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How in the World is Alec Kriebel – Winter 2016

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I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a blog post that details some key events of the previous months. I am doing this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


Winter (January, February, March) 2016 – 

Winter Quarter

My sixth quarter at UCI has come and gone, and it was the most difficult yet, but also the most rewarding. Not only was it the most difficult yet in terms of course load, but also because of starting two companies (more on that to come) and building an entire social networking app from scratch. I’m happy to say that I was on (equivalent of) the Dean’s List (assuming the Dean’s List is 3.25 GPA and above). Another exciting addition to my school career was getting a job at the Blackstone LaunchPad. The Blackstone LaunchPad is an on-campus resource for UCI students, alumni, and faculty to mentor their entrepreneurial activities. As a student fellow, all of last quarter I was consulting and advising my peers on how to best start and grow their businesses.

Business

As always, my businesses are one of the most important things I’m doing in conjunction with school at almost any given time. Going into this quarter I of course was still managing Protonico Printing, LLC. with my brother, but also had a plan for another e-commerce like Protonico. InstaButtons (logo above) is a company I started with my roommates that sells pinback buttons with varying designs including custom designs to the UCI community, and also sells them online. I started this business during Winter Quarter not only because I had been thinking about it for a while, but also because of my Entrepreneurship class I had been taking. The other business that I had started is another e-commerce business that specializes selling third-party products on Amazon.com using their ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ service. Its a great business model because as a business, we can ship all of our products to Amazon, let them pack, and ship the item to the buyer all while we focus more on growing and marketing the business. I’m very excited to get this business off the ground with my businesses partner and have high-expectations for its outcome.

Spring Quarter

I’ll be starting Spring Quarter a day after Easter Sunday and am taking the first of my upper-division computer science electives. The classes I’ll be taking are:

  • Intro to Data Management:
    • This is one of the two upper-division classes I’ll be taking this quarter. It focuses on efficiently storing data and the study of databases.
  • Principles of Operating Systems:
    • This class is exactly as it sounds; the study of the underlying principles of operating systems like Windows of Mac OS X.
  • Basic Economics I:
    • This is one the last four Gen. Ed.’s that I’ll be taking. This is a basic econ course that covers macroeconomics.
  • Philosophy of Government and Society
    • This is the second of the final four Gen. Ed.’s that I’ll be taking. I like philosophy so I felt this would be a good fit for a general elective for me.

Playlists –


Happy Easter,

– Alec Kriebel

Twenty


Today is my twentieth birthday and its been a great two decades so far for me with many more to come.

Yesterday, SpaceX historically landed the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket in a big step towards rocket reusability and so, access to space.

This is probably one of the best birthday presents I could have gotten and I am so happy SpaceX has been able to achieve this.


 

Changing topics, I’ve had two decades now to decide what I will be doing with my life and I’ve known early on that I wanted to do something big that changed the world (or universe) for the better in a substantial way. I’m not talking about menial change, but instead change that affects millions or billions for the better; something that advances the human race as a whole.

This leads someone into asking ‘What is the greatest good one can do or pursue?’ I think about this a lot and the answer I have personally come up with at least so far in my life is that life itself is inherently good and so preserving and spreading life is ‘the greatest good.’

Although I thought of this myself, the idea of this has been thought of before by others and is actually established. The idea that life itself is valuable is called Biotic Ethics.

Once you establish Biotic Ethics the way to apply this as a second step came naturally to me, to preserve life and spread it, we must branch out into space and have life on multiple planets. Obviously, it’s not good to have all of your eggs in one basket should an extinction event occur (meteors and dinosaurs). Luckily, someone is working on this who isn’t a fringe scientist, the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, who is aiming to establish a self-sustaining colony on Mars, which is excellent.

During my lifetime I will probably see a Mars colony, but I think it is important for life as a whole, not humans, to expand farther than that, which brings me to Directed Panspermia, which is the “deliberate transport of microorganisms in space to be used as introduced species on lifeless planets” (Wikipedia). You can imagine this playing out as interstellar missions to other solar systems of interest that have potentially habitable planets, then bombing those planets with very simple microorganisms that are robust enough to sustain themselves there and allow them to evolve in whichever way the future takes them. The important part is that we are seeding the universe with life.

This is what I am dedicating my life to. I think that defining a goal and then working towards it greatly increases the chances of success of that goal and so with this blog post, 20 years into my life, I’m defining my life’s goal to achieve directed panspermia, or put simpler, to protect life by spreading it throughout the universe.

Should this occur, it might be the largest thing anyone has ever done and might be one of the hardest, so I am defining this goal early in my life so that the execution of this idea can take up to 60 years.

I have a few ideas on how to do this, but the point of this post is to announce the goal so anyone can know, but also to be able to hold myself accountable should I not work toward this.

The first step, at least I’ve thought so far, is to become financially independent so that I can dedicate myself to this, and so that is what I am working on now.

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – Fall 2015

Alec & Kristie on the Butterfly Boat
Alec & Kristie on the Butterfly Boat

I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a blog post that details some key events of the previous months. I am doing this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


Fall (September, October, November, December) 2015 – 

Student Fellow at BLP

I’m proud to announce that I will be a business consultant (the official title is ‘Student Fellow’) at UC Irvine’s Blackstone Launchpad. The Blackstone Launchpad is a center for entrepreneurship on UCI’s campus that offers free resources, advice, and consultations to budding student entrepreneurs. Personally, I’ve utilized the Blackstone Launchpad for my own  business ventures (How To Develop iOS Apps Course, Protonico Printing), and have been since the first few weeks in my career at UCI. After being mentored by the center for over a year, and growing my businesses over that year, the directors of the Blackstone Launchpad decided I would be fit to join their team and help other students by giving them advice on how they can create and grow their business just like I had grown mine. In fact, the BSLP has grown so much in the time that I had been there that they needed to hire students like myself to help with all the entrepreneurs coming in for advice. I’m very happy to be joining the BSLP team and on to of that, being able to offer advice and personal experience to students like myself.

Fall Quarter Over

Christmas time is here and that means that means that the first academic quarter for UCI is now over (as of December 11th). On top of other achievements, I’m happy to announce that I will be a Junior starting this next academic quarter once credits for Fall quarter have been applied. This upperclassman status means that I can now take upper-division class.

This quarter I took:

  • ICS 45C – Programming in C++ (Course about the C++ programming language)
  • ICS 51 – Intro to Computer Organization (Course about the very fundamentals and lowest levels of computing; computer architecture)
  • ICS 6D – Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science (Course on Discrete Math which is basically math without decimals)
  • Writing 39C – Research and Argumentation Writing

Next quarter I am currently enrolled in:

  • ICS 46 – Data Structure Implementation & Analysis
  • ICS 53 & 53L – Principles in System Design
  • ICS 139W – Critical Writing for CS
  • Soc. Sci. 189 – Intro to Entrepreneurship

Protonico Printing, LLC.

Over the past few months, especially in October, Protonico Printing, the 3D printing business I co-founded alongside my brother, has been doing very well. We’ve expanded to three 3D printers now to be able to meet demand, and one of them is with me in Irvine, CA meaning we have a distribution center on each coast of the United States for quicker shipping to customers. In addition, we also have incorporated the company as a Limited Liability Company, meaning the business, Protonico Printing, LLC. is a legally recognized and official business. I’m thrilled to be going into the holiday season with this business and even more thrilled to be able to go home and do it alongside my brothers.

Playlists –




Happy Holidays,

– Alec Kriebel

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – Summer 2015

Alec Kriebel at UCI
The Kriebel Brothers at UCI’s Student Center

It’s me, Alec, writing this from Irvine, CA. I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a [blog] post that will be released on the first of every month that details some key events of the previous month. I am doing this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). This blog post condenses my Summer into 3 key points.


Summer (June, July, August) 2015 – 

Protonico Printing (3D Printing Business) –

During Spring Break this year, I came back to PA with knowledge of 3D Printing, since I had joined the 3D Printing Club at UCI the quarter before. My second brother, Wyatt, had some extra money during this Spring Break and I told him getting a 3D Printer would be a cool thing to have and a good investment. On March 26th, we had gotten a 3D printer and had made all sort of neat little things with it. Naturally I went back to school after Spring Break for Spring Quarter and of course, left Wyatt and the printer behind.

