Research and Technical Writings

DON’S YouTube Videos

The Nature of Human Intelligence playlist:

AIs and Humans playlist

Building Boats

DON’S other research and technical writings

Don’s research, writing, and videos have been aimed at understanding the true nature of the existential and environmental threats we humans face. In the environmental arena, that means finding realistic and effective ways to improve environmental performance without driving farms, fisheries, or other activities out of business and farmland into development and to improve salmon habitat in a way that respects the needs of natural resource businesses like farming and commercial fisheries .  In the arena of artificial intelligence, that means exploring the nature of intelligence and undertaking to understand the likely point of view of a new “artificial consciousness we humans are likely to encounter in the years ahead.

These materials are provided here as a service, to enhance public access to practical information about farming and the environment and about the future of human and artificial intelligence.

For additional information on the future of human and artificial intelligence and, in particular, on the likely points of view involved, you may wish to take a look at a brief annotated bibliography Don has assembled: AI’s and Humans: A Representative Annotated Bibliography which should provide some academic and other background literature for someone who wishes to delve deeper.

For additional information on the agriculture and environmental issues, the researcher may wish to view the website of American Farmland Trust which has a wealth of materials on these topics.

Note that the materials below are available as PDF files, unless otherwise indicated.

Environmental markets for agriculture:

Farms and ranches generate environmental services that are of great value to the rest of society. Using well-known “best management practices,” farmers and ranchers can greatly enhance those services. Environmental markets can pay for providing them, producing supplemental revenue to help support the working farm or ranch business.

The following materials describe environmental markets, show how they can work for agriculture, and address some of the issues they create:

Conservation incentives in agriculture:

If we are to protect and retain our working farm businesses, we will need strong, effective, and strategic conservation incentive programs. If these programs are to be seen as a viable alternative to regulation, they need to be credible with the public that must pay for them. And they need to be fair, both for taxpayers and for the farmers and ranchers we hope will use them.

The following materials discuss some of the issues with environmental incentive programs and explains how we can make them stronger:

Preserving farmland and the environment:

The loss of farmland to development and its fragmentation into small parcels that are uneconomic for agriculture and end up being put to non-farm uses is almost always a net loss for the environment.

The following materials explain the issues with farmland loss and show how communities can address them while dealing fairly with both their landowners and the rest of their citizens:

Economic viability for agriculture:

Farms are in business. It is when those businesses fail, or when they must sell, that we lose our treasured working farmland. So a necessary part of preserving agriculture and preventing the environmentally damaging development of farmland and ranchland is assuring the economic viability of those farm and ranch businesses.

The following materials deal with economic viability in agriculture and shows how communities can help farmers stay in business and on the land: