This is the beginning of an annotated transcript of Part One of Eight in a radio program mini-series by TUC (Time of Useful Consciousness) Radio focusing on the accelerating danger and likelihood of Artificial Intelligence and the Risk of Nuclear War.

The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction
Artificial Intelligence
by Maria Gilardin
TUC Radio Podcast Part One of Eight
15 April 2015

Broadcast quality mp3 of the 30 minute program is here: (20.8 MB)

TUC aka Time of Useful Consciousness is an aeronautical term. The time between the onset of oxygen deficiency and the loss of consciousness, the brief moments in which a pilot may save the plane.

The anti nuclear campaigner and physician Dr. Helen Caldicott organized a two day symposium in February 2015. She had an international panel of leading experts in disarmament, political science, existential risk, anthropology, medicine, nuclear weapons, and artificial intelligence. MIT professor Noam Chomsky spoke on nuclear weapons as, “A Pathology That Could Yield to Catastrophe if Not Cured.” His presence—or absence at public events—usually makes a huge difference. Media, such as Democracy Now, came for his talk but did not stay for the other 20 plus speakers. It appears that the topic was just too scary for many.

What they missed was a huge offering of information and related questions on Artificial Intelligence and the Risk of Accidental Nuclear War, on recently proven facts about a global nuclear winter that can be caused by the unleashing of just a few nuclear weapons, the expanding Militarization of Space, the Power and Pathology of the US Military Industrial Complex, privatization of the US Nuclear Weapons Labs, nuclear war crimes in the Marshall Islands, as well as two of the vibrant movements to abolish nuclear weapons, a divestment effort under the title Don’t Bank on the Bomb as well as ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and war began before the atom bombs were even built. A few of the scientists who went on to work on the Manhattan project recognized the unheard of explosive potential of atomic weapons and the risks of spreading radiation. In a TUC Radio program about the first nuclear chain reaction the historian Iain Boal mentioned Leo Szilard who witnessed the experiment by Enrico Fermi in an abandoned racquet court in Chicago on December second, 1942. Iain Boal:

Leo Szilard was on that balcony that day. It was very, very cold and they could see their breath. And they were standing there with a bottle of Chianti. And it was Szilard who in 1933 in London, as he walked across Southampton Road and the world cracked open, had been the first to consider at that moment how it might be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction and liberate energy on an industrial scale and to make a bomb. And he stayed behind on the racquets court. There was crowd there, he said later, and then Fermi and I stayed there alone. I shook hands with Fermi and I said I thought this day would go down as a black day in the history of mankind.

Leo Szilard later said that when he crossed Southampton Road in 1933 he suddenly knew in a flash of recognition that by his invention universal death might come into the world. The Hungarian American physicist was the first to conceive of the nuclear chain reaction and he patented the idea of a nuclear reactor along with Enrico Fermi.

Szilard participated in the Manhattan Project, but tried by all means available to him to convince US President Truman not to use atomic weapons on Japan. Szilard urged US policy-makers to demonstrate the power of these weapons to leaders of the world by exploding an atomic device in an uninhabited area.