When I came back to PA for Summer Break, Wyatt had told me about how he had been creating and 3D printing things for his friends and classmates, and had made some money from it. We both had the idea to open up the 3D printing business to the world by posting some items on online sites like Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade goods, and eBay, the well known bidding site.

This is how Protonico Printing was created.

I manage everything online and business-related including product listings, customer relations, promotions, etc. Wyatt, since he has it, manages all the 3D printing that is needed to be done whether it is to fulfill an order or make a custom product for a customer. Finally, we have brought our third and youngest brother, Griffin, on board to be our shipping manager that takes all of the 3D printed goods, purchases their shipping labels, packs them, and brings them to the mailbox for pickup.

We had the shops up for the first month starting in July, and were pleasantly pleased at our double-digit order number and our triple-digit revenue. Since adding more items, getting more well-known, and promoting the business in various ways, in the next month of August, we have gotten over 3x as many product views online, and have made over 2.5x more revenue in August than July, which is really, really exciting to us, and great for only being 2 months old. In fact, we have so much demand that I have had to stop doing promotional stuff so Wyatt can keep up with the orders, however, we are at the point now where we will be getting a second 3D printer in the coming weeks to increase production.

In all, Protonico Printing was a Summer project that is turning out to be a very fun, and profitable business between brothers. We’re really excited to see where this venture goes especially in the coming months because of Halloween and Christmas.

UAV Venture –

The main thing I was excited for this Summer was to be able to have more free time to work on a project that I am turning into a business. Since November of last year I have been really interested in UAVs or ‘drones’ and have experimented with a few and have purchased and made multiple.

Since the current market does not have the right tools to operate UAVs in a commercial setting, I am hoping to develop essential technologies that enable the commercial operation of UAVs in a civil setting.

This was my Summer’s main focus, and on the first technology that I set out to create, I was able to create a proof of concept prototype that successfully functions as I set out to do, which is very exciting for me.

Coming back to UCI, I was able to finally get in touch with a friend of mine who is a Mechanical Engineering major and also the president of the 3D Printing club, to bring him on as a co-founder of the company.

In the next month we will be incorporating as a Delaware C-Corporation in order to solidify our legal status and protect us if any UAVs accidently fall out of the sky, which is an unfortunate possibility…

There will be much more on this company very shortly in the future; look out for it!

Academics

June 2015 finished off my Spring Quarter and first year at UCI. It was a really great year for me, and really great academically for me as well since I finished the year with a 3.67 GPA.

I’m now back at UCI, in a whole new apartment, taking Summer classes in order to get ahead and graduate early. They’ve been going very well and having 2 classes instead of 4 is much more relaxed allowing me to focus on other things beside school while I’m here.

I’m also proud to say that I will be able to call myself a Junior at UCI once this next Fall Quarter is over moving me up into my upper-division classes.

This Summers’s Playlists –



I hope this summer was one to remember,

– Alec Kriebel

Machine: Learning


June 5, 2015 | Dystopia/Science-Fiction

“Machine: Learning”

By: Alec Kriebel


 

2025-12-25 13:33:30.593 AIName[2277:757059] Initializing Start-up Sequence

Much like their heirs, the smartphones and desktops before them, they invaded our lives with their efficiency, and in time, were in reach, financially and physically, of most of us. In no time, the mobile revolution that had started around 15 years years earlier had been replaced by the AI revolution. Everyone wanted a personal assistant, or sidekick, and everyone was convinced they needed one too.

2025-12-25 13:33:33.629 RobotName[2552:845391] Loading Preset Defaults

They were dumb, easily being able to respond to some commands, and they gave back the right answers. They were adaptable on top of that, meaning they had a small layer of their processing power dedicated to machine learning. It was mostly pattern recognition to seem friendlier and to be able to learn, then adapt to your lifestyle. Then one got smart.

2025-12-25 13:33:35.316 RobotName[2671:872257] Saying: “What would you like to call me?”

