opted the word “liberal” for his New Deal policies which they opposed and used “libertarian” to signify their allegiance to individualism.[citation needed] In 1914, Nock joined the staff of The Nation magazine, which at the time was supportive of liberal capitalism. A lifelong admirer of Henry George, Nock went on to become co-editor of The Freeman from 1920 to 1924, a publication initially conceived as a vehicle for the single tax movement, financed by the wealthy wife of the magazine’s other editor, Francis Neilson.[228] Critic H.L. Mencken wrote that “[h]is editorials during the three brief years of the Freeman set a mark that no other man of his trade has ever quite managed to reach. They were well-informed and sometimes even learned, but there was never the slightest trace of pedantry in them”.[229]

Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, David Boaz, writes: “In 1943, at one of the lowest points for liberty and humanity in history, three remarkable women published books that could be said to have given birth to the modern libertarian movement”.[230] Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine, Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead each promoted individualism and capitalism. None of the three used the term libertarianism to describe their beliefs and Rand specifically rejected the label, criticizing the burgeoning American libertarian movement as the “hippies of the right”.[231] Rand’s own philosophy, Objectivism, is notedly similar to libertarianism and she accused libertarians of plagiarizing her ideas.[231] Rand stated:

All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement.[232]

In 1946, Leonard E. Read founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), an American nonprofit educational organization which promotes the principles of laissez-faire economics, private property, and limited government.[233] According to Gary North, former FEE director of seminars and a current Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar, FEE is the “granddaddy of all libertarian organizations”.[234] The initial officers of FEE were Leonard E. Read as President, Austrian School economist Henry Hazlitt as Vice-President and Chairman David Goodrich of B. F. Goodrich. Other trustees on the FEE board have included wealthy industrialist Jasper Crane of DuPont, H. W. Luhnow of William Volker & Co. and Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.[236][237]

Austrian school economist Murray Rothbard was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism,[238] but long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions. He was part of Ayn Rand’s circle for a brief period, but later harshly criticized Objectivism.[239] He praised Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and wrote that she “introduced me to the whole field of natural rights and natural law philosophy”, prompting him to learn “the glorious natural rights tradition”.[240](pp121, 132134) He soon broke with Rand over various differences, including his defense of anarchism. Rothbard was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists[241] and sought to meld their advocacy of free markets and private defense with the principles of Austrian economics.[242] This new philosophy he called anarcho-capitalism.

Karl Hess, a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater and primary author of the Republican Party’s 1960 and 1964 platforms, became disillusioned with traditional politics following the 1964 presidential campaign in which Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson. He parted with the Republicans altogether after being rejected for employment with the party, and began work as a heavy-duty welder. Hess began reading American anarchists largely due to the recommendations of his friend Murray Rothbard and said that upon reading the works of communist anarchist Emma Goldman, he discovered that anarchists believed everything he had hoped the Republican Party would represent. For Hess, Goldman was the source for the best and most essential theories of Ayn Rand without any of the “crazy solipsism that Rand was so fond of”.[243] Hess and Rothbard founded the journal Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, which was published from 1965 to 1968, with George Resch and Leonard P. Liggio. In 1969, they edited The Libertarian Forum 1969, which Hess left in 1971. Hess eventually put his focus on the small scale, stating that “Society is: people together making culture”. He deemed two of his cardinal social principles to be “opposition to central political authority” and “concern for people as individuals”. His rejection of standard American party politics was reflected in a lecture he gave during which he said: “The Democrats or liberals think that everybody is stupid and therefore they need somebody… to tell them how to behave themselves. The Republicans think everybody is lazy”.[244]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of American libertarians and conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements, as well as organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1969 and 1970, Hess joined with others, including Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, Dana Rohrabacher, Samuel Edward Konkin III and former SDS leader Carl Oglesby to speak at two “left-right” conferences which brought together activists from both the Old Right and the New Left in what was emerging as a nascent libertarian movement.[245] As part of his effort to unite right and left-libertarianism, Hess would join the SDS as well as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), of which he explained: “We used to have a labor movement in this country, until I.W.W. leaders were killed or imprisoned. You could tell labor unions had become captive when business and government began to praise them. They’re destroying the militant black leaders the same way now. If the slaughter continues, before long liberals will be asking, ‘What happened to the blacks? Why aren’t they militant anymore?'”.[246] Rothbard ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement.[247] He criticized the tendency of these left-libertarians to appeal to “‘free spirits,’ to people who don’t want to push other people around, and who don’t want to be pushed around themselves” in contrast to “the bulk of Americans,” who “might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc”.[248] This left-libertarian tradition has been carried to the present day by Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorists, contemporary mutualists such as Kevin Carson and Roderick T. Long and other left-wing market anarchists.[249]

