Episode #16 Anders Sandberg on the ethics and risks of time compression in computing

andersIn this episode I talk to Anders Sandberg about the ethical implications of time compression – or the speeding up of computational tasks to quantum levels. Anders is research associate to the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. His research at the Future of Humanity Institute centres on management of low-probability high-impact risks, societal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement, estimating the capabilities of future technologies, and very long-range futures. He is currently senior researcher in the FHI-Amlin collaboration on systemic risk of risk modelling. I ask Anders about his latest research on time compression in computing, and about the effects this might have on human values and society.

You download the episode here. You can listen below. You can also subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes (via RSS).

Show Notes

  • 0.00 – Introduction
  • 1:00 – the future of humanity in the face of the Trump election
  • 3:50 – the ethics and risks of time compression in computing – speed, space and Moore’s law
  • 9:50 – quantum computing and its limits, the Margolus Levitin limit, the Beckenstein Bound, algorithmic complexity & the ultimate laptop
  • 18:40  – limits of cryptography and light speed
  • 28:20 – why speed and time matter in human life – the economics of productivity
  • 36:35 – the value of temporal location – being first/being last – winner takes all markets – hyperbolic discounting
  • 46:15  – automated trading & high frequency trading algorithms – instability, speed and space – flash crashes – algorithms and their sense of humour
  • 56:00 – speed inequalities & mismatches, loss of control, hard take-off scenarios – technological unemployment
  • 1:12:50  – can we speed up humans?


Relevant Links

Anders’ contribution to From Algorithmic States to Algorithmic Brains

Anders’ webpage at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford

Richard Feynman – Plenty of Room at the Bottom (1959)

Bernard Williams – The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow





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