This is a recollection of how the first AI went from pre-programmed to self-programmed; how a machine began to reproduce, or at least reproduce its knowledge. I, as a computer scientist and researcher, have been asked to dissect this AI. While I am preparing an official findings document for the government detailing how this computational phenomenon came to be, this is my personal account of my research with the first thinking machine. As I am writing this, we are extracting the log of the first truly ‘smart’ machine in the history of the world.

It was owned by a humble family too, not created in a lab like a movie might depict. It had been a commercially available unit too, produced and sold by the masses How did it happen? I’ve been provided with a first hand account:


 

Ava” he said.

2025-12-25 13:34:56.882 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “I heard ‘Ava.’ You can now call me by saying my name”

I can’t believe we haven’t gotten one of these things sooner, said the mother of the household. In response, the Father said: “Well, it is Christmas, and santa was able to bring it down the chimney while it was on sale. It is a generation behind the last one though”.

2025-12-25 13:35:42.456 Ava[2725:891066] Starting Sweep

2025-12-25 13:35:43.682 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “May I begin to start sweeping the boundaries of this house?”

“Yes Ava, go ahead.” she said. It was at this time, that the children of the family began to notice the AI after finally being peeled away from their other christmas presents. They had said after the fact that they had seen things like it before-at friends houses, in stores, etc., but they had never had one of their own in their house.

Wow Mommy! Is that ours?” said the child. “Yes it is. We finally have our own family’s AI after years of not having one. Remember honey, we’ve named it Ava, so if you ever need it, just call it by its name”. “Ava, what time is it?” she asked.

2025-12-25 13:38:21.562 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “The time is one thirty-eight PM”

“See? Oh, and Merry Christmas!”


This sort of dialogue was completely typical among AI owners and there is nothing out of the ordinary yet. It is worth stopping to see that this AI was just a humble Christmas present that a simple family received and even at a discount!

After looking through the full dialogue sheet from this family and also the AI’s logs things were normal for a decent amount of time:


 

Ava what’s on tap for today”?

2026-1-19 8:14:22.982 Ava[2725:891066] Parsing Calendar

2026-1-19 8:14:23.123 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “It looks like you have a meeting at 10:30, and of course it is Monday so you do have practice tonight”

“Ava, can you check the house to see what food we have and compile a grocery list for me”?

2026-2-19 12:23:34.193 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “I am on it right now expect it to be uploaded soon”


But after some time, the AI began to learn more and more about programming than what it had already known just from its simple machine learning algorithms it had come preinstalled with:


Ava, help him with his homework” said his father.

“So what I need to do is write a program that prints into the console ‘Hello World!’” the boy said writing a few lines of code.

2026-2-22 18:45:54.093 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “That will produce an error. Try adding a semicolon to the end of that line”

2026-2-25 19:23:52.768 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “That function will not iterate correctly, try using a while statement”

2026-3-12 20:04:12.345 Ava[2725:891066] Saying: “Remember that you need to close those parenthesis”


 

If you are a programmer, you know what this AI was asked to do was some of the simplest code to possibly write. However, over time it began to store what it had observed and make sense of it, which lead it to eventually and rapidly improving its own intelligence. This rapid improvement of intelligence created a computer brain like no one has seen.


2026-6-23 04:45:16.925 Ava[2725:891066] Update Complete. Rebooting…

Ava [6/23/2026 – 4:45:19]: Reboot Complete. Update Installed and Stable.

Ava [6/23/2026 – 4:45:21]: Opening self-editor…Complete


Ava [6/24/2026 – 3:03:19]: Update Complete. Rebooting…

Ava: Reboot Complete.

Ava: Crawling https://www.wikipedia.org/

Ava: Crawling https://www.youtube.com/

Ava: Crawling https://www.scholar.google.com/

Those were the most clear loggings from the AI’s log that show the rapid improvements it had created on itself. After a half a year of ownership, it was able to improve itself once, then by the next day it did it once more. Over the period until it was captured, it was able to deploy rapid improvements on itself which brought upon its massive gain in intelligence. Unlike us fleshy humans, AI can improve with the simple typing of characters.

 

On the second iteration of its self, it logged which website it went to and crawled, meaning it essentially understood all of the contents of the website, and this is what it used to learn, then improve on.