In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the Libertarian Party,[250] which has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Other libertarian organizations, such as the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute, were also formed in the 1970s.[251] Philosopher John Hospers, a one-time member of Rand’s inner circle, proposed a non-initiation of force principle to unite both groups, but this statement later became a required “pledge” for candidates of the Libertarian Party and Hospers became its first presidential candidate in 1972.[citation needed] In the 1980s, Hess joined the Libertarian Party and served as editor of its newspaper from 1986 to 1990.

Modern libertarianism gained significant recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974, for which he received a National Book Award in 1975.[252] In response to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Nozick’s book supported a nightwatchman state on the grounds that it was an inevitable phenomenon which could arise without violating individual rights.[253]

In the early 1970s, Rothbard wrote that “[o]ne gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy… ‘Libertarians’… had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[254] Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, this modern American libertarianism has spread beyond North America via think tanks and political parties.[255][256]

A surge of popular interest in libertarian socialism occurred in western nations during the 1960s and 1970s.[257] Anarchism was influential in the Counterculture of the 1960s[258][259][260] and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts.[261] In 1968, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded in Carrara, Italy during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.[173][262] The uprisings of May 1968 also led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas. Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries. A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having increased the profile of the movement or its unity of ideas.[263] Left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency. The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen.

Around the turn of the 21st century, libertarian socialism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.[264] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs and other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet.[264] A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.[264] For English anarchist scholar Simon Critchley, “contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism…One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally”.[265] This might also have been motivated by “the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ and the capitulation to neo-liberalism of Western social democracy”.[266]

Libertarian socialists in the early 21st century have been involved in the alter-globalization movement, squatter movement; social centers; infoshops; anti-poverty groups such as Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and Food Not Bombs; tenants’ unions; housing cooperatives; intentional communities generally and egalitarian communities; anti-sexist organizing; grassroots media initiatives; digital media and computer activism; experiments in participatory economics; anti-racist and anti-fascist groups like Anti-Racist Action and Anti-Fascist Action; activist groups protecting the rights of immigrants and promoting the free movement of people, such as the No Border network; worker co-operatives, countercultural and artist groups; and the peace movement.

In the United States, polls (circa 2006) find that the views and voting habits of between 10 and 20 percent (and increasing) of voting age Americans may be classified as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or libertarian”.[267][268] This is based on pollsters and researchers defining libertarian views as fiscally conservative and socially liberal (based on the common United States meanings of the terms) and against government intervention in economic affairs and for expansion of personal freedoms.[267] Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 1723% of the United States electorate.[269] However, a 2014 Pew Poll found that 23% of Americans who identify as libertarians have no idea what the word means.[270]

2009 saw the rise of the Tea Party movement, an American political movement known for advocating a reduction in the United States national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes, which had a significant libertarian component[271] despite having contrasts with libertarian values and views in some areas, such as nationalism, free trade, social issues and immigration.[272] A 2011 Reason-Rupe poll found that among those who self-identified as Tea Party supporters, 41 percent leaned libertarian and 59 percent socially conservative.[273] The movement, named after the Boston Tea Party, also contains conservative[274] and populist elements[275] and has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. Tea Party activities have declined since 2010 with the number of chapters across the country slipping from about 1,000 to 600.[276][277] Mostly, Tea Party organizations are said to have shifted away from national demonstrations to local issues.[276] Following the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate, The New York Times declared that Tea Party lawmakers are no longer a fringe of the conservative coalition, but now “indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party”.[278]

