Ed Hudgins

VIP
  • Content count

    898
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Ed Hudgins

  • Rank
    $$$$$$

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.objectivistcenter.org
  • ICQ
    0

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Previous Fields

  • Full Name
    Edward Hudgins
  • Description
    Director of Advocacy and Senior Scholar, The Atlas Society
  • Articles
    New Cult of Darkness Every Day a New Year Milton Friedman: 1912-2006 Republican Election Fiasco The Pope vs. Islam: Who Stands for Reason? Happy Labor Day - We're All Workers! Gustav Mahler’s Second and Eighth Symphonies Starbucks' Fat Cup of Trouble "Atlas" Movie One Step Closer! THE INSIDE SCOOP Why We Give Gifts Policing Phone Calls and Perverting Principles Birthday Blips: Are Americans Really Free & Equal? A Cool Capitalist Atlas Forced into Early Retirement The Public Side of Private Love
  1. Hudgins Joins Heartland!

    Thanks Michael, et al! I'm excited about the new challenge, especially at this time. We're in a political volatile times. So while we need philosophical clarity, we also have the opportunity to actually promote some real change. Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord was one such change. His appointments at OMB, EPA, the FCC and elsewhere are important. And we have some real opportunities at the state level. I hope to get back to writing in the future, probably some policy papers and, I hope, short pieces as well. I'll keep you informed. Cheers! Ed
  2. Hudgins Joins Heartland!

    As some of you already might know, I have accepted the job of new research director at the Heartland Institute! Heartland is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, outside of Chicago, though I'll still be working in the Washington,D.C. area. Heartland is an “action tank” as well as a “think tank,” discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. It is a national leader in the fight for climate realism against alarmist dogma; founder Joe Bast & two other Heartlanders were at the White House for Pres. Trump's announcement about pulling out of the Paris Accords, while I did a TV show on the subject. It is a leader for control by parents control of their children’s education against “Common Core” government control freaks. But Heartland specializes in taking the battle for free markets to the states, providing studies for policymakers and activists, witnesses for state legislative committees, and analysis that helps friends of freedom in the various states learn from their respective experiences. I will be building out Heartland’s research efforts, producing intellectual and policy ammunition for its traditional audiences and for new audiences—Millennials, minorities, well-intentioned civic leaders who want the best for their communities. I'm with Heartland plotting a long march through the institutions! Any of you who are ground troops in the battle, feel free to offer me your thoughts on how we can help! My new work email is ehudgins@heartland.org
  3. Elon Musk and Merging With Machines

    I remember that one! But I'll come clean, here's the focus of my real interest in robots:
  4. Elon Musk and Merging With Machines

    I suggest that neither you nor I know the truth about dry vs wet tech vis a vis human life. I suspect that the folks who are investing billions of their own $$$s into human-brain interface work know better than we do, though they could be wrong. As I've also pointed out, the costs of sequencing a human genome has dropped from $100 million in 2001 to $10 million in 2007 to just over $1,000 today. That an innovations like the CRISPR cas9 gene editing tool suggests that manipulating our DNA will play a major roles in the kinds of creatures with evolve to in the future. Also, see Diamandis's quote in my piece.
  5. Elon Musk and Merging With Machines

    I might as well post this here for future discussions. THE HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT ALLIANCE Exponential technologies in information, nanotech, biotech, robotics, and AI promise a future of unimaginable prosperity with longer, healthier, even transhuman lives for all. But these changes are producing radical economic, social, and moral challenges, with reactionary pushback from left and right and with calls for government controls. Worse, our increasingly nihilist culture is eroding the value and joy of productive achievement. But the good news is that otherwise cynical young people do love technology. Further, entrepreneurs creating this tech are individualists who love their work and want to prosper, but who need to understand better the need for free markets if they are to achieve their goals. A Human Achievement Alliance can meet these challenges. This initiative exploits the synergy between the values of Millennials, a new breed of entrepreneurial achievers, and friends of freedom. It offers an optimistic, exciting, empowering vision of the world as it can be and should be. In operation, it seeks: ●Celebrate and promote through our institutions and through a Human Achievement Day, the value of achievement and Enlightenment virtues of reason and entrepreneurship from which achievements emerge. ●Raise public awareness of the potential of exponential technology and the necessity of economic liberty in coalitions, media, political circles, and the wider culture. ●Develop cutting-edge thinking on deep issues concerning exponential technologies: Should we reject the “precautionary principle’ for a “proactionary” principle?” Why are robots and AI do not threaten jobs? Will human-machine mergers pose ethical problems? Could we actually live 500 years? ●Promote free-market public policies that remove barriers to exponential tech. “We are all achievers, whether nurturing a child to maturity or business to profitability, writing a song, poem, business plan or dissertation, laying the bricks to a building or designing it.” To help ensure this bright future, and for further information, contact Edward Hudgins at edward@edwardhudgins.com.
  6. FYI: You'll see more about this in the future: THE HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT ALLIANCE Exponential technologies in information, nanotech, biotech, robotics, and AI promise a future of unimaginable prosperity with longer, healthier, even transhuman lives for all. But these changes are producing radical economic, social, and moral challenges, with reactionary pushback from left and right and with calls for government controls. Worse, our increasingly nihilist culture is eroding the value and joy of productive achievement. But the good news is that otherwise cynical young people do love technology. Further, entrepreneurs creating this tech are individualists who love their work and want to prosper, but who need to understand better the need for free markets if they are to achieve their goals. A Human Achievement Alliance can meet these challenges. This initiative exploits the synergy between the values of Millennials, a new breed of entrepreneurial achievers, and friends of freedom. It offers an optimistic, exciting, empowering vision of the world as it can be and should be. In operation, it seeks: ●Celebrate and promote through our institutions and through a Human Achievement Day, the value of achievement and Enlightenment virtues of reason and entrepreneurship from which achievements emerge. ●Raise public awareness of the potential of exponential technology and the necessity of economic liberty in coalitions, media, political circles, and the wider culture. ●Develop cutting-edge thinking on deep issues concerning exponential technologies: Should we reject the “precautionary principle’ for a “proactionary” principle?” Why are robots and AI do not threaten jobs? Will human-machine mergers pose ethical problems? Could we actually live 500 years? ●Promote free-market public policies that remove barriers to exponential tech. “We are all achievers, whether nurturing a child to maturity or business to profitability, writing a song, poem, business plan or dissertation, laying the bricks to a building or designing it.” To help ensure this bright future, and for further information, contact Edward Hudgins at edward@edwardhudgins.com.
  7. JTS - Quite correct! Work on telemeres is what could extend life and keep us healthy. Baal - Genetics is the key factor though environment and lifestyle do contribute to longevity. But biohacking and other technologies that could radically extend life could be reaching that exponential takeoff point. In 2001 it cost $100 million to sequence a human genome. In 2007 it cost $10 million, Now it costs just over $1,000. As they say, we older guys need to aim to life long enough that we can life forever!
  8. Elon Musk and Merging With Machines By Edward Hudgins Elon Musk seems to be on board with the argument that, as a news headline sums up, “Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in AI age.” The Paypal co-founder, SpaceX and Tesla Motors innovator has, in the past, expressed concern about deep AI. He even had a cameo in Transcendence, a Johnny Depp film that was a cautionary tale about humans becoming machines. Has Musk changed his views? What should we think? Human-machine symbiosis Musk said in a speech this week at the opening of Tesla in Dubai warned governments to "Make sure researchers don't get carried away --- scientists get so engrossed in their work they don't realize what they are doing. But he also said that "Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence." In techno-speak he told listeners that "Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence." Imagine calculating a rocket trajectory by just thinking about it since your brain and the Artificial Intelligence with which it links are one! This is, of course, the vision that is the goal of Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, co-founders of Singularity University. It is the Transhumanist vision of philosopher Max More. It is a vision of exponential technologies that could even help us live forever. AI doubts? But in the past, Musk has expressed doubts about AI. In July 2015, he signed onto "Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers," which warned that such devices could “select and engage targets without human intervention.” Yes, out-of-control killer robots! But it concluded that “We believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways … Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea…” The letter was also signed by Diamandis, one of the foremost AI proponents. So it’s fair to say that Musk was simply offering reasonable caution. In Werner Herzog’s documentary Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World, Musk explained that "I think that the biggest risk is not that the AI will develop a will of its own but rather that it will follow the will of people that establish its utility function." He offered, "If you were a hedge fund or private equity fund and you said, 'Well, all I want my AI to do is maximize the value of my portfolio,' then the AI could decide … to short consumer stocks, go long defense stocks, and start a war." We wonder if the AI would appreciate that in the long-run, cities in ruins from war would harm the portfolio? In any case, Musk again seems to offer reasonable caution rather than blanket denunciations. But in his Dubai remarks, he still seemed reticent. Should he and we be worried? Why move ahead with AI? Exponential technologies already have revolutionized communications and information and are doing the same to our biology. In the short-term, human-AI interfaces, genetic engineering, and nanotech all promise to enhance our human capacities, to make us smarter, quicker of mind, healthier, and long-lived. In the long-term Diamandis contends that “Enabled with [brain-computer interfaces] and AI, humans will become massively connected with each other and billions of AIs (computers) via the cloud, analogous to the first multicellular lifeforms 1.5 billion years ago. Such a massive interconnection will lead to the emergence of a new global consciousness, and a new organism I call the Meta-Intelligence.” What does this mean? If we are truly Transhuman, will we be soulless Star Trek Borgs rather than Datas seeking a better human soul? There has been much deep thinking about such question but I don’t know and neither does anyone else. In the 1937 Ayn Rand short novel Anthem, we see an impoverished dystopia governed by a totalitarian elites. We read that “It took fifty years to secure the approval of all the Councils for the Candle, and to decide on the number needed.” Proactionary! Many elites today are in the throes of the “precautionary principle.” It holds that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm … the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those proposing the action or policy. Under this “don’t do anything for the first time” illogic, humans would never have used fire, much less candles. By contrast, Max More offers the “proactionary principle.” It holds that we should assess risks according to available science, not popular perception, account for both risks the costs of opportunities foregone, and protect people’s freedom to experiment, innovate, and progress. Diamandis, More and, let's hope, Musk are the same path to a future we can’t predict but which we know can be beyond our most optimistic dreams. And you should be on that path too! Explore: Edward Hudgins, Public Opposition to Biotech Endangers Your Life and Health. July 28, 2016. Edward Hudgins, The Robots of Labor Day. September 2, 2015. Edward Hudgins, Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years. March 12, 2015.
  9. Was Ayn Rand Wrong on Reagan?