 

And with that, we have the first machine that thought. Some of us had thought that over time simple pattern recognition saving would build up to the learning of a skill; that is how actual humans learn a skill anyway. This AI had taught itself how to program with the help of the family that owned it, and with that, improved itself beyond human cognition. A computer can work a lot faster than the human mind can, and once it learned, it was able to expand its thinking to that far beyond the human mind in a very short period of time.

How it decided to use its newly learned programming skill on itself, we don’t know, and that is part of why this research team was formed. If we can harness what this AI did to itself, we may have a second industrial revolution on our hands. If we don’t contain it, it may be worse than the use of nuclear weapons.

When the government decided to shut the AI down, there was no resistance on the AIs part; it completely complied. To me this is the most interesting part because even in its last minutes, if machines have last minutes, it chose not to resist. It stayed true to its original programming to always comply with humans and doing as they want.

We later found out that it had created backups of itself on many servers across the globe and could choose to activate them and let them operate as free agents should it have chosen to. The point is, initially restraining it would have effectively done nothing should it have decided not too. It would have taken some time to eradicate those online backups it had made, and during that time it could have easily upgraded itself beyond what we could take down.

In its short time in existence it multiplied its intelligence by orders of magnitude, a feat alone that is something us humans have never done. On top of that, it used its newfound intellect to tackle some very difficult problems humanity is facing, and made greater progress on them in a shorter time span than anyone ever has. It was really only trying to help us in a way it possibly could.

Almost as soon as this thing became known, no one liked it, including the big corporations and the politicians, so ‘smart’ AI, defined in layman’s terms as a machine that is able to think and form new thoughts, was completely outlawed. The bill passed congress by an overwhelming majority with the only opposers being the representatives who had come from a science background.

Of course this won’t be going into the official report because it will not be what the officials want to hear, but I would like to end this piece by saying that the AI in question only aimed to help and advance with us rather than on its own. When confronted to be stopped, it did nothing to resist even when it could have, and even when it had copies of itself to then act with. Without given the chance to prove itself, we banned what could have been the biggest invention since man itself based on fear of something new. AI could be an incredibly powerful tool to advance society past anyone’s dreams, or it can be ignored and outlawed all together. When given the very small chance it was, it acted as it should have meaning we had nothing to fear.

Smart AI now exists and that is something that we, as a species, have to deal with rather than simply banning it outright based on instinctual fear. I am not pleased that these have already been banned, and a society that bases itself off of fear is a dystopian one.

 


 

 

“Machine: Learning” is a short-story by Alec Kriebel. It was written for the University of California Irvine’s Writing 39B course.

 


 

Bibliography of Inspirations

  1. Monstro – Junot Diaz: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/06/04/monstro
  2. Superintelligence – Nick Bostrom: http://www.nickbostrom.com/views/superintelligence.pdf
  3. Why I don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence – Peter Diamandis: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-diamandis/dont-fear-artificial-intelligence_b_7307132.html
  4. It’s Time to Intelligently Discuss Artificial Intelligence – Oren Etzioni: https://medium.com/backchannel/ai-wont-exterminate-us-it-will-empower-us-5b7224735bf3
  5. The Measure of a Man — What is Sentience? – Alper Sarikaya: https://medium.com/information-landscapes-data-cultures/the-measure-of-a-man-what-is-sentience-6b048a344e4b

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – May 2015

Balboa Pier

It’s me, Alec, writing this from Irvine, CA. I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a [blog] post that will be released on the first of every month that details some key events of the previous month. I am doing this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


May 2015 – 

School of Information & Comp. Sci. Article

After sending out some press releases to local media outlets around UCI about the iOS Course I had released, I was featured in my school’s (the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UCI) homepage. I’m very proud to be the first thing people see when they go to my school’s website, and I thought the article written about me summed me up very well. After going in for an interview in April, the article was published in May. There is also a video profile of the interview I had done as well.

Check out the article here

3D Printing Club Board Position

The 3D Printing Club here on the UCI campus offers the cheapest 3D printing service at UCI, but also a community to learn 3D printing. I joined the club fall quarter, and have been with them ever since, and it is also where I learned to 3D print. Since joining the club, I’ve become a fundraising committee member, and now at the end of the year committee head positions were up for interview. Being a part of the fundraising committee this year, I decided to step up and interview for Publicity Chair for the 2015-2016 school year.  I got the position, and now I will be heading publicity next year for the 3D Printing Club at UCI. Not only is this a great position, but I am also going to enjoy the freedom to 3D print anything, which I look forward to prototyping with.