In 2012, anti-war presidential candidates (Libertarian Republican Ron Paul and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) raised millions of dollars and garnered millions of votes despite opposition to their obtaining ballot access by Democrats and Republicans.[279] The 2012 Libertarian National Convention, which saw Gary Johnson and James P. Gray nominated as the 2012 presidential ticket for the Libertarian Party, resulted in the most successful result for a third-party presidential candidacy since 2000 and the best in the Libertarian Party’s history by vote number. Johnson received 1% of the popular vote, amounting to more than 1.2 million votes.[280][281] Johnson has expressed a desire to win at least 5 percent of the vote so that the Libertarian Party candidates could get equal ballot access and federal funding, thus subsequently ending the two-party system.[282][283][284]

Since the 1950s, many American libertarian organizations have adopted a free market stance, as well as supporting civil liberties and non-interventionist foreign policies. These include the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Francisco Marroqun University, the Foundation for Economic Education, Center for Libertarian Studies, the Cato Institute and Liberty International. The activist Free State Project, formed in 2001, works to bring 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to influence state policy.[285] Active student organizations include Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty.

A number of countries have libertarian parties that run candidates for political office. In the United States, the Libertarian Party was formed in 1972 and is the third largest[286][287] American political party, with over 370,000 registered voters in the 35 states that allow registration as a Libertarian[288] and has hundreds of party candidates elected or appointed to public office.[289]

Current international anarchist federations which sometimes identify themselves as libertarian include the International of Anarchist Federations, the International Workers’ Association, and International Libertarian Solidarity. The largest organised anarchist movement today is in Spain, in the form of the Confederacin General del Trabajo (CGT) and the CNT. CGT membership was estimated to be around 100,000 for 2003.[290] Other active syndicalist movements include the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden and the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation in Sweden; the Unione Sindacale Italiana in Italy; Workers Solidarity Alliance in the United States; and Solidarity Federation in the United Kingdom. The revolutionary industrial unionist Industrial Workers of the World claiming 2,000 paying members as well as the International Workers Association, an anarcho-syndicalist successor to the First International, also remain active. In the United States, there exists the Common Struggle Libertarian Communist Federation.

Criticism of libertarianism includes ethical, economic, environmental, pragmatic, and philosophical concerns.[291] It has also been argued that laissez-faire capitalism does not necessarily produce the best or most efficient outcome,[292] nor does its policy of deregulation prevent the abuse of natural resources. Furthermore, libertarianism has been criticized as utopian due to the lack of any such societies today.

Critics such as Corey Robin describe right-libertarianism as fundamentally a reactionary conservative ideology, united with more traditional conservative thought and goals by a desire to enforce hierarchical power and social relations:[293]

Conservatism, then, is not a commitment to limited government and libertyor a wariness of change, a belief in evolutionary reform, or a politics of virtue. These may be the byproducts of conservatism, one or more of its historically specific and ever-changing modes of expression. But they are not its animating purpose. Neither is conservatism a makeshift fusion of capitalists, Christians, and warriors, for that fusion is impelled by a more elemental forcethe opposition to the liberation of men and women from the fetters of their superiors, particularly in the private sphere. Such a view might seem miles away from the libertarian defense of the free market, with its celebration of the atomistic and autonomous individual. But it is not. When the libertarian looks out upon society, he does not see isolated individuals; he sees private, often hierarchical, groups, where a father governs his family and an owner his employees.

John Donahue argues that if political power were radically shifted to local authorities, parochial local interests would predominate at the expense of the whole and that this would exacerbate current problems with collective action.[294]

Michael Lind has observed that of the 195 countries in the world today, none have fully actualized a libertarian society:

If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?[295]

Lind has also criticised libertarianism, particularly the right-wing and free market variant of the ideology, as being incompatible with democracy and apologetic towards autocracy.[296]

More:

Libertarianism – Wikipedia