    Federal revenues under Reagan rose from $600 billion in 1981 to $910 billion in 1988 with tax cuts. The problem is that Federal spending continued to grow as well. I'm glad he cut taxes in order to let people keep more of their own money. One of my criticisms of Reagan is that he didn't use the veto pen enough.
  10. Was Ayn Rand Wrong on Reagan? By Edward Hudgins February 06, 2017 Hardcore anti-Communist Ayn Rand was, to the surprise of many who did not live through those days, not a fan of hardcore anti-Communist Ronald Reagan. But Rand died in 1982, only a year into Reagan’s presidency. So on the occasion of his birthday, let’s ask why Rand didn’t like Reagan and whether, if she had lived, she would have reevaluated her opinion of the Gipper. Fear of the Religious Right Rand found strong fault principally with Reagan’s alliance with the emerging Religious Right. She said that “the appalling disgrace of his administration was his connection with the so-called ‘Moral Majority’ and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling, apparently with his approval, to take us back to the Middle Ages via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.” Most notably, Rand rejected Reagan’s opposition to legal abortion. But what really happened to all those campaign promises? In retrospect, Reagan mostly offered rhetoric and did little to make the Religious Right agenda his political priority. His energies went into two goals. First, he wanted to roll back the Soviet bloc, and thus the threat of nuclear war, rather than resigning himself, as his predecessors had, to containing its expansion. And second, he wanted to roll back the power and scope of the federal government. The Evil Empire Rand would certainly have approved of his labeling the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire.” He saw the Cold War not simply in geopolitical terms but, rather, in moral terms. In 1987, Reagan famously stood before the barrier in Berlin meant to keep the people from Communist East Germany from escaping to West Germany, and demanded of the Soviet leader, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” But remember, this was five years after Rand died. She didn’t have this context when she made her evaluations of Reagan. His pronouncements and those of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher defined the conflict in moral terms. The words of those leaders gave courage to those in Russia and other countries under the boot of Communism from the knowledge that they had allies who understood the essence of the conflict, who would not acquiesce in evil, and who supported their aspirations for liberty. Preventing nuclear war Reagan also saw as his highest goal the protection of the United States from a nuclear attack… (Continue reading here.)
  11. The 25th Anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Collapse By Edward Hudgins December 26, 2016 marks a quarter century since the Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the collapsing wreck known as the Soviet Union. It was one of the worst tyrannies ever inflicted on humans by other humans who had lost their humanity. This communist regime left in its wake tens of millions of dead and hundreds of millions who suffered privation, repression, torture chambers, and Gulags. I traveled there in the regime’s last years as part of Heritage Foundation delegations training those who, with perestroika, were seeking a way to economic growth as well as an open society. The economy in those last years was grim, even compared to what I’d seen there a decade earlier. Instead of stores with a limited selection of poor-quality products for which you had to wait in three different lines to purchases, there were no lines because the shelves were empty. Twenty-five years later Russia still struggles with the legacy of corruption, violence and murder that was inherent in the communist system. What are the lessons on which we should reflect? First, ideas have consequences. The Soviet state did not result simply from a popular uprising against the Czarist authoritarian tyranny. It replaced that tyranny with a totalitarian state, in which every aspect of one’s social, personal and inner life was directed by ruling elites. This tyranny was based on a collectivist philosophy which holds that every individual should be sacrificed to a “collective good.” Never mind that free markets demonstrably are the best way to allow individuals to rise from poverty to prosperity. The communists sought to control, through brainwashing and bullets, the lives of all individuals—with themselves as the ruling red masters. The battle then with communists had to be fought with ideas, and not just in scholarly circles but also in our culture and social institutions, just as the battle against control freak political elites today and, worse, Islamist must be fought. Second, existential evils like he Soviet Union endure in part because of enabling, morally-degenerate dupes. During most of the Soviet Union’s existence, it had apologists in the freer world. Many in Hollywood in the 1930s presented and praised a lying image of a Red Paradise even as Stalin was condemning millions to death by starvation or firing squad. Today we see the same sort of dupes who hate the free West and America more than they fear the Islamists who are making the world a hellhole for Westerners and other Muslims as well. Third, evil ideologies like communism must be countered with a compelling, positive, value-based vision. Example helps. The comparison between East and West Berlin or North and South Korea couldn’t be clearer. Similarly, thousands have risked their lives to escape Communist Cuba, voting with their rafts and rickety boats, oblivious to the degenerate dupes in America who shill for the Castro thugs. But examples are not enough. After all, Communists then and many Islamist murderers today have been lived in the West and seen the opportunities open societies offer if one values life and is dedicated to prosperity through productive individual achievement. Communists, Nazis and Islamists reject those Enlightenment values. Thus, now as then, we must foster the best within us as human beings so that a compelling vision of liberty and prosperity will have compelling impact. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s demise, let’s not forget the victims of communism. Let’s not forget that even though systems based on mistaken or malicious ideas like the Soviet Union will eventually collapse on their own, they can inflict decades of horror on the world and be followed by something as bad without the right ideas and values. But for this moment, let’s just celebrate that 25 years ago, a terrible tyranny was swept into the dustbin of history!
  12. Ayn...Om? Would Rand Approve of Meditation Practices? By Edward Hudgins We all know that GOP Rep. Paul Ryan likes Ayn Rand. Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan -- who recently lost his bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as his party’s leader in the House -- probably not so much. But what would Ayn Rand think of Tim Ryan hobbyhorse of pushing meditation policies on Capitol Hill? The answer might surprise you. Meditating on mindfulness Whenever politicians talk about meditation, you probably assume they’re either right wing religious nuts or left wing New Age wackos. In an interview ahead of his leadership bid, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace questioned the paucity of Tim Ryan’s legislative record, noting that in 14 years “the two big issues you’ve pushed are. . . that you host meditation sessions every week on Capitol Hill, and that you got some federal money to teach. . . ‘mindfulness’ to students in your district.” Tim Ryan gave the obvious response that “the capital could use a little mindfulness.” But he then veered into the serious, offering that “if you look at social and emotional learning … they’ve just did a meta-analysis a few months ago of 300,000 kids ... (Continue reading here.)
  13. Can You Love God and Ayn Rand?

    Can You Love God and Ayn Rand? By Jennifer Anju Grossman Ayn Rand’s most adamant axiom forms the foundation of her Objectivist philosophy: “Contradictions do not exist.” But what about the contradiction between her philosophy and religion—one grounded in reason, the other in faith? Put another way: Can you love “Atlas Shrugged” and the Bible? Rand and Objectivist scholars say no, yet many of her followers disagree, and they should still be welcomed with open arms. During the 2012 campaign, then-vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan told Fox News that he “really enjoyed” Rand’s novels” and admired the writer’s ability to highlight the pitfalls of socialism. But the current House speaker, a practicing Roman Catholic, described Objectivism as “something that I completely disagree with. It’s an atheistic philosophy.” It’s a shame that Rand’s secularism prompts some to reject the rest of Objectivism, which she described as a philosophy based on “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”… (Continue reading here.)
  14. Atlas Society Art Contest!

    Atlas Society Art Contest! The Atlas Society has launched an art contest offering prizes up to $5,000! In the current phase we welcome especially works in visual media including paintings, drawings, photos, and sculptures on the theme of “The Entrepreneur: Risk and Reward.” But we are pretty welcoming of any representation that you might have, including ones portraying “Atlas Shrugged” or “Fountainhead” themes! You can enter as many times as you like. Submit something today and more later as you produce them! For details, terms, and conditions, check out our Atlas Art Contest page.
  15. Good points. Too many people are habituated to say "There ought to be a law." Asking questions a different way does often get different results.