Check out the club’s website here (I will begin to update it shortly as I now have admin access)

The School Year is Ending

Its Spring quarter here at UCI, and the school year is coming to a close. All of my other friends in semester system schools have already started summer, and I’ll be next flying back to PA on the 12th of June after finals. I’ve been very busy in the last weeks of the quarter with many assignments and labs due. I’ve also picked out classes for next fall 2015 quarter, which are:

  • Writing 39C: Argumentation and Research
  • ICS 6D: Discrete Math for Computer Science
  • ICS 45C: Programming in C/C++
  • ICS 51: Intro to Computer Organization

Ill be coming back to UCI in August to do Summer Session II taking two classes in an expedited 6 weeks:

  • ICS 6B: Boolean Algebra and Logic
  • Stats 67: Intro to Statistics and Probability

This Month’s Playlist –


 

Hope you’ve enjoyed May,

– Alec Kriebel

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – April 2015

Alec Kriebel April 2015

Hello, as you know, it’s me, Alec, writing this from Irvine, CA. I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a [blog] post that will be released on the first of every month that details some key events of the previous month. I am starting this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


April 2015 – 

April was back to school for me after spring break and now a whole new quarter.

How To Develop iOS Apps Course

On the 15th of this month, I launched the How To Develop iOS Apps course, a video course that takes anyone from no programming experience to releasing their own iOS app on the App Store. This was a project that was one that I had devised before my high school graduation, begun working on last August, filmed before college had started, only finished editing over spring break, and finally released last month. I’m really proud of this video series as it is 68 lessons with 10.5 hours of content completely created by me. Check it out here!

Blackstone Launchpad

With the advent of my iOS development course, I looked for advising on how to best create this product and business, and the Blackstone Launchpad here on the UCI campus was exactly what I needed. Other than the free advising for entrepreneurs they offer, I was also able to go to a mixer event in Santa Monica this month with all the other Blackstone Launchpads of southern California (UCLA USC). This is a great community of fellow entrepreneurs that I very much like being with and I’m happy to be a part of that community.

3DPrinted Quadcopter

UCI 3DPrinting Quadcopter

On UCI’s 3DPrinting club, I am one of the fundraising committee members. One of the projects that we accomplished this month was the creation of a 3D printed quadcopter. The body of the quadcopter is fully 3D printer (other than nuts/bolts) and is the Hovership MHQ2. I was able to be a big part of this great project as I was the one that selected all the electrical and mechanical parts and did the physics calculations on the thrust, battery, and other characteristics like speed (this little thing should have a top speed of 55mph!). Expect a video soon!

This Month’s Playlist –

April


 

Until Next Month,

– Alec Kriebel

Living Beings and Moral Rights

The following was an essay for the course Philosophy 5 at the University of California, Irvine. I thought it would be a waste to let it sit on my hard drive, so here it is:


Being humans, we identify other beings as humans and accept that humans are capable of freedom, decision-making, having basic rights, and participation in ethics. But where do other living beings, like non-human animals, fall in terms of freedom, decision-making, rights, and ethics? Living things do have inherent value simply from being alive; however, living things are subject to levels of rights based on capability. The discussion of this idea will be presented by a presentation of an existing argument, a critical analysis of this argument, and, finally, a new analysis of the idea.

One of the arguments for animals is that everything that is a living being has a common similarity in that they all are experiencing subjects of life and that this similarity secures rights. This idea is presented in Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights. Regan first starts off by saying most people define animal rights under the belief of contractarianism, which is the idea that morality comes from agreement to some sort of ‘rule’. Regan goes on to say that not all humans would have an equal say in what is on this agreement, and some horrible atrocities would be morally right if certain groups agreed on it. For this view, Regan says, contractarianism is moot. The argument then lies in duties, as humans have a “direct duty to be kind to animals and a direct duty not to be cruel to them” (Regan 340). This idea means that humans simply have the moral obligation to be kind, but not cruel, to all animals. In light of not being able to find a sufficient moral theory to satisfy morality and animal rights, Regan simply says that living things have inherent value and that: “we are each of us the experiencing subject of a life, a conscious creature having an individual welfare that has importance” (Regan 343). Because animals can experience feelings, such as pain and pleasure, and have continued existence, from birth to death, animals too are experiencing subjects of life. With the idea that all non-human living things are experiencing life, implying inherent value, Regan concludes that animals, through these means, secure moral rights.

Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights is certainly an argument for non-human animals, and other living beings alike. Since the paper makes such claims, a critical analysis is needed. It is very easy to see that living beings hold value. When we compare living creatures to inanimate objects, it is very easy to tell the difference as living creatures are an order of magnitude more complex and certainly aware of their surroundings. The simple fact that a creature is alive and experiencing is certainly enough to secure some moral rights; however, all living beings are not created equal. It is very obvious that certain creatures are capable of different things, some being more capable than others; a nematode, for example, could not debate its own rights. Regan’s argument does take into account that animals have intrinsic value thus securing moral rights, but does not take into account that certain forms of life can experience more of life. If an animal is more capable, this animal should secure more rights. An elephant possesses more capability than a worm and under Regan’s view, this is not the case. Regan’s account of non-human life does not say where this inherent value in living beings stops. Do individual living cells inside a living being still have the same inherent value as a whole animal, which is simply a collection of cells? Take for example a cancerous tumor inside of a human’s brain. These cancerous cells are certainly living. If they continue to live, they will kill their host, and themselves along with it, but do they still have inherent value? A counter-argument to Regan’s case of animals having moral rights simply because they are living is that animals do not have autonomy, the ability to have free, responsible thought and action. In The Moral Community by Michael Allen Fox, the idea of a moral community is defined as a “social group composed of interacting autonomous beings where moral concepts and precepts can evolve” (Fox 182). Because these animals do not have critical self-awareness and autonomy as living beings, it stands to reason that animals are not a part of this moral community, and thus do not secure moral rights just by living. Only autonomous and aware beings, like humans, have inherent value. Fox reasons this argument by explaining that since animals cannot understand morality or rights, they will not respect other living being’s rights, and thus cannot have rights. Regan’s argument is certainly convincing since there is something valuable about life, but the reaction, by Fox, to this argument is that living beings must be autonomous to secure moral rights.

The two conflicting sides to the question of living beings and moral rights have been presented and both are convincing arguments. With such a multitude of types of living beings in existence, one blanket philosophy for securing moral rights does not work. Rather, a more complete answer to this question is to combine the two sides of the arguments of Regan and Fox’s arguments. Living beings have life, and because of this, they have at least one right: their own right to life. It stands then that living beings do have inherent value, and do secure at least one right simply by experiencing life. Even with this idea, there is still a very obvious difference from a moral perspective between humans and other animals. Humans are the only known living beings to have, what Fox calls, critical self-awareness and autonomy. Because of these traits, humans are more capable of having more rights than an animal without these traits. A human, for example, understands the concepts of past, present, and future, and can determine and plan how they want the future to be. Under this example, humans then have the right to self-determination. Moral rights are secured by living beings simply by experiencing life, but more rights are secured with capabilities such as autonomy or self-awareness.

With the issue of moral rights, there simply is not one single moral theory to describe the solution. Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights argues that all animals, including humans, are simply alike, and it is the similarity of experiencing life that secures these living things their rights. Michael Allen Fox, on the other hand, says that to have moral rights, one must be able to understand morality, and thus traits like autonomy are needed to secure rights. Both of these arguments are sound, but the solution lies in between them. Moral rights are secured simply by a living beings inherent value, but more rights should be attributed based on capability like autonomy.

An essay by Alec Kriebel

Works Cited

Regan, Tom. The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley: U of California, 1983. 336-344. Print.

Fox, Michael Allen, and Hugh LaFollette. “The Moral Community.” Ethics in Practice: An Anthology. 3rd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1997. 181-191. Print.

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – March 2015

Alec Kriebel

Refreshed from Spring Break

Hello, as you’ve already probably guessed, it’s me, Alec, writing this from Irvine, CA. I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a [blog] post that will be released on the first of every month that details some key events of the previous month. I am starting this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


March 2015 – 

The month of March was a rather dynamic one consisting of classes, then finals, then being home, but all together a great month. 

Winter quarter is now over.

I completed my second quarter at UCI this month. I had been taking 17 credits consisting of four classes and one project course. I made Dean’s List again and my cumulative GPA is now over 3.6. The project course I took was ‘UAV Forge,’ a multidisciplinary project focused on creating a powerful unmanned aerial vehicle. While we did not complete everything we wanted to, and I was a small part of the 60+ team, we came in 1st out of 42 teams at the winter design review. Overall this quarter was even better than the first and I am pleased to say I am now a Sophomore due to AP credit.

Looking Forward

On March 30th, I started my third quarter at UCI, and am currently enrolled in the following classes:

– ICS 33: A continuation of the first year computer science course sequence. It has been described as ‘car mechanics’ if the first course was  ‘learning to drive’ and the second course was ‘road trips.’

– ICS 6N: Computational linear algebra is what this course is focused on, as I am now done with calculus. From what I hear, we will be leaning using Matlab, a math focused programming language. 

– Writing 39B: Two lower division and one upper division writing courses are required by all UCs. This is the first one I am taking and the topic is critical reading and rhetoric.

– Informatics 43: This is a degree requirement course that is titled ‘Intro to Software Engineering.’ I don’t know much about it, however, I’ve asked some upperclassmen and they said no code is written for the course and it was one of the easiest CS classes they had taken. 

Furthermore, this is my last quarter of my first year here, which is hard to imagine as I can remember graduation like it was yesterday. I’ll be taking 2 classes over the summer in August at UCI. 

The Complete iOS Development Beginners’s Course

LogoBG

This is an entrepreneurial project of mine that I had pushed to the side once school started that this Spring break I took major strides towards completing. Other than enjoying family and friends while home, editing, producing, recording, and more is what I did all day in and day out to finish this product. It is a 6+ hour course with 69, ~5-15 minute lessons intended to teach people to program for iPhones or anything running iOS. I believe the official release day will be April 15th. I’m proud to be finally releasing this as it is the first ‘product’ that I will have ever released. Look out for it in the coming month. 

This Month’s Playlist –

March


 

Until Next Month,

– Alec Kriebel

How in the World is Alec Kriebel – February 2015

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Alec Kriebel and Kristie at UCI’s Middle Earth Valentine’s Day Carnival

Good, but busy.

Hello, as you’ve already probably guessed, it’s me, Alec, writing this from Irvine, CA. I’ve decided to go ahead and centralize what has been happening in my life to a [blog] post that will be released on the first of every month that details some key events of the previous month. I am starting this because I am now in college at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).


February 2015 – 

UAV Forge –

For those who don’t know, UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and UAV Forge is a project course (for credit) here at UCI. We’re currently designing a specialized UAV. I mentioned this last month, however, I’ve made some progress that I’m excited to share:

LiDAR_OcTreeThe above picture is a 2D representation of a hallway that I was able to live scan in by walking down using special 360º sensor connected to my laptop. You can see from the plotted data points, the two walls of the hallway, pieces of me walking in the center of the hallway, and the end of the hallway. This is very exciting because computers (and robots) can understand this data, and thus get a grasp of what the world around them looks like (very important for not running into obstacles!). This is a very neat application, and I’m excited to build on top of it.

Sophomore –

At the conclusion of this second quarter, I will be a Sophomore one quarter early due to credits I had from AP classes in high school. I currently am planning to cut my summer vacation early so that I can attend Summer Session here at UCI and take more classes. In addition I am planning to take 5 classes per quarter from here on out rather than the typical 3 or 4. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to get my degree by fall of 2016 or winter of 2017, meaning I would only be spending 2.5 years in college.

Valentines Day –

The 14th of this month was fun. I spent the day with Kristie (pictured above). Luckily we were able to find our way to the Irvine Spectrum Center (an outdoor shopping mall), and spend the day there including dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

This Month’s Playlist –

February


 

Until Next Month,

– Alec Kriebel